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samedi, 20 décembre 2014

La renaissance orientale

Rig Veda And Yoga(1).jpg

LA RENAISSANCE ORIENTALE
 
Son apport à la philosophie et la spiritualité occidentale

Rémy Valat
Ex: http://metamag.fr

schw9782228910569.jpgLes éditions Payot viennent de rééditer La Renaissance Orientale de Raymond Schwab, le livre de référence sur les débuts et l’impact des études indiennes et orientales sur les sociétés européennes aux XVIIIe et XIXe siècles. Raymond  Schawb (1884-1956) était un authentique humaniste aux multiples facettes : il était traducteur (il pratiquait l'hébreu, le hongrois et l'anglais), romancier et poète. L’Orientalisme a été précédé par un mouvement précurseur, dit pré-indianiste, mouvement animé par des missionnaires ou des fonctionnaires portugais, italiens ou français (en particulier, Anquetil-Duperron, 1731-1805) puis par le pouvoir colonial britannique établi dans la péninsule indienne. Pour ce dernier, l’intérêt linguistique était considéré comme une arme politique pour asseoir sa domination sur le pays.

La société de Calcutta, créée par William Jones en 1784 rassemblait des hauts-fonctionnaires du pouvoir colonial, souvent des juristes, épris de culture indigènes. On leur doit les premières traductions des textes sacrés indiens, en particulier la Bhagavad-Gîtâ par Charles Wilkins (1784), mais aussi les premières parutions scientifiques sur la culture indienne et les premiers pas de l’archéologie, de la numismatique et de l’épigraphie dans le sous-continent. Guidés par des intérêts politiques, l’Angleterre se désintéresse rapidement des études orientales, l’Orientalisme sera essentiellement un mouvement français et allemand (en particulier le mouvement indo-germanique). 

En France, le Directoire fonde l’École des Langues Orientales Vivantes (actuel Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales – INALCO) en 1795 ; cette création précéde de peu l’expédition de Bonaparte en Égypte qui donnera une impulsion significative aux études orientales et en particulier l’égyptologie. L’Orientalisme est en quelque sorte un avatar des guerres napoléoniennes puisque Alexandre Hamilton (1762-1824), officier de la Royal Navy et ancien membre de la Société Asiatique de Calcutta, s’est trouvé assigné à résidence à Paris au moment de la rupture de la paix d’Amiens. Cet officier, qui étudiait des textes indiens conservés au département des manuscrits bénéficia de la bienveillance et de la solidarité scientifique d’érudits de la Bibliothèque Nationale. Reconnaissant, Hamilton leur enseigna la langue sanskrite.

Parmi ces passionnés et privilégiés se trouvait le philosophe et écrivain allemand Friedrisch Schlegel, qui sera l’un des animateurs du « Cercle d'Iéna » et du romantisme allemand. La première chaire de sanskrit sera créée quelques années plus tard au Collège de France en 1814 : Eugène Burnouf, qui a fondé la Société asiatique en 1822, y professera à partir de 1832. Eugène Burnouf a contribué au développement des études bouddhiques en Occident, il a notamment traduit l’un des plus beau texte du bouddhisme : le Sutra du Lotus (1852). Des bancs des universités, l’orientalisme se répand dans les mouvements littéraires et philosophiques, les plus grands auteurs français y ont été sensibles (Alphonse de Lamartine, Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac, Edmond Michelet, Saint-Simon, Gérard de Nerval, Gustave Flaubert, les Parnassiens, les symbolistes....).


La Renaissance Orientale : un ouvrage capital pour saisir les représentations et les interprétations des cultures asiatiques par les Européens et leur apport à la philosophie et la spiritualité occidentale.
La Renaissance Orientale , de Raymond Schwab, Editions Payot ( réedition) , 688 pages, 32€.

La tradición como contracultura

14ike55.jpg

La tradición como contracultura

DALMACIO NEGRO

por Dalmacio Negro

Ex: http://culturatransversal.wordpress.com

Es un lugar común que no se puede hacer nada creador sin la tradición. Eugenio d Ors decía, refiriéndose a la literatura, «lo que no es tradición es plagio». Y en el plano individual, en frase del filósofo alemán Nicolai Hartmann «nadie empieza con sus propias ideas». Se podrían citar innumerables opiniones al respecto como la famosa del economista Keynes de que, a la larga, todos somos herederos de algún economista difunto, que alguien retocó cambiando la palabra economista por la palabra filósofo. Siendo esto cierto, hace mucho tiempo que sucede lo contrario en el campo de la cultura en general. En el arte y en la literatura el credo dominante es la oposición a la tradición, habiéndose impuesto el prurito de la originalidad consciente y de la innovación por la innovación, equivalente al del cambio por el cambio en lo social.

Puesto que en la cultura cada momento todo se interrelaciona, esa actitud se traduce en los demás ámbitos de la vida en sans cullotisme, en un adanismo muy escasamente o nada creador. Así no hay estilos sino, a lo sumo, modas, casi siempre tan fugaces que la mayoría de las veces ni siquiera son modas, sino ocurrencias más o menos extravagantes que buscan el éxito mediante el «escándalo» moral, intelectual o estético, equivalente a las «liberaciones» en la vida social. «La cultura de lo efímero». No es raro que la política actual adolezca escandalosamente de estilo y que en ella, generalmente en manos de gente joven, demasiado inexperta y advenediza, la confusión sea cada vez mayor. Lo cual es muy grave, porque en esta época la política ha desplazado a su par dialéctico que la delimita, la religión, privatizándola en el mejor de los casos y, si se mira bien a la misma cultura al convertirse la política en una de sus fuentes principales invirtiendo la relación natural, con lo que está en todas partes. La política determina incluso la conciencia, las ideas acerca del bien y del mal. Es lo que se llama politización. La politización es la degeneración totalitaria de la política y de la cultura. Se ha llegado a ella interpretando la democratización como racionalización, concediéndosele al Estado la autorización para entremeterse en todo. Y como el Estado es lo Político, politiza todos los ámbitos de la vida. Casi todos los días hace algo que se opone a la tradición, a los usos, a las formas y a las maneras, a las costumbres, en definitiva a las creencias que constituyen y configuran lo social, creando una nueva moralidad y una nueva cultura de cuño estatal. Se desintegran así las sociedades, un fenómeno bastante visible, pero el estatismo aparece como liberador. Sin embargo, opera en contra de la libertad. Esta no es una propiedad del Estado sino del hombre concreto, por lo que constituye una necesidad lo Político a fin de proteger las libertades, no para liberar a los hombres de sí mismos, de sus libertades, que enraízan en las tradiciones de la conducta.

Lo Político adoptó en la época moderna la figura del Estado. Y como el Estado es una forma política artificial, una máquina de poder, es antitradicional por definición. Su antitradicionalismo estuvo relativamente contenido hasta que la revolución francesa lo revolvió contra la Nación histórica politizando la Nación.

Hasta entonces, las naciones eran simplemente unidades diferenciadas que formaban parte de la tradición europea común, que incluye, por supuesto, una tradición de la política. Pero al politizarse fundiéndose con el Estado, que es de suyo particularista, para consolidar la unidad política y aumentar la potencia nacional, los Estados nacionales resultantes empezaron a pervertir las propias tradiciones, «las tradiciones patrias», al tratarlas como culturas separadas, particulares, inoculando en ellas el nacionalismo sirviéndose muy principalmente de la historia, ciencia desde entonces en auge. Se llegó así en el siglo XIX a la oposición entre las Grandes Potencias nacionales que constituye el origen próximo de los desastres del siglo XX y del estatismo de nuestros días.

Frente a la prevaleciente cultura estatista, que es por definición nihilista, la auténtica tradición europea puede ser todavía una poderosa contracultura.

Fuente: conoze.com

00:05 Publié dans Traditions | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : tradition, dalmacio negro pavon, espagne, contre-culture | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

vendredi, 19 décembre 2014

René Guénon, Roma, Convegno

locandina_convegno-guenon_save-the-date-2.jpg

jeudi, 18 décembre 2014

La crèche et les petits dieux du peuple

crèches de noël, noël, traditions,

La crèche et les petits dieux du peuple

par Claude BOURRINET

Jean-Paul Brighelli, récemment (1), rappelait que l’institution des crèches, n’avait que peu de liens historiques et religieux avec le christianisme authentique. Le terme « institution » est employé ici pour évoquer le mortier des siècles, la lente et merveilleuse fabrication d’une coutume populaire, qui se sert des pierres laissées par les traditions ancestrales, de cette mémoire longue qui plonge parfois dans les temps proto-historiques, pour ériger des « monuments » (du latin monumentum, dérivé du verbe moneo « se remémorer »). Les crèches appartiennent à cet « art » de tous, œuvre artisanale dont on ne connaît pas l’auteur, car elle jaillit du génie communautaire, comme les contes, les légendes, les chansons de village et des danses dit « folkloriques », dont les volutes manifestent quelques chose des mythes éternels.

 

Les crèches, dont la création est redevable de récits bibliques apocryphes, signifient, d’une façon bon enfant, la revanche du paganisme sur une religion allogène, judaïque, violemment hostile aux « idoles ». Le christianisme primitif a eu du mal à se défaire de ces a priori anthropologiques, au point que sa réappropriation de l’art « païen » n’est devenue évidente que dans le temps même de sa résistible victoire sur les antiques croyances. L’art dit « chrétien », qui doit beaucoup à l’art impérial du IIIe siècle (2), s’est affirmé quand la nouvelle religion du Christ a senti qu’il n’existait plus guère de danger provenant de l’ancienne religion, c’est-à-dire après le putsch de Constantin, dit « le Grand », au début du IVe siècle.

 

Ce que l’on examine, de l’« art chrétien » du Moyen Âge, appartient à ce genre d’équivoques qui ne cessent d’agiter les spécialistes, l’équivalent des interrogations qui se posent lorsqu’on se demande s’il peut exister une philosophie chrétienne. De la même façon, on peut appréhender la foi galiléenne comme une acculturation du judaïsme, qui s’est fondu dans la Weltanschauung, la vision du monde hellénistique, avec, cependant, un noyaux monothéiste et iconoclaste persistant, qui se réactive par intermittence. D’autres apories peuvent aussi naître d’une analyse poussée des légendes issues de la « Matière de Bretagne ».

 

La République – du moins celle qui s’est illustrée en France – a eu pour ambition de restituer l’État romain, sa vertu, son sens de l’État, bref, la res publica. Or cette « chose publique » peut se confondre aisément avec la laïcité telle qu’elle s’est traduite lors des lois de séparation de l’Église et l’État, en 1905. C’est évidemment, si l’on cherche des sources référentielles à cette brisure entre le sceptre et le goupillon, une illusion de trouver des justifications dans l’Histoire, car jamais, dans les temps anciens, même à l’époque de la querelle entre l’Empire romain-germanique et la papauté, on a conçu une société qui ne fût pas façonnée de ces deux pans indissociables que sont le temporel et le spirituel, ce qu’exprime très bien le terme de « religion », qui induit un rapport de dépendance entre le haut et le bas, entre le terrestre et le supra-humain. Même saint Augustin, dans La Cité de Dieu, ne sépare pas, de facto, la cité des hommes de la cité de Dieu, qui sont inextricablement mêlées, dans la vie civique, et dans les cœurs. Le point nodal, où s’incarne cette rencontre entre les deux ordres, est, bien sûr, la morale, ou, plus précisément, la charité.

 

La décision de l’État de couper les deux réalités de l’être humain, entre, d’un côté, la chose publique, et, de l’autre, la chose privée, ne visait pas, au début du XXe siècle, à empêcher la seconde de s’exprimer librement. La République a, au demeurant, eu besoin de l’appui de l’Église durant la Guerre de 14-18, comme, plus tard, le bolchevique Staline a eu recours à l’Orthodoxie durant la Grande Guerre patriotique qu’a menée l’empire soviétique contre l’empire nazi. Les hommes n’aiment pas mourir pour des idées, il leur faut la chair et le sang de leur mémoire pour se sacrifier.

 

L’agressivité dont font preuve, actuellement, les tenant d’une laïcité « pure » délivrée de tout signe religieux, lorsqu’ils revendiquent une sorte d’épuration civique, de nettoyage des rues, des édifices officiels, des corps et des écrans virtuels, et, bientôt, pourquoi pas, comme dans les meilleurs récits contre-utopiques, rectifiant passé et futur, ne manque pas d’être assez singulière, si l’on s’en tient à la longue chaîne des siècles.

 

Il est certain que la volonté, récurrente, existe de niveler le catholicisme au rang de sensibilité religieuse comme une autre, niant de cette façon son rôle constituant de notre civilisation européenne et française. Penser, pour autant, que cette acrimonie éradicatrice relève d’un complot visant à substituer l’islam au christianisme pèche par excès. En effet, les « princes qui nous gouvernent », comme disait feu Michel Debré, n’usent des musulmans qu’en ce que ceux-ci servent d’instruments de démolition. Le multiculturalisme n’est pas, dans notre espace historique, l’expression d’une civilisation, mais une arme contre la civilisation. La présence de religions allogènes, dans la Rome antique, n’a été tolérée, voire encadrée, comme le judaïsme, qu’en tant qu’elles de constituaient pas un péril pour la sauvegarde  de l’« empire ». La notion de « tolérance », au sens que lui ont donné les Lumière, est, en ce qui concerne cette époque, tout à fait anachronique. Le passage du paganisme au christianisme n’a pas été un changement radical dans l’octroi plus ou moins grand de la « liberté d’opinion, ou d’expression » qui, là aussi, rapporté à l’ère contemporaine, risque de se révéler tout autant anachronique que la notion de tolérance. Car non seulement les débats philosophiques ne concernaient qu’une élite très réduite, mais on sait combien cyniques, stoïciens, épicuriens, ont pu être l’objet de désagréments de la part du pouvoir, et, surtout, quel a été la lente dérive structurelle, qui a formaté l’appréhension de l’univers, et, de syncrétismes en confusions, d’hénothéisme fondé sur un usage métaphorique des divinités, en synthèse entre aristotélisme, stoïcisme et platonisme, jusqu’au triomphe, dans les cercles cultivés de l’aristocratie, du néo-platonisme, et a préparé l’avènement de la théologie chrétienne et sa propension à caréner une orthodoxie pérenne (3).

 

Aussi bien serait-on avisé de ne pas interpréter l’évolution de ce que d’aucuns nomment « le système » comme un mode opératoire unique, reposant sur une vision stratégique homogène, d’où seraient tirées les ficelles qui manipulent des marionnettes. Non qu’il n’existe pas des officines plus ou moins occultes, mais les visées semblent parfois contradictoires. Comment concilier, en effet, la volonté de balayer tout signe ostentatoire de la religiosité – dont le fameux voile intégral – , et de promouvoir, dans le même temps, l’islam, en finançant, par exemple, des mosquées ? S’appuyer sur des populations étrangères, par leurs cultes, leur religion, leurs symboles civilisationnels, voire leurs mœurs, pour diminuer l’importance de la mémoire de l’Europe, et, parallèlement, se hérisser frénétiquement dès qu’apparaît toute allusion à la religion, voilà ce qu’on appelle un paradoxe. En vérité, le tableau est pour le moins complexe.

 

D’autant plus que le monde musulman s’inscrit dans le monde « traditionnel », conservateur (au sens propre : « qui conserve »). Toutefois, le processus libéral mondial le fait passer progressivement et sûrement, comme toute chose, dans une logique postmoderne; il se métamorphose, de réalité archaïque (de « archê », fondements originels) fortement ancrée, en expression d’une « opinion » comme une autre. Le vocable « religion » recouvre, sinon des acceptions différentes, du moins des degrés de pertes du sens inégaux. Car il s’en faut de beaucoup que toutes les sacralités se vaillent, tant synchroniquement que synchroniquement. Le christianisme de l’homme contemporain, si l’on prend la peine de sonder les cœurs et les intelligences, est sans commune mesure avec celui des temps anciens, et il est fort probable que le premier partagerait malaisément le sort du deuxième, qu’il appréhenderait à l’horreur pour les contraintes religieuses qu’éprouve tout hédoniste contemporain. De même, qu’y a-t-il de semblable entre la conception du sacré d’un paysan du Bengale, par exemple, et celle d’un évangéliste américain ?

 

La question essentielle est, non de ravaler toute sacralité à une dénominateur commun, par exemple la foi (aussi peu discernable que l’amour), ou bien, plus identifiable, les rites ou les bâtiments confessionnels, mais de savoir quel type de religiosité sied parfaitement au « système » libéral. Or, la logique de la « main invisible », du marché, est de déminer, de dédramatiser, de folkloriser, de dysneylandiser les patrimoines, les traditions, les appartenances, les identités. On se satisferait d’une multitude de communautés, à condition qu’elles se parent des attributs d’une mode, certes, un peu spéciale (comme les « identités sexuelles »), mais compatibles avec cet arc-en-ciel qu’on arbore comme le drapeau de la diversité. Autrement dit, pour la gloire et l’intérêt du doux commerce, il est nécessaire que se multiplient les appartenances, si possible interchangeables, mais sans les inconvénients ataviques de ces engagements, l’exclusivité, l’intolérance, la guerre, les bûchers, ou bien la permanence, la discipline, la règle, la rigueur de la doctrine.

 

La seule entité viable (si l’on ose dire) de l’ère postmoderne est une bulle vide, flexible, polycompatible, éthérée, irresponsable, vaguant à tous vents, surtout aux caprices du marché. La religion est un marché comme un autre. La gravité de la tradition authentique, comme celle de l’ensemble des sociétés qui ont disparu, diluées par les flux corrosifs de l’argent, cette pesanteur solennelle, digne, noble, que les Romains considéraient comme la marque de l’honnête homme, n’a pas sa place dans un monde liquéfié, qui n’est, aux dires de la « Dame de Fer », pas une société (4). Ne resterait in fine qu’un être évaporé, déraciné de la terre, sans laquelle aucune civilisation ne peut vivre d’une vraie vie, ne peut devenir la demeure du monde.

 

Faut-il parler, alors, de religion, de projet religieux conquérant, dominateur, tel que le serait l’islam, comme nous l’assurent les Identitaires ? Il semblerait plutôt que l’on assistât à l’un des derniers assauts contre l’esprit religieux. Les musulmans devraient porter attention aux effets dévastateurs de la modernité : on ne peut être véritablement adepte d’une tradition spirituelle, et drogué aux poisons de la société de consommation, de la sous-civilisation matérialiste, américanisée, bafouant toutes les valeurs qui ont été vénérées pendant des millénaires.

 

À cette aune, la censure des crèches apparaît comme l’aboutissement d’un processus de désenchantement commencé avec les religions judaïsantes. La société marchande est la fin et le triomphe d’un monothéisme délivré de ses oripeaux païens. L’Empire romano-chrétien a tenté, par la violence ou la propagande, l’intimidation ou la persuasion, d’extirper des cœurs, des consciences, et des paysages, les reliquats d’une religion haïe, que l’on dénonçait comme le suppôt du diable, comme le témoignage de la déchéance humaine (5). Le christianisme fut une religion nouvelle, une révolution. Son projet de nouvel homme se voulait radical. La nouvelle foi plongeait jusqu’au fond des êtres, et les sommait d’adhérer, d’aimer, de se sacrifier pour elle, ce que les traditions sacrales ancestrales n’exigeaient pas. Il fallait arracher les racines du mal, jusqu’au tréfonds de la terre humaine. La traque des derniers païens, la destruction ou la récupération des vestiges anciens, des chênes sacrés, des sources, des temples, des hauts lieux, furent, au Moyen Âge, un combat incessant. Et vain, comme l’on sait, puisque des legs païens restèrent vivaces, comme Noël, et, justement, nos fameuses crèches, avec leurs animaux sentant l’humus.

 

Pour la première fois, le libéralisme est en voie de réaliser ce qui avait été entrepris il y a deux mille ans : soustraire à la joie humaine la chair et la saveur des petits dieux populaires, ceux qui accompagnaient, jadis, les tribulations des humbles. Et l’on retrouve, dans cette volonté dévastatrice, cette rage rabbinique, ecclésiastique, qui s’en prenait autrefois aux héritages païens, même si cette haine est maintenant dirigée par des laïcistes, contre le christianisme même, comme chose du passé.

 

Claude Bourrinet

 

Notes

 

1 : Jean-Paul Brighelli, « Ce que cache l’interdiction des crèches de Noël », dans Le Point, le 10 décembre 2014.

 

2 : Bernard Andrae, L’art de l’ancienne Rome, Paris, Éditions Mazenod, 1988.

 

3 : Polymnia Athanassiadi, La lutte pour l’orthodoxie dans le platonisme tardif, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 2006.

 

4 : Margaret Thatcher, « There is no such thing as society : there are individual men and women, and there are families », 1987.

 

5 : Ramsay MacMullen, Christianisme et paganisme du IVe au VIIIe siècle, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1998.

 


 

Article printed from Europe Maxima: http://www.europemaxima.com

 

URL to article: http://www.europemaxima.com/?p=4093

 

00:03 Publié dans Actualité, Traditions | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : crèches de noël, noël, traditions | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

samedi, 13 décembre 2014

Rites païens du berceau à la tombe

 

Sortie aux Editions de la Fôret du premier tome d’une série de trois consacrée aux rites païens du berceau à la tombe.

Ce premier tome aborde les thèmes de la naissance et de l’enfance. Nombre de jeunes couples et parents identitaires pourront se reporter à ce livre, véritable bréviaire en la matière.

Prix: 16€ + frais de ports (2,10 € France uniquement et 4,15 € Europe)

Terre et Peuple - BP 38 - 04300 Forcalquier

lundi, 01 décembre 2014

Feronia e i culti femminili legati alle acque

Intervento di Renato Del Ponte al convegno "Feronia e i culti femminili legati alle acque" organizzato a Verona il 4 Maggio 2012

lundi, 24 novembre 2014

Sinterklaas en Zwarte Piet verschillend, maar vullen elkaar perfect aan

'Sinterklaas en Zwarte Piet verschillend, maar vullen elkaar perfect aan'

Een gesprek met literatuurwetenschapper Rita Ghesquiere

door Harry De Paepe
Ex: http://www.doorbraak.be

sintpiet.jpgIn 1989 verscheen bij het Davidsfonds het boek 'Van Nicolaas van Myra tot Sinterklaas. De kracht van een verhaal.' Het was een uitgebreide studie naar de oorsprong van het kinderfeest. Doorbraak vond het tijd - gezien het heersende debat over Zwarte Piet - om even met de auteur, professor Rita Ghesquiere, te praten.

Doorbraak: Sinds kort laait het in Nederland al oudere debat over het vermeende racistische karakter van Zwarte Piet ook in Vlaanderen op. Houdt het argument dat Zwarte Piet een veruiterlijking is van een koloniaal denken volgens u steek?

Rita Ghesquiere: 'Sinterklaas en Zwarte Piet zijn complexe figuren. Hun ontstaansgeschiedenis reikt veel verder dan de periode van de kolonisatie. Er zijn bovendien verschillende interpretaties en duidingen.  Allebei de figuren hebben een ambigu karakter waarin positieve en negatieve elementen verwerkt zijn. Reeds in de oudste legende 'Het verhaal van de drie veldheren' spreekt een toornige Nicolaas dreigende taal tegen de keizer. In de legende van Crux gebruikt Nicolaas de roede. Verschillende oude legenden voeren Nicolaas ook op als 'duivelbezweerder'.  Die gedachte wordt nog versterkt in het inculturatieproces waarbij het christendom oude bestaande mythen en rituelen opneemt. Nicolaas als winterheilige krijgt dan aspecten van de Germaanse god Wodan die zowel beschermend als bedreigend is. Guido Gezelle spreekt van 'Klaai den duvele' en verwijst naar de Engelse uitdrukking Old Nick een synoniem voor de duivel. Zwarte Piet is vanuit dat oogpunt de verslagen en bekeerde 'demon' die op zijn beurt positieve en negatieve elementen in zich draagt. De roede of gard is oorspronkelijk een positief symbool. Wie er door aangeraakt wordt, krijgt levenskracht en geluk. Die invulling van Sinterklaas als winterheilige en gever met schaduwfiguur of knecht vinden we alleen in Noord-Europa.

In de Nederlandse kinderliteratuur vanaf de negentiende eeuw worden beide figuren meer als tegenpolen voorgesteld, al vraagt ook dat nuancering. In het bekende boek van Schenkman Sint Nicolaas en zijn knecht zien we dat Sint Nicolaas zelf de zak in zijn hand houdt en de kinderen streng vermanend aankijkt. De tekst luidt:

Ei, ei die Sint Niklaas is lang toch niet mak!

Daar stopt hij twee knaapjes pardoes in zijn zak.

't is loon vast naar werken en rijklijk verdiend.

Hij straft niet graag kinderen, maar is hun vriend.

O bisschop, vergeef hun deez' enkele keer.

Schenk, schenk hun genade, zij doen het nooit meer!

In de uitgave van Bom van hetzelfde boek, rijden zowel de Sint als Piet op een paard over het dak. Ook toen al was er dus een vorm van gelijkwaardigheid. Beide figuren evolueren mee met de tijdgeest. Pedagogische bezwaren zorgden ervoor dat het bestraffende aspect verdween. De secularisatie ontnam Nicolaas zijn heiligheid, de knecht zijn duister verleden. De laatste decennia is de Sint eerder een lieve oude opa. 'Er zijn geen stoute kinderen' wordt jaar na jaar herhaald. Dat geldt evenzeer voor Zwarte Piet. Hij is niet langer de dreigende helper, maar de medeorganisator van het feest. Vaak krijgt hij zelfs de leidende rol, omdat de Sint als oud, ziek en moe voorgesteld wordt.

