Alexander Dugin – “The New Program of Philosophy”

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Originally published in Literaturnaia gazeta [Literary Newspaper] in 2003, republished in the book The Radical Subject and its Double (Moscow: Eurasian Movement, 2009).

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The human and the world. It would seem that the posing of such a question is relevant at all times. However, everything is much more complex. “Human” is not an affirmation, but a question mark. Human? Oh, yeah? Really? Would that be ‘the human’ in essence? In fact? Are you so sure about this?

“Human” has been understood as meaning altogether different things in different times, such as the stage of the ascent of the animal, or as the threshold of the descent of the angel…”Human” sounds strange…Human…

The world. This was also once all clear. But then again, what to say, how to say it…Even the word for world – mir in Russian, Welt in German, monde in French, dunya in Arabic, etc. – in different languages refers us to different things. Nevertheless, such has always meant something integral, universal, all-embracing…

The contemporary French philosopher Marcel Conche wrote that today “the world is no longer a world, but an extravagant ensemble.” This means that the obviousness has been blurred…Clearly, we are dealing not with an integral whole, but a mosaic of fragments out of which a complete picture cannot be shaped – there is always something missing or something clearly superfluous…

The eternal topic of “the human and the world” is now formulated differently as “Human? And the world?”, in which two uncertainties – inner and outer – collide.

Altogether recently, the labor of assigning the human and the world a clear identity was undertaken by ideologies. The human of communism was something fairly concrete, described, and established, just as the world of historical materialism and dialectical materialism was thoroughly studied and certified, with freedom of choice being placed within an explicitly outlined framework. Other ideologies – religious, national, and democratic – offered different models with differing proportions and structures, but always and everywhere understood “human” and “the world” to be fairly detailed, attentively conceptualized and defined.

But the time when Western liberalism finally defeated the Soviet camp, when an end was put to the struggle between ideologies, has gone. At first it seemed that the liberal-democratic doctrine of the human and the world had become universal and mandatory on a planetary scale. But something else happened. Left without a global opponent, rival, and adversary, the Western world quickly drowned in its own uncertainty. In the final decades of the “Cold War”, only the geopolitical necessity of ideologically confronting the Marxist USSR and its satellites lent harmony to the bourgeois system. The West was not philosophically ready for victory, it expected a protracted ideological duel, and the rapid disappearance of its enemy caught it by surprise. Being left alone, Western man was confused, taken aback, and drowned by a wave of cognitive hallucinations in which the past and present, the accidental and the paramount, the fundamental and the superficial, male and female, the serious and the sarcastic were irrevocably mixed.

Today the West is imposing not its system, but its systemlessness, not its obviousness, but its doubt, not its assertion, but its deep internal crisis.

When we join the global network, we do not receive a new identity and we do not come into contact with a new world. We simply irrevocably surrender to the storage room with a forgotten entry code those remnants of what made us who we were before and that reality in which we lived before. The act of dropping old certitudes and definitions is quite specific: it is a passport to the “new times”, a credit card for complicity in globalism, a mandatory requirement, and all those who reject this “initiation into globalism” automatically end up on blacklists, henceforth deemed agents of the “axis of evil” – after all, they did not catch the “latest news” that the world and the human are dead (following the death of God).

There is nothing in return. Not that there ever was something. The flickering of flames, of colored fish, half-dressed figures, the foamy opulence of shampoos, and the soft saliva of the ocean…You have been sucked into the ceaseless dreams of post-reality, and your job is only to press the buttons on the remote…

Whole words and phrases disintegrate into so many brilliant fragments, yet we are only interested in interjections and clauses, witty mooing and successful teasers. A world in which the parodying of the parodist delivers mass enjoyment has no right to be called a world. It is something from another system of things.

When we recognize in ourselves increasingly blind disagreement with such a state of affairs, we automatically rush to the past, to that time when the world and the human were fixed and well-defined realities. We become fascinated and inspired by everything: churchliness, monarchy, Sovietism, nationalism, and even democracy in its modestly-realistic and initial (industrial) version, where there were still decision and choice, labor and wages, and risks and laws for forming value. But this is not the way out, because if something – even something very good – has disappeared, this means that there is some kind of higher meaning…

If we can stand and straighten up in the flow of the tender, appetizing, rapid nothingness that is lashing at us from all sides, we will understand that something enormous and great, safely hidden in the most distant holes, is sending us – precisely us – new rays. If the human and the world no longer exist, then they are no longer so significant in the final analysis, and things might go out without them…Go out…

I put forth a new program of life: look at what is around us without squinting, without glancing back. The impending doom from which man has tried to escape has overtaken us in the final moment of history. Alright, we’ve learned our lesson.

Something terrible is revealing itself in our bodies, blossoming like a flower, something black…And out of the final horizons of darkness, the trembling petals of external consciousness – suspicions, guesses, and the lightning flashes of the undoubtable – are reaching out to meet our red heart.

In the heartless, camouflaged cosmos, we must build new dams of life by reaching to grasp the sparks of presence out from underneath the last shells of borrowed insight…

The new program of philosophy consists of persevering forward when there is no path forward and cannot be.

***

[Artwork – Alexey Belyaev-Gintovt, collection “Victory Parade 2937” (2010-2011)]

Alexander Dugin: “From Sacred Geography to Geopolitics”

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translators: Jafe Arnold and John Stachelski 

Chapter 7 of Mysteries of Eurasia (Moscow: Arktogeia, 1991) / Chapter 6/Part 6/Book I of Foundations of Geopolitics (Moscow, Arktogeia, 2000). 

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Geopolitics as an “Intermediary” Science

Geopolitical concepts have long been the most important factor in modern politics. These concepts are based on general principles which allow one to readily analyze the situation of any country and any individual region. 

In the form in which it exists today, geopolitics is undoubtedly a worldly, “profane”, secularized science. However, among all other modern sciences, it is geopolitics which has preserved the greatest connection to Tradition and the traditional sciences.  René Guénon said that modern chemistry is the product of the desacralization of the traditional science of alchemy, just as modern physics has its origins in magic. Exactly in the same way, one could say that that modern geopolitics is the product of the secularization and desacralization of another traditional science, that of sacred geography. Since geopolitics occupies a peculiar place among modern sciences and is often ranked as a “pseudo-science”, its profanation is not nearly as complete and irreversible as in the case of chemistry or physics. Geopolitics’ relation to sacred geography is rather distinctly visible in this sense. Therefore, we can say that geopolitics occupies an intermediary place between traditional science (sacred geography) and profane science. 

Land and Sea

The two essential concepts of geopolitics are Land and Sea. It is these two elements  – Land and Water – that lie at the root of humans’ qualitative imagination of earthly space. In experiencing land and sea, earth and water, man enters into contact with the fundamental aspects of his existence. Land is stability, gravity, fixity, space as such. Water is mobility, softness, dynamism and time.

These two elements are, in their essence, the most obvious manifestations of the material nature of the world. They stand outside of man: everything is heavy and fluid. They are also inside him: in the body and blood. The same is the case at the cellular level.

The universality of the experiences of earth and water yields the traditional concept of the Firmament, since the presence of the Higher Waters (the source of rain) in the sky also implies the presence of a symmetric and necessary element – earth, land, the celestial vault. All together, Earth, Sea and Ocean are in essence the major categories of earthly existence, and it is impossible for mankind not to see in them some of the foundational attributes of the universe. As the two basic terms of geopolitics, they preserve their significance for both civilizations of a traditional kind and for exclusively modern states, peoples and ideological blocs. At the level of global geopolitical phenomena, Land and Sea generate the terms Thalassocracy and Tellurocracy, i.e., “power by means of sea” and “ power by means of land” – Sea Power and Land Power. 

The strength of any state or empire is based upon the preferential development of one of these categories. Empires are either thalassocratic, or tellurocratic. The former implies the existence of a mother country and colonies, the latter a capital and provinces on “common land.” In the case of thalassocracy, its territory is not unified into one land space, which creates an element of discontinuity. The sea is both the strength and weakness of thalassocratic power. Tellurocracy, on the contrary, boasts the quality of territorial continuity.

Geographical and cosmological logic at once complicate this seemingly simple model of division: the pair of “land-sea”, by reciprocal superimposition of its elements, gives birth to the ideas of “maritime land” and of “land-water”. The maritime-land is an island, i.e., the base of maritime empire, the pole of thalassocracy. “Land-water” or water within land means rivers, which predetermine the development of overland empires. On the river we find the city, the capital, the pole of tellurocracy. This symmetry is symbolic, economic and geographical all at once. It is important to note that the statuses of Island and Continent are defined not so much on the basis of physical magnitude as by the peculiarities of the consciousness typical of their populations. Thus, the geopolitics of the US is of an island nature despite the dimensions of North America, whereas the island of Japan geopolitically represents the continental mentality, etc.

One more detail is relevant: historically, thalassocracy is linked to the West and the Atlantic Ocean, whereas tellurocracy is associated with the East and the Eurasian continent. The above-mentioned example of Japan is explained, thus, by the stronger “attractive” effect of Eurasia.

Thalassocracy and Atlanticism became synonyms long before the colonial expansion of Great Britain or Portuguese and Spanish conquests. Long before the first sea migration waves, the peoples of the West and their cultures had already begun their shift to the East from their centers located in the Atlantic. The Mediterranean was also mastered from the Gibraltar to the Middle East, and not the other way around. Meanwhile, excavations in Eastern Siberia and Mongolia demonstrate that ancient pockets of civilization once existed there, which means that none other than the central lands of the continent were the cradle of Eurasian mankind. 

The Symbolism of Landscape

Besides these two global categories of Land and Sea, geopolitics also operates with more particular definitions. Maritime and oceanic formations can be differentiated among thalassocratic realities. For instance, the maritime civilizations of the Black Sea or Mediterranean Sea are rather qualitatively different from the civilizations of the oceans, i.e., insular powers and peoples dwelling on the shores of the open ocean. More particular divisions also exist between river and lake civilizations with relation to continents.

Tellurocracy also has its own particular forms. One can distinguish between the civilization of the Steppe and civilization of the Forest, the civilization of the Mountains and the civilization of the Plains, the civilization of the Desert and the civilization of Ice. In sacred geography, diverse varieties of landscapes are understood as symbolic complexes linked to the particularities of the state, religious and ethical ideologies of different peoples. Even in those cases where we are dealing with a universalist, ecumenical religion, the concrete embodiment of such in a given people, race or state will be subject to adaptation to the local sacred-geographical context. Deserts and steppes represent the geopolitical microcosm of the nomads, and it is precisely in the deserts and on the steppes that the tellurocratic tendency reaches its climax, as the “water” factor is minimally present. Desert and Steppe empires should therefore logically be the geopolitical springboards of tellurocracy. As an example of a Steppe empire, one might consider the Empire of Genghis Khan. A typical example of a Desert empire was the Arab Caliphate, which arose under the direct influence of nomads. 

Mountains and mountain civilizations are more often than not archaic and fragmentary. Mountain countries are generally not sources of expansion, in fact, they tend to gather the victims of other tellurocratic forces’ geopolitical expansion. No empire has its center in a mountainous region. Hence the often repeated maxim of sacred geography, “mountains are inhabited by demons.” On the other hand, the idea that mountains can conserve the residual traces of ancient races and civilizations is reflected by the fact that it is precisely in mountains that the sacred centers of Tradition are placed. One could even say that mountains correspond to some kind of spiritual power in tellurocracy. 

The logical combination of both concepts – the mountain as a hieratic model and the desert as a regal one – yields the symbolism of the hill, i.e., a small or average height. The hill is a symbol of imperial might rising above the secular level of the steppe, but it does not reach the limit of supreme power as is the case with mountains. A hill is a dwelling place for a king, a count, an emperor, but not a priest. All large tellurocratic empires’ capitals are placed on a hill or hills (often on seven hills – the number of the planets; or on five – the number of elements, including the ether, and so on).

The forest in sacred geography is similar to the mountains in a definite sense. The symbolism of the tree corresponds to the symbolism of the mountain (both the former and the latter designate the world axis). Therefore, in tellurocracies the forest also plays a peripheral function, as it too is the “place of the priests” (the druids, the magi, the hermits), but also at the same time the “place of demons”, i.e., archaic residuals from a vanished past. Thus, a forest cannot serve as the center of an overland empire.

The tundra represents the Northern analogue to the steppe and the desert, although the cold climate makes it much less significant from a geopolitical point of view. This “peripherality” reaches its apogee with the icebergs which, similarly to mountains, are deeply archaic zones. It is telling that the Eskimo shamanic tradition calls for a future shaman to depart alone on the ice, from where the world beyond will be opened to him. Thus, ice is a hieratic zone, the threshold of another world.

Taking into account these essential and most general characteristics of the geopolitical map, it is possible to define the various regions of the planet according to their sacred qualities. This method can also be applied to the local features of a landscape at the level of individual countries or even of individual localities. It is also possible to trace the convergence of the ideologies and traditions of what are seemingly very diverse peoples. 

East and West in Sacred Geography

In the context of sacred geography, cardinal directions possess a special, qualitative nature. Visions of sacred geography can vary across traditions and periods in accordance with the cyclical phases of a given tradition’s development. Hence why the symbolic functions of cardinal directions often vary. Without diving into the details, it is possible to formulate the most universal law of sacred geography with regards to East and West.

Sacred geography, on the basis of “cosmic symbolism”, traditionally considers the East to be the “land of the Spirit”, the paradisal land, the land of perfection, abundance, the sacred “homeland” in its fullest and most complete form. In particular, this idea is mirrored in the Bible, where Eden has an Eastern position. The exact same understanding is characteristic of other Abrahamic traditions (Islam and Judaism), as well as many non-Abrahamic traditions, such as the Chinese, Hindu and Iranian traditions. “The East is the mansion of the gods”, states the sacred formula of the Ancient Egyptians, and the very word “East”, or neter in Egyptian, simultaneously meant “god.” From the point of view of natural symbolism, the East is the place where the sun, the Light of the World, the material symbol of Divinity and the Spirit, ascends, or vostekeat in Russian, hence the Russian word for “East”, vostok.

The West has the opposite symbolical meaning. It is the “land of death”, the “lifeless world”, the “green country” (as the Ancient Egyptians called it). The West is “the empire of exile” and “the pit of the rejected” in the expressions of Islamic mystics. The West is the “anti-East”, the country of the setting of the sun (zakat in Russian), decay, degradation, and transition from the manifest to the non-manifest, from life to death, from wholeness to need, and so on. The West [zapad in Russian] is the place where the sun descends, where it “sinks down” (zapadaet).

It is in accordance with this logic of natural cosmic symbolism that ancient traditions organized their “sacred space”, founded their cult centers, burial places, temples and edifices, and interpreted the natural and “civilizational” features of the planet’s geographical, cultural and political territories. Thus, the very structure of migrations, wars, campaigns, demographic waves, empire-building, etc. was defined by the primordial, pragmatic logic of sacred geography.

Peoples and civilizations possessing hierarchical characters stretched along the East-West axis – the closer to the East, the closer they were to the Sacred, to Tradition, to spiritual abundance. The closer to the West, the more the Spirit decayed, degraded and died. 

Of course, this logic was not always absolute, but at the same time it was neither minor nor relative as it has so wrongly been considered by many “profane” scholars of ancient religions and traditions today. As a matter of fact, sacred logic and the tracing of cosmic symbolism were much more consciously recognized, understood and practiced by ancient peoples than is acceptably believed today. Even in our anti-sacred world, the archetypes of sacred geography are almost always retained in their integrity on the level of the “unconscious”, and are awoken at the most important and critical moments of social cataclysms. 

Thus, sacred geography univocally affirms the law of “qualitative space”, in which the East represents the symbolic “ontological plus”, and the West the “ontological minus.” According to the Chinese tradition, the East is Yang, or the male, bright, solar principle, and the West is Yin, the female, dark, lunar principle.

East and West in Modern Geopolitics

Now we shall see how this sacred-geographical logic is mirrored in geopolitics, which, in the capacity of the exclusively modern science, merely fixates on the factual arrangement of affairs, leaving sacred principles themselves out of its framework and out of the picture. 

Geopolitics in its original formulation by Ratzel, Kjellén, and Mackinder (and later by Haushofer and the Russian Eurasianists) took as its point of departure the peculiarities of different types of civilizations and states in relation to their dependence on geographical disposition. Geopoliticians established the fact that there is a fundamental difference between “insular” and “continental” powers, between “Western”, “progressive” civilization and “Eastern”, “despotic” and “archaic” cultural forms. Insofar as the question of the Spirit in its metaphysical and sacred understanding is generally never raised in modern science, geopoliticians have also brushed it aside, preferring to evaluate situations in different, more modern terms than those of the “sacred”, “profane”, “traditional”, “anti-traditional”, etc. 

