Saturday, February 3, 2018

‘To that Divine Sojourn’

Race and War: The Aryan Conception of Combat by Julius Evola, 20 December, 1939

James LaFond's impressions, reading from pages 76-85 of Metaphysics of War 

Evola begins this essay with a review of Aryan heroism supernaturally sprung from the duality of the luminous higher order represented by sun and cosmos in constant struggle with the chaotic earthly disorder grounded in the feminine principle.

He then goes immediately into the difference between the petty man and the higher man when faced with combat:

“…the petty bourgeois personality—tamed, conformist, pseudo-intellectual or empty idealistic—may undergo a disintegration…”

As explained by Evola in his previous essay, in such a case the domesticated person may altogether wither or may be reduced to a feral brutality, or may be taken back into a regressive primitive state from whence he might be able to reemerge as a human, that is to say a heroic, being, rather than as a whining, equivocating slave mewling for social sympathy. It is this reader’s thought that a retreat to an empathetic state, the place of the prize-fighter as a zoological object of fascination to modern denatured men as pointed out by Keegan in The Face of Battle, will permit the reconstituted person to empathize with the enemy—which is necessary for his stable function as a warrior—and then gain the path of higher relation, of relating to a higher state of being, leaving behind the conundrum of the returning soldier seeking sympathy from a society which is, in its materialistic miasma, only capable of worshiping or condemning him blindly. In Evola’s look at the petty man subjected to war he was predicting the societal trauma of the U.S. in the wake of Vietnam.

The higher, heroically oriented man is described like so:

“In the second type, in contrast, the most ‘elemental’ and non-human aspects of the heroic experience [the monstrous [0]] become a means of transfiguration, of elevation and integration of personality in—so to speak—a transcendent way of being.”

The sage goes on to express the ancient Aryan ideal that earthly engagement for a higher purpose—battle, war, the transformative quest—offer a path to the higher plane equal to asceticism and holiness. Evola invokes the ancient Hellenic branch of the Aryan experience as particularly heroic and important to Latin and Germanic heritage. This reader is reminded of the ancient Greek and Classical Latin heroes Phrynon [Torch] and Flamma [Blaze] who, despite being defeated, one in war and one in the Arena, were regarded as bearers of the eternal heroic light. Onward he elevates the hero into godhood, ever in light of the element of self sacrifice—not the passive sacrifice of the son by the father but the quenching of the human soul in the cosmos in seeker and in sacrifice as one. This element was richly represented in Native American traditions.

Evola rectifies the Norse Age of the Wolf with the Hellenic Age of Iron and the Indo-Aryan Dark Age and finally brings the circle of heroic light into circumference by properly relating the Crusades as a resurrection of ancient Aryan heroism via the Norse [the Normans being the dominant crusading force, with Germans and Danes figuring heavily in the crusades], citing the fact that the cult of Heracles was invoked by Germanic emperors of the High Middle Ages. Other than Harold Lamb and Robert E. Howard [fiction writers] few writers on the Crusades appreciated the heroic strand of actionism overlooked by academics in their studies of the material manifestations of Christian-Islamic warfare as purely political and ideological.

Here follow quotes by Evola on this upwelling of the pagan hero within Christendom:

“…the first military setbacks undergone by the Crusaders, which were initially a source of surprise and dismay, served to purify the notion of war from any residue of materialism and superstitious [1] devotion… Thus the Crusaders learned to regard something as superior to victory and defeat, and to regard all value as residing in the spiritual aspect of action.” [2]

“Thus we approach the most inward aspect of heroic experience, its ascetic value: it should not cause surprise if, to characterize it further, we now turn to the Muslim tradition, which might seem to be the opposite pole to the one just discussed, the truth is that the races which confronted each other in the Crusades were both warlike ones, which experienced in war the same supra-material meaning, even while fighting against one another…the ideas which we wish to discuss now are essentially to be considered echoes within the Muslim Tradition of an originally Persian (Aryo-Iranian) conception, assumed now by members of the Arab race.” [3]

In advancing to the elder Aryan tradition expressed in the Bhagavad-Gita, Evola discusses the judgment of God, via Krishna, condemning “humanitarian and sentimental scruples” as antithesis to the heroic experience, being both degrading and a source of impotence. This is quite instructive in light of the fact that the modern myth making of 20th century and even more so, 21st century movies always conflates the sentimental with the heroic, the hero forever enslaved to civic trivialities, rarely potent unless motivated by avenging the helpless or a grave personal loss. The postmodern hero is often consumed by hate rather than guided by empathy until the gross deeds of war are done and then he is rescued from the dark pit of heroism by some non-actionist moral authority figure, often a woman but increasingly a black man. We live in a world where the hero is taboo and the Aryan hero is evil.

But Krishna sounds more like a boxing coach:

“Do thou fight for the sake of fighting, without considering happiness or distress, loss or gain, victory or defeat—and by so doing you shall never incur sin.”

Evola continues with the ancient Aryan truth, opposed to the Creation mythos of Christianity, that “created beings” are rather “preexisting beings” which have been transformed by participating as “finite” beings with something “infinite,” “conditioned beings, subject to becoming, change and disappearance, precisely because, in them, a power burns which transcends them, which wants something infinitely vaster than all that they can ever want.”

Evola is clear that in the Aryan tradition, restoration, awakening, the return of tradition and the upwelling of the infinite within the finite is sourced via the warrior, the actionist, the doer, not the priest, the submitter, the binder. Hence the advent of Christianity brought a moral paralysis and spiritual suffocation by the slave faith out of the Middle East, but that the percolation of heroism within such universalist systems of subjection as Islam and Christianity has caused, in Christianity at least, a continual fracturing of the Christian sarcophagus caused by the upwelling of the very actionist mythos it was constructed to contain. The lesson rolls lukewarm from the sage’s pen, but is implicit nonetheless, when the slave collective swallows the heroic imperative, the inner light eventually burns through, sometimes rising as a force to sustain the consuming slave collective against a rival subjection matrix—as with the Crusades—but eventually to burn off the alien encasement, as Evola wrote:

“…we must proceed to the rediscovery of values able to purify the race of the spirit of Aryan humanity from every heterogeneous element…”


0. Beowulf, in his combat with Grendel, is on the path of higher war, while the son of his host, in attempting to challenge the hero in mean wise, is spiritually foredoomed.

1. This is a sharply Gnostic statement.

2. The Gnostic or hermetic tradition shared some roots with agonistic rites. Hermes was not only the escort of souls and patron of travelers but the god of the palaestra, the wrestling ground where athletes trained and scholars taught under the covered walk around the wrestling ground, named for his daughter, Palaestra. The entrance to every training ground was graced with a Hermea, a sculpted symbol or likeness of Hermes. Nothing better exemplified the ancient Aryan devotion to the sanctity of action as a spiritually annealing process than the sacred Agons.

3. Jason Reza Jorjani - The Iranian Renaissance & Aryan Imperium, Red Ice radio

(c) 2018 James LaFond

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