Zwarte Piet reduceren tot een veruiterlijking van het koloniale denken is dus een sterke vereenvoudiging, die ook na analyse niet helemaal klopt. De religieuze duiding biedt meer en beter houvast. maar er duiken nog andere denkpistes op. Arno Langeler verbindt in zijn boek Zwarte Piet uit 1994 de figuur van Zwarte Piet met Cristoforo Moro, een historische figuur uit een illustere familie die een dubbelzinnige rol speelde tijdens de strijd om Cyprus  in 1570-'71. Helemaal geen slaaf dus maar een machtige man met Afrikaanse roots van wie de stamboom teruggaat tot de Romeinse tijd.

Opvallend is ook dat dit duo Sinterklaas en Piet niet bekend is in de Zuiderse Europese landen zoals Spanje en Portugal, twee van oorsprong katholieke landen met een sterk koloniaal verleden. We vinden ze wel terug in ondermeer Nederland, Duitsland, Luxemburg, het Noorden van Frankrijk, Oostenrijk, Zwitserland en Tsjechië. Dat wijst erop dat elementen uit de Germaanse cultuur in de beeldvorming een belangrijke rol gespeeld hebben.'

Is Zwarte Piet dan niet ‘racistisch’?

'Racistisch staat voor de opvatting dat het ene ras superieur is aan het andere en uit de discriminatie die daarvan het gevolg is. Sinterklaas en Zwarte Piet zijn verschillend, maar vullen elkaar perfect aan.

Bovendien horen Sinterklaas en Zwarte Piet op de eerste plaats thuis in een mythisch denken, niet in het rationele zintuiglijke denken. Het rationele denken maakt immers een einde aan het geloof in sinterklaas. Het mythisch denken confronteert ons met een andere onzichtbare, transcendente werkelijkheid. Het onzichtbare, de nacht en het andere spelen daarin een rol omdat juist de Unheimlichkeit de grens tussen de werkelijkheid en de onwerkelijkheid opheft. Natuurlijk hebben verhalen ook een maatschappelijke relevantie omdat ze bijvoorbeeld morele waarden en pedagogische opvattingen bevatten.

Op zoek naar de wortels van beide figuren zien we hoe er op een bepaald moment een zekere polarisatie ontstaat, maar nauwkeurige analyse van teksten en prenten toont meer dubbelzinnigheid.

Tot in de jaren zestig werd Piet als de ondergeschikte van de Sint voorgesteld soms met negatieve trekken of dreigend. Analyse van de recente kinderliteratuur laat zeer duidelijk zien dat Zwarte Piet is geëvolueerd tot een uitgesproken positief personage, een spilfiguur die het feest mee draagt. Een grootschalig onderzoek in Nederland van Gábor Kozijn in 2014 toont aan dat meer dan 90 procent van de volwassenen en de kinderen Zwarte Piet niet als racistisch ervaart, maar de figuur inderdaad een positief imago toekent 'leuk', grappig' en 'slim'. Het oordeel van Amsterdammers verschilt in die zin dat daar een grote minderheid de figuur als discriminerend ervaart. Bij de tegenstanders zetten vooral Surinamers en Ghanezen  de toon. Opvallend is dat zij Zwarte Piet niet discriminerend vinden voor zichzelf maar voor andere. Het gaat dus veeleer om een principiële houding die niet steunt op kennis van de verhalen. Maar de confrontatie met de perceptie en/of de gevoelens is geen gemakkelijke zaak.

Geregeld duikt er ook kritiek op vanuit feministische hoek. Feministen vinden het discriminerend dat de wereld van Sinterklaas vooral een mannenzaak is. Dat soort ongenoegen wekt doorgaans weinig sympathie. Positiever is het pleidooi om alert te zijn bijvoorbeeld voor de stereotiepen in het speelgoed; Dat geldt ook voor racisme. Racistische voorstellingen van Zwarte Piet, zoals lui of dom, moeten terecht geweerd worden uit de kinderliteratuur en andere cultuurproducten.'

Staat de ‘roetveegpiet’ dichter bij het origineel dan onze huidige Zwarte Piet met de rode lippen en de zwarte krullen?

'De roetveegpiet die alleen maar zwart wordt door zijn werk in de schoorsteen sluit inderdaad nauwer aan bij wat we terugvinden in de Germaanse cultuur waar de schoorsteen als verbinding met de godenwereld een belangrijke rol speelt. In de haard laat men de gaven achter - de laatste schoof, de laatste vruchten van het veld - om de goden goed te stemmen.

In Nederland duikt de Zwarte Piet in pagekledij met zwarte krullen, rode lippen en soms oorbellen en witte kraag veel vroeger op dan in Vlaanderen. Felix Timmermans tekent Zwarte Piet bijvoorbeeld als een arme zwerver. Uitwisseling van kinderboeken en televisieprogramma's zorgden er echter voor dat de Nederlandse invulling van de knecht steeds dominanter werd ook in Vlaanderen. 'De kleren maken de man', geldt voor sinterklaas  - mijter, staf, rode mantel enz. -  en dat geldt ook steeds vaker voor Piet. Hier past evenwel een belangrijke kanttekening. In de recente kinderliteratuur is het beeld van Piet of de pieten overwegend positief, welk pak hij ook draagt.'

Heeft u weet van hoe men in Franstalig België omgaat met de knecht van de Sint?

'Niet echt; Ik merk op internet dat père fouettard zoals hij in Franstalig België genoemd wordt, veel minder prominent aanwezig is. Er is ook geen spoor van discussie of debat, met uitzondering van een krantenartikel over de rellen in Gouda. Sinterklaas woont volgens het postadres dat via internet verspreid wordt - Rue du Paradis, 0612 Ciel - nog steeds in de hemel en hij rijdt ook op een ezel. Vlaanderen leunt dus onder invloed van sinterklaasliedjes, -boeken en -films dichter aan bij Nederland.   

Wel herinner ik mij wel hoe de Franstalige studenten aan het einde van de jaren zestig in Leuven uitbundig het sinterklaasfeest vierden. Ze waren verkleed als Sint met lange witte labojassen, nepbaarden en papieren mijters, terwijl ze rondgereden werden op carnavalwagens en zich bezondigden aan overmatig drankgebruik. Een weinig verheffend beeld van de 'goedheiligman' vooral voor de kinderen die dit schouwspel moesten gadeslaan. Die vorm van Sinterklaasfeest is totaal onbekend in Vlaanderen. Later ontdekte ik dat deze invulling eveneens diepe wortels heeft. Vanaf de middeleeuwen was Nicolaas immers de patroon van de studenten en dat patroonsfeest werd en wordt nog steeds luidruchtig en op studentikoze wijze gevierd.'

Sommige gemeenten in Nederland schaffen hun intochten af uit schrik voor geweld. Heeft het sinterklaasfeest zoals we dat nu kennen nog een toekomst?

'Het grootschalig onderzoek in Nederland van Gábor Kozijn in 2014 laat zien dat er wel degelijk een toekomst is voor het feest. Toch vind ik persoonlijk dat een zekere soberheid het sinterklaasgebeuren ten goede zou komen. Als de geschenken wat bescheidener worden, dan kan de Sint misschien ook met minder helpers aan de slag, met minder grote sinthuizen, met minder op- en intochten... Een bescheidener feest zal minder aanstoot geven aan wie niet wil meevieren.'

U schreef uw boek in 1989, voor het televisieprogramma ‘Dag Sinterklaas’, dat toch wel betekenend is geweest voor het sinterklaasfeest in Vlaanderen. Merkt u vandaag een andere manier van Sinterklaas vieren op dan dertig jaar geleden?

'Mijn eerste indruk is dat er inderdaad wat meer luister en vertoon is in de publieke ruimte met bijvoorbeeld in verschillende steden intochten of een 'huis van de Sint'. In de gezinnen en de scholen is er niet zo veel veranderd. Het geloof is eerder toegenomen. Bij mijn kinderen, vooral jaren 1980, hield het slechts stand tot de eerste of tweede klas. In de volgende generatie zie ik oprecht en soms hardnekkig geloof ook bij oudere kinderen. De televisieserie Dag Sinterklaas enfilms als Het paard van Sinterklaas of hyperrealistische prentenboeken geven voeding aan dat geloof. De gezinnen vieren het sinterklaasfeest met dezelfde rituelen, bijvoorbeeld schoenzetten, samen de trap af, zingen.'

Klopt de stelling dat de Vlaamse Sint ‘katholieker’ is dan zijn Nederlandse versie?

'Dat was zeker zo tot in de jaren zestig en wellicht kleurt het ook nu nog onbewust de voorstelling. In Franstalig België is de Sint nog duidelijk 'katholieker'. Het protestantisme en de secularisatie hebben in Nederland veel eerder de religieuze aspecten van de sinterklaasfiguur uitgegomd. In Engeland verdween het sinterklaasfeest volledig.'

Is de tijd nu rijp voor een herwerkte versie van uw boek? Het lijkt actueler dan ooit.

'Misschien wel. Ik blijf de studies en de kinderliteratuur over Sint-Nicolaas aandachtig volgen. Een nieuwe uitgave is echter vooral een zaak van de uitgever en daar zie ik voorlopig geen belangstelling.'

Ten slotte: staat uw schoen al klaar?

'Mijn schoen staat niet klaar, maar ik verwacht de Sint en Piet wel voor een bezoek aan huis waar we samen met onze kinderen en kleinkinderen naar uitkijken.'

Mevrouw Ghesquiere gaf nog volgende bronnen mee:

Gábor Kozijn, Verkennend Onderzoek naar een toekomstbestendig Sinterklaasfeest. Den Haag, 2014.

Pieter van der Ree, Sinterklaas en het geheim van de nacht. Zeist, 2012.

Louis Janssen, Nicolaas, de duivel en de doden. Utrecht, 1993.

Arno Langeler, Zwarte Piet. Amsterdam, 1994.

Rita Ghesquiere, Van Nicolaas van Myra tot Sinterklaas. Leuven, 1989

Zwarte Piet….in Iran en whiteface in Afrika

Zwarte Piet….in Iran en whiteface in Afrika

door

Volgens extremisten die het nodig vinden om een robbertje te gaan vechten met de politie terwijl zij zich eerst strategisch opgesteld hebben tussen kinderen van leeftijden 2 tot 10 jaar is Zwarte Piet racistisch. We krijgen een slechte kopie van de burgerrechtenbeweging uit de VSA die ons wenst te vertellen dat Zwarte Piet racistisch is. Over krak dezelfde traditie in Iran, daar zwijgt men uiteraard zedelijk over.

Net als in Europa stamt het Iraanse feest Hadji Firoez uit een heidense traditie. Net als in Europa is zijn huid zwart gebrand door kool en roet. Niet van door de schoorsteen te kruipen, maar omdat hij de oude dingen van mensen verbrandt die ze niet meer nodig hebben. Dit om het nieuwe jaar te symboliseren. Is hij dan zoveel politiek correcter dan Zwarte Piet? Beoordeel zelf even:

haji firoz 2

haji firoz 3

haji firoz

Zwarte Piet zou racistisch zijn vanwege het “blackface” waarbij een blanke man zich zwart schminkt en veel lippenstift gebruikt . Kijken we echter naar de ceremonie van de Xhosa in Afrika wanneer zij de volwassen leeftijd bereiken. Zij worden hierbij besneden, waarna zij met modder wit worden geverfd. In het wit lopen zij dan rond als wilden (ze zijn immers volwassen mannen die naar niets meer moeten omzien). Moet dit ook onderzocht worden door de VN? Het beeldt immers uit dat een blanke huidskleur daar wordt bezien als iets wild.

whiteface

whiteface2

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samedi, 22 novembre 2014

Nicodemus, de Pakkeman, Zwarte Piet: een boeiende geschiedenis

Nicodemus, de Pakkeman, Zwarte Piet: een boeiende geschiedenis

door Harry De Paepe

Ex: http://www.doorbraak.be

'Hij komt! Hij komt!' De pietendiscussie kwam blijkbaar mee. 'Zwarte Piet is een kolonialistisch cliché en een symbool voor slavernij!' Een mens krabt dan eens in zijn haar. Maar in plaats van me boos te maken, neem ik er een boek bij.

Dat de discussie zoveel emotie losmaakt is misschien op het eerste gezicht vreemd. Want, kom zeg, een fantastisch kinderfiguur, moet je je daar nu druk om maken? Het feest van de heilige Nicolaas is een voorbeeldproduct van de Europese cultuur, het is een Germaans gebruik overgoten met een christelijke saus. Het feest legt de ziel van onze voorouders bloot en is dus niet zomaar een verzonnen traditie uit de 19de eeuw.

Zwarte wortels

1989, in nog onverdachte tijden verscheen bij het Davidsfonds een wetenschappelijk boek ‘Van Nicolaas van Myra tot Sinterklaas’. Rita Ghesquiere, doctor in de Germaanse filologie en oud-professor aan de KU Leuven, schreef een nuchter en uitgebreid onderzoek naar de sinterklaaslegende. Het verhaal van Zwarte Piet wordt er ook klaar en duidelijk in uitgelegd en de auteur biedt ook inzicht in de Vlaamse variant van het volksfeest. Hugo Matthysen moest toen nog de prachtige kinderreeks ‘Dag Sinterklaas’ bedenken.

Ondertussen is het gemeenzaam bekend dat Sint en Piet Germaanse wortels hebben. Ghesquiere meldt: ‘Sommige mythologen verwijzen voor de interpretatie van de knecht naar Balder, de zoon van Wodan die met zijn vader meerijdt tijdens de nacht en kijkt of de oogstgaven bij de haard liggen. Van het gluren door het rookgat wordt hij zwart als roet.’  Met andere woorden de Germanen kenden al een roetzwarte begeleider van een vaderfiguur. Echter, andere wetenschappers zijn er niet zomaar van overtuigd dat dit klopt. ‘Voorlopers van de zwarte knecht zijn misschien Hoder (Hother) de wintergod, of nog de grimmige knecht van Thor: Loki. Hoder is de god van de duisternis en de tegenstrever van Balder. Loki heeft als attribuut een mispel- of maretak, terwijl Piet een roede draagt.’ Anderen zien dan weer Nörwi als voorloper, de winterreus en vader van de nacht, die Wodan op zijn tochten vergezeld. ‘Ook hij draagt de gard of levensroede en zou een voorloper van onze zwarte Piet kunnen zijn.’

Duivelse Nicodemus

Interessant is de uiteenzetting over de Duitse benaming Knecht Ruprecht. ‘Sommigen hebben (…) een verbastering gezien van Hruod Perath, een epitheton van Wodan, de roem stralende. Deze interpretatie steunt op het demoniseringsbeginsel en werpt een scherp licht op de ambiguïteit van de sinterklaasfiguur.’ Ghesquiere legt uit dat deze theorie ervan uitgaat dat de Sint en Piet eigenlijk dezelfde figuur zijn. ‘Nicolaas de ‘gekerstende’ geïntegreerde Wodan; de knecht: de gedemoniseerde, verworpen en geknechte Wodan’.  Dit sluit aan bij de Vlaamse variant van Zwarte Piet die, nog bekend bij heel wat vijftigers en zestigers, ook (Sinte) Nicodemus werd genoemd. Nicodemus is eigenlijk een verbastering van Nicolaas. Het betekent dus hetzelfde en in die zin zijn twee figuren dezelfde persoon. Die Nicodemus kon blank of zwart zijn en joeg vele kinderen angst aan met zijn roede en kettingen

Volgens de meer christelijke gerichte versies van het ontstaan van het feest zou Zwarte Piet oorspronkelijk gewoon de duivel geweest zijn. De andere Duitse benaming  Peltzenpock of Pelzenbock zou dan een verbastering zijn van Beëlzebub waardoor hij in Duitsland ook der Schwarze werd genoemd.

De reformatie heeft in vele landen  een einde betekend van de verering van Nicolaas. Nederland is een uitzondering, maar in de andere landen kwam de focus op Kerstmis te liggen, zo verschoof de dennenboom als symbool voor Nicolaas naar een boom voor het kerstekind (overigens, de Kerstman - Santa Claus - bracht in de VS zwart geblakerde kolen bij stoute kinderen). ‘De rekeningen van het gezin Luther vermelden anno 1535/36 nog uitgaven voor het sinterklaasfeest, maar tien jaar later is er sprake van het Kerstkind.’  In Nederland probeerde men tevergeefs het feest met allerlei 16de- en 17de-eeuwse varianten van GAS-boetes uit te roeien.

De variant van het rijke roomse leven

Velen vergeten, of ontkennen, dat Vlaanderen tot niet zo lang geleden een door en door rooms-katholiek land was. Het sinterklaasfeest had daarom veel langer dan in Nederland een religieuze connotatie. Niet zelden namen pastoors de rol op zich van de Sint, die in Vlaanderen in de Hemel woonde.  Een bekend geestelijke uit de 19de eeuw, Guido Gezelle, boog zich in zijn weekblad Rond den heerd  in 1868 over het sinterklaasfenomeen. Rita Ghesquiere citeert: ‘De oude Woensommegang wierd Sint Niklaais nachtprocessie; men zette den Bisschop te peerde, men gaf hem eenen zwarten knecht, met roede en asschenzak, en zei daartegen Sint Niklaai met den duivel.’  

In het Nederlandse boek ‘Het hele jaar rond’ uit 1973 wordt er een hoofdstuk besteed aan ‘Sinterklaas in Vlaanderen’. De knecht wordt hier ‘Croque-Mitaine’ genoemd, ook wel bekend als de ‘Pakkeman’. Wanneer in het geciteerde verhaal  de Pakkeman een kindje in de zak stopt, maant een nonnetje het kind aan ‘rap een kruiske’ te slaan. ‘Au nom du père et du Fils et du Saint-Ésprit’. Croque-Mitaine vlucht. Het doet denken aan de verhalen van mijn grootouders waarbij ze als kind in bed hoorden hoe vader vocht met Nicodemus die Frans sprak. Een zegenende sinterklaas was overigens voor onze niet zo verre voorouders geen vreemd fenomeen, wat mooi wordt uitgebeeld in een fragment uit de televisiereeks ‘De Paradijsvogels’ van begin jaren 1980.

Een goede ziel, geen slaaf

De Sint als hemelbewoner schijnt nog door in de briefjes van de kinderen gericht aan de ‘Hemelstraat’ in Spanje of de Hemel zelf. Felix Timmermans laat in 'De nood van Sinterklaas' uit 1942 Sint en Zwarte Piet uit de Hemel komen. Ernest Claes beschreef in 1947 in ‘Sinter-Klaas in de Hemel en op Aarde’ Zwarte Piet als een schoorsteenvegertje dat het eerste zwarte martelaartje was. Geen slaaf, maar een overtuigd christen die door Sint-Pieter toegewezen wordt aan 'Sinter-Klaas'. Een bron die verwijst naar het slavendom van Zwarte Piet is een theorie uit 1871 van de Nederlander Jan ter Gouw. Ghesquiere noteert: ‘Misschien, zo stelt Ter Gouw, waren er wel moren die werkten als matrozen op de Spaanse galeien en werd de heilige Nicolaas op die manier verbonden met een Spaanse knecht, die in elk geval een donkerder huid kreeg.’ Het is een veronderstelling, geen zekerheid. Het huidige Spaanse uiterlijk samen met de oorringen en het krulhaar zijn een vrij recent Nederlands bedenksel dat in Vlaanderen geleidelijk aan na de Tweede Wereldoorlog aanvaard geraakte.

Je kan dus besluiten dat over de ontstaansgeschiedenis discussie bestaat en ook dat het Spaanse uiterlijk niet echt oud is in ons land. Dat geldt ook voor zijn kindvriendelijkheid, een karaktertrek die hij pas vanaf de zestiger jaren ontwikkelde. Maar over één ding zijn de bronnen het volgens de studie van doctor Ghesquiere het quasi eens: Pieter, Nicodemus, Ruprecht,... hoe je hem ook noemt, is voornamelijk zwart. De verklaring van Matthysen en Bart Peeters dat Piet zwart is door het roet staat dichterbij de historische Germaans-christelijke verklaring dan de bewering dat de knecht een reminiscentie is aan het koloniale verleden.

Meer info? Rita Ghesquiere, Van Nicolaas van Myra tot Sinterklaas: de kracht van een verhaal (Keurreeks van het Davidsfonds, 180), Leuven: Davidsfonds, 1989, 240 p.

 

 

Foto kop: in Oostenrijk gaat de Sint op pad met Krampus, een duivel die stoute kinderen meeneemt en bestraft met de roe.

Foto slot: blz. 80 - 81 uit 'Van Nicolaas van Myra tot Sinterklaas'

mercredi, 12 novembre 2014

Éloge de la généalogie

5298_1290526741_FRAD003_25_J_029.jpg

Éloge de la généalogie

Quelle autre discipline, mieux que la généalogie, enchante pareillement les diverses curiosités qui traversent, tôt ou tard, un homme curieux de savoir qui il est et d’où il vient ?

Les précieux manuscrits, comme on les trouve en mairie ou aux Archives, renferment les témoignages écrits, signatures et autres actes d’une existence filiale qui nous a précédé et permis. Des générations de nos anciens qu’officiers d’État civil ou prêtres paroissiaux ont immortalisé en déposant sur le papier, d’une pointe de plume, les noms et les quelques autres renseignements qui les autorisent à prendre leur place dans le grand livre qui mêle la grande Histoire à toutes celles, familiales et individuelles, qui nous concernent plus spécifiquement au double titre de la filiation directe et de la conscience que celle-ci a participé, au travers des siècles, à construire la grande Histoire. La généalogie est l’antidote aux prétentions universalistes des dirigeants politiques et intellectuels qui travaillent à construire un Homme déraciné qui ignore d’où il vient et se faisant, ne s’intéresse pas à défendre qui il est.

L’imperturbable écoulement du temps nous sépare chaque seconde un peu plus de chacun de nos ancêtres, mais l’intérêt sentimental et moral que nous leur portons après que nos recherches les aient définis plus précisément à notre conscience ; c’est-à-dire maintenant que nous savons quels prénoms ils portaient, quels métiers ils exerçaient, quelles villes ils habitaient, quels âges ont-ils eu aux différentes étapes de leurs vies – mariages, enfants, morts – entrave et brise même la tragique mécanique de l’oubli qui est la suprême condition du déracinement.

Savoir, par simple déduction logique, que nous sommes l’aboutissement actuel d’une lignée est une chose, mais hélas cette connaissance froidement mathématique ne constitue qu’un incertain combustible des émotions qui lorsqu’elles nous gagnent nous soustrait à la seule qualité statistique pour nous transformer en héritier. Héritier d’une histoire, d’une famille, porteur d’un nom qui, pour arriver jusqu’à nous, aura traversé bien des épreuves, bien des rudesses et bien des efforts. En sachant nommer et situer un aïeul, on apprend à le penser, à l’imaginer, à se le figurer. En sachant qu’il a passé sa vie dans tel village, c’est le cœur ému et les jambes fragiles que l’on se rend, comme en pèlerinage, sur les terres qui jadis sont apparues à ses yeux comme elles apparaissent aujourd’hui aux nôtres.

Fouler un sol qu’un Ancien a foulé cent, deux cents ou trois cents plus tôt, c’est prendre le merveilleux risque de mettre ses pas dans les siens – littéralement ! –, et, dans une ignorance qui ajoute ce mystère qui anime l’imagination, passer devant chacune des plus anciennes demeures de l’endroit en se disant que, peut-être, c’est dans celle-ci ou dans celle-là qu’il a vécu. L’apprenti généalogiste qui n’ignore rien de l’implication de la religion du Christ dans la formation de l’Histoire s’attendrira devant l’église du village où ce lointain ancêtre a reçu le baptême et s’en est allé, d’innombrables fois dans sa vie, ressourcer les forces de son esprit.

Quelle saine et revigorante pratique que la généalogie ! Avec la récente numérisation et mise en ligne des archives, notamment départementales, celles et ceux que ce patrimoine intéressent peuvent, depuis chez eux, remonter le temps et faire connaissance avec ces inconnus familiers. En ces temps troubles où nos sociétés ne proposent à notre soif de repères que des marques et des logos ; où le paradigme idéologique dominant prétend que nous ne sommes rien d’autre que ce que nous faisons ; où chacun, du fait de n’être qu’un individu prisonnier des impératifs de son temps, est défait de toute singularité personnelle, familiale et historique ; où pour faire l’Homme nouveau nous sommes invités à « faire table rase du passé », il est urgent de nous réapproprier ce que nous sommes.

Partir à la rencontre de ses ancêtres, c’est remonter l’histoire de sa propre existence, c’est créer un lien entre ce que nous sommes et ce qui a permis que nous soyons. Ne boudons pas la chance que nous avons de pratiquer cette discipline qui fait mentir les promoteurs d’un monde sans racine : la généalogie.

Jonathan Sturel

A propos de Jonathan Sturel

 
Jonathan Sturel, observateur critique du monde moderne, est l'auteur du livre « La Contre-histoire de Michel Onfray » paru aux Editions Tatamis en août 2014. Par ailleurs, il anime une chaîne vidéos à caractère philosophique sur YouTube.