Geopoliticians have identified major differences between the political, cultural and industrial development of Eastern regions and Western ones over the past few centuries. The picture thereby derived is the following: the West is the center of “material” and “technological” development. On the cultural-ideological level, “liberal-democratic” tendencies and individualistic and humanistic worldviews prevail in the West. On the economic level, priority is assigned to trade and technological modernization. The theories of “progress”, “evolution”, and the “progressive development of history”, which are completely alien to the traditional Eastern world (and also to Western history in those periods when a rigorous sacred tradition was still in place there, as was the case in the Middle Ages), appeared for the first time in the West. On the social level, coercion in the West acquired only an economic character, and the Law of Idea and Force was gradually replaced by the Law of Money. A peculiar “Western ideology” was gradually cast in the universal formula of the “ideology of human rights”, which became the dominant principle in the most Western regions of the planet – North America, first and foremost the United States of America. On the industrial level, this ideology has corresponded with the notion of “developed countries”, and on the economic level is related to the concepts of the “free market” and “economic liberalism.” 

The whole aggregate of these features, along with the purely military, strategic integration of different sectors of Western civilization, is defined today by the concept of “Atlanticism.” In the previous century, geopoliticians spoke of “Anglo-Saxon civilization” or “capitalist, bourgeois democracy”, but the “geopolitical West” has since found its most pure embodiment in the “Atlanticist” form. 

The geopolitical East represents the direct opposite of the geopolitical West. Instead of economic modernization, here (in the “less developed countries”) traditional, archaic modes of production of the corporative or shop-manufacturing type prevail. Instead of economic coercion, the state more often employs “moral” or simply physical coercion (the Law of Idea and Law of Force). Instead of “democracy” and “human rights”, the East gravitates around totalitarianism, socialism and authoritarianism, i.e., around various types of social regimes whose only common feature is that the center of their systems is not the “individual” or “man” with his “rights” and his peculiar “individual values”, but something supra-individual, supra-human, be it “society”, “the nation”, “the people”, “the idea”, “the Weltanschauung”, “religion”, “the cult of the leader” etc. The East contradicts Western liberal democracy with a diversity of types of non-liberal, non-individualistic societies ranging from authoritarian monarchies to theocracies or socialism. Moreover, from a pure typological, geopolitical point of view, the political specificity of this or that regime is secondary in comparison to the qualitative division between “Western order” (= “individualist, mercantile”) and “Eastern order” (= “supra-individual – based on force”). The USSR, communist China, Japan until 1945 and Khomeini’s Iran have been representative forms of such an anti-Western civilization. 

It is curious to note that Rudolf Kjellén, the first author to coin the term “geopolitics”, illustrated the differences between West and East in the following example:

“A typical pet phrase of the ordinary American,” Kjellén writes, “is ‘go ahead’, which literally means ‘go forward.’ In this is reflected the internal and intrinsic geopolitical optimism and ‘progressivism’ of American civilization, which is the extreme form of the Western model. The Russians, on the other hand, habitually repeat the word nichego [‘nothing’]. This manifests the ‘pessimism’, ‘contemplation’, ‘fatalism’, and ‘adherence to tradition’ peculiar to the East.” 

If we now return to the paradigm of sacred geography, we see a direct antagonism between the priorities of modern geopolitics (such concepts as “progress”, “liberalism”, “human rights”, and “trade order” etc., are today positive terms for the majority of people), and the priorities of sacred geography, which evaluates different civilizational types from a completely opposite point of view (from the standpoint of such concepts as “spirit”, “contemplation”, “submission to superhuman force or superhuman idea”, “ideocracy”, etc., which in sacred civilizations are exclusively positive, and remain such  to this day for the Eastern peoples on the level of the “collective unconscious”). Modern geopolitics (with the exceptions of the Russian Eurasianists, the German followers of Haushofer, Islamic fundamentalists etc.) analyzes and imagines the world from an opposite perspective than that of traditional sacred geography. But in this, both sciences still converge in their description of the fundamental laws of the geographical picture of civilizations.

Sacred North and Sacred South

In addition to the sacred-geographical determinism along the East-West axis, an extremely relevant problem is posed by another, vertical orientation or axis – that of North-South. Here, as in all other cases, the principles of sacred geography, the symbolism of cardinal points, and the continents related to each, have a direct analogue in the geopolitical picture of the world, which is either naturally built up over the course of the historical process, or is consciously and artificially formed as a result of the purposeful actions of the leaders of this or that geopolitical formation. From the point of view of the Integral Tradition, the difference between “artificial” and “natural” is generally rather relative, since Tradition never knew anything in the likes of  the Cartesian or Kantian dualisms which strictly separate the “subjective” and the “objective” (or the “phenomenal” and “noumenal”). Therefore the sacred determinism of North or South is not only a physical, natural, or terranean-climatic factor (i.e., something “objective”), nor is it merely an “idea” or “concept” generated by the minds of individuals (i.e., something “subjective”). Rather, it is some kind of third form that is superior to both the objective and subjective poles. One might say that the sacred North, or the archetype of the North, was over the course of history split into the natural Northern landscape on the one hand, and the idea of the North, or “Nordicism”, on the other. 

The most ancient and primordial layer of Tradition unequivocally affirms the primacy of North over South. The symbolism of the North corresponds to the Source, to the original Northern paradise from which all human civilization originates. Ancient Iranian and Zoroastrian texts speak of the northern country of Airyana Vaeja with its capital of Vara, from which the ancient Aryans were expelled by glaciation sent upon them by Ahriman, the spirit of Evil and opponent of the bright Ormuzd. The ancient Vedas also speak of a Northern land as the ancestral home of the Hindus, the Śveta-dvīpa, the White Land lying in the Far North. The Ancient Greeks spoke of Hyperborea, the Northern island with the capital Thule. This land was considered to be the homeland of the bright god Apollo. In many other traditions, one can detect the most ancient traces, so often forgotten and fragmentary, of this “Nordic” symbolism. 

The fundamental idea traditionally associated with the North is the idea of the Center, the Immobile Pole, the point of Eternity around which revolves not only the cycle of space, but also the cycle of time. The North is the land where the sun never sets even at night, it is the space of eternal light. Every sacred tradition honors the Center, the Middle, the point where contrasts converge, the symbolic place that is not subject to the laws of cosmic entropy. This Center, whose symbol is the Swastika (which stresses both the immobility and constancy of the Center, and the mobility and changeability of the periphery), has acquired different names for each tradition, but it has always been directly or indirectly linked to the symbolism of North. Therefore, we can say that all sacred traditions are, in essence, the projection of the One Northern Primordial Tradition adapted to all different historical conditions. The North is the Cardinal Point chosen by the primeval Logos in order to reveal itself in History, and each of its further manifestations has only re-created this primordial polar-paradisal symbolism.

In sacred geography, the North corresponds to the spirit, light, purity, completeness, unity, and eternity. The South symbolizes something directly opposite – materiality, darkness, mixture, privation, plurality and immersion in the stream of time and becoming. Even from a natural point of view, in polar areas there is one long semi-annual Day and one long semi-annual Night. This is the Day and Night of the gods and heroes, of the angels. Even decayed traditions remember this sacred, spiritual, supernatural Cardinal North, recalling the Northern regions to be the dwelling place of “spirits” and “forces from beyond.” In the South, the Day and Night of the gods are fragmented into human days – here the primordial symbolism of Hyperborea has been lost, and its memories became mere pieces of “culture” or “legend.” The South generally often corresponds to culture, i.e., to that sphere of human activity at which the Invisible and the Purely Spiritual acquire material, hardened, visible outlines. The South is the reign of substance, life, biology and instincts. The South corrupts the Northern purity of Tradition, but preserves its traces in materialized features.

The North-South pair in sacred geography is not reduced to an abstract opposition of Good and Evil. It is rather the opposition of the Spiritual Idea to its coarsened, material embodying. In normal cases, in which the South recognizes the primacy of the North, there exist harmonious relations between these “parties of light”; the North “spiritualizes the South”, the Nordic messengers bring Tradition to the Southerners and lay the foundations of sacred civilizations. If the South fails to recognize the primacy of the North, then thus begins the sacred confrontation, the “war of continents.” In the view of Tradition, the South is responsible for this conflict in breaking sacred rules. In the Ramayana, for instance, the Southern island of Lanka is considered the dwelling place of demons that have stolen Rama’s wife, Sita, and declared war on the continental North with its capital of Ayodhya. 

Thus, it is important to note that in sacred geography, the North-South axis is more important than the East-West axis. But being the more important one, it corresponds to the most ancient stages of cyclical history. The great war of North and South, of Hyperborea and Gondwana (the ancient paleo-continent of the South) belongs to “antediluvian” times. In the last phases of the cycle, it becomes more hidden, more veiled. The paleo-continents of North and South themselves disappear. Thus, the baton of opposition is passed to East and West.

The shift from the vertical North-South axis to the horizontal East-West axis typical of the last stages of the cycle nevertheless saves the logic and symbolic connection between these two sacred-geographical pairs. The North-South pair (i.e., Spirit-Matter, Eternity-Time) is projected on the East-West pair (i.e., Tradition and Profanity, Origin and Decay). The East is the downwards horizontal projection of the North. The West is the upwards horizontal projection of the South. Out of this transition of sacred meanings, one can readily obtain the structure of the continental vision peculiar to Tradition. 

The People of the North

The Sacred North determines a special human type, which can have a biological, racial embodiment, but also might not have such a thing at all. The essence of “Nordicism” consists in the capacity of man to raise each object of the physical, material world to its archetype, to its Idea. This quality is not a simple development of a rational origin. On the contrary, the Cartesian and Kantian “pure intellect” is by its very nature incapable of overcoming the thin border between the “phenomenon” and “noumenon”, whereas it is precisely this ability that lies at the heart of “Nordic” thinking. The man of the North is not simply white, “Aryan” or Indo-European in terms of his blood, language, and culture. The man of the North is a particular kind of being endowed with a direct intuition of the Sacred. To him, the cosmos is a texture of symbols, each of them pointing towards the First Spiritual Principle that is invisible to the eye. The man of the North is the “solar man”, Sonnenmensch, who does not absorb energy, as black holes do, but allots it – the streams of creation, light, strength, and wisdom flow out of his spirit.

Pure Nordic civilization disappeared with the ancient Hyperboreans, but its messengers laid the foundations of all present traditions. This Nordic “race” of Teachers stood at the origins of the religions and cultures of the peoples of all continents and colors of skin. Traces of a Hyperborean cult can be found among the Indians of North America, among the Ancient Slavs, among the founders of the Chinese civilization, and among the natives of the Pacific, among the blonde Germans and black shamans of Western Africa, among the red-skinned Aztecs and among the Mongols with their wide cheek-bones. There is no people on the planet that does not have a myth about the “solar man”, Sonnenmensch. True spirituality, the supra-rational Mind, the divine Logos, and the capacity to see through the world to its secret Soul – these are the defining qualities of the North. Wherever there is Sacred Purity and Wisdom, there, invisibly, is the North – no matter what point in space or time we inhabit. 

The People of the South

The man of the South, the Gondwana type, is directly opposite of the Nordic type. The man of the South lives in a circle of effects, of secondary manifestations; he dwells in the cosmos, which he venerates but does not understand. He worships exteriority, but not interiority. He carefully preserves traces of spirituality, their embodiments in the material environment, but he is not able to proceed from “symbolizing” to “the symbolized.” The man of the South lives by passion and speed, he puts the psychic above the spiritual (which he simply does not know) and worships Life as a higher authority. The cult of the Great Mother, of matter generating the variety of forms, is typical of the man of the South. The civilization of the South is a civilization of the Moon, which only receives light from the Sun (North), and preserves and diffuses it for some time only to periodically lose contact with it (the new moon). The man of the South is a Mondmensch.

When the people of the South stay in harmony with the people of North, i.e. recognize their authority and their typological (not racial!) superiority, harmony reigns among civilizations. When they claim their supremacy because of their archetypical relation to reality, there arises a distorted cultural type, which can be globally defined by adoration of idols, fetishism or paganism (in the negative, pejorative sense of this term).

As is the case with the paleo-continents themselves, purely Northern and Southern types existed only in remote ancient times. The people of the North and the people of the South confronted one another only in the primordial epochs. Later, whole peoples from the North penetrated the Southern lands, sometimes founding bright expressions of Nordic civilization, such as ancient Iran and India. On the other hand, peoples from the South sometimes went far northward, bearing their cultural type, such as Finns, Eskimos, Chukchi etc. The original clearness of the sacred-geographical panorama gradually became muddy. But in spite of all of this, the typological dualism of the “people of North” and the “people of the South” has been preserved in all times and epochs, only not so much in the form of an external conflict between two miscellaneous civilizations, as an internal conflict within the framework of any given civilization.

The type of the North and the type of the South have since some moment in sacred history opposed each other at every turn, irrespective of concrete places on the planet. 

North and South in East and West

The type of the people of North can be projected in the South, East and West. In the South, the Light of North generated great metaphysical civilizations such as the Indian, Iranian or Chinese, which in the situation of the “conservative” South for a long time preserved the Revelation, were entrusted with it. However, the simpleness and clearness of Northern symbolism turned here into complex and miscellaneous tangles of sacred doctrines, sacraments and rites. The further to the South, the feebler are the traces of the North. And among the inhabitants of the Pacific islands and Southern Africa, Nordic motives in mythology and sacraments are preserved only in extremely fragmentary, rudimentary and even distorted form.

In the East, the North manifests itself as classical traditional society founded on the univocal superiority of the supra-individual above the individual, where the “human” and the “rational” are retracted in view of the supra-human and supra-rational Principle. If the South gives civilization “stability”, then the East defines its sacrality and authenticity, the major guarantor of which is the Light of the North.

In the West, the North is manifest in heroic societies, where such a tendency peculiar to the West as fragmentation, individualization and rationalization surpassed itself, and the individual, becoming the Hero, grew out of the narrow framework of the “human, all too human” personality. The North in the West is personified by the symbolic figure of Heracles who, on the one hand, releases Prometheus (the purely Western, titanic, “humanist” tendency), and on the other, helps Zeus and the gods to defeat the rebellion of the giants (i.e. serves for the sake of sacred rules and spiritual Order).

The South, on the contrary, projects itself on all three orientations according to an opposite image. In the North, it gives the effect of “archaism” and cultural stagnation. Even the most Northern, “Nordic” traditions, when under the Southern influence of “Paleo-Asiatic”, “Finnish” or “Eskimo” elements, took on the traits of “idol-worshipping” and “fetishism” (this is characteristic, in particular, of the Germano-Scandinavian civilization in the “epoch of the Skalds”).

In the East, the forces of the South surface in despotic societies, where the normal and just Eastern indifference towards the individual turns into denial of the great Supra-human Subject. All forms of Eastern totalitarianism, both typological and racial, are linked to the South.

Finally, in the West, the South is manifested in the extremely rough, materialistic forms of individualism in which the atomic individual reaches the limit of anti-heroic degeneration, worshipping only the “golden calf” of comfort and egotistical hedonism. That this combination of two sacred-geopolitical tendencies yields the most negative type of civilization is obvious, since it overlaps two orientations which are already in themselves negative – South on the vertical line and West on the horizontal line. 

From Continents to Meta-Continents

If, from the perspective of sacred geography, the symbolic North unambiguously corresponds to positive aspects, and the South to negative, then in the exclusively modern geopolitical picture of the world, everything is much more complex – and to some extent even upside down. Modern geopolitics understands the terms “North” and “South” as wholly different categories than sacred geography does.

First of all, the paleo-continent of the North, Hyperborea, has not existed for many millennia on a physical level, but remains a spiritual reality towards which the spiritual gaze of the initiated yearning for primordial Tradition has been directed .

Secondly, the ancient Nordic race, the race of the “white teachers” who descended from the pole in the primordial era, does not at all coincide with what is today commonly called “white race” based only on physical characteristics, skin color, etc. The Northern Tradition and its original population, the “Nordic autochthones”, have not existed for quite some time as a historical-geographical reality. Judging by things as they stand at present, even the last remnants of this primordial culture disappeared from physical reality some millennia ago.

Thus, ‘the North’, looked at in terms of Tradition, is a meta-historical and meta-geographical reality. The same can be said about the “Hyperborean race” – it is not a ‘race’ in the biological, but rather, in a purely spiritual, metaphysical sense. The topic of “metaphysical races” was developed in detail in Julius Evola’s work.

The continent of the South, ‘the South’ as it exists in Traditionalist terms, and its most ancient population have not existed for quite some time. In a certain sense, the “South” at a certain  moment came to make up practically the entire planet, as the influence of the original polar initiatic center and its messengers dissipated across the entire world. The modern races of the South represent a product of multiple mixtures with the races of North, and skin color in general long ago ceased to be a distinctive sign of belonging to one or another “metaphysical race.”

In other words, the modern geopolitical picture of the world has very little in common with the fundamentally supra-historical and meta-temporal view of the world. The continents and populations of our epoch are extremely far removed from those archetypes to which they corresponded in primordial times. Therefore, today there exists not merely a discrepancy, but an almost inverse correspondence between actual continents and actual races (the realities of modern geopolitics) on the one hand, and meta-continents or meta-races (the realities of traditional sacred geography) on the other.

