Troy Southgate examines late Italian philosopher Julius Evola’s Men Among the Ruins: Post-War Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist. PRAVDA.Ru will present this summary as a series.
11. REALISM - COMMUNISM - ANTI-BOURGEOISIE
Intellectuals are often attracted to communism because it claims to be anti-bourgeois, despite communism itself claiming to despise the intellectual for his bourgeois origins. According to Evola, however, this is misleading and such people are deluding themselves. Evola also accepts that the word "bourgeois" relates to far more than economics; something representing a specific cultural niche in which everything is "empty, decadent, and corrupt." The role of the traditionalist must be to overcome these materialist concepts. Indeed, the perennial attraction of communism indicates that it would be a big mistake to combat Marxist values with a "bourgeois mentality and spirit, with its conformism, psychological and romantic appendices, moralism, and concerns for a petty, safe existence in which a fundamental materialism finds its compensation in sentimentality and the rhetoric of the great humanitarian and democratic worlds - all this has only an artificial, peripheral, and precarious life." This is why conservatism has always been so ineffective, and why the adoption of a true anti-bourgeois spirit is so essential in the ongoing replenishment of Tradition. For Evola, the solution lies in realism.
In its efforts to overcome the unreality of bourgeois society, Marxism simply relegates the individual to an even lower level. This results in the systematic spawning of homo economicus, a process in which "we go toward what is below rather than above the person." It represents a collective reduction of the human type, rather than a raising of the individual consciousness. So how does Evola’s realism differ from the kind of "neo-realism" advocated by left-wing philosophers such as Sartre? The latter, of course, brings human existence into line with transient concepts such as psychoanalysis. This is achieved by creating a kind of psycho-collectivisation, whereby man’s various personality traits are said to originate from below. Evola, on the other hand, accepts "that existence acquires a meaning only when it is inspired by something beyond itself." Therefore the political, economic and psychological aspects of Marxism are identical and adhere to a decidedly false sense of "realism."
Given the confusion which has been generated by the Marxists and their misleading interpretation of "realism," perhaps another solution is needed to counteract the unreality of the bourgeoisie; one which seeks to go higher, rather than lower? Evola explains: "It is possible to keep a distance from everything that has only a human and especially subjectivist character; to feel contempt for bourgeois conformism and its petty selfishness and moralism; to embody the style of an impersonal activity; to prefer what is essential and real in a higher sense, free from the trappings of sentimentalism and from pseudo-intellectual super-structures - and yet all this must be done by remaining upright, feeling the presence in life of that which leads beyond life, drawing from it precise norms of behaviour and action." This means that a new breed of individuals must bear the task of combining strong anti-Marxism with a committed opposition to bourgeois society: "Lenin himself said that a proletarian, left to himself, tends to become a bourgeois." It is therefore not necessary to become a communist in order to reject the trappings of conformity and sterility, although the shortcomings of Fascism and its well-documented reliance upon the bourgeoisie suggests that it, too, is incapable of providing real solutions to the problem. Evola also notes that "[e]ven those who call themselves monarchists can only conceive of a bourgeois king."
I have already discussed how communists harbour an ironic grudge towards the intellectual, but Evola demonstrates that the only answer to the intellectual/anti-intellectual debate is to put forward a third option: the Weltanschauung, or worldview. This is "based not on books, but on an inner form and a sensibility endowed with an innate, rather than acquired, character." In other words, a mentality which does not remain fixed in the mind or submerged in theories, but realised in a more practical sense through the deployment of the will. Thought alone is incapable of taking on a life of its own or significantly changing anything. Here we return to the traditional idea of an organic civilisation which is expressed not by culture, but through a deeper understanding of eternal values. Thus, intellectualism and culture are merely used to express the more fundamental worldview, not designed to evolve into determining characteristics of humanity in their own right: "this is sheer illusion: never before as in modern times was there such a number of men who are spiritually formless, and thus open to any suggestion and ideological intoxication, so as to become dominated by psychic currents (without being aware of it in the least) and of manipulations belonging to the intellectual, political, and social climate in which they live." The worldview of which Evola speaks, of course, is Tradition. This represents the basic impetus which must beat firmly within the heart of all those who wish to bring to an end the contaminating era of the bourgeoisie.
Troy Southgate submitted this work to PRAVDA.Ru
To read Part 1, please visit http://english.pravda.ru/columnists/2002/05/11/28502.html
To read Part 2, please visit http://english.pravda.ru/columnists/2002/05/13/28609.html
To read Part 3, please visit http://english.pravda.ru/columnists/2002/05/15/28798.html
To read Part 4, please visit http://english.pravda.ru/columnists/2002/05/16/28859.html
To read Part 5, please visit http://english.pravda.ru/columnists/2002/05/18/28937.html
To read Part 6, please visit http://english.pravda.ru/columnists/2002/05/20/28995.html
To read Part 7, please visit http://english.pravda.ru/columnists/2002/05/21/29064.html
To read Part 8, please visit http://english.pravda.ru/columnists/2002/05/22/29122.html
To read Part 9, please visit http://english.pravda.ru/columnists/2002/05/23/29201.html
To read Part 10, please visit http://english.pravda.ru/columnists/2002/05/25/29275.html
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969