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samedi, 08 novembre 2014

Virgilio ed Enea: l’etica dell’origine che è destino

virgile.jpg

Virgilio ed Enea: l’etica dell’origine che è destino
 
Valerio Benedetti
 
Ex: http://www.ilprimatonazionale.it

mercredi, 05 novembre 2014

Le temps qualifié ou la réorientation du monde

 

"Le temps qualifié ou la réorientation du monde"

par Laurent JAMES

Conférence de Laurent JAMES au séminaire de la COBEMA du 28 mars 2010. Il y traite du "Temps qualifié, ou la ré-orientation du monde". Très intéressant moment de tradition primordiale partagée par l'Humanité entière depuis toujours.

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jeudi, 30 octobre 2014

Grèce : « Les murailles de feu »

Grèce : « Les murailles de feu »

Ex: http://fortune.fdesouche.com
Dans ce roman historique nous suivons le déroulement de la vie d’un jeune Grec, Xéon, dont la Cité, Astakos, va être détruite et la population massacrée. Confronté à cette situation terrible, lors de laquelle il perd ses parents alors qu’il n’est âgé que de dix ans, il prend la décision de devenir un guerrier et de rejoindre la Cité grecque la plus réputée sur ce point: Sparte.
 

Ce faisant, il va être mêlé à une fabuleuse page de l’histoire antique se déroulant en 480 avant notre ère, pendant l’invasion de la Grèce par le roi de Perse Xerxès, fils de Darius: la bataille du défilé des Thermopyles.

Six jours durant, sous le regard des dieux, cet étroit passage sera le théâtre de combats sans merci, lors de laquelle trois cents spartiates et quatre mille combattants grecs d’autres cités vont opposer une résistance farouche aux armées de l’empire perse.

Celles-ci rassemblant, selon l’historien Hérodote, deux millions d’hommes, traversèrent l’Hellespont, c’est-à-dire l’actuel détroit des Dardanelles, afin d’envahir et asservir la Grèce. Racontée par un survivant, c’est ce choc inégal – et, au-delà, toute l’histoire et la vie quotidienne de Sparte – que fait revivre Steven Pressfield dans ce roman traversé par «un formidable souffle d’authenticité».
L’objectif n’est pas seulement de rappeler cette page guerrière de l’histoire mais également de porter un regard sur la Grèce Antique, les Cités grecques et leur indépendance les unes par rapport aux autres, qui conduisait d’ailleurs celles-ci à se livrer des guerres incessantes.

Ainsi, nous apprenons les règles de vie très strictes et martiales de la Cité spartiate. La vie des hommes et des femmes n’était réglée que par rapport à l’organisation militaire et à la guerre, du moins en ce qui concerne ceux qui étaient considérés comme les Citoyens. Il n’y a apparemment aucun doute sur l’importance de cette Cité à cette époque et l’exemple qu’elle pouvait donner au reste du monde antique.

L’auteur a pris comme trame la vie d’un jeune homme qui ne pouvait prétendre devenir l’un de ces guerriers spartiates mais qui en revanche les a servis et approchés de près. Cette astuce permet à l’auteur de nous livrer à la fois une vision extérieure et une vision intérieure sur la philosophie martiale animant cette Cité, dressant ainsi un portrait saisissant, fruit d’une érudition certaine et d’une recherche documentaire approfondie.

La bataille du défilé des Thermopyles étant une glorieuse page de l’histoire de la Grèce (les trois cents spartiates étant morts jusqu’au dernier), cela donne au roman un souffle épique indéniable. En effet, trois cents Spartiates et leurs alliés y retinrent les envahisseurs pendant six jours. Puis, leurs armes brisées, décimés, ils furent contraints de se battre “avec leurs dents et leurs mains nues“, selon Hérodote, avant d’être enfin vaincus.

Les Spartiates et leurs alliés béotiens de Thespies moururent jusqu’au dernier, mais le modèle de courage que constitua leur sacrifice incita les Grecs à s’ unir. Au printemps et à l’automne de cette année-là, leur coalition défit les Perses à Salamine et à Platée. Ainsi furent préservées les ébauches de la démocratie et de la liberté occidentale.

Deux mémoriaux se dressent aujourd’hui aux Thermopyles. L’un, moderne, appelé “monument à Léonidas”, en l’honneur du roi spartiate qui mourut là, porte gravée sa réponse à Xerxes qui lui ordonnait de déposer les armes. Réponse laconique : Molon labe (“viens les prendre”).

L’autre, ancien, est une simple stèle qui porte également gravée les paroles du poète Simonide :

Passant, va dire aux Spartiates
Que nous gisons ici pour obéir à leurs lois.

Hérodote écrit dans ses Histoires : “Tout le corps des spartiates et des Thespiens fit preuve d’un courage extraordinaire, mais le plus brave de tous fut de l’avis général le Spartiate Dienekès. On rapporte que, à la veille de la bataille, un habitant de Trachis lui déclara que les archers perses étaient si nombreux que, lorsqu’ils décrochaient leurs flèches, le soleil en était obscurci. “Bien, répondit Dienekès, nous nous battrons donc à l’ombre.

«On finit ce livre essoufflé d’avoir combattu au coude à coude. C’est ce que j’appelle un roman homérique.» – Pat Conroy

Extrait 1: Le contraire de la peur (Trouvé sur le blog de notre lecteur Boreas)

medium_anciens_Grecs_sepia.jpgTandis que les autres chasseurs festoyaient autour de leurs feux, Dienekès fit place à ses côtés à Alexandros et Ariston et les pria de s’asseoir. Je devinai son intention. Il allait leur parler de la peur. Car il savait qu’en dépit de leur réserve, ces jeunes gens sans expérience de la bataille se rongeaient à la perspective des épreuves prochaines.

— Toute ma vie, commença-t-il, une question m’a hanté : quel est le contraire de la peur ?

La viande de sanglier était prête, nous mourions de faim et l’on nous apporta nos portions. Suicide vint, portant des bols pour Dienekès, Alexandros, Ariston, lui même, le servant d’Ariston, Démade et moi. Il s’assit par terre, près de Dienekès. Deux chiens, qui connaissaient sa générosité notoire à leur égard, prirent place de part et d’autre de Suicide, attendant des reliefs.

— Lui donner le nom de manque de peur, aphobie, n’a pas de sens. Ce ne serait là qu’un mot, une thèse exprimée comme antithèse. Je veux savoir quel est vraiment le contraire de la peur, comme le jour est le contraire de la nuit et le ciel est l’opposé de la terre.

— Donc tu voudrais que ce fût un terme positif, dit Ariston.

— Exactement !

Dienekès hocha la tête et dévisagea les deux jeunes gens. L’écoutaient-ils ? Se souciaient-ils de ce qu’il disait ? S’intéressaient-ils vraiment comme lui à ce sujet ?

— Comment surmonte-t-on la peur de la mort, la plus élémentaire des peurs, celle qui circule dans notre sang comme dans tout être vivant, homme ou bête ?

Il montra les chiens qui encadraient Suicide.

— Les chiens en meute ont le courage d’attaquer un lion. Chaque animal connaît sa place. Il craint l’animal qui lui est supérieur et se fait craindre de son inférieur. C’est ainsi que nous, Spartiates, tenons en échec la peur de la mort : par la peur plus grande du déshonneur. Et de l’exclusion de la meute.

Suicide jeta deux morceaux aux chiens. Leurs mâchoires happèrent promptement la viande dans l’herbe, le plus fort des deux s’assurant le plus gros morceau. Dienekès eut un sourire sarcastique.

— Mais est-ce là du courage ? La peur du déshonneur n’est-elle pas essentiellement l’expression de la peur ?

Alexandros lui demanda ce qu’il cherchait.

— Quelque chose de plus noble. Une forme plus élevée du mystère. Pure. Infaillible.

Il déclara que pour toutes les autres questions, l’on pouvait interroger les dieux.

— Mais pas en matière de courage. Qu’est-ce qu’ils nous apprendraient ? Ils ne peuvent pas mourir. Leurs âmes ne sont pas, comme les nôtres, enfermées dans ceci, dit-il en indiquant son corps. L’atelier de la peur.

» Vous autres, les jeunes, reprit-il, vous vous imaginez qu’avec leur longue expérience de la guerre, les vétérans ont dominé la peur. Mais nous la ressentons aussi fortement que vous. Plus fortement, même, parce que nous en avons une expérience plus intime. Nous vivons avec la peur vingt-quatre heures par jour, dans nos tendons et dans nos os. Pas vrai, ami ?

Suicide eut un sourire entendu. Mon maître sourit aussi.

— Nous forgeons notre courage sur place. Nous en tirons la plus grande part de sentiments secondaires. La peur de déshonorer la cité, le roi, les héros de nos lignées. La peur de ne pas nous montrer dignes de nos femmes et de nos enfants, de nos frères, de nos compagnons d’armes. Je connais bien tous les trucs de la respiration et de la chanson. Je sais comment affronter mon ennemi et me convaincre qu’il a encore plus peur que moi. C’est possible. Mais la peur reste présente.

Il observa que ceux qui veulent dominer leur peur de la mort disent souvent que l’âme ne meurt pas avec le corps.

— Mais pour moi, ça ne veut rien dire. Ce sont des fables. D’autres, et surtout les Barbares, disent aussi que, lorsque nous mourons, nous allons au paradis. S’ils le croient vraiment, je me demande pourquoi ils n’abrègent pas leur voyage et ne se suicident pas sur-le-champ.

Alexandros demanda s’il y avait quelqu’un de la cité qui témoignait du vrai courage viril.

— Dans tout Sparte, c’est Polynice qui s’en approche le plus, répondit Dienekès. Mais je trouve que même son courage est imparfait. Il ne se bat pas par peur du déshonneur, mais par désir de gloire. C’est sans doute noble et moins bas, mais est-ce que c’est vraiment le courage ?

Ariston demanda alors si le vrai courage existait.

— Ce n’est pas une fiction, dit encore Dienekès avec force. Le vrai courage, je l’ai vu. Mon frère Iatroclès l’avait par moments. Quand cette grâce le possédait, j’en étais saisi. Elle rayonnait de façon sublime. Il se battait alors non comme un homme, mais comme un dieu. Léonidas a parfois aussi ce type de courage, mais pas Olympias. Ni moi, ni personne d’entre nous ici. Il sourit. Vous savez qui possède cette forme pure du courage plus que tout autre que j’aie connu ?

Personne ne lui répondit.

— Ma femme.

Et se tournant vers Alexandros :

— Et ta mère, Paraleia. Ça me semble significatif. Le courage supérieur réside, il me semble, dans ce qui est féminin.

On voyait que ça lui faisait du bien de parler de tout cela. Il remercia ses auditeurs de l’avoir écouté.

— Les Spartiates n’aiment pas ces analyses, poursuivit-il. Je me rappelle avoir demandé à mon frère, en campagne, un jour qu’il s’était battu comme un immortel, ce qu’il avait ressenti au fond de lui. Il m’a regardé comme si j’étais devenu fou. Et il m’a répondu : « Un peu moins de philosophie, Dienekès, et un peu plus d’ardeur. » Autant pour moi ! conclut Dienekès en riant.

Il détourna le visage, comme pour mettre un point final à ces considérations. Puis son regard revint à Ariston, dont le visage exprimait cette tension que les jeunes éprouvent quand il leur faut parler devant des aînés.

— Eh bien, parle donc, lui lança Dienekès.

— Je pensais au courage des femmes. Je crois qu’il est différent de celui des hommes. Il hésita. Son expression semblait dire qu’il craignait de paraître présomptueux à parler de choses dont il n’avait pas l’expérience. Mais Dienekès le pressa :

— De quelle façon différent ?

Ariston jeta un coup d’œil à Alexandros, qui l’encouragea à parler. Le jeune homme prit donc son souffle :

— Le courage de l’homme quand il donne sa vie pour son pays est grand, mais il n’est pas extraordinaire. Est-ce que ce n’est pas dans la nature des mâles, que ce soient des animaux ou des humains, de s’affronter et de se battre ? C’est ce que nous sommes nés pour faire, c’est dans notre sang. Regarde n’importe quel petit garçon. Avant même qu’il ait appris à parler, l’instinct le pousse à s’emparer du bâton et de l’épée, alors que ses sœurs répugnent à ces instruments de conflit et préfèrent prendre dans leur giron un petit chat ou une poupée.

Qu’est-ce qui est plus naturel pour un homme que de se battre et pour une femme, que d’aimer ? Est ce que ce n’est pas l’injonction physique de la femme que de donner et de nourrir, surtout quand il s’agit du fruit de ses entrailles, ces enfants qu’elle a accouchés dans la douleur ? Nous savons tous qu’une lionne ou une louve risquera sa vie sans hésiter pour sauver ses rejetons. Les femmes agissent de même. Alors, observez ce que nous appelons le courage des femmes.

Il reprit son haleine.

— Qu’est-ce qui pourrait être le plus contraire à la nature d’une femme et d’une mère que de regarder froidement ses fils aller à la mort ? Est-ce que toutes les fibres de son corps ne crient pas leur souffrance et leur révolte dans cette épreuve ? Est-ce que son cœur ne crie pas : non ! Pas mon fils ! Épargnez-le ! Le fait que les femmes arrivent à rassembler assez de courage pour faire taire leur nature la plus profonde est la raison pour laquelle nous admirons nos mères, nos sœurs et nos femmes. C’est cela, je crois, Dienekès, l’essence du courage féminin et la raison pour laquelle il est supérieur au courage masculin.

Mon maître hocha la tête. Mais Alexandros s’agita. On voyait qu’il n’était pas satisfait.

— Ce que tu as dit est vrai, Ariston. Je n’y avais jamais pensé. Mais il faut dire ceci. Si la supériorité des femmes tenait à ce qu’elles sont capables de rester impassibles quand leurs fils vont à la mort, cela en soi-même ne serait pas seulement contre nature, ce serait aussi grotesque et même monstrueux. Ce qui prête de la noblesse à leur comportement est qu’elles agissent ainsi au nom d’une cause plus élevée et désintéressée.

320546spartitae2.jpgCes femmes que nous admirons donnent les vies de leurs fils à leur pays, afin que leur nation puisse survivre, même si leurs fils périssent. Nous avons entendu depuis notre enfance l’histoire de cette mère qui, apprenant que ses cinq fils étaient morts à la guerre, a demandé : « Est-ce que nous avons gagné ? » Et, quand elle a appris que nous avions gagné, en effet, elle est retournée chez elle sans une larme et elle a dit : « Dans ce cas, je suis contente. » Est-ce que ce n’est pas cette noblesse-là qui nous émeut dans le sacrifice des femmes ?

— Tant de sagesse dans la bouche de la jeunesse ! s’écria Dienekès en riant.

Il donna une tape sur les épaules des deux garçons, puis ajouta :

— Mais tu n’as pas répondu à ma question : qu’est-ce qui est le contraire de la peur ?

(…)

Je songeai au marchand éléphantin. Suicide était celui qui, dans tout le camp, s’était le plus attaché à ce personnage à l’humeur vive et gaie ; ils étaient rapidement devenus amis. À la veille de ma première bataille, tandis que le peloton de mon maître préparait le souper, ce marchand arriva. Il avait vendu tout ce qu’il avait et même sa charrette et son âne, même son manteau et ses sandales.

Et là, il circulait distribuant des poires et de petits gâteaux aux guerriers. Il s’arrêta près de notre feu. Mon maître procédait souvent le soir à un sacrifice ; pas grand-chose, un bout de pain et une libation ; sa prière était silencieuse, juste quelques paroles du fond de son cœur à l’intention des dieux. Il ne disait pas la teneur de sa prière, mais je la lisais sur ses lèvres ; il priait pour Aretê et ses filles.

— Ce sont ces jeunes hommes qui devraient prier avec autant de piété, observa le marchand, et pas vous, vétérans ronchonneurs.

Dienekès invita avec empressement le marchand à s’asseoir. Bias, qui était encore vivant, s’était moqué du manque de prévoyance du marchand ; comment s’échapperait-il, maintenant, sans charrette et sans âne ?

Éléphantin ne répondit pas.

— Notre ami ne s’en ira pas, dit doucement Dienekès, fixant le sol du regard.

Alexandros et Ariston étaient arrivés sur ces entrefaites avec un lièvre qu’ils avaient marchandé à des gamins d’Alpenoï. On se moqua de leur acquisition, un lièvre d’hiver si maigre qu’il nourrirait à peine deux hommes et certes pas seize. Le marchand sourit et regarda mon maître.

— Vous trouver, vous les vétérans, aux Murailles de Feu, c’est normal. Mais ces gamins, dit-il en indiquant d’un geste les servants et moi-même, qui sortions à peine de l’adolescence. Comment pourrais-je partir alors que ces enfants sont ici ? Je vous envie, reprit-il quand l’émotion dans sa voix se fut apaisée. J’ai cherché toute ma vie ce que vous possédez de naissance, l’appartenance à une noble cité.

Il montra les feux alentour et les jeunes et les vieux assis devant.

— Ceci sera ma cité. Je serai son magistrat et son médecin, le père de ses orphelins et son amuseur public.

Puis il nous donna ses poires et se leva pour aller à un autre feu, et encore un autre, et l’on entendait les rires qu’il déclenchait sur son passage.

Les Alliés étaient alors postés aux Portes depuis quatre jours. Ils avaient mesuré les forces perses sur terre et sur mer et ils savaient les dangers insurmontables qui les attendaient. Ce ne fut qu’alors que je pris conscience de la réalité du péril qui menaçait l’Hellade et ses défenseurs. Le coucher du soleil me trouva pensif.

Un long silence suivit le passage de l’éléphantin. Alexandros écorchait le lièvre et j’étais en train de moudre de l’orge. Médon bâtissait le feu sur le sol, Léon le Noir hachait des oignons, Bias et Léon Vit d’Âne étaient allongés contre un fût de chêne abattu pour son bois. À la surprise générale, Suicide prit la parole.

— Il y a dans mon pays une déesse qu’on appelle Na’an, dit-il. Ma mère en était la prêtresse, si l’on peut user d’un aussi grand mot pour une paysanne qui avait passé toute sa vie à l’arrière d’un chariot. J’y pense à cause de la charrette que ce marchand appelle sa maison.

On n’avait jamais entendu Suicide parler autant. Tout le monde croyait qu’il avait vidé là son sac. Et pourtant, il poursuivit. Sa prêtresse de mère lui avait appris que rien sous le soleil n’est réel ; que la terre et tout ce qu’il y a dessus n’étaient que des paravents, les matérialisations de réalités beaucoup plus profondes et plus belles au-delà, invisibles pour les mortels. Que tout ce que nous appelons réalité est animé par cette essence plus subtile, inévitable et indestructible.

— La religion de ma mère enseigne que seules sont réelles les choses qui ne peuvent pas être perçues par les sens. L’âme. L’amour maternel. Le courage. Ces choses sont plus proches des dieux parce qu’elles sont les mêmes des deux côtés de la mort, devant et derrière le rideau. Quand je suis arrivé à Lacédémone et que j’ai vu la phalange à l’exercice, j’ai pensé qu’elle pratiquait la forme de guerre la plus absurde que j’eusse vue.

Dans mon pays, nous nous battons à cheval. C’est la seule glorieuse manière de se battre, c’est un spectacle qui excite l’âme. Mais j’admirais les hommes de la phalange et leur courage, qui me semblait supérieur à celui de toutes les autres nations que j’avais vues. Ils étaient pour moi une énigme.

Mon maître écoutait avec attention ; il était évident que cette profusion de paroles de Suicide était pour lui aussi inattendue que pour tous les autres.

— Te rappelles-tu, Dienekès, quand nous nous battions contre les Thébains à Érythrée ? Quand ils ont flanché et pris la fuite ? C’était la première déroute à laquelle j’assistais. J’en étais horrifié. Existe-t-il quelque chose de plus bas, de plus dégradant sous le soleil qu’une phalange qui se désintègre de peur ? Cela donne honte d’être un mortel, d’être aussi ignoble en face de l’ennemi. Cela viole les lois suprêmes des dieux. Le visage de Suicide, qui n’avait été qu’une grimace de dédain, s’éclaira. Ah, mais à l’opposé, une ligne qui tient ! Qu’est-ce qui est plus beau, plus noble !

Je rêvai une nuit que je marchais avec la phalange, reprit Suicide. Nous avancions sur une plaine à la rencontre de l’ennemi. J’étais terrifié. Mes camarades marchaient autour de moi, devant, derrière, à droite et à gauche, et tous étaient moi. Moi vieux, moi jeune. J’étais encore plus terrifié, comme si je me désagrégeais.

Et puis ils se sont mis à chanter, tous ces moi, et, comme leurs voix s’élevaient dans une douce harmonie, la peur me quitta. Je me réveillai le cœur paisible et je sus que ce rêve venait des dieux. Je compris que c’était ce qui faisait la grandeur de la phalange, le ciment qui assurait sa cohésion. Je compris que cet entraînement et cette discipline que vous Spartiates aimez vous imposer, ne sert pas vraiment à enseigner la technique ou l’art de la guerre, mais à créer ce ciment.

Médon se mit à rire.

— Et quel ciment as-tu donc dilué, Suicide, qui fait qu’enfin tes mâchoires se desserrent avec une expansivité si peu scythe ?

Les flammes éclairèrent un sourire de Suicide. C’était, disait-on, Médon qui lui avait donné son surnom quand, coupable d’un meurtre dans son pays, le Scythe s’était enfui à Sparte et qu’il demandait à tout le monde de le tuer.

— Je n’aimais d’abord pas ce surnom. Mais avec le temps, j’en reconnus la profondeur, même si elle n’était pas intentionnelle. Car qu’est-ce qui est plus noble que de se tuer ? Pas littéralement, pas avec une épée dans le ventre, mais de tuer le moi égoïste à l’intérieur, cette partie de soi qui ne vise qu’à sa conservation, qui ne veut que sauver sa peau. C’est la victoire que vous, Spartiates, avez remportée sur vous-mêmes. C’était le ciment, c’était ce que vous aviez appris et qui m’a fait rester.

Léon le Noir avait écouté tout le discours du Scythe.

— Ce que tu dis, Suicide, si je peux t’appeler ainsi, est vrai, mais tout ce qui est invisible n’est pas noble. Les sentiments bas sont également invisibles. La peur, la cupidité et la lubricité. Qu’en fais-tu ?

— Oui, mais ils puent, ils rendent malade. Les choses nobles invisibles sont comme la musique dans laquelle les notes les plus hautes sont les plus belles. C’est une autre chose qui m’a étonné quand je suis arrivé à Sparte. Votre musique. Combien il y en avait, pas seulement les odes martiales et les chants de guerre que vous entonnez quand vous allez vers l’ennemi, mais également les danses, les chœurs, les festivals, les sacrifices. Pourquoi ces guerriers consommés honorent-ils la musique alors qu’ils interdisent le théâtre et l’art ? Je crois qu’ils sentent que les vertus sont comme la musique, elles vibrent sur des registres plus élevés, plus nobles.

Il se tourna vers Alexandros.

C’est pourquoi Léonidas t’a choisi parmi les Trois Cents, mon jeune maître, bien qu’il ait su que tu n’avais jamais fait partie des trompettes. Il croit que tu chanteras ici, aux Portes, dans ce sublime registre, pas avec ceci – et il indiqua la gorge – mais avec cela – et, de la main, il se toucha le cœur.

Puis il se ressaisit, soudain embarrassé. Autour du feu, tout le monde le regardait avec gravité et respect. Dienekès rompit le silence en disant, avec un rire :

— Tu es philosophe, Suicide.

— Oui, dit le Scythe en souriant, ouvre l’œil sur ça !

Un messager vint mander Dienekès au conseil que tenait Léonidas. Mon maître me fit signe de l’accompagner. Quelque chose avait changé en lui ; je le sentais à la manière dont nous traversions le réseau de sentiers qui s’entrecroisaient dans le camp des Alliés.

— Te rappelles-tu cette nuit, Xéon, où nous discutions avec Ariston et Alexandros de la peur et de son opposé ?

Je répondis que je me la rappelais.

— J’ai la réponse à ma question. Nos amis le marchand et le Scythe me l’ont soufflée.

Il parcourut du regard les feux du camp, les unités des nations assemblées et leurs officiers qui se dirigeaient vers le feu du roi, pour répondre à ses besoins et recevoir ses instructions.

— L’opposé de la peur, dit Dienekès, est l’amour.

Extrait 2: Qu’est-ce que la mort ?

Je me suis toujours demandé ce que c’était de mourir. Il y avait un exercice que nous pratiquions quand nous servions d’escorte et de souffre-douleur à l’infanterie lourde Spartiate. Cela s’appelait «le chêne», parce que nous prenions nos positions le long d’une rangée de chênes à la lisière de la plaine de l’Otona, où les Spartiates et les Néodamodes s’entraînaient l’automne et l’hiver.

Nous nous mettions en ligne par dix rangs, bardés sur toute notre hauteur de boucliers d’osier tressé, crantés dans la terre, et les troupes de choc venaient nous donner l’assaut ; elles arrivaient sur la plaine par huit rangs, d’abord au pas, puis plus rapidement et finalement en courant à perdre haleine.

Le choc de leurs boucliers tressés était destiné à nous épuiser et ils y parvenaient. C’était comme si l’on était heurté par une montagne. En dépit de nos efforts pour rester debout, nos genoux cédaient comme de jeunes arbres dans un tremblement de terre ; en un instant le courage désertait nos cœurs. Nous étions déracinés comme des épis morts sous la pelle du laboureur.