The Illusion of the “Rich North”

Modern geopolitics refers to the concept of the “North” most frequently alongside the adjective “rich”  – the “rich North,” the “advanced North”. This term refers to an aggregate of Western civilization which attaches fundamental attention to the development of the material and economic side of life. The “rich North ” is rich not because it is more clever, more intellectual, or more spiritual than the “South”, but because it has built its social system on the principle of maximizing the material that can be extracted from social and natural potential, from the exploitation of humans and natural resources. The racial image of the “rich North” is linked to people with white skin, a feature which is central to various versions, whether explicit or implicit, of “Western racism” (in particular Anglo-Saxon racism). The success of the “rich North” in the material sphere was raised to a political and even “racial” principle in those countries which became the vanguard of industrial, technical and economic development, i.e., England, Holland, and later Germany and the US. In this case, material and quantitative welfare amounted to a qualitative criterion, and it is on this basis that the most ridiculous prejudices about the “barbarism”, “primitiveness”, “underdevelopment” and “untermenschlichkeit” of the Southern peoples (i.e., those not belonging to “rich North”) came about. Such “economic racism” was clearly manifested in Anglo-Saxon colonial conquest. Later, an embellished version was introduced in the most coarse and contradictory aspects of National-Socialist ideology. Nazi ideologists often blended vague guesses about pure “spiritual Nordism” and the “spiritual Aryan race” with the vulgar, mercantilistic, biological racism of the English variety. This substitution of sacred-geographical categories with categories of material and technical development was the most absolutely negative aspect of National-Socialism, and the element which led to its political, theoretical and military collapse. Yet, even after the defeat of the Third Reich, this kind of “rich North” racism has not disappeared from political life. Now, the US and its Atlanticist partners in Western Europe have become its primary bearers. In the most recent globalist doctrines of the “rich North”, questions of biological and racial purity are not stressed; nevertheless, in practice, the rich North’s relations with undeveloped and less developed countries of the Third World still advance the “racist” haughtiness typical of both English colonialists and the German National-Socialists’ orthodox Rosenberg line. 

In fact, the “rich North”, in geopolitical terms, refers to those countries where forces directly opposed to Tradition have won out – the forces of quantity, materialism, atheism, spiritual degradation and emotional degeneration. The “rich North” is radically distinct from “spiritual Nordism” and the “Hyperborean spirit.” The substance of the North in sacred geography is the primacy of spirit over matter, the definitive and total victory of Light, Justice and Purity over the darkness of animal life, the arrogance of individual passions and the mud of base egoism. The globalist geopolitics of the “rich North”, on the contrary, means exclusively material welfare, hedonism, the consumer society, the “problem-free” and artificial pseudo-paradise of those whom Nietzsche called “the last men.” The material progress of technological civilization has been accompanied by the monstrous spiritual regress of all truly sacred culture. From the point of view of Tradition, the “wealth” of the modern, “advanced” North cannot serve as genuine criteria of any real superiority over the material “poverty” and technological backwardness of the modern “primitive South.”

Moreover, the material “poverty” of the South is quite often conversely linked tied to Southern regions’ conservation of genuinely sacred forms of civilization. Spiritual wealth is sometimes disguised behind ostensible “poverty.” At least two such sacred civilizations still exist in the Southern space today despite all the attempts by the “rich (and aggressive!) North” to impose its own measures and path of development on the whole world: Hindu India and the Islamic world. In terms of Far Eastern traditions, there are various points of view: some see certain traditional principles that have always been definitive for Chinese civilization, even beneath the “Marxist” and “Maoist” rhetoric. These Southern regions are inhabited by peoples who have maintained their devotion to very ancient, nearly forgotten sacred traditions. Compared to the atheist and utterly materialistic “rich North”, these peoples are “spiritual”, “whole” and “normal”, while the “rich North” itself is “abnormal” and “pathological” from a spiritual point of view.

The Paradox of the “Third World ”

In terms of globalist projects, the “poor South” is de facto a synonym for the “Third World.” This part of the world was referred to as the “third” during the Cold War, a notion which presupposed that the other two “worlds” – the advanced capitalist and less-advanced Soviet – were more relevant and significant to geopolitics than all other regions. The expression “Third World” has a pejorative connotation: according to the utilitarian logic of the ”rich North”, such a definition renders Third World countries tantamount to a “no man’s land”, to little more than human resource reservoirs slated for subservience, exploitation and manipulation. In so doing, the “rich North” has skillfully played on the traditional political-ideological and religious characteristics of the “poor South” by subjugating it to its exclusively materialist and economic interests and structures which are, in terms of spiritual potential, far superior to the “rich North” itself. The “rich North” has almost always succeeded in this subjugation, since the very cyclical moment of our civilization is conducive to perverted, abnormal and unnatural tendencies. This is due to the fact that, according to Tradition, we are now in the latest period of the dark age, the ‘Kali Yuga.’ Hinduism, Confucianism, Islam and the indigenous traditions of the “non-white” peoples are but an impediment to the material conquests and aims of the “rich North”; yet, at the same time, certain aspects of Tradition are often appropriated to achieve their mercantile goals by manipulating contradictions, religious peculiarities or national problems. Such utilitarian appropriations of various aspects of Tradition for exclusively anti-traditional aims have been an even greater evil than the outright denial of all Traditional values, since the highest perversion is for the great to be made subservient to the “nothing.”

In reality, the so-called “poor South ” is only “poor” on a material level precisely because of its spiritual attitudes, having always reserved only a minor and unimportant place for the material aspects of existence. The geopolitical South in our time has preserved a uniquely traditionalist attitude towards the objects of the external world, a calm, detached, and even indifferent attitude which starkly contrasts the obsessions of the “rich North” with materialist and hedonistic paranoia. The people of the “poor South”, by virtue of living in Tradition, to this day have fuller, more profound and even more magnificent existences. Participation in sacred Tradition bestows upon all aspects of their personal lives’ a meaning, an intensity and a saturation, of which the “rich North” has long been deprived. The latter is left hysterical with neuroses, material fears, inner desolation and a completely pointless existence. It is little more than a languid kaleidoscope with pictures as vivid as they are empty. 

It could be said that the correlation between North and South in primordial times has a directly inverse correlation in our present epoch, as it is the South which today still preserves some links with Tradition, whereas the North has definitively lost them. Nevertheless, this statement does not cover the whole picture of reality, since true Tradition cannot abide such humiliating treatment as that practiced by the aggressively atheistic “rich North” against the “Third world.” The fact of the matter is that Tradition has been preserved in the South only in an inertial, fragmentary, partial form. It holds a passive position and can only resist, it is permanently on the defensive. Thus, the spiritual North has not fully transferred itself to the South in the End Times – the South only accumulates and preserves spiritual impulses that once came from the sacred North. No active traditional initiative can come from the South in principle. Meanwhile, the globalist “rich North” has managed to harden its pernicious grasp on the planet due to the specificity of the Northern regions that are conducive to activity. The North was and remains by its very nature the chosen place of power. Thus, truly effective geopolitical initiatives come from the North.

The “poor South” today has a spiritual advantage over the “rich North”, but it cannot serve as a serious alternative to the profane aggression of the “rich North”, nor can it offer the radical geopolitical project capable of subverting the pathological vision of the modern world. 

The Role of the “ Second World”

In the bipolar geopolitical picture of “rich North” vs. “poor South”, there has always existed an additional component of self-sufficient and critical significance. This is the so-called “Second World”, which is conventionally understood to mean the socialist camp that was integrated into the Soviet system. This “Second World” was not quite the “rich North”, since it had definite spiritual motives that secretly influenced the nominally materialistic ideology of Soviet socialism, nor was it really the “Third world”, since overall an orientation towards material development, “progress” and other exclusively profane principles were at the heart of the Soviet system. The geopolitically Eurasian USSR was located both in “poor Asia” and “civilized” Europe. During the socialist period, the planetary belt of the “rich North” was broken in Eastern Eurasia, thus complicating the clarity of geopolitical relations on the North-South axis.

The end of the “Second World” as a special civilization left the former USSR’s Eurasian space with two alternatives: either integration into the “rich North” (that is, the West and the US), or being thrown down to the “poor South”, i.e., to turn into a “Third world country.” One possible compromise would be the separation of some of the regions to the “North” and some to the “South.” As has often been the case over the last few centuries, the initiative of redistributing geopolitical spaces was the prerogative of the “rich North”, which cynically used the paradoxes of the “second world” itself to fix new geopolitical borders and break up zones of influence. 

National, economic and religious factors are regularly instrumentalized by the globalists as tools in their cynical and deeply materialist-motivated operations. It is therefore no surprise that, in addition to false “humanist” rhetoric, almost blatantly “racist” pretexts are now increasingly invoked to incite Russians to demonstrate a “white superiority complex” towards Asian and Caucasian Southerners. This correlates with the inverse process of the former “Second World” being driven finally towards the “poor South” which has been accompanied by manipulations of fundamentalist tendencies, of the peoples’ inclination towards Tradition and of the revival of religion. 

The disintegrating “Second World” is being broken apart along the lines of “traditionalism” (the southern, inertial, conservative kind) and “anti-traditionalism” (the actively Northern, modernist and materialist kind). This dualism, which is only being strategized today but will become the predominant phenomenon in Eurasian geopolitics in  the near future, is predetermined by the spread of the globalist understanding of the world in terms of “rich North” and the “poor South.” Any attempt to save the former Soviet Great Space, and any attempt to save the “Second World” as something self-sufficient and balancing halfway between North and South (in their exclusively modern meaning), cannot be successful without altogether questioning the fundamentally polar conception of modern geopolitics as understood and realized in its actual form, brushing aside deceitful humanitarian and economic proclamations. 

The “Second World” is disappearing. There is no more place for it on the modern geopolitical map. At the same time, the pressure of the “rich North” on the “poor South” is increasing, with the latter left to fend against the aggressive materialistic technocratic society of the “North” in the absence of an intermediate power, such as the Second World was. Any other possible destiny for the “Second World” will only be possible if accompanied by a radical rejection of the planetary logic of the North-South dichotomy in its globalist vein. 

The Project for the “Resurrection of the North”

The rich globalist North is spreading its domination across the planet through the partition and destruction of the “Second World.” In modern geopolitics, this has also been called the project of the “New World Order.” The active forces of anti-tradition are consolidating their victory over the passive recalcitrance of the Southern regions which continue to preserve their economic backwardness and defend their residual forms of Tradition. The inner geopolitical energies of the “Second World” face a choice – either be annexed into the “civilized Northern belt” and decisively lose any connection with sacred history (which is the project of leftist globalism), or become an occupied territory allowed to partially restore some aspects of tradition (the project of right-wing globalism). Events are developing in precisely this direction today and they will continue to in the near future. 

As for an alternative, it is theoretically possible to formulate a different path for geopolitical transformation based on rejecting the North-South globalist logic and on returning to the spirit of genuine sacred geography – to the extent that such is possible now, at the end of the dark age. This is the project of the “Great Return” or, in other terms, the “Great War of Continents.” In its most general features, the essence of this project is as follows:

(1) The rich North will be opposed, not by the “poor South”, but by the “poor North.” The poor North is the sacred ideal of returning to the Nordic sources of civilization. Such a North is “poor” because it is based on total asceticism, on radical devotion to the highest values of Tradition, on utter hatred of the material for the sake of the spiritual. The “poor North” exists (in a geographical sense) in Russia, which, essentially being the “Second World”, has socio-politically resisted the adoption of globalist civilization in its most “progressive” forms to the present moment. The North Eurasian lands of Russia are the only territories on earth which have not been completely mastered by the “rich North.” They are inhabited by traditional peoples and are terra incognita in the modern world. The “path of the poor North” for Russia means refusing to be annexed by the globalist belt and refusing to have its traditions archaized, reduced to the folkloric level of an ethno-religious reservoir. The “poor North” must be spiritual, intellectual, active and aggressive. Potential opposition by the “poor North” to the “rich North” is possible in other regions as well, perhaps manifesting itself in part of the Western intellectual elite radically sabotaging the course of mercantile civilization and rebelling against the modern world of finance for the sake of the ancient, eternal values of the Spirit, Justice and Self-Sacrifice. The “poor North” could thus launch a geopolitical and ideological battle against the “rich North”, rejecting its projects, destroying its plans from the inside and out, combating its stainless efficiency and thwarting its social and political manipulations.

(2) The “poor South”, incapable of independently opposing the rich North, will enter a radical alliance with the poor Eurasian North and begin a liberation war against the Northern dictatorship. It is especially important to strike at representatives of the ideology of the “rich South ”, i.e., those forces which, working for the “rich North”, stand for the “development”, “progress” and “modernization” of traditional countries, which will otherwise lead to a further departure from what remains of sacred Tradition.

(3) The “poor North” of the Eurasian East, together with the “poor South”, will surround the entire planet, concentrating their forces against the “rich North” of the Atlanticist West. These efforts will put an end to the ideologically vulgar versions of Anglo-Saxon racism and praise of the “technological civilization of the white peoples” along with its accompaniment globalist propaganda. Alain de Benoist expressed this idea in the title of his famous book  Europe, Tiers Monde – même combat [“Europe and the Third World: The Same Fight”], which argues for a “spiritual Europe”, a “Europe of peoples and traditions” instead of the “Maastricht Europe of commodities.” The intellectualism, activism and spiritual profile of the genuine, sacred North will return the South’s traditions to their Nordic Source, and raise the Southerners in a planetary uprising against the common geopolitical enemy. In so doing, the passive resistance of the South will form a beachhead in the planetary messianism of the “Nordicists” who radically reject the degenerated and anti-sacred branch of white peoples who have followed the path of technological progress and material development. This could spark a planetary, supra-racial and supra-national Geopolitical Revolution based on the fundamental solidarity of the “Third World” with that part of the “Second World” which rejects the project of the “rich North”.

Over the course of this struggle, the flame of the “resurrection of the spiritual North”, the flame of Hyperborea, will transform geopolitical reality. The new global ideology will be that of Final Restoration, putting a final end to the geopolitical history of civilizations – but this will not be the end which the globalist spokesmen of the End of History have theorized. The materialistic, atheistic, anti-sacred, technocratic, Atlanticist version of the End will give way to a different epilogue – the final Victory of the sacred Avatar, the coming of the Great Judgement, which will grant those who chose voluntary poverty the kingdom of spiritual abundance, while those who preferred wealth founded on the assassination of the Spirit will be condemned to eternal damnation and torment in hell.

Lost continents will arise out of the abysses of the past. Invisible meta-continents will appear in reality. A New Earth and a New Heaven will arise.

Thus, the path is not from sacred geography to geopolitics but, on the contrary, from geopolitics to sacred geography.

 

Alexander Dugin: NOOMAKHIA – The Noology of the Ancient Chinese Tradition

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Chapter 4 of Noomakhia – The Yellow Dragon: The Civilizations of the Far East (Moscow: Academic Project, 2018)

***

The Ontology of Breaths: The Yellow Dionysus

The Yin-Yang formula, its dimension given in the Tao, and its dispensation in the calendar and map of the five elements, taken together, describes the structure of the specifically Chinese ontology which fundamentally differs from all other ontologies. Chinese ontology is based on elements and approaches which correspond to a special noological model. The essence of this model lies in that it is not merely dominated by the Logos of Dionysus, but the Logos of Dionysus is the only known and accepted element within it, while all the other noological zones “undergo” this Chinese “Dionysianism” without ever acquiring autonomous fixation. Here, in the Ancient Chinese tradition, the Logos of Dionysus is complete, and the balance which constitutes its essence is unmoved in any direction of the other Logoi – neither towards Apollo, as is the case in the majority of Indo-European forms of Dionysianism [1] , nor in the direction of Cybele, as in many cultures of a chthonic and titanic orientation.[2] Yin-Yang and Tao cannot be correlated with the Platonic model of the Apollonian Logos, in which the center is eternal heaven and the middle level is the realm of living temporal phenomena, nor with the materialist doctrines of the Great Mother and Titanism, which fasten phenomena and things to the harsh sect of space and time or the figure of the material demiurge, i.e., the Black Logos of Cybele.

The Chinese Logos unfolds exclusively and absolutely in the middle sphere, in the intermediary world which is conceived as the main and only one. Neither Heaven and Yang nor Water and Yin, that is to say neither the Apollonian heights nor the Cybelean depths acquire autonomous ontologies or a particular Logos. There are no extremes, there is only the center between, which constitutes them over the course of a subtle dialectical game. The gods, people, the elements, Empires, rites, animals, luminaries, cycles, and lands all represent the unfolding of the middle Logos and are but traces of the dynamic, rhythmic pulsation of the Center always situated equally in the middle between two poles which are void of autonomous being and which intersect one another by virtue of great harmony. This middle world unfolding around the absolute center can be imagined as a ship which has raised the anchors tying it to Heaven and the Underworld. The phenomenal world of Yin-Yang ontology has no archetypal ideas and paradigms, nor does it hold material presence as a necessary condition for manifestation. Chinese ontology is principally and fundamentally light, as indicated by Marcel Granet in his term “the magic of breath.” We can thus speak of an “ontology of breaths” moving in a rich rhythm away from Heaven and the earthly Base in a free soaring. Heaven and the Underworld are contained within the Center and represent its projections, never completely detached from its viviparous matrix.