 

Sparte 02.jpg

 

Et l’on apprenait alors ce qu’était mourir. L’arme qui m’a transpercé aux Thermopyles était une lance d’hoplite égyptien, qui pénétra sous le sternum de ma cage thoracique. Mais la sensation ne fut pas ce qu’on aurait cru, ce ne fut pas celle d’être transpercé, mais plutôt assommé, comme nous les apprentis, la chair à hacher, l’avions res­senti dans la chênaie.
J’avais imaginé que les morts s’en allaient dans le déta­chement. Qu’ils considéraient la vie d’un regard sage et froid. Mais l’expérience m’a démontré le contraire.

L’émo­tion dominait tout. Il me sembla qu’il ne restait plus rien que l’émotion. Mon cœur souffrit à se rompre, comme jamais auparavant dans ma vie. Le sentiment de perte m’envahit avec une puissance déchirante. J’ai revu ma femme et mes enfants, ma chère cousine Diomaque, celle que j’aimais. J’ai vu mon père Scamandride et ma mère Eunice, Bruxieus, Dekton et Suicide, des noms qui ne disent rien à Sa Majesté, mais qui pour moi étaient plus chers que la vie et qui, maintenant que je meurs, me deviennent encore plus chers.

Ils se sont éloignés. Et moi, je me suis éloigné d’eux.

Extrait 3: [Polynice, un des meilleurs commandants spartiates, interroge le jeune Alexandros]

- Tu voulais voir la guerre, reprit Polynice. Comment avais-tu imaginé que ce serait ?

Alexandros était requis de répondre avec une parfaite brièveté, à la spartiate. Devant le carnage, ses yeux avait été frappés d’horreur et son cœur d’affliction, lui dit-on ; mais alors, à quoi croyait-il que servait une lance ? Un bouclier ? Une épée ? Ces questions et d’autres lui furent posées sans cruauté ni sarcasme, ce qui eût été facile à endurer, mais de manière froide et rationnelle, exigeant une réponse concise.

Il fut prié de décrire les blessures que pouvaient causer une lance et le type de mort qui s’en suivrait. Une attaque de haut devait-elle viser la gorge ou la poitrine ? Si le tendon de l’ennemi était sectionné, fallait-il s’arrêter pour l’achever ou bien aller de l’avant ? Si l’on enfonçait une lance dans le pubis, au-dessus des testicules, fallait-il la retirer tout droit ou bien prolonger l’estocade vers le haut, pour éviscérer l’homme ? Alexandros rougit, sa voix trembla et se brisa.

- Veux-tu que nous nous interrompions, mon garçon ? Cette instruction est-elle trop rude pour toi? Réponds de manière brève. Peux-tu imaginer un monde où la guerre n’existe pas? Peux-tu espérer de la clémence d’un ennemi? Décris les conditions dans lesquelles Lacédémone se trouverait sans armée pour la défendre.

Qu’est-ce qui vaut mieux, la victoire ou la défaite? Gouverner ou être gouverné? Faire une veuve de l’épouse de l’ennemi ou bien de sa propre femme? Quelle est la suprême qualité d’un homme? Pourquoi? Qui admires-tu le plus dans toute la cité? Et pourquoi? Définis le mot « miséricorde ». Définis le mot « compassion ». Sont-ce là des vertus pour le temps de guerre ou le temps de paix? Sont-ce des vertus masculines ou féminines? Et sont-ce bien des vertus?

De tous les pairs qui harcelaient Alexandros ce soir-là, Polynice n’apparaissait guère comme le plus acharné ni comme le plus sévère. Ce n’était pas lui qui menait l’ arosis et ses questions n’était ni franchement cruelles, ni malicieuses. Il ne lui laissait tout simplement pas de répit.

Dans les voix des autres, aussi pressantes que fussent leurs questions, résonnait tacitement l’inclusion : Alexandros était l’un des leurs et ce qu’ils faisaient ce soir-là et feraient d’autres soirs ne visait pas à le décourager ni à l’écraser comme un esclave, mais à l’endurcir, à fortifier sa volonté, à le rendre plus digne d’être un jour appelé guerrier, comme eux, et à assumer son rang de pair et de Spartiate.

Extrait 4. [L'armée perse s'avance, pour le premier affrontement]

Léonidas avait maintes fois recommandé aux officiers thespiens de veiller à ce que les boucliers, les jambières et les casques de leurs hommes fussent aussi brillants que possible ; et là, c’était des miroirs. Par-dessus les bords des boucliers de bronze, les casques rutilaient, surmontés par des crinières de queue de cheval qui, lorsqu’elles frissonnaient au vent, ne créaient pas seulement une impression de haute taille, mais dégageaient aussi une indicible menace.

Ce qui ajoutait au spectacle terrifiant de la phalange hellénique et qui pour moi était le plus effrayant, c’étaient les masques sans expression des casques grecs, avec leurs nasales épaisses comme le pouce, les jugulaires écartées et les fentes sinistres des yeux, qui recouvraient tout le visage et donnaient à l’ennemi le sentiment qu’il affrontait, non pas des créatures de chair comme lui-même, mais quelque atroce machine, invulnérable, impitoyable.

J’en avais ri avec Alexandros moins de deux heures auparavant, quand il avait posé son casque sur son bonnet de feutre ; l’instant d’avant, avec le casque posé posé à l’arrière du crâne, il paraissait juvénile et charmant, et puis quand il eut rebattu la jugulaire et ajusté le masque, toute l’humanité du visage était partie. La douceur expressive des yeux avait été remplacée par deux insondables trous noirs dans les orbites de bronze. L’aspect du personnage avait changé. Plus de compassion. Rien que le masque aveugle du meurtre.

 

300-leonidas.jpg

 

- Enlève-le ! Avais-je crié. Tu me fais peur !

Et je ne plaisantais pas.

Dienekès vérifiait à ce moment-là l’effet des armures hellènes sur l’ennemi. Il parcourait leurs rangs du regard. Les taches sombres de l’urine maculaient plus d’un pantalon, ça et là, les pointes de lances tremblaient. Les Mèdes se mirent en formation, les rangs trouvèrent leurs marques, les commandants prirent leurs postes.

Le temps s’étira encore. L’ennui le céda à l’angoisse. Les nerfs se tendirent. Le sang battait aux tempes. Les mains devinrent gourdes et les membres insensibles. Le corps sembla tripler de poids et se changer en pierre froide. On s’entendait implorer les dieux sans savoir si c’étaient des voix intérieures ou si on criait réellement et sans vergogne des prières.

Sa majesté se trouvait sans doute trop haut sur la montagne pour s’être avisée du coup du ciel qui précipita l’affrontement. Tout d’un coup, un lièvre dévala la montagne, passant entre les deux armées, à une trentaine de pieds de Xénocratide, le commandant thespien.

Steven Pressfield, Les murailles de feu, édité en mars 2007

lundi, 27 octobre 2014

Jean Parvulesco, visionnaire d'Empire

Jean Parvulesco, visionnaire d'Empire

dimanche, 26 octobre 2014

JAPON : LA LÉGITIME DÉSOBÉISSANCE DES 47 RÔNINS

JAPON : LA LÉGITIME DÉSOBÉISSANCE DES 47 RÔNINS - « Ce qu’ils ont fait de leur vivant résonne pour l'éternité.... »
JAPON : LA LÉGITIME DÉSOBÉISSANCE DES 47 RÔNINS
 
«Ce qu’ils ont fait de leur vivant résonne pour l'éternité....»

Rémy Valat
Ex: http://metamag.fr
 
L’histoire des 47 rônins dépasse le cadre d’une simple affaire de droit féodal : ce serait l’engagement de vassaux, fidèles à leur maître jusqu’au sacrifice de leurs vies. Le drame se déroule au début du XVIIIe siècle, période durant laquelle le Japon est réunifié et pacifié sous l’égide du Shôgun. Le port et l’usage des armes sont contrôlés ; il est l’apanage quasi-exclusif des samouraïs. Les samouraïs sont ceux qui « servent » (étymologie du nom vient du verbe « servir », saburaû) leurs maîtres, le Shôgun et le pays. Ils sont pour cela présentés comme des « modèles » pour la société : à la fois guerriers et administrateurs, leur éducation et l’étiquette qui régit leur vie sont rigides.

En 1701, deux Daimyos (seigneurs en charge d’une province et en relation directe avec le Shôgun) sont chargés d’organiser une cérémonie en l’honneur de l’Empereur. Asano Naganori du fief d'Akō (province de Harima) commet l’impair de blesser le maître des cérémonies, Kira Kōzuke-no-Suke-Yoshinaka (14 mars). Ce dernier est dépeint comme un être corrompu jusqu’à la mœlle et se serait, selon la tradition populaire, montré arrogant et méprisant envers ces deux seigneurs, insuffisamment généreux à son goût à rémunérer son talent et ses services. Perte du contrôle de soi, agression à main armée sur un haut fonctionnaire de l’ État : Asano doit, sur l’ordre du Shôgun Tokugawa Tsuyanoshi (1646-1709), procéder le jour même au suicide rituel (seppuku). Ōishi Kuranosuke Yoshio, principal conseiller de la famille d'Asano prend aussitôt en main la sécurité des membres et des biens du clan menacés de confiscation et mûrit un plan de vengeance. Les différents récits et le florès d’interprétations théâtrales ou cinématographiques sur les conditions des préparatifs clandestins et de l’assaut final ont, certes été enjolivés et idéalisés, mais quel souffle à la lecture de ce récit ! La mise en scène la plus connue, popularisée par le théâtre kabuki, est l’ œuvre principale de Takeda Izumo (1748). Il existe une traduction française de l’épopée des 47 rônins, traduite par George Soulié de Morant en 1927, et rééditée régulièrement. Nous y puisons cet extrait, révélateur de l’esprit idéal du guerrier japonais.

 
Ōishi vient de rassembler le clan, 300 guerriers stupéfaits par l’annonce de la mort de leur seigneur et dans l’attente d’instructions : « Venger notre seigneur, voilà notre devoir. Ce que je propose, le voici. Nous allons jurer de ne reculer devant aucun danger pour tuer Kira et sa famille. Si nous n’avons pas réussi dans un an, c’est que l’entreprise est impossible. Nous nous réunirons alors devant la porte de la forteresse, ceux du moins qui auront survécu aux combats et nous nous donnerons la mort, montrant à tous notre fidélité. [...] Je vais préparer un serment écrit avec notre sang. Revenez tous ici demain, à l’heure du Tigre, pour le signer. Pour aujourd’hui, nous allons nous partager le trésor du clan : il ne faut pas qu’il tombe aux mains de nos ennemis.»
 
[La séance terminée chaque samouraï reçoit 20 lingots d’or et l’assemblée se disperse. Le lendemain, seuls 63 rônins répondirent à l’appel et Ōishi de déclarer :]  « Les épreuves que nous allons subir sont telles qu’une âme ordinaire ne saurait les supporter sans défaillir. En reconnaissant eux-mêmes leur faiblesse, ils m’ont évité le plus difficile des choix : c’est bien. Pour vanner le blé, il suffit de le laisser tomber au souffle de la brise. Le bon grain s’entasse d’un côté, la balle et les fétus de l’autre. [Puis, les loyaux samouraïs signèrent de leur sang le serment scellant leur sort pour l’éternité]. » 

Ce geste symbolique et sacré revêt surtout une dimension politique : c’est aussi un acte de désobéissance. Cet engagement solennel n’est pas sans rappeler les contrats d’ikki : les ikki sont ces révoltes populaires conduites pour réparer une injustice commise par les autorités ou un seigneur, insurrections parfois organisées par des guerriers pour se faire justice eux-mêmes ; ces derniers étant trop fiers pour laisser le règlement de leurs différends entre les mains des pouvoirs publics, fussent-ils le gouvernement du Shôgun (lire sur ce sujet : Katsumata Shizuo, Ikki. Coalitions, ligues et révoltes dans le Japon d’autrefois, traduction parue aux éditions du CNRS en 2011).
 
La maison de Kira est prise d’assaut le matin du 14 décembre 1702 : le maître et les hommes des des lieux seront passés au fil de l’épée. Les rônins emportèrent la tête de Kira sur la tombe de leur seigneur au temple de Sengaku-ji. Les survivants offrirent leur reddition au Shôgun et mettent celui-ci dans l’embarras. Car si la vendetta été légitime sur le fond et respectueuse des règles et de la coutume du Bushidō, elle ne l’était plus sur la forme : les Sainte Vehme étaient prohibées par le shôgunat, le pouvoir rappelle que le droit de faire justice est une prérogative régalienne dans un pays récemment unifié. Le shôgun les fît condamner à mort tout en leur offrant une fin honorable. Le 4 février 1703, 46 rônins (le 47e , le plus jeune, aurait fait l’objet de la clémence des juges selon la tradition populaire) se donnent la mort par éventration, et selon leurs vœux, leurs corps reposent auprès de celui de leur maître au cimetière du temple de Sengaku-ji.

Les témoignages historiques dépeignent différemment les motivations de ces samouraïs : le seigneur Asano n’était guère apprécié par ses serviteurs, et ce serait 58 guerriers (sur les 308 du clan) qui auraient prêté serment, non pas par simple esprit de vengeance, mais par réprobation du traitement injuste réservé à Asano par le Shôgun. Ce dernier aurait dû sanctionner les deux parties, d’autant qu’il y eut un précédent survenu en 1684. Un guerrier, selon l’historien Nakayama Mikio, en aurait blessé un autre en ce même lieu. Le premier aurait été tué sur le champ par un maître-officier du gouvernement et le second exilé. Enfin, seuls les criminels étaient exécutés ou contraints de se suicider à l’extérieur de leur maison. Les conditions du suicide d’Asano ont été considérées comme un acte infamant. C’est pour ces motifs que les rônins ont souhaité laver l’affront fait à leur maître et à leur maison.
 
Cette froide et habile, vengeance a été vivement critiquée par Yamamoto Tsunetomo (l’auteur du Hagakure) qui estimait plus conforme au code de l’honneur un règlement rapide du contentieux. Yamamoto Tsunetomo, fidèle serviteur du Shôgun, mît peut-être en avant ce point de la coutume pour discréditer Ōishi et ses hommes qui n’auraient techniquement pas pu mettre au point leur riposte en de si brefs délais, au moment où Kira se trouvait sur ses gardes et bien protégé par ses hommes (rappelons que c’est par respect envers la réglementation shogunale que Yamamoto Tsunetomo ne put accompagner son seigneur dans la mort : le suicide par accompagnement lui a été formellement interdit). Le Shôgun a commis une maladresse, en ce sens qu’au Japon, les suicides rituels avaient pour but de limiter les vendettas : l’honneur des familles lavé, les désirs de vengeance devaient être étouffés et dans le cas de leur mise à exécution, celle-ci était sévèrement sanctionnée. C’est le contraire qui, dans cet affaire, s’est produit.

Cette histoire eut un retentissement immédiat. Si les Japonais du début du deuxième siècle du Shôgunat y ont trouvé un exutoire à la rigidité du régime (surtout en matière de mœurs), le succès intemporel de ce drame tient à son authenticité. Les Japonais sont peu-être plus sensibles que d’autres peuples à l’engagement et au don de soi. Les paroles n’ont de valeur à leurs yeux que si elles sont suivis par un acte sincère. Quelque puisse être les motivations de ces rônins, c’est bien un sentiment positif, l’esprit de justice, qui les animait. Leur désobéissance était légitime et ils ont agi en pleine connaissance du sort qui leur était réservé. Ils ont préféré mourir dans l’honneur que de vivre dans la honte dans une société, et c’est encore le cas aujourd’hui au Japon, où pèse lourdement le regard des autres. Un geste tragique de refus et de liberté qui résonne pour l’éternité, comme l’atteste les témoignages de respect et de dévotion encore porté par les Japonais sur les tombes des 46 rônins....

Illustration en tête d'article : Ancien château d’Edo (actuellement le parc attenant au palais impérial) : emplacement du bâtiment à l’intérieur duquel, Kira Kōzuke-no-Suke-Yoshinaka sera blessé par Asano Naganori le14 mars 1701.©R.Valat

vendredi, 24 octobre 2014

Alain Daniélou’s Virtue, Success, Pleasure, & Liberation

Alain Daniélou’s Virtue, Success, Pleasure, & Liberation

By Collin Cleary 

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

Alain Daniélou
Virtue, Success, Pleasure, and Liberation: The Four Aims of Life in the Tradition of Ancient India [2]
Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions, 1993.

danndex.jpgOne hears a great deal today about “multiculturalism,” and the multicultural society. We (i.e., we Americans) are told that ours is a multicultural society. But, curiously, multiculturalism is also spoken of as a goal. What this reveals is that multiculturalism is not simply the recognition and affirmation of the fact that the U.S.A. is made up of different people from different cultural backgrounds. Instead, multiculturalism is an ideology which is predicated on cultural relativism. Its proponents want to convince people that (a) all cultures are equally good, rich, interesting, and wholesome, and that (b) a multicultural society can exist in which no one culture is dominant. The first idea is absurd, the second is impossible.

The apostles of multiculturalism are moved less by a genuine desire to “celebrate diversity” than by a hatred for Northern European culture, which is the semi-official, dominant culture of America. Indeed, multiculturalists generally nurture the most naive and simplistic ideas of what a culture is. Their conception of “culture” is fixated at the perceptual level: culture is costume,music, dance, decoration, food. What is essential to culture, however, is a certain Weltanschauung: a view of the world, and of human nature. It is in their response to these world views that multiculturalists reveal their true colors, for they tolerate and permit only those elements of a culture’s world view that do not conflict with liberal ideology.

Out of one side of their mouths, the multiculturalists tell us that one cannot judge a culture, that morality is culturally relative, that cultures are not better or worse, just “different,” and that we must revel in these differences. Thus, the English do not drive on the “wrong” side of the road, merely the left side. But when it’s not a matter of traffic laws, but a matter of severed clitorises, then the other, louder side of the multiculturalists’ mouths open, and they tell us that this sort of thing isn’t just different, it’s evil. In addition to this, one also sees that multiculturalism involves a relentless trivialization of important cultural differences. Thus, college students are encouraged to see religion almost as a matter of “local color.” Isn’t it wonderful that the Indians cook such spicy food, and worship such colorful gods! Isn’t it all terribly charming? They are further encouraged to view religion as a thoroughly irrational affair. Rather than encouraging an appreciation for different faiths, what this produces is a condescending attitude, and resistance to taking the claims of religion seriously when they conflict with the “rational” agenda of modern liberalism.

Indeed, multiculturalism is so anti-cultural that one is tempted to see behind it an even deeper, more sinister agenda. Perhaps the whole idea is to deliberately gut the world’s cultures, reducing their differences to matters of dress and cuisine, and to replace those earthborn guts with a plastic, Naugahyde culture of secularism, scientism, and egalitarianism. Why? Because real, significant cultural differences make it very hard for our corporations to do business overseas and to sell their wares. Solution: homogenization masquerading as “celebration of diversity.” The multiculturalists are right when they declare that de facto, the United States is a multicultural society. But there has never been a multicultural society in the history of the world in which there was not one dominant culture which provided a framework allowing the others to co-exist. To the multiculturalist, the unacknowledged framework is modern liberalism. I will assume that I do not have to rehearse for my readers the many arguments for why modern liberalism is untenable as a long-term societal framework.Where should we look, then, for a framework for a multicultural society? Why not look to the Indian caste system? It was the caste system that allowed Aryan and non-Aryan to co-exist peacefully in India for centuries.

The liberals will immediately object that the caste system is oppressive and unjust. In Virtue, Success, Pleasure and Liberation, however, Alain Daniélou argues that the caste system is actually a supremely just and peaceful arrangement. It is just because it is built on a recognition of real human difference; a “celebration of diversity,” if you will. Aristotle held that justice is treating equals equally, and unequals unequally. If people are not the same, then it is a mistake to treat them as if they are. The caste system is built on the idea that some human beings are born to work, others to fight and lead, and others to pray. The caste system gives to each human being a place, a community, a code of ethics, and a sense of identity and pride. Daniélou points out that although the system involves hierarchy, each level of the hierarchy is regarded as intrinsically valuable and as essential. Each plays a role that is regarded as important and indispensable. Thus, it is the caste system which truly affirms that different groups are merely different, not better or worse.

Is Daniélou whitewashing the caste system? Consider the words he quotes from the Mahabharata: “There is no superior caste. The Universe is the work of the Immense Being. The beings created by him were only divided into castes according to their aptitude.” But what of individuals born to the wrong caste? For example, what of a child born to the merchant class who shows aptitude to be a priest or scholar? Such things happen. Daniélou tells us that exceptional individuals are allowed to live “outside” the caste system, and are accepted as valuable members of the society as a whole. Modern society is structured on the premise that everyone is exceptional and can make up his mind what he wants to do. Given that sort of freedom, most people get lost — as witness the modern phenomenon of the “slacker,” or the flotsam and jetsam going in and out of psychiatrists’ offices every day.

Despite what I have said, this book is not a treatise on the caste system, but on the four things that all human lives must possess or achieve in order to be complete. In discussing virtue, success, pleasure, and liberation, Daniélou quotes extensively from ancient Indian texts, offering us an abundance of excellent advice about how to understand life and to live well. Indeed, this is really a book about how to lead a truly human life. Daniélou places the four aims in a cosmic context, showing how the same fourfold division is present in all levels of reality. It is present, of course, in the four castes (worker/artisan, producer/merchant, warrior/aristocrat, priest/scholar), and in the four stages of biological development (childhood, youth, maturity, old age), the four seasons, the four elements, the four races of humanity (black, yellow, red, white), the cycle of ages (yugas), the four bodily functions (digestion, assimilation, circulation, excretion), and the four points of the compass (in this order, significantly: south, east, west, north).

This is an excellent companion volume to Daniélou’s The Myths and Gods of India [3].

Source: Tyr, vol.. 1 (Atlanta: Ultra, 2002).

 


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

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/10/virtue-success-pleasure-liberation/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Virtue.jpg

[2] Virtue, Success, Pleasure, and Liberation: The Four Aims of Life in the Tradition of Ancient India: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005IQ6AVY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B005IQ6AVY&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkId=2SMLM6Q3BGWZDR7W

[3] The Myths and Gods of India: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005PQUZ3G/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B005PQUZ3G&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkId=7R45BK5EQM4HKVC3

Alain Daniélou’s The Myths & Gods of India

dan1411091265.jpg

Alain Daniélou’s The Myths & Gods of India

By Collin Cleary

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

Alain Daniélou
The Myths and Gods of India [2]
Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions, 1991.
(Originally published as Hindu Polytheism by Bollingen Foundation, New York, 1964.)

Typically, those who profess an interest in what might be called “Indo-European spirituality” gravitate toward either the Celtic or Germanic traditions. The Indian tradition tends to be ignored. In part, this is because present-day Indians seem so different from us. We think of their culture and philosophy as “Eastern,” as alien. Physically, the Indians look very different from those of European descent (though higher caste Indians tend to look very European, right down to lighter skin and hair, and sometimes blue eyes). But if we wish to rediscover the religion and traditions of our ancestors, what better place is there to begin than with India? The oldest Indo-European texts are the Vedas, after all. To be sure, it is hard to separate what comes from the ancient Aryans in Indian religion, myth, and mysticism, and what was contributed by the indigenous peoples conquered by the Aryans. But the same problem exists with respect to the Celtic and Germanic traditions. In addition, we know far more about the culture and religion of the ancient Aryans who invaded India, than we do about the culture and religion of the Celts and the Vikings. For one thing, more ancient texts survive in India. Therefore, anyone wishing to re-construct the “old ways” must become deeply immersed in all things Indian.

It is a cliche to state this in a review, but I write the following with total sincerity: if you read only one book on Hinduism, it must be Daniélou’s Myths and Gods of India. Indeed, it is hard to imagine why one would need to read any other. Danielou’s account of Hinduism is exhaustive, profound, and detailed. The book contains, first of all, cogent arguments on behalf of polytheism.

It details the Indian cosmogony and cosmology; the nature of Space, Time, and Thought; the nature of Brahman and Maya. Daniélou gives a complete description of every major Hindu divinity in terms of his or her function, myths, and symbolism. He details the minor gods and genii. He discusses the theory behind Mantras and Yantras. There is even extensive coverage of ritual, and the manner in which the gods must be worshiped. Alain Daniélou was born in 1907 in Paris. He was a true Renaissance man, trained in music, painting, and dance. He gave recitals and exhibited his paintings. Daniélou was also an avid sportsman: a canoeing champion, and an expert race-car driver.

He was also homosexual. Daniélou and his gay lover ventured to India, traveling around in a deluxe, Silverstream camper imported from southern California, photographing erotic sculpture. They later settled down in a Maharajah’s estate on the banks of the Ganges and devoted themselves to Sanskrit, Hinduism, music, and entertaining. Daniélou gradually “went native” and stayed in India many years. In time, he became known throughout the world as an authority on Indian music and culture. He published works dealing with Hindu religion, society, music, sculpture, architecture, and other topics. It was Daniélou, more than anyone else, who was responsible for popularizing Indian music in the West (among other things, he was the “discoverer” of Ravi Shankar). Daniélou died in 1994.

The Myths and Gods of India is a delight to read, but it can also be treated as a reference work for those needing a clear and accurate account of various gods or Hindu religious concepts. For the student of Inda-European culture, the book is a treasure trove. Indeed, those who are familiar with the Inda-European comparativist school of Georges Dumézil, Jaan Puhvel, and others, will get the most out of this book. I will offer a few brief examples here.

Daniélou writes on page 27 that “Human beings, according to their nature and stage of development, are inclined toward . . . different aspects of the Cosmic Being. Those in whom consciousness is predominant worship the gods (deva); those in whom action or existence predominates worship genii (yaksha) and antigods (asura); and those in whom enjoyment or sensation predominates worship ghosts and spirits (bhuta and preta).” This suggests, of course, the Inda-European tripartition identified by Dumézil. On page 66 we learn that Soma was “brought to earth by a large hawk,” just as Odin, in the form of an eagle, brought mead to the JEsir. On page 87 we are told that “The earth is also represented as a goddess, or as a cow that feeds everyone with her milk. She is the mother of life, the substance of all things.” What can this remind us of, except the Norse Audumla?

There also seem to be parallels between Agni (the god of fire) and Loki. Like Loki, Agni is an outcast among the gods. Daniélou tells us further that, “The fire of destruction, Agni’s most fearful form, was born of the primeval waters and remains hidden under the sea, ever ready to destroy the world” (p. 89). This is reminiscent of the Midgard Serpent, the progeny of Loki. Page 151:
“When Vishnu sleeps, the universe dissolves into its formless state, represented as the causal ocean. The remnants of manifestation are represented as the serpent Remainder (Sesa) coiled upon itself and floating upon the abysmal waters.”

Daniélou tells us (p. 92) that “the sun . . . is envisaged [by the Hindus] under two aspects. As one of the spheres, one of the Vasus, the physical sun is the celestial form of fire, of agni. As the source of light, of warmth, of life, of knowledge, the solar energy is the source of all life, represented in the twelve sons-of-the-Primordial-Vastness (Adityas), the twelve sovereign principles.” In Futhark (pp. 51-52), Edred Thorsson tells us that “The sun was known by two special names in the North . . . Sol represents the phenomenon, while sunna is the noumenon, the spiritual power residing in the concept.” Also, the “twelve sons-of-the-Primordial-Vastness” immanent within the solar energy must remind us of the twelve sig-runes that make up the Wewelsburg “sun-wheel” of Karl Maria Wiligut.

Page 99: “When the gods were receiving the ambrosia of immortality, the Moon [Soma; equivalent to Mead] detected the anti-god Rahu disguised as a god. Because of the Moon Rahu had to die, but although his head was severed from his body, he could not truly die, for he had tasted the ambrosia. His head remained alive.” Mimir?

Page 103: “Rudra, the lord of tears, is said to have sprung from the forehead of the Immense-Being (Brahma) and, at the command of that god, to have divided himself into a male form and a female form . . . “Athena?

Page 103: “The Maruts (immortals) are a restless, warlike troupe of flashy young men, transposition in space of the hordes of young warriors called the marya (mortals). . . . They are the embodiment of moral and heroic deeds and of the exuberance of youth.” Maruts = Einherjar; Marya = Indo-European Männerbünde. Page 104: “The Maruts are the friends of Indra, the wielder of the thunderbolt . . .” Thor? Page 110: Indra’s thunderbolt is “shaped like a mace … ”

Page 111: “Indra had been the deity worshiped among the pastoral people of Vraja.” Again, just as Thor was.

Page 118: Varuna “is the ruler of the ‘other side,’ of the invisible world.” He is “said to be an antigod, a magician.” Odin? Page 119: “He catches the evildoers and binds them with his noose.” Criminals sacrificed to Odin were hung. Varuna also “knows the track of birds in the sky,” just as Odin knows the track of Huginn and Muninn.

Page 132: The god of death is named Yama, which means “Twin” (Ymir). “Yama’s brother is the lawgiver, Manu, who shares with him the title of progenitor of mankind.” Yama “owns two four-eyed dogs with wide nostrils . . . They watch the path of the dead.” What can this remind us of except the Greek hellhound, Cerberus?

Page 138: “In contrast to the gods, the antigods [asura] are the inclinations of the senses which, by their nature, belong to the obscuring tendency, and which delight in life, that is, in the activities of the life energies in all the fields of sensation.” This is an accurate description of the Norse Vanir. Asura is cognate with Aesir, so, oddly enough, the term shifts meaning either in the Norse or the Indian tradition.

Page 159: The four ages (yugas) are represented as white (the golden age), red, yellow, and black (the dark age). The stages of the alchemical process (as represented in the West) are black, white, yellow, and red.

Pages 243-45 detail the Upanishadic account of creation out of the primal man Purusha: “He desired a second. He became as large as a woman and man in close embrace. He divided himself into two. From him arose a husband and a wife. Hence it is that everyone is but half a being. The vacant space is filled by a wife.” This is extraordinarily similar to the account of the creation of
men and woman given by Aristophanes in Plato’s Symposium. The world is then created out of Purusha’s body-just as the world is created out of Ymir’s body in Norse myth. “The virile member was separated; from this virile member came forth semen and from semen the earthly waters.” This is identical to the account of the creation of the ocean in the Greek myth of the sacrifice of Ouranos by Kronos.

The account of the hero Kumara/Skana (pp. 297-300) is strikingly like the saga of Sigurd, and also similar in some respects to the Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach. The “essences” (apsaras; pp. 304-305) are “water nymphs, eternally young women who are the courtesans and dancers of heaven.” Rhine Maidens? “They are depicted as uncommonly beautiful, with lotus eyes, slender waists, and large hips. By their languid postures and sweet words they rob those who see them of their wisdom and their intellect.” Sirens? “One can master them by stealing their clothes while they bathe. They choose lovers among the dead fallen on the battlefield.” Valkyries?

The above merely scratches the surface of this immensely rich text, which demands careful study and multiple readings.

 


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jeudi, 23 octobre 2014

Paganism & Christianity, Nietzsche & Evola

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Paganism & Christianity, Nietzsche & Evola

By Jonathan Bowden 

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

Editor’s Note:

This text continues the transcript by V. S. of Jonathan Bowden’s interview at the Union Jack Club in London on Saturday, November 21, 2009, after his lecture/performance on Punch and Judy [2]. The title is editorial. 

Q: When did you decide to convert to paganism and why?

B: Well, I never really converted to paganism. I mean, there are some orthodox pagans, if you can have such a thing, who probably think I am not one. But I’m a Nietzschean and that’s a different system. Somebody made this for me. [Points to odal rune pendant.] And I like Odinic paganism sort of as an objectification of my sort of sensibility. Does one believe the gods objectively exist in another realm? Well, you see, religion is a philosophy about life which is sacristic and has rituals in which you partly act out, therefore it’s more important because it’s made slightly more concrete than ideas or it’s really just based upon ideas. There are relatively simple but powerful ideas at the crux of all the big religious systems. Most people are born in a system and just accept that and go along with it as long as it’s not too onerous or they feel like they live their life through it properly.

I just agree with the ethics of that type of Nordic paganism, which is really how the Vikings lived and how they behaved. I’m less concerned with small groups, which I respect. I like the Odinic Rite, but I personally believe that those sorts of things will only ever activate post-modern minorities and very small ones at that.

I think people should identify with what they think they are and the values that they hold. This symbol really means strength or courage or masculinity or the first man or the first principle of war or the metaphysics of conflict. So, I just think it’s a positive system of value.

I never really was a Christian. Culturally, I have great admiration for elements of Christian art. More so than most people who are pagan who have violently reacted against it. I don’t really share that emotionalism. But I don’t agree with Christian ethics. Deep down, they’ve ruined the West, and we’re in the state that we are because of them.

Q: Just added on to that: How do we create more Nietzscheans? How do we spread Nietzscheanism as a religion, as an idea?

B: You’ve got to get people quite young. I think you’ve got to introduce alternative value systems to them. This is a society that says weakness is good, weakness should be pitied, the ill are weak, the disabled are weak, people who’ve got various things wrong with them (too fat, too thin, bits dropping off) they need help. They may need help. But the value system that lies behind that desire to help worships the fact of weakness and the fact that people are broken. If you worship the idea of strength and tell the weak to become stronger, which is a reverse idea for helping them essentially. You help them in order to get stronger. You totally reverse the energy pattern and you’ve reversed the system of morals that exists in this culture now. You’ve reversed the sort of things that Rowan Williams or his predecessor or his likely successor always says, basically. I think that’s what you have to do.

I personally think it’s a moral revolution, not anything political, that will save the West, because all the technology is here, all the systems of power are here. You only have to change what’s in people’s minds. It’s very difficult though.

Q: So, to a young person watching this video, never heard of you before, where would he go to find out about Nietzscheanism?

B: Just go to the Wikipedia page, surprisingly, although it’s a bit trivial, is actually quite accurate in a tendentious way. Although some of the philosophical debates about him and the genealogy of his works might confuse people because it views it in an academic way. And you don’t need to put his name to it. There’s a cluster of power-moral, individualistic, elitist, partly antinomian, partly gnostic, partly not, partly pagan, vitalist and other ideas which go with that sort of area.

Strength is morality. Weakness is sin. Weakness requires punishment. If you’re weak, if you’re obese, if you’re a drug addict, become less so. Become stronger. Move towards the sun. Become more coherent. Become more articulate. Cast more of a shadow. It’s almost a type of positive behaviorism in some ways. But it’s not somebody wagging their finger and so on, because you’re doing it for yourself. It comes from inside.

Q2: Do you not think though that Nietzscheanism doesn’t have a transcendental element to it?

B: That’s why I’m wearing this [rune pendant], you see, because I probably think there ought to be such a thing. Many people need to go beyond that. If his thinking before he went mad, probably because he had tertiary syphilis, it’s up to sort of 1880, so we’re talking about thinking that’s 130 years old.

I think in some ways he’s an anatomist of Christianity’s decline, because Christianity been declining mentally and in some ways extending out into the Third World where it’s real catchment area now is. I mean, there will be a non-White pope soon. Christianity will begin to wear the face of the south very soon. It’s the ideal religion for the south. It’s pity for those who fail, for those who are weak, for those who are hungry, for those who are broken. Have pity on your children, O Lord. It’s an ideal religion. Don’t take it through violence or fear or aggression. Submit and be thankful for what He will give you in His wisdom.

But it’s ruining us. For centuries we were strong even despite that faith, but of course we made use of it. The part that fits us is the extreme transcendence of Christian doctrine. That’s what Indo-Europeans like about that faith. The enormous vaulting cathedrals, the Gothic idea that you can go up and up and up. It’s that element in it that we like, and we made into ourselves. But we forgot the ethical substratum. We forgot the sort of troll-like ethical element that there is no other value but sympathy, there is no other value than compassion, that love is the basis of all life. And ultimately that is a feminine view of civilization which will lead to its collapse in masculine terms.

Q2: How would you view the works of Julius Evola?

B: Yes, they’re the counter-balance to Nietzsche. There is a lot of religious elements in there of a perennialist sort that a lot of modern minds can’t accept. You see, Nietzsche is a switchblade, and nearly all people in this society are modern even if they think they’re not. Nietzsche is a modern thinker. Nietzsche is a modernist. Nietzsche can reach the modern mind. Nietzsche’s the most Right-wing formulation within the modern mind that people can accept.

My view is that people who accept Evola straight out aren’t living in the modern world. That’s not a criticism. It’s a description of where they are. I think for people to become illiberal they have to become illiberal first within the modern world. Some people would say you have to go outside of it. You know, the culture of the ruins and the revolt against the modern world, per se. But I personally think that we’re in modernity.

But there will be people who go to Nietzsche and Thus Spake Zarathustra, which is really a semi- or pseudo-religious text, is not enough and they’ll want to go beyond that and they’ll want a degree and a tier of religiosity. The dilemma always in the West is what to choose. Back to Christianity or on to paganism? Which system do you choose?

Evola said he was a Catholic pagan, didn’t he? One knows what he means. But I see paganism peeping out of everything. I see paganism peeping out of Protestantism, the most Jewish form of Christianity, through its power-individualism and its extremist individuality (Kierkegaard, Carlyle, Nietzsche). I see paganism saturating Catholicism and peeping out of it at every turn, aesthetically, artistically, the art of the Renaissance, the return of the Greco-Roman sensibility, the humanism of the ancient world. Some of the greatest classicists were Medieval Popes and so on. I see it just looming out. The whole structure of the Catholic Church is a Roman imperial structure, Christianized. So, I see it peeping out.

Our law is Roman. All of our leaders were educated and steeped in the classical world to provide a dialectical corollary to Christianity without them being told that’s what is happening. The decline of the classics is partly because people don’t want to go back there, basically. So, you don’t teach it to anyone apart from tiny little public school elites, which are .2% of the population who read a few authors who no one else even knows exist. You know, big deal.

The difficulty with Evola is that it’s a very great leap for the modern mind. Although in his sensibility, I agree with his sensibility, really. I agree with him going out amidst the bombings, not caring. I agree with that sort of attitude towards life, which is an aristocratic attitude towards life. But we’re living in a junk food, liberal, low middle class society. You’ve got to start where you are. I think Nietzsche is strong enough meat for most people and is far, far, far too strong for 80% now.

Today, the mentally disabled have been allowed into the Paralympics. So, you will have the 100 yard cerebral palsy dash at the next Olympics in London in 2012. This is the world we’re living in. Nietzsche would say that’s ridiculous and so on. And that is a shocking and transgressive and morally ugly attitude from the contemporary news that we see. So, it’s almost as if Nietzsche’s tough enough for this moment.

But I’m interesting in that he said, “God is dead in the minds of men.” That doesn’t necessarily mean, of course, although he was a militant atheist, he’s living open the idea that . . . [God objectively exists—Ed.]. You see, the Christian idea of God was dying around him, mentally, and it has died. I mean, hardly anyone really, deep down, believes that now. Even the people who say that they do don’t in the way that they did 100 years ago or their predecessors did.

So, it has died, but I think there are metaphysically objectivist standards outside life. Whether our civilization can revive without a return to them is very open. It’s very questionable. Where that discourse is to come from is . . . The tragedy would be if Christianity sort of facilitated our greatness, but ended up ruining us, which of course might be the true thesis.

Now we’re getting into deep waters.

Q: What is your view of Abrahamic religions?

B: I think religion is a good thing. The Right always supports the right of religion to exist. Religion does cross ethnic and racial boundaries. Afghanistan was Buddhist once. I prefer people to have some sort of religious viewpoint, even the most tepid sort of thing, but none at all, because at least there is a structure that is in some sense prior.

But, personally, I prefer tribally based religions. I prefer religions that are about blood and genetics and honor and identity and are nominalist and that are specific. But I think people will adopt different systems because they’re physiologically different even within their group. You can see that about certain people. Certain people, Christianity suits them very well and they can be quite patriotic and quite decent people and so on in that system and there we are. But for me? No.

I’m a barbarian in some ways. People can worship what gods they want within the Western tradition, and that’s all right.

 


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mercredi, 22 octobre 2014

Kemi Seba/Laurent James : "Le pérénialisme global ou l'union ésotérique des dissidences"

Kemi Seba/Laurent James :

"Le pérénialisme global ou l'union ésotérique des dissidences"

lundi, 20 octobre 2014

Jean Parvulesco, les aventuriers de l'Esprit

Jean Parvulesco, les aventuriers de l'Esprit

samedi, 18 octobre 2014

Julius Evola: The World’s Most Right-Wing Thinker

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Julius Evola:
The World’s Most Right-Wing Thinker

By Jonathan Bowden 

Editor’s Note:

This text is the transcript by V. S. of Jonathan Bowden’s lecture on Evola delivered to the 27th meeting of the New Right in London on June 5, 2010. As usual, I have deleted a few false starts and introduced punctuation and paragraph breaks for maximum clarity. You can listen to it at YouTube here [2]. Three passages are marked unintelligible. If you can make out the words, please post a comment below or contact me at editor@counter-currents.com [3]. 

This is the 27th meeting of the New Right, and we’ve waited quite a long time to discuss one of the most important thinkers of the radical Right and of a Traditional perspective upon mankind and reality, and that is Baron Julius Evola.

Now, Evola is in some respects to the Right of everybody that we’ve ever considered in nearly any of these talks and not in a sort of unprofound or sententious manner. Julius Evola was somebody who rejected purposefully and metaphysically the modern world. Now, what does that mean? It basically means that at the beginning of the last century, Baron Evola, who is a Sicilian baron, decided that there are about four alternatives in relation to modern life for those of heroic spirit.

One was suicide and to make off with one’s self by opening one’s veins in the warm bath like Sicilian Mafiosi and Italian cardinals and Sicilian brigands and ancient Romans.

Another was to become a Nietzschean, which for many people in tradition is a modern version of some, but by no means all, of their ideas, and it’s a way of riding the tiger of modernity and dealing with that which exists around us now. Later, people like Evola and other perennial Traditionalists as we may well call them became increasingly critical of Nietzsche and regard him as a sort of decadent modern and an active nihilist with a bit of spirit and vigor but doesn’t really have the real position.

I make things quite clear. I would be regarded by most people as a Nietzschean, and philosophically that’s the motivation I’ve always had since my beginning. That’s why parties don’t really mean that much to me, because ideas are eternal and ideas and values come back, but movements and the ways and forms that they take and expressions that they have come and go.

evola.jpgNow, moving from the Nietzschean perspective, which of course relates to the great German thinker at the end of the 19th century and his active and quasi-existential and volitional view of man, is the idea of foundational religiosity or primary religious and spiritual purpose. In high philosophy, there are views which dominate everyone around us and modern media and everyone who goes to a tertiary educational college, such as a university, in the Western world. These are modern ideas, which are materialistic and anti-spiritual and aspiritual and anti-religious or antagonistic to prior religious belief so much so that it’s taken as a given that those are the views that one holds. All of the views that convulsed the Western intelligentsia since the Second European Civil War which ended in 1945, ideas like existentialism and behaviorism and structuralism and so on, are all atheistic and material views. They’ve been discussed in other meetings. As one goes back slightly, one has various currents of opinion such as Marxism and Freudianism and behaviorism beginning in the late 19th century and convulsing much of the 20th century.

But these are views that an advanced Evolian type of perspective rejects. These views are anti-metaphysical and often counter the idea that metaphysics doesn’t exist, that it’s the school returning of the late Medieval period, what was called the Medieval schoolmen. In some of his books, Evola talks about Heidegger, Martin Heidegger, of course, who got in trouble in the 1930s for his alleged academic positioning in relation to the most controversial regime of modernity. Heidegger, in my opinion, and I’ve talked about Heidegger before, was a quasi-essentialist to an essentialist thinker. Evola believes he’s an existentialist, but that’s largely by the by.

These anti-metaphysical views are that which surrounds us. All liberalism, all feminism, all quasi-Marxism, all bourgeois Marxism, all cultural Marxism, the extreme Left moderated a bit into the Center, high capitalist economics and the return of old liberalism against the Keynesianism which was the soft Marxism that replaced it earlier in the 20th century . . . All of these ideas are materialistic and atheistic and aspiritual and anti-metaphysical.

You could argue that the heroic Nietzschean dilemma in relation to what is called modernity is a quasi-metaphysical and metaphysically subjectivist view that there are values outside man and outside history that human beings commune with by virtue of the intensity with which they live their own lives. But there is a question mark over (1) the supernatural and (2) whether there is anything beyond, outside man within which those values could be anchored.

So, the idea of permanence, the idea of a metaphysical realm which most prior civilizations are based on—indeed Evola and the Traditionalists would say all prior civilizations are based on—is questioned by the Nietzschean compact. It is ultimately, maybe, the beginnings of a very Right-wing modern view, but it is a modernist view. Take it or leave it.

The sort of viewpoint that Evola moved towards, and there was a progression in his early life and spiritual career and intellectual and writing career, is what we might call metaphysical objectivism. This is called in present day language foundationalism or fundamentalism in relation to religiosity. Fundamentalism, like the far Right, are the two areas of culture that can’t be assimilated in what exists out there in [unintelligible] Street. They’re the two things that are outside and that’s why they can never entirely be drawn in.

Now, metaphysical objectivism is the absolute belief in the supernatural, the absolute belief in other states of reality, the absolute belief in gods and goddesses, the absolute belief in one supreme power (monotheism as against polytheism, for example), the absolute belief that certain iterizations, certain forms of language and spiritual  culture exist outside man: truth, justice, the meaning of law, purposive or teleological information about how a life should be lived. Most people in Western societies now are so dumbed down and so degraded by almost every aspect of life that nearly any philosophical speculation about life is indeterminate and almost completely meaningless. It’s a channel which they never turn on.

 

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Now, the type of metaphysical objectivism that Evola postulates as being an anchor for meaning in modern life can take many different forms. One of the great problems many Right-wing or re-foundational or primal movements or tribal movements or nationalistic movements of whatever character have is if there is a religion somewhere behind it–as there often is for many but not all of the key people involved in such movements and struggles–what form should that be? Everyone knows that culturally, and this is true of a formulation like GRECE or the New Right in France, as soon as you begin to get people of like-mind together they will split on whether they’re atheist or not, secularist or not, but they are also, on a deeper cultural level, split on whether they’re pagan influenced or Christian. Such divisions always bedevil Right-wing cultural and metapolitical groups.

The way that the Evolian Tradition looks at this is to engage in what is called perennialism. This is the inherent intellectual and ideological and theological idea that there are certain key truths in all of the major faiths. All of those faiths that have survived, that are recorded, that have come down to us, even their pale antecedents, even those dissident, deviant and would-be heretical elements of them that have been removed, in all of them can be seen a shard of the perspectival truth that these particular traditions could be said to manifest. Beneath this, of course, is the ethnic and racial idea that people in different groups within mankind as a body perceive reality differently, experience it differently, have different intellectual and linguistic responses to it, and form different cults, different myths, different religions because they are physically constituted in a manner that leads to such differentiation.

This can lead among certain perennialists to a sort of universalism at times, almost a neo-liberalism occasionally, where all cultures are of value, where all are “interesting,” where all are slightly interchangeable. But given that danger, the advantage for a deeply religious mind of the perennial tradition is to avoid the sectarianism and negative Puritanism which is inevitably part and parcel of building up large religious structures.

As always, a thinker like Evola proceeds from the individual and goes to the individual. This can give thinking of this sort a slightly unreal aspect for many people. Where are the masses? Where is the democratic majority? Where is the BBC vote that decides? The truth is Evola is not concerned with the BBC vote. He’s not concerned with the masses. He regards the masses, and the sort of theorists who go along with him regard the masses, as sacks of potatoes to be moved about. His thinking is completely anti-democratic, Machiavellian to a degree, and even manipulative of the masses as long as it’s down within an order of Tradition within which all have a part.

Evola dates the decline of modernity from, in a sense, the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance. But many thinkers of a similar sort date the slide at other times. Evola’s a Catholic and once asked about his religious particularism he said, “I’m a Catholic pagan,” which is a deeply truthful remark, dialectically. I am not a Christian, but if you look at it from the outside the core or ur part of Christianity is obviously Roman Catholicism, even though I was technically brought up in the Protestant sort of forcing house of Anglicanism. A wet sheet religion if ever there was one. But Anglicanism, of course, is a syncretic religion. It’s a politically created religion. A bit Catholic, a bit Protestant, but not too much, and with a liberal clerisy at the top that’s partly Protestant-oriented within it and exists to manage the thing.

One of the truthful, although this is en passant, asides that can be made about Anglicanism and the reason why it’s been supported even today through state establishmentarianism when virtually no one attends these churches at all except the odd old lady and immigrants from the Third World, is that it’s a way of damming up some of the extremism that does lurk in religion. Religion is a very dangerous formulation as the modern world is beginning to understand.

evola_card10.jpgI remember Robin Cook, who was a minister who opposed the Iraq War and so on and died on a Scottish mountain, all that obsessive walking when one’s thin and redheaded can lead to undue coronaries, but Cook once said, and he’s a son of the manse like most of these Scottish politicians are, in other words, he comes from a Calvinist background to a degree, he said that in his early life he thought with the general Marxist and Freudian conundrum that religion was over. And now towards the end of his life, this is just before he died, he said, “the dark, clammy, icy hand of religiosity,” in all sorts of systems, “is rising again, and secular Leftists like us,” he’s speaking of himself and those who believe in his viewpoint, “are feeling the winds of this force coming from the side and from behind.” It’s a force that they don’t like.

I personally believe, as with Evola, that people are hardwired for faith. Maybe 1 in 10 have no need for it at all. But for most people it’s a requirement. The depth of the belief, the knowledge that goes into the belief, the system they come out of, is slightly incidental. But man needs emotional truths. George Bernard Shaw once said, “The one man with belief is worth 50 men who don’t have any” and it’s quite true that all of the leaders of great movements and those that imposed their will upon [unintelligible] inside and outside of particular countries have considerable and transcendent beliefs, philosophical, quasi-philosophical, religious, semi-religious, philosophical melded into religious and vice versa. Without the belief that there’s something above you and before you and beyond you and behind you that leads to that which is above you, we seem as a species content to slough down into the lowest common denominator, the lowest possible level.

Evola and those who think like him believe that this is the lowest age that mankind has ever experienced, despite its technological abundance, despite its extraordinary array of technological devices that even in an upper pub room in central west London you can see around you. It is also true, and this is one of the complications with these sorts of beliefs, that some of the methodologies that have led to this plasma screen behind me would actually be denied by elements of some of the religiosity that people like him would put forward, but that’s one of the conundrums about epistemology, about what you mean by meaning, which lurks in these types of theories.

The interesting thing about these beliefs is that they are primal. Turn on the television, turn on the radio, the World Cup is just about to begin. Everywhere there is trivia. Everywhere there is celebration of the majority. Everywhere there is celebration of the desire for us all to embrace and become one world, one world together. As someone recently said, “I don’t want to be English. I don’t want to be British. England’s a puddle,” he said. “I want to step out. I want to be a citizen of the world! I don’t want to have a race. I don’t want to have a kind. I don’t want to have a group . . . even a class! I don’t want to come from anywhere. I want to be on this planet! This planet is my home!” Well, my view is that sort of fake universality . . .  Maybe you should get him one of these dinky rockets and fire himself off into some other firmament, because this is the home that we have and know. And the only reason that we can define it as such is by virtue of the diversity of what exists upon it. But the number of people who wish to maintain that level of diversity and the pregnant meanings within it seem to get smaller and smaller with each generation.