In its essence, this structure is remarkably reminiscent of Heidegger’s fundamental ontology which, as has been noted by numerous scholars, is either indicative of a similarity of approaches or the possibility that Heidegger himself borrowed a number of central motifs from Chinese philosophy (perhaps by way of Japanese culture in its Zen Buddhist version).[3] The Chinese Center, being neither above the world nor below the world, corresponds as accurately as is possible to the Heideggerian Dasein and its specific phenomenology which we have previously identified unequivocally as the Logos of Dionysus. Moreover, the Chinese tradition presents this point in a pure and extremely structured form which propels us to search for that Other Beginning of philosophy of which Heidegger spoke, and to turn to the “ontology of breathing” of Chinese culture.[4] Something similar as to the fundamental importance of Chinese philosophy to the reconstruction of the Primordial Tradition was expressed by René Guénon.[5]

If we correlate the peculiarity of the ontological zone of Dionysus in the Chinese tradition with the three states of consciousness of Indian philosophy, we can note that the intermediary, middle world corresponds to the realm of dreams. Above this world Hinduism places the world of the pure spirit (Svarga, Heaven, and kāraṇa-śarira, the “causal body”) and below it the images of corporeal forms (Bhur, Earth, and shthūla-śarira, the “gross body”).[6] On the basis of this model, the proposition can be made with regards to the existential peculiarity acting as the dominant of Chinese culture that Chinese culture is the culture of dreams, the field of the middle world in which Dasein resides in a state of intense rhythmic uncertainty or “subtle suspension” whose structure is organized along the rhythm of Yin-Yang. The “Yellow Dasein” is not merely sleeping, but excludes the very possibility of awakening. Awakening is conceived not as an alternative to sleep, but as a transition to another dream, just as winter transitions into spring.

Chinese thought rejects any exclusivity: slumber is not abolished by reality, but reality is included in slumber on equal grounds. Zhuangzi’s butterfly metaphor dreamed by Zhou thus acquires further meaning. If earlier we used the metaphor of sleep to describe transformation, then now this metaphor of transformation can be employed to describe the ontology of the dream. Transformation is a synonym for dreaming, and the dream is the common denominator of both sleeping consciousness and waking consciousness. The structures of many other cultures, particularly those of the monotheistic religions and the civilization of European Modernity, are based on the conviction that waking consciousness is the common denominator, that which exists always and “objectively” and whose conditions are merely cognized differently depending on whether a person is asleep or awake; if he is awake, then he perceives this “objective reality” in terms of contrast; if he is asleep, then he merely ceases to feel such, but this does not change “objective reality” itself. In this view, we are convinced that the only right judgement is one made by an awake person over a sleeping one, and by no means by a sleeping person over a wakened one. Hence why wakefulness is taken to be the common denominator of “reality.” But this is merely a property of the philosophy of the Great Mother and a form of her cultural domination which imposes its perception of things from precisely this angle. The Apollonian Logos (as in Platonism, the Avesta, and the Upanishads) sees the common denominator as the inner contemplation of ideas by consciousness, which can be clear in sleep but vague in waking and vice versa. The latter is of secondary importance, insofar as the most important of all is transcending sleep and and wakefulness to where resides being and that which resembles “reality” most of all (corresponding to the world of ideas or the enneads in Neoplatonism). The Chinese tradition, as the culture of the Yellow Dionysus, takes as its fulcrum not wakefulness and the worlds of eternal paradigms, but dreaming, which is “change” or “alteration”, in Chinese “i” . This “alteration” is the essence of Chinese existence. Yet this “change” is not “becoming” insofar as there is no goal, no accumulation or loss which would be asymmetric. Hence the idea that in each dynasty only one of five virtues could dominate – associated, once again, as always, with the five elements. The remaining four were always sent into exile into the periphery of China, where they remained until the dynasty exhausted its virtues and began to degenerate. Afterwards, a new virtue would be asserted in the Center along with a new dynasty, with the former sent into exile. Virtues, peoples, and elements – none of these and nothing whatsoever disappears; rather, everything is transformed, put to sleep, and awakened all in the structure of the multileveled, non-integrable equation of slumber and dreaming.

Hence the lightness of Chinese style in music, painting, language, and architecture. This is the lightness of transformations and dreams bearing their own precise order yet remaining fundamentally open to the infinite sets of saturated and unexpected variations. This is not the eternal return of the same (a la Nietzsche [7]), but the eternal return of something different every time and for all time.

The Experience of the Dragon

In the Chinese tradition, the figure of the Dragon (Lun ) plays a major metaphysical role. The Chinese theory of the five elements professes strictly correspondences to two types of animals: ordinary (the pig, dog, sheep, chicken, and cow) and sacred-mythological (the Black Turtle or Snake, the Yellow Dragon, the Red Phoenix, the Yellow Unicorn, and the White Tiger). If the ordinary animals are situated on the external border of the circle or square of the calendar-map, then the sacred animals belong to the realm beyond this border. Insofar as Chinese metaphysics does not allow transcendence in any form, this “beyondness” of the sacred animals is nevertheless included within the system of the Chinese worldview on the grounds that, while being outside the world, dragons and phoenixes are maximally distant from the Center, but still within the border. As a rule, the structure of the sacred combines within itself both the extremely distant and the extremely close, the extremely big and the extremely small.[8] Therefore, what is furthest from the Center still reveals its presence in the Center itself, albeit in its hidden dimension. This is what makes the Center sacred.

The circle of sacred animals is apportioned according to the logic of the five elements: the Black Turtle or Snake is associated with Water and the Underworld (the land of the Yellow Springs); the Yellow Dragon with Wood, the East, and the Spring Equinox; the Red Phoenix with the South and the Summer Solstice; the White Tiger with Metal, the West, and the Autumnal Equinox; and the Yellow Unicorn (qilin) with Earth and the Center. All of these sacred beings, however, are described as having a whole complex set of properties, such as horns, the tails of snakes or fish, wings, paws, scales, etc. In other words, all of them are pantheria, or “all-beasts” featuring elements of other animals. They are proto-animals, spirits, and sacred symbols containing the powers of the fivefold rhythm of the dispensation of Yin-Yang. In some sense, they might be called “gods” or “onto-logoi” insofar as they exhibit the most general synthetic powers conjugated with each of the elements; but as living and personified beings, they embody these powers in a concentrated form drawn towards a single pole. Appealing to the pantheria is a kind of spell of the elements which, in order for it to be possible to be evoked, must have personal traits.

In a narrow sense and in its most archaic roots, the Dragon represents the pantherion associated with the element of Water, i.e., it is an entity bearing the traits of both the snake, the fish, and the turtle. In this understanding, the Dragon was one of the pantheria or spirit-gods of Water, the Underworld, and the element of Yin symmetrically opposite to that of the Red Phoenix, i.e., the pantherion or spirit/god of Fire, Heaven, and Yang. However, this strict opposition, as reflected in the myth of the battle between the spirit of fire, Zhurong, and the spirit of water, Gong-Gong, was resolved in the deep dimension of the Chinese tradition in a Dionysian spirit, as the rhythmic circulation of the elements – Yin, Yang, and Tao – presupposes constant transformations. Thus, the sacred snake grew wings and gained the ability to soar to the Heavens, and the sacred bird acquired bestial paws and a fish tail as well as the ability to dive into rivers and seas. Thus was born the figure of Lun, the Dragon in the broadest sense so fundamental to China, as being able to be black (in the element of Water), green (in the element of Wood and Spring), red (in the element of Fire), white (in the element of Metal and Autumn) and, finally, yellow (in the element of Earth). The Yellow Dragon is situated in the Center: it makes the Center the Center. Thereby its primary image becomes the Yellow Unicorn, which bears all the characteristics of the Dragon. As follows, the Dragon Lun can be interpreted as the universal Chinese pantherion, the all-animal combining the characteristics of Yin-Yang, the five elements, as well as the extreme periphery and the most secret Center itself. The Dragon is a “god” in the Chinese context: it expresses the pure element of sacrality. The sacrality of the Yellow Dragon Lun lies at the heart of the cult of the Sacred Emperor, the worship of China as a special, sacralized territory, as the pole of the power of all the local cults of sacred mountains, rivers, and woods in which the Chinese fulfilled rites and ceremonies of the most different shades. Hence why the Emperor was believed to be the embodiment of the Dragon or the Son of the Dragon, and why legends frequently attribute the Emperors with being born from the Dragon, its traces, seeing it in dreams, contemplating it from a distance, and so on. China was conceived to be the Land of the Dragon, and the Chinese themselves as embodiments of the Dragon, the people of the Yellow Dragon. Although the connection between the Dragon and water, rain, floods, and riverbeds constituted one of its most stable traits, no less attention was paid to the Dragons’ flight, dances, battles, and invasions of human and political life. Some of the sacred Emperors of Ancient China bred Dragons, others ate dragon meat, still others tamed them. In any case, the Dragon Lun was the fundamental factor in the structure of the ontology of breaths.

If we turn to the ontology of dreams discussed above, we can determine the status of the Dragon in the Chinese picture of being. This status is supreme in all senses. The Dragon Lun is supremely “real”: it is a reliable, necessary, and evidential being and existence precisely by virtue of its embodiment of the quintessence of dreams: it is because it is a dream, and insofar as it is the most pure and full dream, it stands closest of all to the Tao, to the secret code of the ontological rhythm of Yin-Yang.

To understand China means to experience the Dragon and to become acquainted in practice with the structures of its oneiric presence.

It should be noted that in this context the Gestalt of the Dragon is fundamentally different from its interpretations in the structures of the Logos of Apollo and the Logos of Cybele. For Apollonian culture, the Dragon is always the enemy, the titan, a chthonic force of the Great Mother against which the solar god or hero wages an irreconcilable struggle. Here the Dragon is subject to radical exclusion and in this capacity is endowed with exclusively chthonic features embodying aggressive emancipated femininity and the Underworld rising up against Heaven. For the civilization of Cybele, the Dragon is accepted as a matriarchal figure, a consort of the Great Mother, as her offspring and partner. In the latter, the Dragon is associated with the generative function of Earth, water, and chthonic forces. Hence the legend of the Nagi princess who becomes the wife of the hero and the first king.

In the Chinese horizon, this connection between the Dragon and the chthonic layers of ontology radically changes. The Chinese Dragon is just as much Yin as it is Yang, just as chthonic as it is celestial; it is a Snake just as it is a Bird, and both of these sides are not merely assembled together, but rather precede any division. The Dragon is primordial to the serpent, the eagle, man, and spirit. The Dragon embodies the thinking, living being par excellence, at once phenomenal and ideal. In this lies the essence of the Yellow Dragon’s being fully identical to the Yellow Unicorn or Yellow Emperor, i.e., the figure of the Absolute Center.

***

Footnotes:

[1] Hence why, in speaking of Indo-European cultures, religions, and philosophies, we have frequently used the expression “Apollo-Dionysian structure.”

[2] When it comes to the drift of the center towards Cybele, we are speaking of the “black double of Dionysus”, Adionysus and the Gestalt of the Titan.

[3] Ma Lin, Heidegger on East-West Dialogue: Anticipating the Event (London/New York: Routledge, 1996); May R., Heidegger’s Hidden Sources: East Asian Influences on His Work (London/New York: Routledge, 1996). That Heidegger was indebted to Japanese ideas was insisted upon by the Japanese philosopher and Sinologist Tomonubu Imamichi (1922-2012), who argued that Heidegger borrowed the notion of “being-in-the-world”, In-der Welt-Sein, from the Book of Tea of Okakura Kakudzō, in which he interpreted the ideas of the Taoist sage Zhuang. See: Tomonubu Imamichi, In Search of Wisdom: One Philosopher’s Journey (Tokyo: International House of Japan, 2004).

[4] See: Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Three Logoi: Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele (Moscow: Academic Project, 2014).

[5] Another example of the Other Beginning of philosophy outside of the context of the Western European tradition might be the thought of Nagarjuna, who committed to the radical pivot (Kehre) of the Buddhist tradition which, originally nihilistic, in Mahayana was raised to a non-dualist (Advaita) synthesis. See: Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – Great India: Civilization of the Absolute (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017).

[6] See: R. Guénon, The Great Triad.

[7] In German: Die Ewige Wiederkunft des Gleichen.

[8] See: Alexander Dugin, Sociology of the Imagination: An Introduction to Structural Sociology (Moscow: Academic Project, 2010). 

Eurasia and Eurasianism in the 21st Century: Security, Identity, and Alliance Culture

Authors: Konstantin Kurylev, Sergey Bazavluk, Leonid Savin, Vladimir Yurtaev

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Originally published in the journal Informatsionnye voyny [Information Wars] 3:51 (2019), pp. 47-51.

***

The establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) has a history going back much further than that of the Customs Union and Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC), and bears potential exceeding the geographical boundaries of the union itself. The EAEU is indirectly connected to the history of Eurasianism and, since the joint Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS summit held in Ufa in 2015, has gained additional vectors, such as linking up with the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative as well as the activities of the SCO encompassing countries of both Central and South Asia. This points to three interrelated factors: the role of alliances, their identities, and security regimes in the broadest sense of the term. In this article, the authors attempt to analyze these factors concerning the EAEU and, more broadly, the SCO as a similar structure operating in Eurasia. A descriptive methodology and interdisciplinary approach are employed, and an attempt is made to yield geopolitical foresight (forecast) with regards to several scenarios.

The process of integration within the Eurasian Economic Union, besides questions of trade regulation, the adaptation of national legislations, and the forging of favorable conditions for the development and growth of participating countries’ economies, inevitably involves questions of ideology and security. The EAEU project itself implies a supra-state identity which is in need of ideological conceptualization and substance. Insofar as, since the collapse of the USSR, all of its former republics have to one degree or another begun to engage in the development of their own national ideologies and politics of identity, any supra-state superstructure will need, in the very least, to re-conceptualize national projects and include them into a broader agenda. A more detailed and systematic approach necessitates the construction of a complex, adaptive architecture linking ethno-national factors, regional security, geo-economic challenges, and inclusive political methods. In technical terms (and in line with one of the principles of the integration strategy of the European Union towards new members) we can speak of the presence of multiple referential layers of integration and of the possibility of enacting varying paces.

The scope of such a study inevitably points towards the geopolitical context and geopolitical dynamics of regional processes. If from the standpoint of classical geopolitics the EAEU embodies the Heartland of Eurasia, which implies adhering to the strategy of land power and, as follows, confronting the challenge of sea power, then through the prism of critical geopolitics this binary opposition is rendered secondary, and instruments of power transcend borders. Unlike classical geopolitics, critical geopolitics pays greater attention to the “lower” levels of power rather than macro- or global economic processes. Critical geopolitics emphasizes not so much the sources and structures of power as the everyday practices of realizing power relations and the mental models which ensure them. Alongside political geography, critical geopolitics posits that spatiality is not limited to territoriality. State power is not wielded only within the territory of a state.[1] 

Such a posing of the question allows for a more flexible approach to projecting inter-state and supra-state projects without depreciating the significance of national sovereignties. In the post-Soviet space, there are two interconnected functioning projects, the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the first of which emphasizes economic development, while the second is associated with questions of regional security. However, upon more detailed consideration, the development of the Eurasian integration project – even if exclusively of an economic trajectory – cannot be realized in isolation from security issues.

As pointed out by Professor A.D. Ursul, “security, in its most general form, is a means of preserving a given object in the face of different types of internal and external negative influences…The point of ensuring security lies in preserving an object in a form in which it can continue to exist and develop.”[2]  In previous time, security has been discerned according to rather limited criteria, in which the emphasis was put on the political, social, or ideological dimensions. A certain trend also focused on security in the face of man-made catastrophes and the surrounding environment. Only later did it become clear that, alongside ecological security, it is important to include other characteristics of the real process of development, such as the economic, political, legal, demographic, and informational dimensions, etc.[3] These postulates are also appropriate for the EAEU. Yet disputes are arising over what should be of priority: the economic aspects of integration, or political structure. Nominally, given the name of the union, economics should predominate. However, economics is an instrument for the pursuance of the economy (khoziaistva) of society. In a state, politics is primary before economics, insofar as the very existence of the state depends on such. Certain economic criteria can be set as goals of the state and reflect the ethical code of the people. From Russia’s position, the economic aspect will always be a secondary element.