The politicians that we have now are managers of a social system. It’s quite clear that we do not have three ruling parties, but one party with three wings, the nature of which are interchangeable in relation to gender, where you come from in the country, class, background, how you were educated, and whether you arrived in the country as a newcomer in the last 40 to 50 years or not.

Now, Evola’s step back from what has made the modern world leads to certain radical conclusions about it which are spiritually and politically aristocratic. Most people are only aware of the Left-Right split as it relates to a pre-immigration, slightly organic society where social class was the basis for political alignment. Bourgeois center Right: conservatism of some sort. Center Left: Labour, social-democratic, trade unionist, and so on. Now we have a racial intermingling which complicates even that division. The distinction between the aristocratic and upper class attitude and the bourgeois attitude, which is as pronounced as any Left-Right split between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, is that which Evola advocates.

Evola believes, in some respects, in masters and slaves, or certainly serfs. He believes that the merchant and those who deal purely with economics have to be subordinated to politics, to higher politics, to metapolitics, to military struggle. He believes that the warrior and the religious leader and the farmer and the intellectual/scholar/craftsman/artist are uniquely superior to those that make money, and nearly all of Evola’s views are in some way a form of aristocraticism.

If you look at all of the sports that he favors–fencing, mountaineering–they all involve lone individuals who prepare themselves for a task which is usually dangerous and which can usually result–mountaineering for example and his book Meditations on the Peaks–in annihilation, if you go wrong, but creates an extraordinary and ecstatic sense of self-overbecoming if you conquer K2, the Peruvian mountains, the Eiger, Mount Everest and so on. Even in the more populist forms of mountaineering, the sort of beard and upper middle class Chris Bonington cheery mountaineering as you might call it, there is a streak of aristocratic, devil may care and Byronic license. The bourgeois view is, “Why do that!? It’s dangerous. It’s pitiless. You could be hurt and injured! There’s no profit. It serves no higher reason than itself.” For Evola, the reason and the purpose is the reason to do it. It is the stages that you go through and the mental states you get into as you prepare and you execute a task which is dangerous and the same analogy can be extended to martial combat, the same analogy can be extended to sports like ancient wrestling.

Modern wrestling is a circus, of course, where the outcome is largely decided by the middlemen who negotiate the bouts between clowns, who can still damage each other very severely. But ancient wrestling was a bout that ended very quickly and was essentially religious, which is why the area that they wrestled in was purified with salt in most of the major traditions.

Fencing: Take away the protective gloves and gear and you have gladiatorial combat between people who are virtually on the brink of life and death. It’s only one step removed from Olympic fencing. Notice that in the contemporary Olympics, a movement that was founded in modernity on the Grecian ideal, nearly always founded by aristocrats, all of the early victors in shooting and fencing and all these early sports are aristocrats. Of course, the early Olympics have their funny side. Many of the female athletes that won the early Olympics were transsexuals. Of course, medical checks were instituted to prevent hermaphrodites and people of diverse genders and that sort of thing from competing in these competitions. But the individualistic sports in a mass age have been disprivileged and are largely regarded as strange wonderland sports that the masses only flip channels over in relation to the Olympics.

For a man like Evola and for the sensibility which he represents, things like sport are not a diversion. They are targets for initiation in relation to processes of understanding about self, the other, and life that transcend the moment. So, one bout leads to another, leads to another moment of skill. It is as if these moments, which most people always try to avoid rather than engage upon, are in slow motion. The whole point of Evola’s attitude toward these and other matters is to go beyond that which exists in a manner which is upwards and transcendent in its portending direction.

This is a society which always looks downwards. “What will other people think? What will one’s neighbors think? What will people out there think? What will all this BBC audience think? What do the masses, Left, Right, Center, pressing their buttons on panels and consoles think?” The sort of Evolian response is what they think is of no importance and they ought to think what the aristocrats of the world, in accordance with the traditions, which are largely religious, out of which their social order comes, think. You can understand that this is an attitude which is not endeared, this type of thinking, to contemporary pundits and to the world as it now is.

The_Yoga_of_Power_Cover.jpgIt’s also inevitable that when Evola’s books were published they would enter the English-speaking world via the occult, via mysticism, via various types of initiated and individualistic religiosity. The whole point about the Western occult, whether one believes in the literal formulation that these people spout or whether one believes in it metaphorically and quasi-subjectively, is that it’s an individualistic form of religiosity. In simple terms, mass religion involves a small clerisy or priesthood in the old Catholic sense up there and the laity are down there and it’s in Medieval Latin, it’s slightly mysterious, you partly understand it if you’re grammar school educated, otherwise you don’t, it’s mysterious and semi-initiated, but you don’t really know, the mystery is part of the wonder of the thing, you look up at them and they’ve got their backs to you, and they’re looking up further beyond them towards the divine as they perceive it. Now, that’s a traditional form of mass religiosity, if you like.

But the type of religiosity with which he was concerned was individualistic and voltaic. It was essentially the idea that everyone in a small group is a priest. Sometimes there’s a priest and a warrior combined. One of the many scandals that we have in modernity is crimes that are committed by members of various religious groups and organizations. Many Traditionalist minded people believe that the reporting of these crimes in the mass media is deliberately exaggerated in order to demonize any retrospectively traditional elements of a prior and metaphysically conservative type in the society.

But if one looks at it another way–and one of the things about Evola is the creativeness of the aristocratic mind that looks at essentially Centrist and bourgeois problems in a completely different perspective–he would say about those sorts of scandals, which I won’t belabor people with because everyone knows about them, that it’s the absence of the dialectic between the priest, somebody who believes in something, somebody who believes in a philosophy that isn’t just theirs and therefore relates to a society and relates to a continuing generic tradition out of which they come . . . Most contemporary philosophers are “just my view.” “Just my view as a tiny little atom.” Rather than my view as something that’s concentric and links me to something larger and that therefore can be socially efficacious. But from an Evolian perspective, the absence of the warrior or the martial and soldierly traditions and its interconnection with belief and the individual who believes is the reason for decadence or deconstruction or devilment or decay in these religious organizations. In his way of looking at things, there’s a seamlessness between the poet-artist, the warrior, and the religious believer. They are different formulations of the same sort of thing, because they are always looking upwards and, in a way, are deeply individualistic and egotistical but transcend that, because the concentration on one’s self or one’s own thinking, one’s own feeling, one’s own concerns, one’s own attitude towards this mountain, this woman, this fight, this text is conditioned by that which you come out of and move towards.

Evola doesn’t believe in progress nor does the Tradition that he comes out of. They don’t believe in scientific progress. They don’t believe in evolution. But his anti-evolutionism is strange and interesting. It’s got nothing to do with creationism and, if you like, the Evangelical politics of certain parts of what you might call the Puritan American Right, for example. His attitude is a reverse attitude, which in a strange way is an involuntary and inegalitarian way of looking at the same issue. His view is that the apes are descended from us as we go upwards rather than we are descended from them as we leave them in their simian animalism. So, in a way, it’s actually a reformulation of the same idea but looking upwards and always seeing, if you like, the snobbish, the aristocratic, the prevailing, the over-arching view rather than viewing the thing from a mass, generic, and middling perspective which includes people.

Tony Blair says the worst vice anyone can have is to be intolerant. It’s to be exclusive. It’s to exclude people. “The nature of Britishness is inclusion,” when, of course, the nature of any group identity is exclusion, and who is on the boundary and who can be allowed in and the subtleties and grains of difference that exist between one excluded group and another, where one tendency of man ends and another begins. Evola believes, in a very controversial way, that decline is morphic and spiritual combined. In other words, races of man have a spiritual dimension, have a higher emotional dimension, have a psychological dimension, but never forget that Evola is not a Nietzschean. He is not somebody who believes that it’s all at this level. He believes that the gods speak to man directly and indirectly and the civilizations that we come out of are based essentially on religious premises.

Moderns who sneer at these sorts of attitudes, of course, forget that virtually every civilization that mankind has ever had until relatively recently, and in every civilization there are documents and artifacts which are included in the storehouse of the British Museum just over there in central London, was religiously and theologically based. It’s only really in a post-Enlightenment, Scottish Enlightenment, English Enlightenment, French Enlightenment, 18th century plus sort of a way that the secularization of Western Europe rivals the rest of the planet. Further east in Europe, less of it. Further south in Europe, a bit less of it. Religiosity on most of the other continents of the Earth is still a primary force, but Evola would despise the sort of religiosity that prevails there because he would see in it broken down thinking, syncretism, the people who would say he would be in favor of contemporary Saudi Arabia, for example, would probably be sorely disappointed. He would see under the religious police, under the strict observance of this or that rule, American satellite dishes and modern devices and that which is external, in relation to modernity, and which is being internally accepted. So, Evola was always the critic, if you like, and always on the outside.

Now, his career is quite complicated because when he was a very young man he fought in the First World War on the Italian side. They, of course, fought on the “Western” or Allied side in that war as is often forgotten. There are some extraordinary photos of him on the internet in these goggles and these helmets looking like extraordinarily fascistic, and that movement hadn’t even really been created then. He looks like that in a D’Annunzian-type way, stylistically, even before the gesture itself.

Evola, of course, partly disapproved of Fascism and National Socialism even though he became very heavily implicated and/or involved in both of them, because in his view they weren’t Right-wing enough! They weren’t traditional enough. They weren’t organic enough. They weren’t extreme enough. Evola is probably the only thinker in the 20th century whose written a slim volume criticizing National Socialism from the Right not from any point to the Left. He only aligned with these movements because they forced modernity to question itself and because they were anti-democratic and because they were ferocious and desired morally and semi-theologically–because few, including liberal critics, would deny that there was a semi-theological insistence to most of the radical European movements, even of the Left but certainly of the Right, in the first half of the last century. Evola saw in these movements a chance but no more, which is why he flirted with them, why he wrote a fascist magazine in Italy, why he went to colleges run by Himmler’s SS in Germany, why he was disapproved of by them, why he had sympathizers in the Ernst Jünger-like in the party who protected him, why he was allowed to write with a degree of freedom whilst giving a degree of loyalist obeisance to these structures and yet, at the same time, to remain outside them. The question has to be raised whether Evola’s philosophy is consonant with the creation of a society or whether it will become, if you like, a spirited individualism.

Evola was also involved in the beginning of his career in one of the most radical modernist movements of the 20th century: Dadaism in Italy. He produced Dadaist paintings. Now, this, superficially, looks quite extraordinary. But of course there was a strong interconnection between certain early modernisms and fascistic ideologies. The reason that he became involved in Dadaism is quite interesting, and, of all things, there is a talk on YouTube that lasts four-and-a-half minutes in which Evola is an old man explicating why he was involved. He says the reason we got involved in these movements was to attack the bourgeoisie, was to attack the middle class, and was to attack middle class sensibility and sentimentality. The extraordinary radical anti-system nature of many radical Right ideas, which is hidden in more moderate and populist variants, comes out staring at you full in the face in people like Evola. Many fascistic and radical movements of the Right, of course, were peopled by adventurers and outsiders and quasi-artists and demi-criminals and religious mystics and madmen and people who were outside of the grain of mainstream life, particularly people who were socialized by the Great War, which many of them experienced as a revolution.

Wyndham Lewis who was strongly drawn aesthetically to modernism and politically to various forms of fascism and was a personal friend of Sir Oswald Moseley once said that for us, the First War was a revolution, wasn’t a war. We saw killing on a truly industrial scale. We saw the industrialization of slaughter.

One of the interesting ironies of the Evolian, and in some ways Ernst Jünger’s, position about war is that, although thinkers like them are regarded by pacifists and liberal humanists and feminists, as warmongers, there is a distaste for mass war in Jünger and Evola and the others, because it’s the war of the ants, the war of the masses in blood and dung and soil and gore. There is nothing chivalric about a man being torn to pieces by a helicopter gunship when he doesn’t even have a chance to get his Armalite into the air.

Evola would prefer the doctrine of the champion. You know, when two Medieval armies meet, and one enormous, hulking man comes out of one army, in full regalia trained in martial splendor and arts as a previous speaker discussed in relation to the Norse tradition, and another champion emerges and they fight for a limited objective that leaves civilization intact on either side. But the one that is defeated will obviously pay dues to the other.

Now, this shows the extremely Byronic, individualistic, and aristocratic spirit that lurks in Evola’s formulations. The way that his works have come down to us, of course, is the way that he lived his life and the books that he wrote. It’s interesting that the Anglo-Saxon world has received his literature through translations by mystic and occultistic publishers in the United States: about tantra, about Buddhism, about Japanese warrior castes and traditions, about the Holy Grail, about Greco-Roman, High Christian, pagan, and post-pagan Europeanist and other traditions.

Another radicalism about Evola is his total unstuffiness and absence of prudery in dealings with sex. Evola wrote a book called Metaphysics of Sex. He regards sexuality as a primal biological instantiation through which the races of man are renewed and replaced. But at the same time he regarded it as one of the primary human acts of great energy and force that has to be channeled, has to be made use of, has to be transcended in and of itself. You have this odd commitment to tantra, which is a sort of erotic extremism of occultic sex, and a total opposition to pornography. Why? Because the one involves commercialization of sex, the one involves money interrelated with sexuality. From this purely primal perspective, unless a marriage is arranged between dynastic states or groups for particular statal purposes, which is fine, money has almost nothing to do with these areas of life.

 

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The disprivileging of money as the basis of everything and the belief that the society that we have now is the result of the fact that every politician in all of the parties represented in the major assemblies, including radical Right parties essentially of a populist hue actually, believe in Homo economicus. They believe that man is an economic integer and nothing else matters. Immigration? It’s good for the economy, don’t you know? Mass movements of capital around the world at the flick of a button on a screen in exchanges all around the globe, particularly in the Far East now but also ubiquitously? It’s good for the economy! Everything is based upon the freeing of people from prior forms of alleged servitude due to economic enhancement. The sort of doctrines Evola holds are not neo-Medieval, nor are they a desire for a return to the ancient world with certain modern technologies. In some ways, they are a return to the verities that existed before the modern world was created.

One of the most substantial critiques of this type of thinking is the belief that the modern world is inevitable, that all cultures and races will modernize and are doing so at a great rate of knots, that skyscrapers and enormous megalopolic cities are being thrust up in the Andes and the Far East and even client Chinese-built ones will emerge in Africa and elsewhere and that it would be onwards and upwards forever in relation to what we have now. There are grotesque problems with that, of course, because to give every human on this planet irrespective of race, kinship, clime, and culture a middle American lifestyle you will need 3 planets, 8 planets, 10 planets, or you may need them, in order to give them that middle American feeling. The three satellite dishes, the condominium, the three Chelsea tractors outside in the driveway, the multiple channel TV, and so on. To give every African that we will need many, many planets and many, many times the economic wherewithal that we have even at the moment.

The interesting thing about Evola is that many issues that convulse people today–famine in the Third World, war in the Congo, HIV/AIDS–he would say they’re interesting, of course, because they’re things that are going on, and everything has a meaning even beyond itself. But ultimately they’re unimportant. The number of humans on the Earth doesn’t matter to his type of thinking. Pain and suffering do not matter in accordance with his type of thinking. Indeed, he welcomes them as part of the plenitude of life, because life begins in pain and ends in pain and most people live their entire lives in denial of the fact that life is circular as his philosophical tradition believes the world is and meaning is. There is progression around the circle, but there is decline, and decline and death are part of an endless process of will and becoming.

It is essentially and in a very cardinal way a religious view of life, but also a metaphysically pessimistic and conservative view of life in a profound way that the conservatism of contemporary liberal Tories like Cameron would not even begin to understand. To a man like him, theories of Evola’s sort are lunacy, quite literally, the return to the Dark Ages, the return to the Middle Ages, quasi-justifications of slavery, quasi-justifications of the Waffen SS. This is what Cameron or his colleagues on the front bench and his even more liberal colleagues on the same front bench would say about these sorts of ideas.

1907166939.jpgBut the irony is that 300 to 400 years ago, most civilized structures on Earth were based on these ideas. Even the modern ones that replaced them are based upon the contravention of these sorts of ideas, which means that they realized they were real enough to rebel against in the first instance. It’s also true that even in the high point of modernity, post-modernity, hypermodern reality, all the phrases that are used, when a war occurs, when the planes go into the towers in New York, when the helicopter gunships stream over Arabian sands, you suddenly see a slippage in the liberal verities and in the materialism and in some of the ideas which are used to justify these sorts of things. Not much of a slippage, but you suddenly see a slippage, what occultists and mystics call a “rending of the veil,” a ripping of the veil of illusion between life and death.

What is life really about? Is life really about shopping? Is life really about making more and more money? Is life really about bourgeois status when one already has enough to live on? Is life really about eating yourself to death? These are the sorts of things that Evola’s viewpoint pushes before people, which is why the majority will always push it away.

His political texts are essentially Revolt Against the Modern World, Men Among the Ruins, and Ride the Tiger, which explore the nature of a man who is born now when most of the prior traditions of his culture and his civilization have collapsed.  The decivilization of man, the fact that Western cities have turned into Third World zones, the fact that semi-criminality is endemic, the fact that when you go into a street graffiti is there, rap music blares from a passing car, 20%, 40% of the street has no relationship to you aesthetically or ethnically or racially or culturally. Evola would see this as part of the inevitable climate of decline and spiraling downwards towards matter, which is intentional and volitional.

The most controversial area of Evola is when he begins to unpick and reformulate many classic propositionalisms of what might be called the “Old Right” to determine what has occurred and why. Evola is essentially, although he began in a more subjectivist and changeable mood, a deeply religious and aristocratic man. This means there is always a reason. Liberals believe that everything is a confusion and everything is contingent upon itself and everything is an accident waiting to happen. But like Christ in the New Testament, who believes that when two birds fall to the ground the father is aware, Evola believes that there is always a purpose and a reason. Evola believes that civilizations are collapsing in on themselves and tearing themselves apart internally for reasons that are pushed by elites and by forces which are manifest within them that will that desire. The endless atoms and causal moments in the chains may not know of that which is coming, that which is non-volitional, that which is partly pre-programmed. He believes that these tendencies of mass servitude, mass death, mass proletarianization spiritually, mass plebeianism, mass social welfare, mass social democracy are willed, that the destructivity of prior cultural orders is willed and definite, and certain racial groups are used to facilitate that destruction, and that other groups use them in order to achieve it.

He believes in an aristocracy of man, because he believes everything is hierarchical. There was an interesting moment in a by-election in East London or eastern London just recently when the chairman of the party that I used to be in a while ago was asked by a woman of Afro-Caribbean ancestry, “Are we equal with you?” The media’s there, you know. Twenty cameras are upon this individual, and, therefore, given the logic and the paradigm that he is in he said, “Yes.” He would probably want to say, “Yes, but . . . ,” but the media has gone on because it’s got the required answer. Indeed, lots of media investigation now is asking a politician to affirm their correctness before a prior methodological statement, and woe betide any of them if they show the slightest backsliding on any issue about which they should be progressive.

Who can put words in the mouth of somebody who died a while back, but Evola’s answer, the answer of his type of thinking, would be that that woman is unequal in relation to a black writer like Wole Soyinka, who is a Nigerian from the Yoruba tribe and won the Nobel Prize. Is he worthy of winning the Nobel Prize? Was he given the prize in the 1990s because it was fashionable to do? Rabindranath Tagore, the great Indian writer and Brahmin and higher caste type, won it in 1913. Probably wasn’t too much political correctness then, but there was probably a bit even then. The Evolian answer is that she is not equal in relation Soyinka, and Soyinka is not equal in relation to Chaucer or Defoe or Shakespeare or Voltaire or Dante or Tolstoy or Dostoevsky or Wagner, that everything is unequal and that everything is hierarchical and that there is a hierarchy within an individual and between individuals and between groups of individuals, because everything is looking upwards and everything has a different purpose in life.

This means that those who are at the middle and the bottom of an ethnicity, of a social order, of a gender, of a prior historical dispensation should not be lonely, in his way of looking at things, or afraid or rebellious or full of alienation and fear. Because everyone has a role within a hierarchy and people can move to a degree although his viewpoint is essentially aristocratic and not meritocratic. A man like Nietzsche, who Bertrand Russell once condemned as advocating an aristocracy when he was not born in it or anywhere near it, would be accepted, but never completely accepted by an aristocratic caste. Things that are regarded as hopelessly naïve and snobbish now, Evola regards as just due form.

locandina.jpgWhat is the worst thing in the world at the present time according to Sky News? Probably discrimination. Discrimination of one sort or another. Evola would believe that discrimination is the taxonomy of an aristocratic sensibility. One reaches for a piece of cake, one discriminates. One has an arranged marriage with another member of the Sicilian nobility, one discriminates. One reaches for a sword to do down a bounder that one wishes to beat with the flat of the blade, one discriminates between the weapon and the object of the rage, which is itself indifferent because it sees something beyond even itself. These are views, of course, that the majority of people will find cold, chilling, brutal, [unintelligible] beyond their conception. Almost forms of insanity in actual fact in relation to what is today regarded as normal or moral or even human. They are partly inhuman ideas, in some ways, but they are ideas that most aristocracies and most warrior castes have had for most forms of human history.

Evola’s books are now widely available to those who wish to read them. The great conundrum of his work is, does it portend to an asceticism? In other words, if the era of destruction, which is the Kali Yuga on the ideology which he puts forward, which is the Hindu age of destruction where everything is broken and everything is melded together prior to decomposition which will feed a universal rebirth at a future time, because mankind is seasonal in relation to Spengler’s view of the world where his view of history is compared to plants and botany to give it some sort of methodology, some sort of structure.

Don’t forget, these are 19th century and early 20th century ideas. No history don, or hardly any history don, today believes history has a meaning. Carlyle believed that the sort of deistic nature of history impinged upon the decadence of the French royalist elite and it led to the revolution because they didn’t superintend France properly. He sort of believed in his Protestant, thundering way from the pulpit of his study in the mid-19th century that the French Revolution was an outcome that was partly deserved by a failing aristocracy. In other words, history had a meaning.

It had a purpose. Nobody believes history has a meaning or a purpose. Certain anti-fascists would say Stalingrad had a purpose, but they forget that the Red Army shot 16-18,000 of their own men, and the Commissars stood 18 feet behind the lines. They shot an army of their own men in order to win that battle, just as secret police in the Third World cut off the ears and cut out the tongues of any who retreat in battle before they send them back to their villages.

Would Evola approve of that? He would probably say that if it was done individualistically or as a matter of revenge or of rage it’s dependent upon the circumstances, but to do it in a mass-oriented way–mass camps, mass sirens, the totalitarian response particularly of communism, the reduction of everything to the lowest common denominator so all can be free in a sort of pig-like uniformity–he would consider that really to be death and to be fought against.

Evola is extraordinarily controversial because there is an area in his thinking, particularly in relation to the Islamic world, that leads almost to the justification, as certain liberal critics say, of forms of religious terrorism. He never quite advocates that, but it’s quite clear that his loathing of the modern world is so much and his nuanced appreciation of the Islamic concept of Jihad–where you fight within yourself against doubt and fight externally in a quasi-pagan and masculine way against the enemy that is without you–has a resonance that chimes with certain extremist religious people who basically want to blow the modern world up.

So, Evola is, as I say in my title, one of the world’s most Right-wing, certainly most elitist, thinkers. The interesting thing about him is that everything always looks upwards, even his doctrine of race.

You find in many racialistic movements a sort of socialism. That if you are of my ethnicity you are “all right,” as if possession of a certain melanin skin content or absence of same is all that the thing was about. When Norman Tebbit says that the British National Party is old Labour plus allied racialism, there is always a streak of truth to such viewpoints. Evola doesn’t believe in that.

Evola believes that race is spiritual as well as physical. If a man comes to you and says, “Oh, I’m White! You should be looking after me, mate!” he would say what is your intellect, what is your quality, what is your moral sense, what do you know about your civilization, how far are you prepared to fight for it, what pain can you endure, have you had understanding of death in your family and in life, are you a mature and profound human being or are you part of the limitless universality although you were born in a particular group which I respect and come from myself.? That’s the sort of principle that he would have.

Now, that is an attitude of revolutionary snobbery in a way, but it’s snobbery based upon ideas of character. And in the end as we know, politically, character is a fundamentally important thing. And the absence of it, particularly in quasi-authoritarian movements is poisonous because people once in place cannot be removed except by the most radical of means. So, there is a degree to which leadership is all important.

Look at an army. An army is not a gang of thugs. But it can easily become one. An army can easily become a rabble, but armies are controlled by hierarchies of force, the nature of which is partly impalpable. Each squad has a natural leader. Each squad has its non-commissioned officer. Each squad has an officer above them. In real armies, German, British armies of the past, if one officer goes down somebody replaces them from lower down, assumes immediately the responsibility that goes with that role. Even if all the officers are gone and all non-commissioned officers, the natural leader, one of the 5%–most behavioral anthropologists believe that 1 in 20 of all people have leadership critera–can step forward in a moment of crisis and are looked to by the others, because they provide meaning and order and hierarchy in a moment of stress.

Have you ever noticed that when people undergo disaster or when they’re in difficulties they look for help, but they also look for people to lead them out of it? Leaders are never liked, because it’s sort of lonely at the top, but leadership is probably like the desire to believe in something beyond yourself. It’s inborn. And while the principle of leadership remains, where in even democratic societies leaders are required in order to energize the democratic masses . . .