It has been noted that “Russia’s strategic goal should be the economic and military-political integration of the post-Soviet space.”[4] The EAEU has a special function to fulfill to this end: “Eurasian integration presents Russia with the opportunity to return to ‘superpower status’, one which will not belong to Russia single-handedly, but as one (albeit the largest) element within the construction of the Eurasian space.”[5]

Insofar as the EAEU is an open project, the question of the interests of potential new members is fully, naturally logical. In the opinion of Professor A.I. Smirnov, interest in joining the EAEU will be tied to geopolitical expediency, while economic components will only be secondary.[6] The experience of the European Union and its inclusion of new members from among the countries of Eastern Europe confirms the geopolitical and not economic character of integration within this union. Moreover, the reluctance of multiple countries to abandon their national currencies and switch to the Euro is demonstrative of political priorities. The neutrality of multiple EU members towards NATO as well as, conversely, the active engagement of other members in the North Atlantic Alliance, and the creation of the Visegrad Group out of Eastern European countries – which became possible only after their joining the EU and NATO – must be taken note of. The situation with Brexit is also a reflection of geopolitical contradictions within the EU, not economic instability.

At the same time, the creation of a new geopolitical construct with corresponding security components – even if the role of all participants is agreed upon in technical order – inevitably raises the topic of ideology. When connected to the projection of power, ideology has several dimensions. As pointed out by Franklin Ankersmit, “ideology is always metaphorical. Ideology defines a point of view from which we are invited to see social and political reality.”[7] In Ankersmit’s opinion, “if metaphor defines a certain political ‘point of view’ from which social reality is conceptualized, it is the state onto which this point of view can be projected. The state enables us to translate ideological, metaphorical insight into concrete political action. Without a state, ideology is helpless, without ideology the state has no program for political action.” [7] As follows, there should be some kind of interface or connection where philosophical, cultural, and religious aspects can feed political decisions. Ankersmit also holds that “the nonideological state is a stupid and ineffective state, and its capacity to learn will decrease accordingly.”[8] The absence of ideology automatically means losing one’s position within alliances as well as a decrease in one’s ability to respond to external challenges, insofar as ideology is also directly tied to the foreign policy vectors of a state, whether concerning neighboring or distant countries, partners or opponents.

Independent of whatever school of International Relations, there exists the opinion that “ideologies, or actors’ foundational principles of domestic political legitimacy, are likely to impact leaders’ foreign policies by affecting their perceptions of the threats that others pose to their central domestic and international interests. The greater the ideological differences dividing decision makers from different states, the more likely they are to view one another as substantial dangers to both their domestic power and the security of their respective countries.” [9]

Among such external challenges, “the expansion of NATO and its advance up to the borders of our country has become one of the key geopolitical problems of the present.”[10] In 2014, the contradictions which had accumulated in dialogue between Russia and Western countries reached a critical point and caused an unprecedented aggravation of relations.[11]

Insofar as the space of the former USSR has seen the evolution of so-called “geopolitical pluralism”, it is very difficult to count on the development of deep integration. The good neighbor belt which has been one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities has been fractured, and the West has successfully formed part of an anti-Russian buffer zone.[12] This creates risks for further integration processes in general, and for Russia’s role in the Eurasian space in general. Under the pressure of the West, it is necessary to more articulately substantiate decisions and alternative scenarios for both EAEU partners and other alliances.

A more flexible mechanism for responsive measures and planning can be achieved through the synchronization of key elements of the strategic cultures and national interests of EAEU countries (and more broadly those of the SCO). Firstly, insofar as the main tendencies in international relations are tied to the school of political realism in its different variations, the role of strategic culture and the interests of states will remain rather high. Secondly, the interconnection of strategic culture and national interests will directly shape an ideology on the basis of which a political agenda can be formed. Thirdly, allied partners’ perceptions of their national interests as their own can best be achieved given common value-based motives in cultural and political tradition(s).

Russian military experts have repeatedly noted the need for such a mechanism of a systemic nature, even if such has not been characterized as an ideology per se, but expressed in other terms. Such is often raised in the shape of the notion of a development strategy. “The will to wage war is, in essence, when considered in terms of prospects, the will to rule after war. Therefore, the aim of each side’s army is to develop and choose a strategy for victory for its side. The winning strategy will thereby, for some time, become the strategy of the whole global community.”[13]

Taking into account the ongoing confrontation and potential for conflict, measures for deterring rivals should also take into consideration a detailed analysis of strategic culture, since “Deterrence…as a typical strategic concept, is concerned with influencing the choices that another party will make, and doing it by influencing his expectations of how we will behave.”[14]

Insofar as strategic culture directly reflects collective identity, this latter concept is also in need of clarification. Identification is a complex phenomenon encompassing self-understanding, community, and connectedness. Rogers Brubaker discerns the existence of relational and categorical forms of identification. The first assumes the existence of some kind of network of connections, whereas the second points towards belonging to a class or group having common attributes, such as nationality, race, language, etc. A state can be a powerful “identifier” insofar as it “has the material and symbolic resources to impose the categories, classificatory schemes, and modes of social counting and accounting.”[15] The optimal scenario is seen as the combination of both forms, in which clusters with clear identities are immeshed in deep and inextricable relationships. This ideal type for the state is somewhat more difficult to realize in systems of associations, unions, and alliances. No single recipe exists. In the West, the emphasis is on Transatlantic values and traditions; in Muslim countries the appeal is made to religious identity (e.g, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation), and in ASEAN countries the accent is on poly-cultural dialogue and the need for regional cooperation. At the present moment, the main emphasis within the EAEU is on the common historical past and geographical proximity. Another pivotal (albeit not accentuated) element within the EAEU is the course towards establishing a multipolar world. This provision has been enshrined in the foreign policy strategy of the Russian Federation.

As noted by A.Ya. Shcherbakova: “The Russian Federation is the most active state, after the US, on questions of the formation of a new world order, and it meets the following principles: Russia is a member of the UN Security Council, it is increasing its political and military prestige, using the diplomatic experience which it has obtained in resolving the conflict in Syria, it is defending its own sovereignty, strengthening national security, and actively fighting terrorism on a global level.”[16] It has also been pointed out that “our country wields all that is necessary to take a leading position in both the economic and cultural spheres in the new multipolar world.”[17]

However, in strategic documents, multipolarity has been primarily of a declarative character. There has been no precise definition of multipolarity nor – and this is important – has Russia expressed a vision of how a multipolar architecture ought to be built beyond its criticism of the US’ unipolarity and besides its statements on the need to participate in various associations.

Considering Eurasian integration, it has also been noted that “the implementation of a set of measures for strengthening the framework of the EAEU and its consolidation on the current integration track demands the development of an ideology of Eurasian integration.”[18] This testifies to the vacuum of ideas in the current political process. It is obvious that the process of Eurasian integration is rising to a new level, and with time will lead to the formation of a new geopolitical center of world politics.[19] A targeted ideology aimed at developing the EAEU might potentially represent one version of a strategy for multipolarity.

Yet another serious question is the practical realization of potential theoretical models. Specialists have noted that old methods and tool kits are no longer effective, in connection with which there is heightened interest in an “exit strategy”, in the rethinking of traditional views of strategic planning mechanisms, and in continuing work on integrating the priorities of national security policy into Russia’s macro-strategy.[20] 

Without a doubt, it must be agreed that “it is necessary to intensify the work of the EAEU scientific community on formulating an ideology of Eurasian integration.”[21] Russian international affairs experts frequently suggest the use of “soft power” methods for the attainment of set goals. On the one hand, “part of soft power is the potential of partnership, flexibility, negotiability, and the ability to transform – all of these factors determine soft power as a key instrument of integration processes.”[22] On the other hand, however, soft power cannot be used as a “one-for-all.” This is merely a general description of the phenomenon which demands authentic content. Yet there is another side, and “cultural-civilizational differences determine the development of societies to a greater extent than other factors. The transplanting of institutions, methods, practices, and technologies into a different culturo-historical system is not only ineffective but is, quite frankly, often harmful.”[22]

Therefore, it is necessary to prepare multiple development scenarios which have the same priorities and target groups. In the case of a positive development in the situation, several scenarios can be combined to impart overall strategy with a synergetic effect and translate such into a field of integrated complexity.

One such scenario would be an integrated-adaptive approach. In accordance with this option, the EAEU should develop a sufficiently clear ideology to be applied as an umbrella model for members of the union. Such should be flexible, and its main postulates should correspond to the national interests of all the states belonging to the EAEU. To some extent, this also applies to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, but then there arises the question of correctly understanding the Chinese perception of world order and Beijing’s long-term strategy.

A second scenario would entail a normative approach. This case envisions the gradual amendment of the Constitutions of the states belonging to the EAEU, as well as the adjustment of the organization’s Charter. This seems unlikely in the short term.

A third approach would be a multilateral mode of interaction. According to this scenario, the EAEU, CSTO, and SCO, as well as other initiatives such as the Belt and Road, would develop autonomously, without visible integration with one another, but within the context of the common interests of all these structures. This is the most likely development scenario. At the same time, it should be taken into consideration that the activeness of all organizations will differ in terms of the scales of tasks and responsibilities. In one way or another, Russia and China will play the role of the two motors, insofar as they are “regional powers belonging to the same subsystem of international relations, as well as great powers which have interests in practically all corners of the world.”[23] The application of the umbrella ideology of Eurasianism in its various versions would be expedient in this scenario.

As for a fourth approach, insofar as the post-Soviet space has already experienced unsuccessful projects, such as the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development and the Commonwealth of Independent States, it cannot be ruled out that the EAEU’s activities might freeze, or even that a member-country may leave for one reason or another. Without a doubt, such would be the most negative turn of events, but such also demands analysis in order to foresee and provide for the timely blocking of such processes. The first three scenarios, including their synthesis in various formats, are therefore the most desirable.

Footnotes: 

[1] Maruev, A.Yu., Medvedev, D.А., Gulina Е.V. Теоретические аспекты проектирования геополитического пространства в арктическом регионе [“Theoretical Aspects of Projecting the Geopolitical Space in the Arctic Region”],  Стратегическая стабильность [Strategic Stability] No 2 (83), 2018, p. 9.

[2] Ursul А.D. Безопасность в контексте глобальной устойчивости [“Security in the Context of Global Stability”] // Информационные войны [Information Wars] No 2 (46) 2018. p.64 – 65.

[3] Ibid., 66.

[4] Глобальная безопасность: инновационные методы анализа конфликтов [Global Security: Innovation Methods for Conflict Analysis]. Edited by A.I. Smirnov. Мoscow: Obshchestvo “Znanie” Rossii, 2011. p. 159.

[5] Ibid., 164.

[6] Ibid., 167.

[7] F.R. Ankersmit, Aesthetic Politics: Political Philosophy Beyond Fact and Value. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996. p. 357.

[8] Ibid., 358. 

[9] Mark L. Haas, The Ideological Origins of Great Power Politics, 1789-1989. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005. P. 1.

[10] K.P. Kurylev. Украинский кризис и международная безопасность [The Ukrainian Crisis and International Security]. Мoscow: LENAND, 2018. p. 171.

[11] Ibid., 173.

[12] Ibid., 198.

[13] Yuri Matvienko, Военный аспект Четвёртой политической теории [“The Military Aspect of the Fourth Political Theory”] // Geopolitica.ru, 06.08.2012 [https://www.geopolitica.ru/article/voennyy-aspekt-chetvyortoy-politicheskoy-teorii%5D

[14] Thomas Schelling, The Strategy of Conflict. Harvard University Press, 1980. p. 

[15] Rogers Brubaker, Ethnicity Without Groups. Harvard University Press, 2004. p. 43. 

[16] Shcherbakova А.Ya. Место России на геополитической карте современного мира [“Russia’s Place on the Geopolitical Map of the Contemporary World”] // Информационные войны [Information Wars] No 1 (45) 2018. p. 24.

[17] S. Baykov. Россия и новый миропорядок XXI века [“Russia and the New World Order in the 21st Century] // Постсоветский материк [Post-Soviet Continent] No 1 (13), 2017. p. 11.

[18] Tkachuk, S.P., Mityaev, D.А. “Мягкая сила” науки и образования в развитии евразийской экономической интеграции [“The ‘Soft Power’ of Science and Education in the Development of Eurasian Economic Integration”] // Экономические стратегии [Economic Strategies] No 2 (152), 2018. p. 182.

[19] Iskakov I.Zh. Политические институты России и Казахстана в процессе евразийской интеграции [“Political Institutions in Russia and Kazakhstan in the Process of Eurasian Integration”], Глобальные тенденции развития мира. Материалы Всероссийской научной конференции [“Global Trends in World Development: Materials of the All-Russian Scientific Conference”] (Moscow, 14 June 2012, INION RAN) Мoscow: Nauchny ekspert, 2013. p. 306.

[20] A.G. Makushkin. Обеспечение стратегического контроля в области планирования безопасности социально-экономического развития [“Ensuring Strategic Control in the Field of Planning the Security of Socio-Economic Development”],  Экономика обороны и безопасности и аналитика [The Economics of Defense, Security, and Analysis]. Edited by A.N. Kanshin. Мoscow: Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, 2013. p. 82-87.

[21] Tkachuk, S.P., Mityaev, D.А. “Мягкая сила” науки и образования в развитии евразийской экономической интеграции [“The ‘Soft Power’ of Science and Education in the Development of Eurasian Economic Integration”] // Экономические стратегии [Economic Strategies] No 2 (152), 2018. p. 188.

[22] Kazarinova D.B. Политический краудсорсинг, социальные медиа и фабрики мысли как новые акторы глобальной политики: факторы мягкой силы [“Political Crowdsourcing, Social Media, and Think Tanks as the New Actors of Global Politics: Factors of Soft Power”] // [“Global Trends in World Development: Materials of the All-Russian Scientific Conference”] (Moscow, 14 June 2012, INION RAN) Мoscow: Nauchny ekspert, 2013. p. 533.

[23] D. А. Degterev. Прикладной количественный анализ и моделирование международных отношений [Applied Quantitative Analysis and Modeling in International Relations]. Мoscow: RUDN, 2016. p. 415.

Valery Korovin – “Eurasianism Then and Now, Russia and Beyond”

Author: Valery Korovin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Originally published as “The Eurasian Constants of Russian Consciousness”, Izborsky Club (15 September 2019). 

***

The Russian dream is not a dream of Europe, nor a dream about Asia. The Russian dream is the dream of a special Eurasian civilization.

The notion of Eurasianism has acquired such wide circulation that it has long since seemed to have become something self-evident, that is to say obvious and intelligible. Moreover, the broad circulation of this concept has opened up an equally wide breadth of interpretations, frequently entailing the full freedom to understand Eurasianism to be whatever one pleases. In the same vein, this has allowed those who consider themselves opponents of Eurasianist doctrine to attribute to Eurasianism any and all sorts of negative features.

Eurasianism itself is at once both a fairly strict notion and capacious one, as Eurasianism is a concrete worldview which demands continuous clarifications in order to avoid too broad of interpretations on the part of its supporters which yields, at the same time, equally extensive ground for criticism from opponents.

Eurasianism consists of several basic, constant characteristics whose systematic affirmation is simply impossible to avoid.

Against the Universality of the West

In fact, the point of departure for the very emergence of Eurasianist initiatives was reacting to the West’s (at the time Europe’s) arrogant assertion of the universality of its historical path and the achievements of its own European and, overall, Western civilization. It reached the point that the West appropriated for itself the very notions of “development”, “progress”, and “advancement”, and the very word “civilization” was equated with the phenomenon of Western civilization.

Taking its own experience of development as a foundation, the West simply proclaimed that only its development is really development. Whoever does not repeat the Western path is not developing. Whoever does not follow the West in everything is not on the path of progress and, as follows, is overboard the ship of civilization, for civilization is the West – while all others are either savages catching up with the West or barbarians void of the will to become the West.

At the time, humanity was mesmerized by the steam engine, the first rudiments of the scientific-technological revolution, and the unprecedented wonders created by Western engineers. Taking advantage of this confusion influenced by such fascination with these unprecedented inventions, the West (at the time Europe) proclaimed itself – in a not so ceremonial fashion – to be the ultimate standard of human development, period. By and large, Europe thereby isolated itself from the rest of humanity, at once placing itself at the center. This is precisely what yielded the reactive response of those who refused to recognize arrogant European universality. Nikolay Trubetzkoy’s Europe and Mankind thus became a kind of manifesto which laid the foundation for the development of Eurasianist thought.

Thus follows the main principle of Eurasianism: the rejection of the universality of the West and its historical experience. Eurasianism is not Westernism taken as universality. The West denies other, non-Western civilization their own paths, whereas Eurasianism refuses to recognize the West’s path as being universal for all.

Humanity is diverse and consists of a whole range of, as Danilevsky called them, culturo-historical types, and the West is only one of them – it is neither the only nor the best one, nor universal. This is the main principle at the heart of Eurasianism. Here we could add that the East is also not a source of universality and, even more so, cannot claim supremacy.