Don’t forget, most of the Caesarisms of modernity are Red forms of Caesarism, forms of extreme authoritarianism and even pitilessness all in the name of the people. All raised in the name of the masses and their glory and their freedom, their liberty and their equality. When Forbes magazine says that the Castro family’s wealth in communist Cuba is $70 million US dollars, when it calls them communist princes . . . Don’t forget, an ordinary man in Cuba could be in prison for owning his own plumbing business. When you realize that these people are princelings of reversal, you sense that some of the hierarchies, although they wear different names and different forms, are occurring in an entropic phase or in a culture of decay do relate to many of Evola’s ideas even in reversal. He would say this is because these ideas are eternal and are perennial and will out in the end.

The traditional political Right-wing criticism of these sorts of ideas is that they are purely philosophical, they relate to individuals and their lives, they tend to Hermeticism and the ascetic view that a learned spiritual man, a man of some substance, can go off and live by himself and the rest can rot down to nothing and who cares. They say that they feed a sort of post-aristocratic misanthropy.

Look at our own aristocracy. They probably lost power in about 1912. They were never shot like in the Soviet Union, they were never beheaded like in revolutionary France of 200 years before. But they have lost everything in a way because their function has been taken from them, hasn’t it? The reason for those schools, the reason they were bred in the first place, the reason for all their privileges and so on has been taken away. The fascination with the Lord Lucan case in the ’70s, the sort of decline of that class. He listens to Hitler’s speeches at Oxford, beats the nanny to death, not even get the right woman in the basement. This sort of thing. Can’t even get that right! Couldn’t even get the crime right! It’s the decline of a class, isn’t it? Going down, and knowing they’ve gone down as well. It’s sort of Oswald Moseley’s son enjoys being dressed up as a woman and spanked and his son has just died of a heroin overdose. And yet Oswald Moseley is in that family chain. You don’t really need to think that there is a sort of efflorescence there. It’s a bit unfair on that family and so on.

But don’t forget, this was a class that was born to pitilessness and rule. This was a class that identified with eagles. That’s why they put them on their shields and on their ties and on their schools. And now look at them.

 

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But, of course, they have in a sense joined the rest, haven’t they? They’ve joined the mass. And what they once were no longer matters. Cameron sums it up in a strange sort of way. Traditionally, since the 1960s, the Tories have always elected pushy middle class people with which the mass of their electoral support can identify.

It was always said Douglas-Home would be the last of the old breed. He was premier when I was born. He would be the last of the old breed that would survive and thrive. When asked about unemployment in 1961, Douglas-Home said, “There’s room for a second gamekeeper on my estate.” And people said he was out of touch. Out of touch! And he was out of touch! Let’s face it. But he thought that was a quite commodious and moral answer, you see.

Cameron is strange because all of the ease–the ease before the camera, the ease before people, no notes, look at me, not a trembling lip–all of that ease is part of the genetics of what he partly comes out of. And yet all of his values are bourgeois. All of his values are middling and mercantile. All of his values are this society’s as it now is.

Would Douglas-Home have joined or even given money to United Against Fascism, who he would have regarded as smelly little people on the margins of society who were a Left-wing rabble who probably needed to be beating the grass somewhere? Or in my regiment. You see what I mean? The idea that he would identify with these people because the real enemy represents the seeds of the aristocracy from which one has fled, that wouldn’t occur to him. He was too much what he was, basically, as a form to really consider these lies and this legerdemain and this flight of fancy.

One comes to the most controversial area of Evola’s entire prognosis, and this is the belief that Jewishness is responsible for decline and that they are a distant and another race that pushes upon things and causes things to fall and be destroyed. These are the views, of course, the belief that there is a morphic element in the nature of the decline, that has made him so untouchable and controversial. The interesting thing is that when he was approached about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which is believed by all liberal humanist scholars to be a forgery of the Okhrana secret police based upon an alleged French novel, I think in the 19th century, Evola said, I’m not concerned whether it’s a forgery or not, which is a very interesting response.

Because in Evola’s occultistic and Hermetic view of the world you can indicate something through its reversal, you can indicate something through metaphorization, something can be emotionally true and not completely factually true, a text can be used to exemplify truths deeper than its own surface. This is a religious view of the text, of course, that the text does not end with itself. It’s a Medieval view and is based upon a science of linguistic study called hermeneutics where you would look at every word, you would look at every paragraph, you would look at every piece of syntax to deconstruct for essence rather than deconstruct to find the absence of essence.

In the Western world, if you go to university now and you do any humanities, any arts, any liberal arts, or any social science course you will come across an ideology called deconstruction. Even vaguely, the semi-educated have heard of it. This is a viewpoint that says that any essentialisms (race, class isn’t an essentialism, but it begins to become one in the minds of man, belief in God, gender and so on) lead to the gates of Auschwitz. This is what deconstruction is based on as a theory. Therefore you look at every text, you look at every film, because they’re obsessed with mass culture, you see, looking at what the masses look at and what they’re fed by the capitalist cultural machine. They look at this and say, oh look, dangerous essentialism there. Did you see in that John Wayne film? Did you see the way he spoke to the Red Indian? Sorry, Native American. You see that sort of thing. You look at these things and you break them down and you break them down again and you break down the element of sort of “David Duke” logic that could be said to lie in that particular phrasing and so on.

But the sort of analysis that Evola maintains is what you might call constructionism rather than deconstructionism. And that’s building upon the essences of things and bringing out their discriminatory differences. So, to him the fact that that text may have been put into circulation by the Okhrana, the czarist secret police, as a profound Hermetic, metaphoricization for courses of history which may or may not be occurring, is worthy of study. He again returns to the idea that everything has meaning.

If you want war with the Islamic world, the towers will fall. If you a pacifist and isolationist America to enter the Great War, a particular boat with civilians onboard but weapons underneath, will be torpedoed by the Germans. If you want to get the isolationist boobs of middle America into a global struggle in the early 1940s you allow the prospect of an attack that you know is going to happen to it there and you make sure your aircraft carriers are not there and you blame the middling officers who were there for their incompetence retrospectively because it is the moment to kick start democratic engagement with heroic and Spartan activities.

Who can doubt that there is a streak of the Spartan? When an American Marine goes up a beach on Iwo Jima or when he fights in Fallujah? Some of the modern world has certainly fallen away for that man as he faces oblivion in warriorship against the other, even within the modern. People like Evola and Jünger would realize that. There’s even at times, in the extremity of modern warfare, a return to the individual. What about these American pilots and these other pilots, these Russian pilots, who fly in these planes, and the warrior is part of the plane. You know, they have a computer in their visor and they have all sorts of statistics coming up before them. It’s like a man who is an army fighting on his own, isn’t it? He’s got an amount of force under his wings which is equivalent to an army of centuries ago. So, you have a return to elite individuals trained only for killing and warriorship at the top tier of present Western advanced military metaphysics.

The interesting thing about Evola’s way of thinking is it’s creative. Most Right-wing people are pessimistic introverts who don’t like the world they were born into, but Evola seems to be to me in some ways an extravagant, optimistic aristocrat who always sees, not the best side of everything, but the most heroic side of everything that goes beyond even itself. Even if the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in accordance with his diction, was a lie and can be proved to be such, the fact that millions were motivated to believe in it, millions to reject its causation, that people fought out the consequences and the consequences of the consequences in relation to even some of those ideas, means that it is of great specificity and import.

 

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Nietzsche has the idea that a man stands on the edge of a pond, and he skims a pebble into the pond, and it skips across the water. You know when you get it skimming right and it goes and it goes and it goes and wave upon wave moves upon the surface, and you can’t predict the formulation of the wave and the current that it leads into. And that History has unknown consequences.

The Maoist general who was asked by an American sympathizer after the Maoist Long March, itself partly mythological, “What’s your view of the French Revolution?” And he memorably replied, “It’s too early to tell.” Because it’s only two 200 years back. That is the sort of perspective that Evola has.

Although there will be crushing defeats, and men of his sort, aristocrats, for whom the modern world has no time, play polo, waste your money, go to brothels, gamble all the time. There’s no role for you. The world is ruled by machines and money and committees and Barack Obama.

You know, American Rightists call Obama “Obamination” instead of abomination. Is he the signification for everything that is declining in America and isn’t all of these middle class tax revolt type movements which are 100% grassroots American really within the allowed channels of opposition? “He’s a socialist!” “It’s all about tax. It’s not about anything else.” “It’s all within the remit of health care budgetary constraints and views on same.” Etc, etc. “What about the deficit?” Aren’t all of these movements and the rage that they contain elements and spectrums of what he would call anti-modernity or semi-anti-modernity within modernity?

None of us know what the future will hold, but it is quite clear that unless people of advanced type in our group believe in some of the traditions that they come out of again, they will disappear. And in Evola’s view they will have deserved to disappear. So, my view is that whatever one’s view, whatever one’s system of faith . . . and don’t forget that in the Greek world you could disbelieve in the gods and think they were metaphors, you could kneel before a statue of them or you could have a philosophical belief in between the two and all were part of the same culture, all were part of the same city-state, and if called upon as a free citizens to defend it, even Socrates would stand in line with his shield and his spear.

All of Evola’s books are now available on the internet. The most controversial passages about morphology and ethnicity are all available on the internet. Read Julius Evola. Read an aristocrat for the past and the future, and look back to the perennial Traditions that are part and parcel of Western civilization and can fuel the imagination and fire even in those who don’t entirely believe in them.

Thank you very much!

 

 


 

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jeudi, 16 octobre 2014

Julius Evola e la donna crudele

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Julius Evola e la donna crudele

Ex: http://romeocastiglione.wordpress.com

Si annida il mistero tra le impalcature dell’imponente opera evoliana Metafisica del sesso. Nei capitoli ammalianti è celato un particolare erotismo evocativo; le tematiche affrontate nel volume brillano di un’immortale e remota luce. L’archetipo femminile è denso di sacralità e spiritualità arcana. La donna è inquadrata in un’ottica tradizionale, ancestrale: è sospesa nella perenne immutabilità ed è legata in modo preponderante alla terra, alla luna, ai ritmi ciclici del mondo. È un libro spiazzante, intrigante, coinvolgente. Le righe si sovrappongono nell’immaginario. Julius Evola esalta l’aspetto segreto della femmina, il lato nero, demoniaco. Secondo l’autore la donna riesce a far coesistere dentro di sé la disposizione alla pietà e quella alla crudeltà. In virtù di ciò egli rielabora alcune convinzioni di Lombroso e Ferreno. Particolarmente pone all’attenzione un prototipo di femmina violenta e spietata; tale modello si esalta nelle rivoluzioni e nei linciaggi. L’autore argomenta le supposizioni e riporta i passaggi più improntati del volume lombrosiano La donna delinquente. Credo che sia di ausilio il lungometraggio Malena: le donne del paese si accaniscono con perfida violenza sulla bellissima protagonista del film. La sfigurano pubblicamente. È un atto di giustizia sommaria. Malena abbatte i tabù. Di conseguenza provoca un’invidia assurda. È l’altra faccia della medaglia; rappresenta l’evasione. E deve essere distrutta.

Le donne crudeli di Tornatore sono simili alla perfida Emma Smael del lungometraggio Johnny Guitar di Nicholas Ray. Come il fuoco Emma Smael avvampa la nuda pelle. Ella sprigiona nell’atmosfera un aroma tragico intriso di dolore; ha un carisma esasperato, uno charme lugubre e impersonale. Porta i segni della rabbia oscura e antisolare. È vestita di nero, non cura il suo corpo. All’apparenza è un essere insignificante e indesiderabile. Ma sotto la scorza alberga un’anima inquieta, crudele, mesta. Luccica di cattiva luce quest’antieroina lunare. Emma fomenta il popolo, aizza le masse. Combatte la crociato contro i diversi, i forestieri, i fuorilegge. È puritana: disprezza le tentazioni dei sensi. Nello stesso tempo desidera ardentemente il bandito Ballerino Kid. Nel suo corpo si affrontano gli istinti contrastanti. Questa donna vorrebbe addirittura uccidere la sua segreta passione per far allontanare i bollenti spiriti. «Desideri Kid, ti vergogni e vorresti vederlo impiccato». Ribecca così Vienna, la nemica acerrima, la rivale assoluta.

Evola tenta di mettere insieme come un puzzle i richiami evocativi. In modo particolare è dedicato alla crudeltà della donna un intero capitolo. Così denocciola una carrellata di aneddoti storici: si sovrappongono le saghe della Tradizione. I persiani intravidero nell’universo femminile una particolare dualità. Fuoco e neve, durezze e dolcezza formano la donna. Ebbene sorge un collegamento tra crudeltà e sessualità: il tipo della baccante e della mènade è un esempio lampante. Nelle pieghe affiora un prototipo femminile afroditico ambiguo. La Dolores di Swinburne, la cosiddetta Nostra signora dello Spasimo è il vessillo del peccato, del piacere, della perdizione, della crudeltà latente. E il filosofo coglie alcune sottili sfumature. Ridisegna l’eroina Mimi della Boheme di Murger in un modo diverso; in sostanza inquadra la ragazza in una dimensione perfino “brutale e selvaggia”.

Ebbene il fascino muliebre è associato alla magia e alla stregoneria. Circe, Calipso e Brunhilde rappresentano l’esasperazione, l’estremizzazione, l’attrazione malefica. Tale tipologia di donna attrae l’uomo come una calamita famelica; la fascinazione è gravida di richiami alla negromanzia, all’occultismo. È la lagnanza della terra, lo spirito del peccato, la rottura. Perfino Ulisse è incantato dalle sirene: ascolta l’eco d’estasi legato a un palo. È una lotta tra il bene e il male. Anche il valoroso Gerardo Satriano nel romanzo L’eredità della priora è sedotto dalle fattucchiere lucane. Smarrisce la concezione del tempo e annulla la sua individualità. Così come perde la cognizione del tempo il giudice salentino protagonista del film Galantuomini di Winspeare. L’uomo prova una strana attrazione nei confronti di una donna legata al mondo della malavita. Per tale ragione perde tutte le certezze e confonde il bene e il male.

La letteratura, la poesia e il cinema hanno esaltato diverse volte le donne crudeli, in altre parole quelle dotate di un fascino antisolare, demoniaco. Per alcune strane similitudini elogio Giulia Venere, la domestica del libro Cristo si è fermato a Eboli di Carlo Levi. Leggo, annoto i passi del racconto. Ed elaboro il pensiero. Penso che sia un accostamento intrigante; tramite poche righe il lettore è catapultato in un anfratto antimoderno. «Giulia era una donna alta e formosa – scrive Levi – doveva aver avuto, nella gioventù una specie di barbara e solenne bellezza. Il viso era ormai rugoso per gli anni e giallo per la malaria, ma restavano i segni dell’antica venusità nella sua struttura severa, come nei muri di un tempio classico, che ha perso i marmi che l’adornavano, ma conserva intatta la forma e le proporzioni. […] Questo viso aveva un fortissimo carattere arcaico, non nel senso del classico greco, né nel romano, ma di una antichità misteriosa e crudele, cresciuta sempre sulla stessa terra senza rapporti e mistioni con gli uomini, ma legata alla zolla e alle eterne divinità animali. Vi si vedevano una fredda sensualità, una oscura ironia, una crudeltà naturale, una protervia impenetrabile e una passività piena di potenza che si legavano in un’espressione insieme severa, intelligente, malvagia». Con molta probabilità anche Levi ha subìto il fascino distruttivo della maga lucana. Emerge un ritratto sensuale, erotico, spietato.

Tale donna è un archetipo, un modello evoliano. Il filosofo della tradizione nella sua Metafisica del sesso rimarca gli oscuri aspetti. E appare con prepotenza la “dimensione fredda” evocata perfino da uno scrittore progressista come Carlo Levi. «È questa la dimensione fredda della donna – scrive Evola – quale incarnazione terrestre della Vergine, di Durgâ e in quanto essere yin. […] Che la donna sia connessa più dell’uomo alla terra, all’elemento cosmico – naturale è cosa dimostrata. […] Ma nell’antichità questa connessione si riferiva piuttosto all’aspetto yin della natura, dal dominio sovrasensibile notturno e inconscio, irrazionale e abissale, delle forze vitali. Di qui, nella donna certe disposizioni veggenti e magiche in senso stretto».

Nella rappresentazione cinematografica del libro Irene Papas veste i panni di Giulia. Avvertiamo nelle pieghe delle scene un velato erotismo colmo di allusioni estatiche. La donna nasconde il suo copro con le vesti. Soltanto i piedi sono scoperti: pertanto codesta forma di pudore primordiale si differenzia da quello delle donne orientali. Le cinesi considerano i piedi l’elemento primitivo da nascondere; le arabe, invece, coprono la bocca. E Giulia cammina scalza fra le macerie derelitte. In uno spezzone lascia intravedere una gamba nuda; la copre subito con un’aria sensuale. Magnetizza così l’uomo. Quest’ultimo è attratto dal gesto insolito della megera, dai movimenti furtivi, dal sensualismo impersonale. Proprio Evola dedica al pudore taluni passaggi coinvolgenti. «Si sa fin troppo bene quanto spesso la donna usa le vesti per produrre un maggior effetto eccitante allusivo alle promesse della sua nudità. Montaigne ebbe a scrivere che ci sono cose che si nascondono per meglio mostrarle».  Giulia Venere si è cristallizzata nelle sembianze di Irene Papas ed è difficile scindere le due figure. Il gesto insolito dell’attrice greca è un frammento penetrante e ipnotico. Con pochissime e calde movenze è riuscita a descrivere i sentieri tracciati nel libro evoliano.

mercredi, 15 octobre 2014

*Tiwaz, His Antiquity as a Germanic and Aryan Deity

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*Tiwaz, His Antiquity as a Germanic and Aryan Deity

Ex: http://aryan-myth-and-metahistory.blogspot.com


If there is one deity present in Germanic mythology which can be traced back to Proto-Indo-European times, not just in type as with *Thunaraz but in name then it is *Tiwaz. Although He does not feature prominently in the Eddas we must remember that by the time of the close of the Viking age He had been pushed very much into the background by both *Thunaraz and *Wodanaz who took over many of His original functions. If it were not for etymology we would be much more in the dark about this enigmatic God than we currently are.

"Tyr (ON). The Old Scandinavian name for the Germanic god of the sky, war and council >*Tiwaz (OHG Ziu), who is the only Germanic god who was already important in Indo-European times: Old Indian Dyaus, Greek Zeus, Latin Jupiter, as well as Old Indian deva, Old Irish dia, Latin dei, ON tivar (plural to Tyr) 'gods' are all closely related etymologically to each other." (Dictionary of Northern Mythology, Rudolf Simek)

 

"But the name of Zeus is not confined to Greeks and Hindus. The Zeus Pater of the former and the Dyaus-pitar of the latter represent the Jupiter of the Latins, and the Tuisco, Zio, Tyr and Tiw of the German nations. The etymological changes of the word are indeed almost numberless. The brightness of the heaven reappears in the Latin dies, the Sanskrit dyu, and our day: and from the same root spring the Greek Theos, the Latin Deus, and the Lithuanian Diewas." (The Mythology of the Aryan Nations Volume 1, George William Cox)


To the Anglo-Saxons *Tiwaz was Tiw or Tig and He is remembered in the 3rd day of the week, Tuesday from the Anglo-Saxon tiwesdaeg or tiswesdag. Each time we say this day we invoke His name. The ON equivalent for Tuesday is tysdagr and the OHG dingesdag, a variant of His name as Thingsus.

"Some of the variations of the names of the various Germanic languages are also of interest. German Dienstag and Dutch dinsdag, 'Tuesday', are based on an adjective thingsus, 'protector of the thing or assembly', used to describe the war god, and this suggests that the predecessor of Tyr had a connection with lawful assembly that is hardly to be seen in the god as we know him." (Handbook of Norse Mythology, John Lindow)


 He was equated with the Roman God Mars as He became relegated to being a war God from His once lofty position as supreme deity of both the Germanic and Aryan peoples. *Thunaraz and *Tiwaz are in fact older deities than *Wodanaz but the Eddas relegate both of these Gods to being sons of Odin. Thus the role and nature of *Wodanaz may have been much different from the Odin that is left to us in the rather late Eddas.

"We see that Tyr has lost most of the glory implied by the etymology of his name, which derives from the same Indo-European root as the names of Zeus and Jupiter and of our word 'deity' (compare Latis deus), his predecessor may once have been a far greater warrior than Tyr seems to be in the extant mythology.We surmise that the original Odin is seen in his fickle and cunning aspects, not in his role as lord of hosts and ruler of the pantheon. Similarly, we surmise that the predecessor of Thor might possibly once have been the head of the pantheon, and that the predecessor of Frigg may once have been inspired love the way Freyja does in the texts that have come down to us." (Lindow)


The eclipse of the glory of this ancient God is emphasised in Jaan Puhvel's Comparative Mythology:

"In Scandinavia he is a sunken god in the heyday of the Odinic death cult, but his intrinsic eminence is not in question; witness the lingering importance of the Continental Tiw-Saxnot (in a ninth century Old Saxon baptismal vow the convert renounces allegiance to Thunaer, Woden, and Saxnote).


Puhvel draws a comparison with the Irish Nuada who like *Tiwaz was once the leader of the Celtic family of Gods until eclipsed by Lugh, the equivalent of *Wodanaz:

"The ascendancy of Lug over Nuada parallels the eclipsing of Tyr by Odin in Norse tradition."


Like Tyr, Nuada also lost His arm but it was later replaced by a false silver one:

"Their king was Nuada, who lost his arm in the battle against the Fir Bolg." (Puhvel)


After the fitting of His silver arm He became known as Nuada Argatlam (Nuada of the Silver Hand). Shortly after this Nuada loses his sovereignity over the Tuatha De Danann to Lugh. It is conjectured that the reason for this is that He became blemished due to His physical maiming.

In previous articles I have speculated that the God who the Semnones worshipped in their sacred central grove was none other than *Tiwaz. They were also called Ziuwari. Ziu is remembered in many place names and mountain names in Germany and Switzerland. Even plants were named after Him:

"The names of plants also confess the god: ON. Tysfiola, I dare say after the Lat. viola Martis, march-violet; Tyrhialm (aconitum), otherwise Thorhialm, Thorhat (helmet, hat), conf. Germ. sturmhut, eisenhut, Dan. troldhat, a herb endowed with magic power, whose helmet-like shape might suggest either of those warlike gods Tyr and Thorr; Tyvidr, Ty's wood, Dan. Tyved, Tysved (daphne mezereum), in the Helsing. dial. tis, tistbast, the mezereon, a beautiful poison flower." ( Teutonic Mythology Volume 1, Jacob Grimm)


Grimm also points out that the rune Tiwaz is the only rune which specifically names a Germanic deity:

"How comes it that no rune has taken its name from Wuotan or Odinn, the inventor of writing itself? 'R=reid, rad, ' i.e., waggon, may indirectly at least be referred to the god of the Thunder-car; and F according to one interpretation signifies Freyr. Anyhow, T=Tyr appears to have been a supremely honoured symbol, and the name of this god to have been specially sacred: in scratching the runes of victory on the sword, the name of Tyr had to be twice inserted, Saem. 194b. The shape of the rune ᛏ has an obvious resemblance to the old-established symbol of the planet Mars when set upright ♂ , and an AS. poem on the runes expressly says: tir bid tacna sum (tir is one of the tokens, is a certain sign); where again the derivative form tir is employed to explain the simple Tiw or Ti."


Interestingly Grimm goes on to analyse the Anglo-Saxon Ear rune which does resemble the Tir rune. This rune is the final rune of the Anglo-Saxon Futhork but the 29th rune of the 33 rune Northumbrian Futhork. It is taken to signify the grave, dust. However Gimm associates this rune with Tyr/Tiw/Zio and discusses how its name Ear is linked to the Irminsul:

"Evidence as regards Low Germany is found both in the rune Ear occurring in Anglo-Saxon, and in the remarkable name of Eresburg, Aeresburg being given to a notable seat of pagan worship in a district of Westphalia, in the immediate neighbourhood of the Irminsul (v. supra, p 116). That it was strictly Eresberg (as Siegburg was originally Sigberg, p. 198), follows both from the Latin rendering mons Martis, and from its later name Mersberg, whose initial M could be explained by the contraction of the words 'in dem Eresberge, Aresberge', or it may be an imitation of the Latin name. There was a downright Marsberg in another district of Westphalia. This Eresberc then is a Ziesberc, a Sig-tiwes-berg, and yet more closely an Arreopagus, Mars' hill."


This association between *Tiwaz and Irmin (the high God of the Arya, know also as Eremon, Aryaman, Airyaman and Ariomanus amongst the various Aryan peoples) is further demonstrated in the names of the days of the week amongst High German tribes:

"Still more plainly are High German races, especially the Bavarian (Marcomannic) pointed to by that singular name for the third day of the week, Ertag, Iertag, Irtag, Eritag, Erchtag, Erichtag, which answers to the rune Eor, and up to this moment lives to part off the Bavarians, Austrians and Tyrolese from the Swabians and Swiss (who, as former Ziowari, stick to Ziestag); along the boundary line of these races must also have run formerly the frontier between Eor-worship and Zio-worship.


Grimm then goes on to make the bold claim that Eor, who is presumably Irmin is to be regarded as the son of Zio:

" As Zio is identical with Zeus as director of wars, we see at a glance that Eor, Er, Ear, is one with Ares the son of Zeus; and as the Germans had given the rank of Zeus to their Wotan, Tyr and consequently Eor appears as the son of the highest god."