Russia as a Civilizational Subject

Of course, it cannot be denied that some peoples and states have genuinely followed the West, been seduced by its achievements, uncritically accepted its cultural codes, and imitated Europe in its way of life, parodying and blindly imitating the logic of actions and the type of thinking of Westerners. There are states which have consistently tried to reproduce the Western culturo-historical type.

Russia has not escaped this fate either, as under the influence of its elites Russia has from time to time plunged into the abyss of frenzied Westernism, virtually dissolving therein and, as a consequence, decomposing, losing fragments of itself, only to recoil and gather new forces. If we examine Russian history in terms of conditional stages, then we will see a history consisting of an internal struggle between Eurasianism and Westernism. Periods of Westernism have meant the surrender of positions, defeat, and decay; periods of Eurasianism mean triumph over the West, conceptualizing ourselves as something special – as neither Western nor Eastern civilization, but as a new reassembly.

Speaking of Russia itself, we can turn to the second postulate of Eurasianism: Russia is a self-sufficient, independent civilization, a special culturo-historical type, a unique, original culture which has synthesized (and not merely mixed or blindly taken over) some of the best manifestations of European and Asian cultures. In this synthesis, which cannot be reduced to a mere blending or imitation, lies the secret of our uniqueness. The particular type of Russian statehood is the synthesis of the political vertical and rigid centralization of the Empire of Genghis Khan with the faith, culture, and flexibility of the Byzantine Empire which, if we look at such from Russia, laid to the West.

The Russian person is a representative of a people which has absorbed the best of the cultures of East and West without merging with them in blind imitation. The Russian, as part of a united, organic community, is whole and subjective, sovereign, and independently determines their fate. This is their Eurasianist essence – which is neither European, in the sense of imitating Europe, nor essentially parodying the European, nor Asian, which is a bit too remote, foreign, terse, and not corresponding to the subtle chords of the Russian soul, which are instead rather consonant with Greek civilization. This essence is independent and Eurasian.

A Russian can love Europe, but at the same time remain himself – for in thoughtlessly accepting European cultural codes, he ceases to be Russian – just as he can love Asia and the peoples of the East and borrow the best from them. In this sense, the Russian is open to cultural exchange, but closes whenever West or East attempt to remake him in their own image. The Russian, as Dostoyevsky wrote, is the “all-person”, by which was meant that the Russian has empathy for the peoples of the East and the peoples of the West. But in order to preserve himself, the Russian must always remain himself – the Russian people, Russian culture, Russian civilization with its own integral, inseparable Russian history spanning centuries.

To be a Eurasian[ist] means to be part of a special, unique civilization, but this concerns more than Russians alone. To be oneself – to be a people, a culture, an organic community – is the right of any people, any culturo-historical type, any civilization, whether in Europe or in Asia. Whoever recognizes this right is a Eurasianist. Whoever does not is most likely an arrogant civilizer of the West, an oppressor of peoples, a colonialist, an arrogant Anglo-Saxon, a hegemon claiming global dominance by virtue of “exceptionality”, i.e., this person is not a Eurasianist but his opponent – ontologically, existentially, and indelibly such.

The Empire of Peoples

The Russian loves his people. Because the Eurasianist loves his people, he understands how a people can be loved, and insists on its organic integrity, its unique identity, its Tradition, and unique selfhood. Thus, the Russian Eurasianist accepts all the diversity of ethnoi, peoples, and political nations as a given, recognizing and accepting their unique identities. In this lies yet another thesis of Eurasianism: the acceptance of the diversity of communities, which is very Russian, open, and broad in essence.

This openness and breadth of acceptance of all other identities, this “all-humanity” of Russians is taken by many to be a mistake, as some call for mixing with others (which is refuted by the Eurasianist thesis on the preservation of one’s unique identity), while others call for absorbing others as if, as others say, Russians are omnivorous and voracious in their imperial manners. Both of these are wrong, naive, or deliberately misleading.

Mixing is an absolutely liberal, post-human principle implanted, like many other things, by the West and its civilizers driving humanity into a global melting pot. This is an anti-Eurasianist approach, as it destroys organic community, cultural identity, and the selfhood of peoples, grinding them into atoms of individuals. The absorbing of other peoples as well, the imposition of one’s cultural codes onto them, is just as absolutely a non-Eurasianist approach, but rather resembles the Westernist, colonial, exploitative one which considers other, non-Western peoples to be aboriginal savages, who are more often than not equated with wildlife.

Yet it is precisely the contributions by many dozens and hundreds of different peoples to our history that gave rise to unique Russian civilization as Eurasian and diverse, not mixed but ordered, in which the subject is not the atomic individual, as in the West, but the organic community, the ethnos or people.

One can become Russian by accepting Russian identity, taking the Russian culturo-historical code to be their foundation, accepting the Russian language as their own, and merging with the organic community of the Russian people. But this can only be done voluntarily. A Russian, especially a Eurasianist, will never force others into the Russian World, for such excesses mean either assimilating to the West’s arrogance and imposition of its own experience, or assimilation to the East, with its crudeness and voluntarism. The Eurasianist approach is open to diversity on the condition that one can preserve their own subjectivity. The Eurasian Empire does not exploit, but equips others, accepting peoples as they are into a common, Eurasian, strategic unity, not a “prison of peoples” or the melting pot of Western colonizers.

The Eurasian Codes of Russian History

During periods of Eurasian enlightenment, Russians have rallied the peoples of Eurasia and beyond to revolt against the West. During moments of blur and madness, they, or more precisely the Russian elites, and following them the pliable masses (such is a sociological law), have followed the West, thus committing to self-liquidation as a large state, shattering into a small one, and abandoning this great project, losing almost everything only to once again re-awaken and re-gather for new, great fulfillments – such is the genuinely Russian, Eurasian scale – in pursuit of the inextinguishable Russian dream.

These constants of the Eurasian-Russian being will never disappear, not even in the darkest midnights of our history. They simply become momentarily invisible, we lose them from view. But sooner or later our Tsars, our leaders, and our General Secretaries rediscover them, reawaken, and are moved by these codes. Russia once again turns into the Eurasian subject, i.e., that which knows, thinks, and acts in contrast to the object of extinction [to which Russia is reduced] during moments of retreat from the Eurasian mission in favor of the West, towards which Western thoughts and deeds are aimed.

Over the past few centuries, we have had too much of the West. The Westernist elites of late Romanov Russia ceased to understand, much less feel their people. Then the Marxist ideological experiments of the Bolsheviks were taken from the West, and only later adapted to the Russian way and the Eurasian civilizational constants during Stalin’s imperial enlightenment. Then once again we fell into the liberal experiment of the “Khrushchev thaw”, then Brezhnev’s slightly frostbitten conservative stagnation, then into final collapse and defeat amidst Gorbachev’s “Perestroika”, and then to the very extreme edge, to nearly ceasing to exist under Yeltsin’s bloody oligarchical rule which nearly killed Russia entirely.

But then the Eurasian constants were once again rediscovered – Russia was reassembled, the regional Fronde of “national republics” was suppressed, and now Eurasian integration has risen with the construction of the Eurasian geopolitical axes of Moscow-Beijing and Moscow-Delhi, and the nearly materialized axis of Paris-Berlin-Moscow, which could destroy Western hegemony, and which almost appeared at the start of the destruction of Iraq.

Yet liberalism has not let go of us. The West is swarming through its networks and color revolutions, continuing to encircle Russia from all sides, all with its own liberal wing within the Russian government, monetary privileges, the liberalization of the economy, pension reform, VAT hikes, and other liberal experiments on this completely non-liberal country and its peoples. There is too much of the West. A new Eurasian breath, broad and large in scale, is needed. It is time to turn our back to the West and turn towards the East.

Applied Russian Eurasianism: Towards the East

Having suffocated in the stifling corner of the moldy ideological closet of Europe, we are now turning towards the East, where wide expanses open up before us, giving us a breath of fresh air and presenting us with what is a truly Eurasian scope. The new course of Russian Eurasianism is the Far East.

In the Far East, Russia can open a new chapter of cooperation with the civilizations of the East, with China, Japan, and Korea, thereby stretching the Russian look all the way to Oceania, to Indonesia and Australia. “There a synthesis is created in which Russia is combined with the great civilizations of the Pacific Ocean”, emphasizes the Russian writer Alexander Prokhanov. But this must now be on our own, Eurasian conditions, without the annoying West and its “exceptionalism”, and accomplished while preserving our uniqueness and respecting the civilizational and cultural specificities of others for the sake of mutual understanding and cooperation within the multipolar world that is taking shape before our very eyes. This is the project of the new Eurasianism of the 21st century.

Without liberalism and nationalism – these chimeras of the West – and without “mandatory” Western interference, control and surveillance, we can initiate a new stage in the development of the world in which the West will be merely one civilization – not the only one – in the new, Eurasian world of equal cooperation between civilizations. This will be a world not of nations, not of liberal, atomic, mercantile individuals in the Brownian motion of the post-human cauldron, but a new world of civilizations uniting culturally close peoples into large strategic blocs. Such are the principles of Russian Eurasianism, of Chinese, Indian, and Arab Eurasianism, of the Eurasianisms of Ibero-America and Africa liberated from Western domination.

We are now forced to think in terms of the interests of the West, to proceed from its premises and criteria, but our Eastern, Eurasian project has its own, non-Western constants which ought to be remembered.

Russian interests in this Eastern-oriented Eurasian project lie in the need to ensure Russia’s strategic security on the entire Pacific coast, and in the Russian Far East in particular. This necessitates pushing American presence as far away from us as possible – indeed, out of sight.

Japan or China, or Japan and China?

The Eurasian[ist] geopolitical imperative lies in liberating the Far East from American military bases, first and foremost Japan, which was subjugated and humiliated by the barbaric bombings of 1945. This is how the West promotes its values: on the wings of strategic bombers inflicting atomic death upon hundreds of thousands of completely innocent civilians. This is how the West has captured its bridgeheads, by setting up military bases outside of local jurisdictions, dictating their own will, and continuing to not only militarily, but also economically and culturally rape Japan and rigidly impose their surrogates.

Russia’s Eastern, Eurasian vector entails direct and open dialogue with Japan – but not merely about the islands known in Japan as the “Northern territories”, as such is a false object to which our attention is being diverted by the current American overlords of the once great Japanese people. Washington whispers into the ears of Japanese authorities about how the Russian took four rocks from them all the while as America itself took all of Japan from the Japanese. Dialogue between Moscow and Tokyo must be address the liberation of all of Japan, rising up against American occupation, dumping American military bases into the ocean, and building a new Eurasian geopolitical axis between Moscow and Tokyo.

At the same time, Russia’s Eurasian geopolitical vector must develop in the direction of China. And once again: it is none other than Western strategists, such as Brzezinski, who is currently burning in hell, and others of his ilk, who claim that it is impossible to have equally developed, balanced strategic relations with both Japan and China at the same time. This is impossible only for the US, because it only plays on contradictions and pitting one against the other, whether Japan and China, Japan and Russia, or Russia and China, in the end of which the US claims all for itself.

Eurasianist geopolitics annuls this false confrontation by opening up the possibility for building a Moscow-Beijing axis. But here dialogue should address another matter. If Japan is weary of American military presence, then sovereign China, possessing its own nuclear triad for deterring any American military encroachment, is weary of American economic oppression. The noose thrown by the US in its attempt to control all the world’s commodity flows, dollar accounting, the endless trillions of loans in American government bonds served as great blessings, and protective tariffs and trade wars – all of this keeps China on a short American leash. ‘Step to the right or step to the left and that will mean the end of your economy’, Uncle Sam laughs.

The New Liberation of the Far East

Russia’s Eurasian strategy in the Far East means restoring relations with North Korea, which liberals have become so accustomed to scaring us with. North Korea is an island of Russian Stalinism which we ourselves created and then, because of our own illness, dropped and abandoned to become a frozen museum of the era of Stalin’s great experiment. But the North Koreans are a hardworking people with powerful economic potential, and this country presents access to the East China Sea, for which our pilots and military instructors have already fought in the past. All of this must be restored to our common, new Eurasian project.

But here [on the Korean peninsula] we are faced with a conflict artificially created by the Americans, one which cannot be healed by their efforts, and one which has remained an unhealed, bleeding wound for decades. Occupied to this day since the freezing of the Korean War, South Korea cannot even conceive of independent policy, much less about reconciliation with the North as long as the latter refuses to surrender to the mercy of the Americans. But they will not surrender, because Koreans, like Russians, do not surrender, but defend their sovereignty to the very end. This means that Korea will not be unified until, following Japan – but perhaps before – it rises up against American military oppression and sends American bases into the ocean.

The fully-fledged unfolding of the Eurasian project in the Far East as a whole lies in the liberation of Japan, China, and Korea. For Korea in particular, this means liberation from intrusive US guardianship and the unification of the two Koreas for the sake of common development as a single state and as one people – under guarantees of nuclear cover from Russia. Only then can our common ocean – the ocean of Russia, Japan, China, and Korea – perturbed by American presence, once again become Pacific and safe.

Returning the Ocean

India lacks our military potential, our arms, and our air defense systems. But most importantly, India does not control its ocean. The Eurasianist strategy for India is a joint Russian-Indian presence in the Indian Ocean which, as in the Pacific Ocean, is currently indelibly ruled by the American 7th fleet, monopolistically and unilaterally determining the fate of all the states of the region regardless of these countries’ interests. As is the American custom, they see only their own interests.

A Russian-Indian maritime base, with its center on the island of Diego Garcia, from which it is high time to get rid of the English and their American allies, and a fleet of Russian and Indian aircraft carriers – this is the Eurasianist strategy for India, and it shall be realized not through a mere truncated economic format, but in the form of a fully-fledged geopolitical axis between Moscow and Delhi.

The Eurasianist strategy in the Far East also entails returning to Vietnam and fully restoring the previously dismantled Russian base in Cam Ranh, which we ourselves closed in hope of reciprocal peaceful steps from the US. Twenty years have passed and these expectations have not been fulfilled, which means that it is once again time to open the Cam Ranh base not only for repairing warships, but for deterring US military presence. With the very same goal, it is also once again time to open up to Vietnam as a military-strategic partner, not merely a trade partner, to guarantee its security, and to cover it with our nuclear umbrella from any repeated incursion by the annoying, ubiquitous Yankees. The same can be said for Laos.

Eurasian Demography

However, the internal dimensions of the realization of this Far Eastern Eurasianist strategy cannot be forgotten. The Russian Far East is an island of European civilization surrounded by non-European peoples. It is a landmark of the ability to remain Russians even where a culturally foreign majority of completely mentally distant civilizations hangs over us. To preserve ourselves, to remain Russians, and to take the best from the cultures of neighboring peoples – this is our advantage, and this is the essence of Russian Eurasianism, the vivid manifestation of the Eurasian civilizational synthesis. And this means that this island must be not only preserved, but transformed into a fully-fledged Russian sea, which means posing the question of demography of the Far East in the first place.

The Russian Far East should be genuinely Russian – not Chinese, and not artificially populated by migrant workers from Central Asia or the Caucasus. Russian culture is a necessary and most important component of our presence in the Far East. Without Russian cultural expansion, without full civilizational representation, we cannot preserve the Far East. Thus, our main priority should be not only extremely attentive treatment of such questions of demography, but also of migration, especially from neighboring, friendly China.

The Eurasianist approach lies in the preservation, not erosion of identity. This means China for the Chinese and the Far East for Russians and the traditional peoples of the Pan-Russian (Rossiiskii) Far East. In this regard, the border with China should be translucent, strict, and attentive if it is to be a Eurasian border, and not merely an administrative line for exploitation for profit. Without a doubt, China will have the right to expansion, but Eurasian, friendly China will realize this expansion to the South. Such is the law of Eurasianism.

Eurasian Russia is a unified power which unites under its wings numerous ethno-cultural units, languages, peoples, faiths, and religions – but without blurring, crushing, and mixing them into a melting plot as is the Western manner. The Eurasian power is not a nation and not a liberal, post-human garbage dump.

Eurasian Russia is an empire of peoples preserving their collective identity and representing the entirety of our Eurasian civilizational diversity, in the center of which stands the great Russian people, the gatherers of lands and the builders of the endless, continental Eurasian state – the ark of salvation for all of these diverse peoples.

However, the primacy of Russians does not mean that they must be at the top of a hierarchy of peoples, as is customarily thought in the West and as has been imposed upon our peoples by Western whisperers rousing them against Russians and blaming Russians for their own Western sins of colonialism, exploitation, and violence against other peoples. Russians have never allowed themselves to do such and they never will, for the Russian dream is one of just unity. Russian primacy is none other than the primacy of the highest responsibility for those whom our continental empire saves from erosion, exploitation, and “civilizing” by the West. Life without the West in harmony, common development, and mutual understanding – this is the Russian, Eurasian dream of the future.

Alexander Dugin – NOOMAKHIA: The Logos of Turan – “Turan as an Idea”

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Introduction to Noomakhia – The Logos of Turan: The Indo-European Ideology of the Verticle (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017)

***

Turan and Eurasia: Similarities and Differences between Concepts

The space of North-Eastern Eurasia upon which Russia has established itself as a state and civilization over the past 500 years represents a special existential horizon. We can call this the Eurasian Horizon and speak of a specific Eurasian Dasein. This territory acquired the name Turan in Iranian sacred geography, and this name can by all means be seen as an analogue to the notion of “Eurasia.”[1] Insofar as we will examine Russian civilization and its Logos in a separate volume, and given that in Russian civilization the Eurasian element is largely predominant, it is natural to apply the notion of Eurasia to the study of the Russian Logos, as did the Eurasianist philosophers, such as N.S. Trubetzkoy [2], P.N. Savitsky [3], G.V. Vernadsky [4], N.N. Alekseev [5], L.N. Gumilev [6], etc. In this case, the civilizations of Eurasia, united by a common horizon preceding the emergence of Russia as an historico-cultural axis, can be integrated into the concept of Turan.

In Noomakhia, by Turan we mean the civilizations and cultures which took shape on the territory of North-Eastern Eurasia (with the exception of Russian civilization which is examined in a separate study). This, of course, is a rather conditional division, as Russian civilization itself can be studied from different angles of view, whether as part of the Slavic world, as a most important component of the Byzantine Orthodox space, as something self-sufficient and unique (samobytnoe, in the likes of “Continent Russia” [7]), or as one historical expression of the existential horizon of Turan. In the present volume of Noomakhia, we will focus on those peoples who took shape on the territory of Turan before and/or parallel to the Russians. In this case, establishing a correspondence between the Logos of Turan and the Russian Logos might be the next important step allowing for a better understanding of both.

Yet another important consideration to be taken into account is that, originally, we planned for this volume of Noomakhia to examine all the civilizations either belonging to the Eurasian group or figuring under Eurasian influence. Thus, as we have just said, for us Turan and Eurasia were to function as synonyms. However, over the course of working on this subject, we have found that such might be divided into two components: firstly, we can speak of the Indo-European (and only Indo-European!) nomadic cultures that formed on the territory of Eurasia, more precisely in the space of the Great Steppe, in the period from the fifth millennium BC to the first millennium AD; secondly, we can consider those non-Indo-European peoples, on whom the influence of the nomadic Indo-European societies of the Great Steppe was decisive and fundamental, and who subsequently inherited the Indo-Europeans’ mission starting in the first centuries AD, with the invasion of the Huns, and continuing up to the 19th century.

Thus, we have divided our study into two volumes. In the first, present book, The Logos of Turan, we focus exclusively on the Indo-European peoples who arose in the Great Steppe and spread their influence across virtually the whole territory of the Eurasian continent. In the second volume, The Horizons and Civilizations of Eurasia: The Indo-European Legacy and the Traces of the Great Mother, we follow the transfer of this steppic, nomadic, martial tradition to other, non-Indo-European peoples, first and foremost of the Altaic family, and we study the influence of Indo-European culture on other neighboring civilizations, such as the Siberian (and Paleo-Asiatic), the Tibetan, the Finno-Ugric, and the Caucasian.[8] For the sake of clarity of exposition, we have thus had to divide our preliminary conceptualization of the shared identity of the notions of Turan and Eurasia into two postulates: we understand “Turan” to be the civilization created in the space of the Great Eurasian Steppe by the Indo-European peoples and then transmitted directly to other nomadic peoples (first and foremost the Altaic); by “Eurasia”, we mean the much wider spectrum of existential horizons, including Turan – as the core of the Eurasian continent, both Indo-European as well as post-Indo-European (Turko-Mongolian) – and the totality of civilizations and cultures that formed around the periphery of the Great Steppe which were influenced (both directly and indirectly) by Turan and the Indo-Europeans.

Thus, Turan should be considered the core, center, and heart of Eurasia, and Eurasia itself as the broader geosophical context including both Turanian and non-Turanian elements, both Indo-European and non-Indo-European cultures. This situation is further complicated by the fact that, moving throughout the space of Eurasia, some Indo-European cultures lost their primordial, axial identity (for example, the ancient Lydians and Phrygians in Anatolia, or the peoples of Western Europe in Modernity), while at the same time some non-Indo-European peoples (above all the Altaic peoples, as well as the Tibetans, the Uralic peoples, the peoples of the Caucasus, and even some Paleo-Asiatics, such as the Kets) adopted and laid such at the foundation of their cultures.

It is precisely with regards to this dialectic that the title of the second volume of Noomakhia dedicated to the question of Turan and Eurasia features an appeal to the gestalt of the Great Mother. If the Logos of Turan is at the center of the Eurasian continent and represents pure Apollonianism, then on the (noologically) opposite pole is the Logos of Cybele.[9] In the projection of this noological structure onto the geographical map we can see that the Logos of Cybele exerts decisive influence around the periphery of the Eurasian continent, i.e., it is built into the geosophical structure of Eurasia. If the Logos of Apollo dominates in Turan (the Great Steppe), then in the periphery traces of another civilization can be noted, one in which chthonic motives, Titanism, and matriarchy predominate. Turan (Apollonianism) exerted its influence, embodied first and foremost and most lucidly of all in the Indo-European nomadic, warrior cultures, on all the peoples and cultures of Eurasia, but its strength diminished insofar as it neared the coastal zones of the Eurasian continent where, on the contrary, the Logos of Cybele has been proportionally strong. This constitutes the main geosophical map of Eurasia and the dialectical essence of the Eurasian horizons. But in order to be convinced of this thesis, we need to study and dissect first the structures of the Indo-European civilizations and cultures of Turan, in order to determine their noological nature, and then, with the achieved results, turn to surveying other peoples and societies. The conceptual difference between Turan and Eurasia will be fully clear upon acquaintance with these two volumes of Noomakhia, which represent a whole, or two parts of one and the same study.

As follows, it bears recalling that the methodological foundation of Noomakhia was expounded in the first two volumes, The Three Logoi: Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele and Geosophy: Horizons and Civilizations,[10] and the examination of individual societies and cultures belonging to the circle of the Indo-European horizon has already been undertaken in the individual Noomakhia volumes dedicated to the study of the Germanic, French, Latin, and Greek Logoi, to the civilization of Great Britain, the Semitic world, and the Indian and Iranian cultures.[11-18] All of the latter volumes of Greater Noomakhia are of principal importance to adequately understanding the Logos of Turan just as, in turn, this volume and its closely adjoined companion, Horizons and Civilizations of Eurasia,[19] can be considered key to the above-cited. Taken together, all of these works constitute a most important cornerstone of the Geosophy of Eurasia.

The Turanian Proto-Culture á la Oswald Spengler

As the special space of a self-sufficient civilization, Turan has only rarely been the subject of what have been rather narrowly specialized and thematic studies. One exception to this is the work of Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), who discerned Turan to be a particular civilizational field of principle significance to mankind as a whole. Spengler developed his theory of Turan in his unfinished work under the working title The Epic of Man, fragments of which have been published and made accessible to scholars only recently.[20-21] In this work, Spengler describes the voluminous field of history as consisting of four main stages or phases: A, B, C, and D.

Phase A lasted from the undetermined time of the first signs of Homo sapiens to the Upper Paleolithic. Spengler generally adheres to the concept of evolution, but he imparts such with a particular cyclical dimension. For our part, we categorically reject this theory and appeal to such exclusively from the standpoint of describing cultures while discarding any genetic continuity, much less hierarchy between societies built on notions of “more ancient vs. more modern”, where “more modern” is seen as more developed, perfect, and differentiated than “ancient.” The first signs of reasoning man might appear in one or another epoch only to disappear in another. Everything depends on how we understand “reason”, a question which is in itself conditioned by a specific culture and mythology. Therefore, no universal criteria can be accepted here, and all the more insufficient are any attempts at building a progressive sequence from “less rational” types of society and man towards “more rational.” If we engage in such, we are simply projecting the criteria of our own society (e.g., modern Western or Western-centric) onto all types of society in general, which is in itself illegitimate and incorrect ethnocentrism. Therefore, for Spengler, Phase A is purely a conditionality meant to inform us that we know nothing for sure of this epoch and can advance no hypotheses on this matter.

Phase B, according to Spengler, is situated in the interim from 20,000 to 6,000 BC and is characterized by man’s discovery of the “inner world”, the soul, and the phenomenon of death. Spengler metaphorically likens this period to his beloved crystals and minerals. Phase B, according to Spengler, means the presence of self-consciousness, distinguishable by the modern scholar, and identifiable in the traces of ancient cultures. Although Spengler and many of our contemporaries in general conceive of such “self-consciousness” as “simpler”, this does not mean that it really was such.

Spengler calls both Phase A and Phase B “non-organic”, and the two following, C and D, “organic.” Spengler compares the third phase, C, to the slowly but autonomously moving simplest animal, the amoeba.[22] In this phase, proto-cultures are formed which will later, in Phase D lasting up to the present day, lie at the heart of all the historically known historico-cultural types. Spengler enumerates three “proto-cultures”, three “civilizational amoebas” at stage C: (1) the Atlantic, (2) the Kushite, and (3) the Turanian.

The Atlantic culture, in Spengler’s view, claimed the Western parts of Europe and Africa, and was distinguished by a heightened concern with the post-mortem worlds. In classical archaeology, the pre-Indo-European population of Europe, to which belonged the Minoans, the Pelasgians, the Basques, the Sicels, the Iberians, and the Leleges (to which some would also add the Picts, and so on), is generally considered to be the bearer of this Atlantic culture. This is the “culture of the otherworld.” Hence the immense monuments erected for the deceased, the cult of the “otherworld” and its divinities, and the cyclopean constructions typical of this culture, such as the megaliths. This culture was preoccupied with questions of genetic identity, blood, which connects the living to the world of the dead. Hence the beginning of mummification, embalmment, and luxuriant burial rituals. The Atlantic culture was the culture of “living death.”[23]

The second proto-culture of epoch C was the Kushite culture, whose center Spengler situates in the South of Eurasia between India and the Red Sea. This proto-culture was typified by a preoccupation with the of idea of “fate”, as if such were a mathematical law of the world embodied in the Sky to which all processes on Earth are subject. The Kushite culture was indifferent towards death and life, instead concentrating all of its attention on the study of the mathematical patterns of the world. In Phase D, the Kushite style would be most fully of all expressed in Assyrio-Babylonian civilization.

The third type of proto-culture is that of Turan, and it is here that we arrive at ideas which resonate with both Noomakhia and some of the philosophical and historical intuitions of the Russian Eurasianist thinkers. The proto-culture of Turan, according to Spengler, represents a pure “heroic style.” At its center stands the battle of the hero against the forces of death and fate. The hero and his “I” are put in the forefront and recognized to be a divine element. The world is full of the forces of life and is the field of endless battle. Neither fate (of the Kushite style) nor death (in the Atlantic style) are higher values for the man of Turan. Immortality is achieved only through battle, and a dignified life was believed to be one lived with a high-raised head. The gods of the martial civilizations of Turan embody this archetype: they are warriors, fearless, and indomitable. Spengler considers the chariot to be the most important symbol of the Turanian style. The identification of the chariot with the Indo-Europeans is not only Spengler’s hypothesis, but is the common ground of archaeology. Indeed, the most ancient traces of chariots are to be found in Eurasia, in the South Urals around 2000 BC, and the first whole chariots were found in the Sintashta cultural circle dated to the end of the 21st century BC. Around 2700 BC, the first  traces of carts, which preceded the first war chariots (the Maikop culture), are also to be found in Turan. It is from the South Urals that chariots began to disperse throughout the surrounding regions, including all the way up to the Caspian and Aral Sea, and across Eurasia in both directions – to Western Europe, all the way up to the Atlantic, and to the Far East.

Around 1200 BC, waves of warlike peoples on chariots descended towards the Mediterranean and founded new types of cultures. The Achaeans flooded Greece and settled in Mycenae. The Hyksos invaded Egypt, and the Kassites seized Babylon. In the very same period, Indo-European warriors on chariots advanced into Hindustan and built the Vedic culture of India on top of the remains of the ancient Mohenjo-Daro and Harappan cultures (which, in Spengler’s view, belonged to the Kushite type). In China, the bearers of the Zhou civilization also arrived on chariots and conquered China. Thus, almost simultaneously, the bearers of the Turanian element (the “civilization of amoeba C”) founded the three “high cultures” of Phase D: the Chinese, the Indian, and the Hellenic (in parallel with the Turanian invasions of the Babylonian and Egyptian civilizational zones). Thus, according to Spengler, the Indo-European peoples of Turan and their heroic style exerted decisive influence on the birth of the majority of the classical civilizations of the Old World, in whose shadow we continue to live to this day.

Lev Gumilev and the Study of Eurasia and the Nomadic Empires of Turan

The study of the nomadic civilizations of Eurasia, less known to European scholarship, constituted the core of the historical works of the Russian historian Lev Gumilev (1912-1992). Developing the particular approach of the Eurasianist philosophers, Gumilev devoted increased attention to the nomadic empires and ethnoi of Turan, demonstrating their fundamental influence on both the formation of Russian statehood and the histories of other civilizations. In his works on the Huns, the Ancient Turks, the Mongols, the Sarmatians, and other ancient nomadic peoples, Gumilev showed that the latter were not “barbarian tribes”, but rather the bearers of a special cultural code associated with a particular value system, worldview, and ethics peculiar to the inhabitants of the steppes and the warrior nomads of Eurasia.[24-26] This ethical model was established in the Great Yasa Code of Genghis Khan and was addressed towards a particular type of people: “the people of long will.”[27]

According to Gumilev, Eurocentric perspectives hinder full appreciation of the dignity of the civilization of Turan: for the historical Europeans, such was seen as the territory of “barbarians”, from which the danger of attacks and invasions emanated from time to time. Perceiving the space of North-Eastern Eurasia in such a manner, Europe thus considered this land to be the “periphery of civilization”, where one could find only scattered and incoherent relics taken from more developed cultures of the Mediterranean or India. But Gumilev demonstrated that if we look at the surrounding peoples and civilizations from the standpoint of Turanian man, through his own eyes, then we are revealed an entirely different picture, one saturated with nuances and hints, with a fully-fledged and complex historial, and with a special identity and numerous overlapping cultural circles in need of attentive and scrupulous study.

The civilizations of Turan were predominantly nomadic, and this is their distinctive trait. In the eyes of the sedentary civilizations, the culture of the nomadic peoples was constantly perceived to be hostile and alien. Moreover, nomadic conditions were not conducive to the development of literary and architectural objects, which necessarily poses difficulty to any study of this culture’s content. Gumilev nevertheless called for overcoming both Eurocentrism and the cliches of the settled civilizations, and urged us to attempt to reconstruct, on the basis of the data we have in myths, chronicles, legends, travelers’ accounts, etc., the structure of Turanian identity as it remained unchanged at its core, independent of the numerous peoples who subsequently or simultaneously became its bearers.

Leo Frobenius: Telluric Culture and the Feminine Sun

The theories of the German historian and anthropologist Leo Frobenius (1873-1938) might also be of use for identifying the typology of the civilization of Turan. Frobenius associates every culture (in his terminology: paideuma) with earth, land and the organization of landscape.[28] Relations with and approaches to land therefore determine the essence of a given human culture. Thus, Frobenius proposed the following formula:

Культура есть земля, ставшая организмом через посредство человека.

Kultur ist durch den Menschen organisch gewordene Erde

Culture is earth that has become organic by means of man. [29]

On these grounds, Frobenius constructed a dual topography of culture using the metaphor of plants. According to Frobenius, the paideuma can be seen as a plant, having roots and a stem with branches and leaves. Such is the composition of the two halves of one organism: one part moves into and under the earth, which Frobenius called the “chthonic element”, while the other draws upwards from the earth – this is the “telluric element.” Both are tied to earth, to land, but in different ways: the chthonic is drawn to that from which it came, while the telluric strives towards the other, away from the soil from which it emerged. Both trajectories constitute the life of a culture.

Thus, according to Frobenius, cultures (paideuma) can be divided into two types or poles. One pole, the chthonic, is tied to the matriarchal element and exhibits centripetal tendencies, being drawn towards contraction, being closed or self-absorbed. The second, telluric pole is associated with the patriarchal element, with centrifugal motion, the feeling of expansion, overcoming limits, dynamism, and striving to break away from roots. Turan, in Frobenius’ account, is the principal space of telluric culture.