In a previous article I have discussed how the Cheruscans were named after a God Cheru or Heru, a sword God who is none other than Saxnot. http://celto-germanic.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/heru-god-of-cherusci.html

"Another naked sword flashes on the wooded heights  in the land of the Cherusci; it is the weapon of the sword-god Heru, Cheru or Saxnot, who some think is no other than Tyr. Of this weapon Saga tells us that it causes the destruction of its possessor, should he be unworthy of owning it; but that in the hand of a hero  it brings victory and sovereignty."(Asgard and the Gods, Wilhelm Waegner, 1886)


The great legendary hero of the Cherusci was Arminius or Hermann who although historical was in my opinion an Avatar of Irmin sent to rescue and to unite the German Volk. Grimm makes the same connection between the Cherusci and Cheru/Heru:

"The AS. genealogies preserve the name of Saxneat as the son of Woden, and it is in perfect accordance with it, that Tyr was the son of Odinn, and Ares the son of Zeus (see Suppl.). But further, as the Saxons were so called, either because they wielded the sword of stone (saxum), or placed this god at the head of their race, so I think the Cheruscans of Tacitus, a people synonymous, nay identical with them, were named Cheru, Heru=Eor, from whom their name can be derived."


He even draws  a connection with the Gallic deity Esus:

"After this weighty consonance of facts, which open to us the meaning of the old national name, and at the same time teaches us that 'heru' was first of all pronounced 'cheru', and last of all 'eru, er', I think we may also bring in the Gallic war-god Hesus or Esus (Lucan 1 ,440), and state, that the metal iron is indicated by the planetary sign of Mars, the AS. 'tires tacen', and consequently that the name Zio and Eor may be the picture of a sword with its handle, or of a spear. The Scythian and Alanic legends dwell still more emphatically on the god's sword, and their agreement with Teutonic ways of thinking may safely be assumed, as Mars was equally prominent in the faith of the Scythians and that of the Goths.

 

"The impressive personification of the sword matches well with that of the hammer, and to my way of thinking each confirms the other. Both idea and name of two of the greatest gods pass over into the instrument by which they display their might.

 

"Herodotis 4, 62 informs us, that the Scythians worshipped Ares under the semblance or symbol of an ancient iron sword, which was elevated on an enormous stack of brushwood ['three furlongs in length and breadth, but less in height'].


Tyr has become a general name for God and examples such as Hangatyr (God of the Hanged) and Hertyr (God of Armies) exist as Odinsheiti or bynames for Odin.  This is just another example of how ancient and revered the name of Tyr is.

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mardi, 14 octobre 2014

L’uomo come potenza

L’uomo come potenza

Ex: http://romeocastiglione.wordpress.com

L'uomo-come-potenza-Evola

Sfoglio con calma le pagine del libro L’uomo come potenza di Julius Evola. Tolgo i petali di una malefica rosa e lascio cadere sul pavimento infiniti aneliti di spasimo. Leggo, rifletto. Dinanzi a me compare una realtà incontaminata: accolgo in silenzio la magia dei Tantra. E soffermo il mio sguardo su un rigo ipnotico. «Evocare una immagine. Fissarvisi, perdersi, per così dire in essa. Bruscamente, sostituirla con un’altra». Chiudo gli occhi e vedo con la mente una ragazza in una stanza. La luce penetra attraverso i buchi delle persiane. È un pomeriggio estivo. Avverto un desiderio di distruzione; l’Inquietudine assale il mio corpo. Così cambio figurazione. Sorge all’improvviso un oceano di ghiaccio. Non si avverte nessun rumore. Il desiderio è atrofizzato. È fuggita la sofferenza.

Resto attonito. Ebbene rileggo il testo altre volte. Sottolineo, scopro. Tra le mani ho un dardo infuocato. E questo idealismo magico è paurosamente meraviglioso: è la vittoria totale dell’individuo. È il superamento dell’idealismo hegeliano. È l’abbraccio mortale del romanticismo tedesco di Novalis e Fichte con il metallico pensiero di Nietzsche. È la negazione della dualità cristiana; conseguenzialmente è il rifiuto del rapporto di dipendenza tra l’Individuo e il Dio trascendente ritenuto fondamentale da Schleiermacher. L’Io è il signore assoluto.

L’uomo come potenza raccoglie nelle pagine l’impetuosa unione della migliore filosofia occidentale con le dottrine orientali. Evola porta all’attenzione del lettore un Oriente remoto e distante dagli stereotipi. Con codesto saggio è stata confutata la distinzione tra i due poli. Non alberga certamente in questo luogo l’Oriente del buddismo arcano e delle primordiali Upanishad. Non occorre fuggire dal mondo; bensì bisogna dominarlo. Proprio per siffatto motivo l’autore ha esaltato il sistema tantrico, in altre parole il sistema orientale con più assonanze con lo spirito del moderno occidente. Nell’età buia, nell’epoca del Kali Yuga non c’è spazio per la conoscenza: soltanto la potenza brutale libera l’individuo.

Quindi è possibile dominare il mondo tramite la potenza liberatrice. L’Io deve diventare un Dio. Propriamente occorre recuperare l’immensa e grandiosa signoria di sé. L’individuo è sovrano ed è una “super monade”. La via dell’azione è salvifica. L’individuo è come un nero cavallo demoniaco libero dai lacci e dalle leggi morali. È il nero cavallo dell’auriga di Platone; è il dionisiaco puledro dalle sembianze tenebrose. È il sole, è la potenza distruttiva. Agire unicamente per l’azione è l’obiettivo. Di conseguenza si oltrepassa la soglia del bene e del male. Non c’è più il bene, non c’è più il male. L’individuo decide ciò che è bene e ciò è male. «Non si tratta cioè – dice Evola – né di violare le leggi, né di conformarvisi, bensì di elevarsi al livello di ciò per cui ogni legge e condizione non ha senso alcuno». Orbene le cupe e ipnotiche parole sembrano vampe immaginifiche. Cerca Dio chi è debole. L’individuo che cerca la libertà diventa Dio.

Proprio con la pratica dei Tantra (precisamente del ҫakti – tantra) l’individuo si libera nel mondo. La potenza divina proietta lungo un avvallamento magico. La naturale realizzazione di sé trova la sua suprema origine nel principio femminile della Shakti. Pertanto lo shaktismo mantiene talune importantissime attinenze con gli antichi culti del mondo mediterraneo pelasgico. Kali è una dea nera e nuda. La sua sagoma sprigiona una mistica sessualità intrisa di disintegrazione; ed è nera anche la Diana d’Efeso. Così come la Madonna Nera del Tindari in Sicilia. Tramite i Tantra è possibile affermare la priorità della potenza sull’esistenza. Al Principio c’è un potere e l’essere è subordinato a esso. Nella scala gerarchica tutti gli esseri vengono dopo e anche Dio viene dopo. Allora la potenza è libera e non è soggetta alle leggi razionali e a quelle morali. In pratica non ha un Dharma, un ordine più su di lei. Con il mondo c’è un rapporto di potenza e la potenza è soltanto la manifestazione. La potenza in azione è la coincidenza del desiderio e della liberazione. Proprio il mondo è il luogo materiale della liberazione. Insomma, bisogna porsi «faccia a faccia con la legge, resisterle e non esserne spezzati ma dominarla e spezzarla; osare di strappar via i veli con la realtà originaria e prudentemente coperta, osare di trascendere la forma per mettersi a contatto con l’atrocità originaria di un mondo in cui bene e male, divino e umano, giusto e ingiusto non hanno alcun senso. […] Ostacoli uno solo: paura. È una lotta terribile. Vi può essere vittoria e vi può essere catastrofe». L’autore individua nei Tantra un titanismo indomito e velato di allusioni nietzschiane. Evola rivendica la possibilità di «poter vivere tragicamente».

Bisogna mantenere la schiena dritta fino al momento di lasciare sé. Per farlo serve la potenza di distrazione, la rinuncia, l’auto crudeltà, la durezza, e la pratica occulta. Per di più bisogna essere coerenti e lineari. Il pentimento è vietato: non esiste alcun rimorso. Una “colpa” voluta non è una reale colpa. È necessario evitare il piacere; in linea di massima la strada maestra è quella della maggior resistenza. Non bisogna giustificare le proprie azioni. Non sussiste la condotta morale: soltanto nel dualismo la morale ha un’importanza. Per il superamento dei paҫa, in altre parole dei legami affettivi è fondamentale mantenere una dura condotta. La pietà, la delusione, il peccato, il disgusto, la famiglia e le convenzioni non hanno alcun valore. È una lotta atroce. Spunta tra i riflessi dell’opera un crepuscolare catastrofismo. Si dipanano le tenebre della perversa realtà. L’Individuo sfida il Dharma, il cosmos. Raccoglie dentro di sé il caos e sprigiona la volontà di potenza. Si arrampica a mani nude sopra una rocciosa parete; il senso di vertigine minaccia la stabilità. Sotto c’è il vuoto. Egli può soltanto andare avanti. Le pietre si sbriciolano intorno a lui. Soltanto in cima c’è la libertà.

In pratica nel volume il tantrismo è spiegato alla stregua di una “scienza positiva”. E l’idealismo magico di Evola è un frullato robusto e ammaliante. Nell’idealismo di Evola, in altre parole nell’idealismo “magico” l’Io si mette in rapporto diretto con le cose. Supera così la conciliazione astratta di spirito e mondo, di soggetto e oggetto figurata da Hegel. Codesto idealismo trae linfa da Novalis: il pensatore romano, in un certo senso, enfatizza ancor di più l’individuo. L’uomo come potenza rientra nel novero delle opere evoliane a carattere filosofico speculativo. L’autore con la successiva Teoria dell’individuo assoluto esaspera ulteriormente la “tragica dimensione dell’esistenza”. Il Superuomo di Nietzsche è oltrepassato sul filo del rasoio. La potentissima “vettura” evoliana percorre una strada stregata. Il singolo sceglie un eccezionalissimo percorso e procede a velocità elevate. Pertanto il poetico “solipsismo” non incute nessun timore. L’individuo assoluto determina ciò che è vero e ciò che è falso. Pare Humpty Dumpty, il personaggio ideato da Lewis Carroll che incontra Alice; Humpty cambia dispoticamente il significato delle parole poiché si sente un padrone. E nell’epoca della dissoluzione, nell’ultima epoca il corpo cerca la sua liberazione. Non è più il tempo della conoscenza. L’ascetismo non alberga fra le righe del libro. Ebbene non subire il fascino distruttivo del volume equivale a non scottarsi i piedi sui carboni ardenti: è impossibile. Di là dai Tantra è possibile scorgere un codice crittografato dal sapore robusto. L’uomo come potenza potrebbe diventare una sorta di nuovo “manuale di sopravvivenza” per gli uomini estranei al proprio tempo. Ma è un manuale algido, rigido, severo. È la vittoria di Dioniso è la consequenziale sconfitta di Apollo; è la vittoria del disordine sull’ordine morale devastatore della potenza dell’individuo. Dopo aver letto L’uomo come potenza il mondo non sarà più lo stesso e i problemi saranno analizzati con distacco. È un libro per pochi eletti. È un libro elegantemente antidemocratico.

E nei nostri giorni esiste l’individuo assoluto. Ad esempio le frange estreme del pianeta ultras corrono lungo una linea invisibile e peccaminosa. Nel cinema ho ritrovato diverse volte tale figura. Il Principe del film Ultrà è un individuo assoluto; così come Jena Plissken di Fuga da New York. È un individuo assoluto Saverio lo skinhead del lungometraggio Teste Rasate. Ebbene anche il generale Kurtz di Apocalypse Now è un individuo assoluto. Chi domina il mondo e chi non riconosce le leggi morali è un Dio. È un Dio chi obbedisce soltanto a sé stesso. Oggi codesti pensieri fanno male. Pesano come frammenti di roccia gravidi di rabbia.

lundi, 13 octobre 2014

MIRCEA ELIADE'S 'TRADITIONALISM': APPEARANCE AND REALITY

 

 
Timotheus Lutz
Ex: http://www.hyperion-journal.net
 

Relatively recently, certain academics with an interest in those who admit a perennial tradition and expound esoteric doctrines have profiled what they call the ‘traditionalist school’. In their characterization, some individuals have been assimilated wrongly to this category, most notably the famous scholar of ‘comparative religion’, Mircea Eliade. Others, who should be aware of the fundamental differences in outlook between Eliade and modern exponents of traditional metaphysics, have seen him as a sort of sympathetic ‘Trojan horse’ who would subtly alter the course of his field of study in academia, by way of a ‘phenomenological’ view of spirituality in human history, contrasted with the sterile, purely analytical outlook that predominates in the universities.  
 
Eliade’s encounter with the works of René Guénon and Julius Evola certainly had a significant, or perhaps even a primary influence on his methods of research and ways of interpreting what he called ‘archaic’ systems, but, as he himself stated frankly in his journals, he always kept his distance and was apprehensive about endorsing the views of the latter.
 
It should be made clear that clarifying Eliade’s position is not necessarily a condemnation, as, obviously, one can accept some ideas of a given thinker without accepting all. However, given the importance and the rarity of the ideas of Guénon and Evola, and the incomprehension of some major ones displayed by Eliade, a firm appraisal is called for, since some are eager to assume an identity of substance in the thought of the former and the latter, where it is really only an appearance.
 
He states his position most directly in a journal entry on 11 November 1966:
 
What Guénon and the other ‘hermetists’ say of the tradition should not be understood on the level of historical reality (as they claim). These speculations constitute a universe of systematically articulated meanings: they are to be compared to a great poem or a novel. It is the same with Marxist or Freudian ‘explanations’: they are true if they are considered imaginary universes. The ‘proofs’ are few and uncertain – they correspond to the historical, social, psychological ‘realities’ of a novel or of a poem.
 
All these global and systematic interpretations, in reality, constitute mythological creations, highly useful for understanding the world; but they are not, as their authors think, ‘scientific explanations’. [1]
 
The classification of Guénon as a ‘hermetist’ is rather strange since, in his writings, he rarely discussed the hermetic doctrines. Since his main focus was metaphysics (a domain not subject to becoming), it is incorrect to classify him with a title pertaining to cosmological doctrines (which pertain to the domain of becoming). Comparing the formulations of Guénon and those similar in outlook to poems and novels is completely wrong: in poetic creations the subjective is primary, while in Guénon’s writings (as in those of Aristotle, Plotinus or Proclus) a precise objectivity is evident. As far as proofs, in this domain there cannot be empirical demonstration, only support by way of logic and analogy on one end, and identifying principles within oneself on the other. One either understands or does not. That this is a major obstacle for many is apparent. We assume the term ‘scientific explanations’ was not taken from Guénon or another’s writing, but used to imply erroneously that they would describe their interpretations as scientific; this is also an error since none of them would claim their interpretations could be explained scientifically.
 
We can assume this is Eliade’s basic view, since by 1966 his outlook was more or less fully developed, and since he shows similar opinions later on. This was also an opinion he had long held, as shown in an entry from 1947:
 
Only after you’ve studied Coomaraswamy’s writings in detail do you discover, suddenly, the poverty, the ‘elementarism’ [rom. primarism], of René Guénon’s œuvre. And the insufferable self-importance with which he hides, so often, his ignorance! [2]
 
We are not sure what he means here by ‘elementarism’, but perhaps it is Guénon’s focus on principial reality, which is the whole point of his works, contrasted with Ananda Coomaraswamy’s much greater emphasis on factual analysis and use of citations and academic sources. Although Coomaraswamy was indeed a (celebrated) academic, he was in agreement with nearly all of Guénon’s fundamental positions. If this is what Eliade means, it is simply another instance of his incomprehension of the primacy of metaphysics over confirming individual facts. We have found that Coomaraswamy’s writings do not reveal any significant ‘poverty’ in Guénon’s works, but instead complement them nicely.
 
Incomprehension of some major ideas is also apparent much later. In the early 1980s he writes: ‘Like René Guénon, Evola presumed a ‘primordial tradition’, in the existence of which I could not believe; I was suspicious of its artificial, ahistorical character’ [3]. To modern ears, the term ‘primordial tradition’ is likely to evoke visions of some perfect civilization in the sky, but first and foremost it is to be understood as atemporal (and thus, also, correctly described by Eliade as ahistorical) principles on which all genuinely traditional cultures are based. These principles are superior to, but are as immutable, in a similar manner, as the laws of logic or mathematics. To call them artificial is to demand that they be intelligible only as a particular, empirical example, and so displays, again, his incomprehension.
 
Worth quoting is his admission of a use for these authors:
 
I try once again, but I don’t succeed: Yeats’ ‘occultism’, over which so much fuss is made, doesn’t interest me. It’s cheap, ‘literary’, suspect – and, ultimately, uninteresting. Out of all the modern occultist authors whom I have read, only R. Guénon and J. Evola are worthy of being taken into consideration. I’m not discussing here to what extent their assertions are ‘true’. But what they write makes sense. [4]
 
And another, a response to a student of his interested in occultism: ‘. . . if one is truly attracted to hermetism, he ought to read the ‘authorized’, if not Cardanus, at least Coomaraswamy and René Guénon’ [5]. Clearly he still thought highly of some of their formulations, if only as comprehensible reference points for what is often and wrongly passed off as ‘esotericism’.
 
The critical attitude appears again in his dismissive appraisal of Evola’s intellectual autobiography. Eliade’s instinct to privilege academic authorities and those who have received wide acceptance is revealed clearly here:
 

maitreyi-1353085974.jpg

I’m reading the intellectual autobiography of J. Evola, Il Cammino del mercurio [the title written is wrong: it is cinabro (cinnabar), not mercurio –ed.], with much melancholy. The chapter in which he presents and discusses the idealistic ‘university philosophy’, represented by Croce and Gentile: he speaks about his two theoretical volumes in which he supposedly destroyed those ‘professors,’ etc. etc. The naïveté (full of resentment) with which he situates himself in the history of contemporary thought – even though he states repeatedly that his volumes have not been reviewed and have not evoked any response . . .
 
There must be, indeed, several tons of printed paper in Italy alone on which the philosophy of Croce and Gentile has been discussed. Of what use, then, has Evola’s ‘radical criticism’ and ‘destruction’ been? And abroad, poor J. Evola is viewed as an ultra-fascist. The copy of the English translation of his book on Buddhism in Swift Library is disfigured with polemical annotations (written in indelible lead!): they say (even on the cover) that Evola is a fascist and a ‘racist’, that his theories about ‘Aryans’ were borrowed from A. Rosenberg, etc. I remember the brief, harsh review in Journal asiatique written by J. Filliozat in the same vein: J. E. is a racist, ultra-fascist, etc.
 
Evola tries to appear indifferent to such criticisms, although he prefers them to the ‘conspiracy of silence’ of which he claims he has suffered all his life. And yet, what a melancholic spectacle to see him talking about what he has done, how he has ‘destroyed’ and ‘surpassed’ everyone, even Nietzsche and Heidegger (whom he claims, moreover, to have anticipated . . .). [6]
 
Eliade does not admit that the soundness and truth of arguments are more important than how widely read, received and reviewed they are. The quantity of inferior and false ideas that are celebrated in the universities, then and now, is very high. Many are unable to comprehend, nevertheless, how curtly and effectively false ideas, however celebrated they are or however voluminously they are presented, can be dismissed. Of the mass of writings discussing the thought of Croce and Gentile, only Evola’s had looked at these philosophies from the traditional perspective, which is of use, simply, because it is the only one not subject to the movement of opinion and history. Mention of the idiotic slurs applied to him by those who have misunderstood his perspective are not relevant; if one does not take the time to adequately understand a given idea or formulation, his opinion does not matter. It is clear that Eliade is displaying a historicist prejudice; because his writings have been ignored (apparently, at least) and since no admission of the soundness of his criticisms has manifested visibly, the value of the writings in themselves, as formulations to be judged solely by their truth-value, is ignored, and Evola’s observation of this is considered a ‘spectacle’, the judgment of the history of ideas being obviously the decisive factor for Eliade. We might also add, like Eliade did when he compared Coomaraswamy and Guénon vis-à-vis other ‘occultists’ above, that, unlike Heidegger’s and much of Nietzsche’s writing, what Evola writes makes sense.
 
Despite praise of some aspects of his work, on at least one occasion he engaged in rather irresponsible gossip about Evola. In 1958, in a letter to the poet and former Iron Guard member Vasile Posteucă, regarding a request for information about Evola’s encounter with Corneliu Codreanu, Eliade warned him that Evola was a ‘racist’ and a ‘Nazi’, and liable to generate confusion if used as a source [7]. Never mind that he made it clear that his ‘racism’ was of a type quite different from that of the National Socialists, from whom he explicitly distanced himself ideologically, even during the war, and that several mainstream and semi-mainstream publishers in Europe found his works fit to print! A man of Eliade’s sophistication should have known better than to describe Evola so falsely and simplistically. One would not have thought that, being himself the target of similar slurs by certain elements in academia, he would engage in this kind of rumor-mongering. If the account of the exchange is not a fabrication or an exaggeration, then our opinion of Eliade is lowered considerably.
 
Evola demonstrated quite well the limits of Eliade’s formulations in a review of the latter’s book on Yoga:
 
Our fundamental opinion of Eliade’s work on Yoga may be expressed by saying that it is the most complete of all those that have been written on this subject in the domain of the history of religions and of Orientalism. One cannot mention another that for wealth of information, for comparisons, for philological accuracy, for the examination and utilization of all previous contributions, stands on the same level. But when once this has been admitted, some reservations have to be made. In the first place it would seem that the material he handles has often got the better of the writer. I mean to say that in his anxiety to make use of all, really all, that is known on the several varieties of Yoga and on what is directly or indirectly connected therewith, he has neglected the need of discriminating and selecting so as to give importance only to those parts of Yoga that are standard and typical, avoiding the danger that the reader lose track of the essential features by confusing them with the mass of information on secondary matters, variations, and side products. Looking at it from this standpoint, we are even led to wonder whether Eliade’s previous book Yoga, essai sur les origines de la mystique indienne (Paris, 1936), is not in some respects superior to this last one, which is a reconstruction of the former. In the first book the essential points of reference were more clearly outlined, they were less smothered by the mass of information brought together, and the references to less-known forms of Yoga, such as the Tantric and others, were more clearly pointed out [ . . . ]
 
After this glance at the contents of Eliade’s new book we are tempted to inquire of him a somewhat prejudicial question: to whom is the book addressed? As we have openly declared, it is a fundamental work for specialists in the field not only of Oriental research, but also in that of the history of religions. But in his introduction Eliade states that the book is addressed also to a wider public and he speaks of the importance that a knowledge of a doctrine such as that of Yoga may have for the solution of the existential problems of the modern Westerner, confirmed as that doctrine is by immemorial experience.
 
Here complications arise. To meet such a purpose it would be necessary to follow a different plan and to treat the matter in a different way. A Westerner who reads Eliade’s book may be able to acquire an idea of Yoga as ‘la science intégrale de l’homme [the integral science of man]’, he may acquire knowledge of a teaching that has faced in practice as well as in theory the problem of ‘deconditioning’ man; he will thus add yet one other panorama to the list of the many modern culture has provided him with. His interest will perhaps be more lively than the ‘neutral’ interest of the specialist; he may flirt with the aspects of a ‘spiritualite virante’. But on the existential plane the situation will be pretty much the same as it was before, even if the information available be deeper, more accurate, better documented. The possibility of exercising a more direct influence could only be looked for from a book addressed to those who have shown an interest in Yoga and similar sciences not because they seek for information but because they are seeking for a path; a book that in this special field would remove the misunderstandings, the popular notions, the deviations, and the delusions spread by a certain kind of literature to which we referred at the beginning of this article; a book displaying the accuracy and knowledge that we find in this work of Eliade, in as far as it is an exposition kept within the limits of the history of religions. Such a book has perhaps still to be written. But even so the essential need would not be met, for it is the unanimous opinion of the true masters of Yoga that the key to their science cannot be handed on by the written word. [8]
 
It could be said figuratively that if one who comprehends and adopts the traditional perspective can be said to have a view from the peaks that allows the most complete survey, then Eliade could be described as not having completed the ascent, his vision being obscured by clouds above or enamored by objects on the path to the summit. If he could see individual rocks on the path more closely, we must remember that the view from summit is still the most important one.
 
SOURCES
 
[1] Eliade, Mircea. No Souvenirs: Journal 1957-1969, p. 291.
 
[2] Eliade. Jurnal, 26 August 1947, M.E.P., box 15/2 (trans. Mac Linscott Ricketts). *
 
[3] Eliade. Autobiography, Volume II, p. 152.
 
[4] Eliade. Jurnal, 5 September 1964, M.E.P., box. 16/6 *
 
[5] Ibid., 4 March 1969, box 15/4 *
 
[6] Ibid., 20 December 1964, box. 16/6, pp. 2640-2641 *
 
[7] Posteucă, Vasile. Jurnal, in: Gabriel Stănescu (ed.), Mircea Eliade în conştiinna contemporanilor săi din exil, Norcross: Criterion, [2001], pp. 272-277 (275 – entry of 28 October 1958). *
 
[8] Evola, Julius. Yoga, Immortality & Freedom. East and West, vol. 6, no. 3, 1955.

* Quotes and citations from: Bordas, Liviu. The difficult encounter in Rome: Mircea Eliade’s post-war relation with Julius Evola – new letters and data. International Journal on Humanistic Ideology, IV, no. 2, Autumn-Winter 2011, pp. 125-158. Retrieved from: Academia.edu