While matriarchal cultures are inclined towards creating dwellings in caves, pits, and in dugouts, then patriarchal cultures erect homes and, at times, “great homes”, which reflect the aspiration to create something large and gigantic. Such “great homes” served religious aims, initiations, and ceremonies among archaic peoples. Patriarchal societies are also constructed along a vertical geometry: the child reaches upwards from the earth, and society and social institutions are conceived as the branches of a tree, the point of a spear or an arrow, and become symbols of the axis around which hunting, war, and rituals are organized. Patriarchal cultures appreciate that which strives upward, especially fire. Hence the rites of cremating bodies. Death is understood as a prelude to new birth, like the seeding of plants. Matriarchal, chthonic cultures, on the other hand, value above all the material, the corporeal, and the maternal, and all that is associated with the lower levels of the universe, with that which is hidden within earth. Hence the social practices of gathering roots, berries, and mushrooms.

Both poles of culture envision space differently, on which point Frobenius emphasizes:

Теллурическим является покой неограниченного простора; хтоническим – тесное место, исполненное беспокойством.

Tellurisch ist Ruhe im unbegrenzten Raum. Chthonisch Unruhe im begrenzten Raum.

The telluric is the peace of unlimited space; the chthonic is the unrest of confined space. [30]

In Frobenius’ view, it is the polarization of these two types of culture and their subsequent impositions upon one another that established the social architecture of civilizations with which we have to deal up to the present day. The territory of Turan, and more specifically the steppe zones of Eurasia, the Great Steppe, were the primordial hearth of the centrifugal cultures of the telluric (patriarchal) type, while the coasts of the Mediterranean and South Asia represent the zones of centripetal matriarchal cultures. The expansion of mobile, masculine cultures into the territories of the chthonic zones led to the emergence of the “great cultures” of India, West Asia, the Aegean zone, Rome, France, and England. Moreover, in Frobenius’ view, these patriarchal cultures carry strength and vital life forces, while the matriarchal element imparted them with plastic forms. It is in this synthesis, in this dialectic between the telluric and chthonic that Frobenius sees all of world history. The telluric impulse, according to Frobenius, ceaselessly emanated from the territories of Turan.

Also of extreme importance to discerning the civilizations of Turan is Frobenius’ study of various symbols, which he proposed to differentiate between types of society. Alongside the chthonic and telluric, Frobenius drew attention to another detail: the gender of the two celestial luminaries, the Sun and the Moon, across the languages and mythologies of all the world’s peoples. Working through an enormous mass of linguistic and mythological material, Frobenius discerned an extremely interesting pattern, according to which all cultures can be distinguished as belonging to one of three basic groups with relation to the following symbols:

  1. The masculine sun and feminine moon, envisioned in the form of man and wife or as brother and sister (joined in incestuous, but not explicitly censured marital bond).
  2. The feminine sun and masculine moon, or Lunus, envisioned only as brother and sister, whose incestuous relationship is explicitly taboo. The violation of this taboo (generally by the moon) is understood to be a catastrophe and drama.
  3. The masculine sun and masculine moon as two brothers.

The systematization of such an enormous mass of materials on the basis of all the sources available to him led Frobenius to construct a series of maps designating the zones dominated by each of these three forms. One is immediately struck by the fact that these zones represent stable poles which remain uninterrupted by the borders running between ethnoi, cultures, peoples, and civilizations. Moreover, the commonality of this symbol can even be found among cultures which otherwise lack anything similar and are even to be found on different civilizational levels.

The map of the distribution of the masculine sun and feminine moon looks thusly: we can clearly follow an uninterrupted strip running from England in Northern Europe through the Northern Mediterranean, Anatolia and the Middle East to India, South China, Polynesia, and up to Central America and the North-Eastern coast of South America. All of the indigenous cultures of these regions exhibit stable attributions of the male gender to the sun.  According to Frobenius, cultures of this type are of a matriarchal orientation and cultivate everything associated with space.[31] To a significant extent, sacrality is derived from the number 4 (as in the four directions/orientations of space).[32]

Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 7.40.48 PM.png
Map of distribution of the languages and myths of the masculine sun and masculine moon

The following map delineates the distribution zone of cultures in which the sun is depicted as female and the moon as of male gender[33]: 

Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 7.40.57 PM.png
Map of distribution of the languages and myths of the feminine sun and masculine moon

Here we can see that the territory of Turan is the core of the cultural space of the male moon and female sun. This space is distinguished by its patriarchal orientation, and at the center of its attention are time and symbolic and religious systems in which the number 3 occupies the central place. Thus, the telluric character of Turan is confirmed in its distribution of the pair of the male moon and female moon as well as by the predominance of the symbolism of time and the number 3.[34]

René Guénon: The Culture of Abel and the Civilization of Mantras

Insofar as Turan is principally the zone of nomadic civilizations, the symbolism of nomadic societies is crucial to the study of Turanian identity. The French Traditionalist philosopher René Guénon (1887-1953) drew attention to the symbolic peculiarities between the structures of nomadic societies (nomadism) and settled peoples (sedentarism). According to Guénon, in the Biblical context the figure who most generally represents nomads and pastoralists is Abel.[35] Guénon writes: “They [Cain and Abel] are the types of the two sorts of peoples who have existed since the origins of the present humanity, or at least since the earliest differentiation took place, namely that between the sedentary peoples, devoted to the cultivation of the soil, and the nomads, devoted to the raising of flocks and herds.”[36]

According to Guénon, the notions of Iran and Turan also reflect this dualism, even etymologically: in Guénon view, the term arya, from which is derived the word Iran or Aryana, the “land of the Aryans”, originally referred to someone engaged in agriculture – in this case from the Indo-European root *ar-, hence the Latin arare (“to plow”), arator (“plowman”), and arvum (“field”).[37] The Ancient Jews were nomads and shepherds, and therefore their sacred texts unequivocally take the side of Abel as the victim of Cain. Abel is considered to be the righteous, while Cain is the brother-killer and cursed.

Guénon believed that pastoralists and nomads conceptualized the principle of time as unfolding in front of them, as their priority object, their element, all the while as they enjoyed the quality of unending space. Settled peoples, who conversely embody the permanence (or synchronism) of space, have time as their main object.  Settled societies live in a fixed place, and therefore time is “closed” and constant. Living long cycles in the same place, settled cultures begin to attentively observe time, study its structures, and investigate its patterns. They thereby conceive themselves to be the historial and an historical phenomenon, i.e., something “lasting”, uniting past and future.

Nomadic peoples, for their part, do not create anything “solid” or “long-term.” They live in open space, which is their existential element. They unfold their potential in space, while time remains a secondary matter. They do not devote extensive attention to time or the method of its dimension. In Guénon’s view, settled cultures therefore embody the principle of “compression” or “squeezing”, while nomadic ones exhibit “stretching” and “expansion.” The fact that nomads are primarily engaged in the herding of cattle symbolically corresponds to their mobility. Cereal and plant cultivation, conversely, are peculiar to settled cultures which, like plants, are immobile and tied to one place. Thus, settled cultures assign priority to the development of visual forms of sacred art, such as paintings, sculptures, architecture, etc. In Hinduism, such sacred images are called yantra. For nomadic peoples, meanwhile, visual depictions are often taboo, whereas the symbolism of sound is considerably more developed, as is the case with the Hindu mantras. In Guénon’s analysis, vision is related to space, while hearing is tied to time. As follows, settled cultures develop “plastic” forms of art, while nomadic peoples tend to develop sonorous forms, such as music, poetry, etc.

As a concept, Turan is undoubtedly the field of nomadic civilization, the civilization of Abel. This does not exclude the presence in Eurasia of significant enclaves of settled societies, but the dominant identity of Turan is none other than nomadism. Hence the dominating factor of space, the scarcity of visual monuments, the absence of developed writing, and many other traits specific to Turanian culture. Turan, for Guénon, is the civilization of mantras.

The Turanian Factor: The Vertical Diurne

By correlating these introductory considerations, we can obtain a preliminary picture of the object of our study. Turan is the horizon of North-Eastern Eurasia coinciding with the Great Steppe, stretching from Transylvania in the West to Manchuria in the East. In terms of culture, this horizon is primarily the zone of inhabitance of nomadic peoples. We are dealing with a nomadic civilization dominated by the militaristic and patriarchal element, i.e., a culture of the telluric type. The influence of Turan is associated with expansion (as in accordance with Guénon); indeed, historically, Turanian expansion to the South and West repeatedly led to the establishment of new states, cultures, and developed civilizations, in which the peoples of Turan became the ruling class, the legislators of patriarchal style and, quite frequently, the bearers of the dominant language. The civilizations and polities of Rome, Greece, Anatolia (the Hittite kingdom, the Mitanni state, Urartu, etc.), Iran and India, Western Europe, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and others were created under the direct cultural and linguistic dominance of the Indo-European peoples of Turan as they expanded beyond the Great Steppe.

The role of this Turanian factor in the origins of historically known states is veritable with numerous historical examples, in which nomadic peoples subjugated settled populations and only jointly thereafter established political structures resembling or being states in the full sense of the word. The nomadic peoples assembled city-fortresses as centers for the storage and the protection of tribute exacted from the conquered farmers. They also became the core of the military aristocracy of socially differentiated societies. In this sense, the Turanian factor is a state-forming factor. On this note, it is telling that neither nomads nor farmers create states on their own, and any forms of intertribal associations among themselves are short-term and unstable.[38] This principle was first conceptualized by the Arab scholar Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), and in the 19th century this theory was developed in detail by the Polish-Austrian philosopher and sociologist Ludwig Gumplowicz (1838-1909).[39-40]

The civilization of Turan is founded on the basic envisioning of open space and, in accordance with Frobenius, Turanian civilization cultivates the symbolism of the number 3. Moreover, in many of the myths and languages of the peoples of Turan, we theoretically ceaselessly encounter a male gender for the moon and a female gender for the sun.[41] The telluric character of the Logos of Turan is expressed in its foremost and rigidly, emphatically vertical orientation. The horizon of Turan structures the world along a vertical axis. This is expressed in the religion, cosmology, socio-political hierarchy, and psychological mode of Turanian societies. In the terminology of the sociology of the imagination [42] as developed by the French sociologist Gilbert Durand (1921-2012), this type of society corresponds to the psychic regime of the diurne. This regime is typified by:

  • A high degree of strict divisions
  • An attraction towards light and crystal clarity
  • An aspiration towards cleansing itself from materiality and corporeality
  • The sacralization of the Sky, luminaries, and elements of flight
  • High speed, rapidity
  • Militancy and heroism
  • Challenging death
  • Masculinity (virility)
  • Cutting and piercing weapons
  • Dualism, pairs of opposites
  • Hierarchies founded on subjugation and force

All of these considerations allow us to suggest from the very onset that, in the horizon of Turan, we are dealing with the predominance of the Logos of Apollo. This follows from everything that we know about the roots of European civilization and from theories on the Indo-European languages and cultures. We are tasked with determining to what extent this equivalence is convincing, justified, and legitimate, whether or not there are exceptions among the Indo-European cultures and, if there are, what has conditioned them.

***

Footnotes:

[1] See: Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Iranian Logos: The War of Light and the Culture of Awaiting (Moscow: Academic Project, 2016).

[2] N.S. Trubetzkoy, Nasledie Chingiskhana (Moscow: Agraf, 1999). In English: The Legacy of Genghis Khan and Other Essays on Russian Identity (Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic Publications, 1991).

[3] P.N. Savitsky, Kontinent Evraziia [Continent Eurasia] (Moscow: Agraf, 1997).

[4] G.V. Vernadsky, Nachertanie russkoi istorii (Moscow: Algoritm, 2008).

[5] N.N. Alekseev, Russkii narod i Gosudarstvo [The Russian People and the State] (Moscow: Agraf, 1998).

[6] L.N. Gumilev, Ot Rusi do Rossii [From Rus to Russia] (Moscow: Ayris-press, 2008); Ibidem, Drevniaia Rus’ i Velikaia Step’ [Ancient Rus and the Great Steppe] (Moscow: Mysl, 1989); Ibidem., Tysiacheletie vokrug Kaspiia [The Millennium around the Caspian] (Moscow: AST, 2002).

[7] See: Alexander Dugin, “Continent Russia” in Absolutnaia Rodina (Moscow: Arktogeia, 2000).

[8] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Horizons and Civilizations of Eurasia: The Indo-European Legacy and the Traces of the Great Mother (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017).

[9] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Three Logoi: Apollo, Dionysus, Cybele (Moscow: Academic Project, 2014).

[10] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – Geosophy: Horizons and Civilizations (Moscow: Academic Project, 2016).

[11] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Germanic Logos: Apophatic Man (Moscow: Academic Project, 2015)

[12]  Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The French Logos: Orpheus and Melusine (Moscow: Academic Project, 2015)

[13] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Latin Logos: The Sun and the Cross (Moscow: Academic Project, 2016)

[14] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Hellenic Logos: The Valley of Truth (Moscow: Academic Project, 2016); Ibidem, Noomakhia – The Byzantine Logos: Hellenism and Empire (Moscow: Academic Project, 2016)

[15] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – England or Britain? The Maritime Mission and the Positive Subject (Moscow: Academic Project, 2015).

[16] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Semites: Monotheism of the Moon and the Gestalt of Ba’al (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017)

[17] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – Great India: Civilization of the Absolute (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017)

[18] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Iranian Logos: The War of Light and the Culture of Awaiting (Moscow: Academic Project, 2016)

[19] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Horizons and Civilizations of Eurasia: The Indo-European Legacy and the Traces of the Great Mother (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017)

[20] Domenico Conte, Catene di cività: Studi su Spengler (Napoli: Ed. Scientifiche Italiane, 1994).

[21] Anton Mirko Koktanek, Oswald Spengler in seiner Zeit (Munich: 1968).

[22] Heidegger devoted heightened attention to amoebas, the very existence of which he tried to conceive in philosophical terms in his cycle of lectures on boredom. See: Martin Heidegger, Die Grundbegriffe Der Metaphysik (Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1983). It is suggestive that Heidegger spoke of amoebas with a certain “tenderness”, as when he called amoebas “little animals” or Tierchen.

[23] The Lithuanian scholar of Ancient Europe, Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994) believed this culture to be matriarchal and bearing the cult of the “Great Goddess.” Gimbutas called the cultures belonging to this type “Old Europe.” See: Marija Gimbutas, Tsivilizatsia Velikoi Bogini [The Civilization of the Great Goddess] (Moscow: Rosspen, 2005).

[24] L. Gumilev, Hunnu [Xiongnu] (Moscow: Izd. Vostochnoi literatury, 1960).

[25] L. Gumilev, Drevnie tiurki [The Ancient Turks](Moscow: Nauka, 1967).

[26] L. Gumilev, Tysiacheletie vokrug Kaspiia [The Millennium around the Caspian] (Moscow: Harvest, 2008); Ibidem., Otkrytie Khazarii [Discovering Khazaria] (M. Di-dik, 1996); Ibidem., Drevniaia Rus’ I Velikaia Step’ [Ancient Rus and the Great Steppe] (Moscow: Mysl, 1992).

[27] L. Gumilev, Chernaia legenda [Black Legend] (Moscow: Ayris-press, 2008).

[28] See the discussion of Frobenius in: Dugin, Noomakhia – Geosophy: Horizons and Civilizations.

[29] Leo Frobenius, Das unbekkante Afrika: Aufhellung der Schicksale eines Erdteils (Munich: C.H. Becksche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1923), 67. Frobenius is also responsible for the following formula: “Human culture should be seen as an independent organic being.” [Menschliche Kultur ein selbständiges organisches Wesen sei] – L. Frobenius, Paideuma: Umrisse einer Kultur- und Seelenlehre (Munich: Beck, 1921), 39.

[30] Frobenius, Das unbekkante Afrika, 75.

[31] Leo Frobenius, Von Kulturreich des Festlandes (Berlin: Wegweiserverlag, 1932), 53.

[32] If in Eurasia and the Pacific this model of Frobenius’ overall coincides with the geosophical map which we have constructed in Noomakhia, then with regards to Central America and South America we have arrived at diametrically opposite conclusions. See: Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Civilizations of the New World: Pragmatic Dreams and Split Horizons (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017).

[33] Frobenius, Von Kulturreich des Festlandes, 55.

[34] Once again, with regards to Eurasia, the Geosophy of Noomakhia coincides with Frobenius’ theses, while contradicting them entirely when it comes to North America. See: Noomakhia – The Horizons and Civilizations of Eurasia: The Indo-European Legacy and the Traces of the Great Mother.

[35]  René Guénon, Le règne de la quantité et les signes des temps (Paris: Gallimard, 1945), 295; René Guénon, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times (Hillsdale: Sophia Perennis, 2004).

[36] Ibid., 145.

[37] Ibid., 146.

[38] See: Alexander Dugin, Etnosotsiologiia [Ethnosociology] (Moscow: Academic Project, 2014). In English as: Alexander Dugin, Ethnos and Society (translated by Michael Millerman, London: Arktos, 2018); Ibidem., Ethnosociology: The Foundations (London: Arktos, 2019).

[39] Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History, 3 vol. (New York: Princeton University Press, 1958).

[40] L. Gumplowicz, Die soziologische Staatsidee (Graz: Leuschner & Lubensky, 1892); Ibidem., Der Rassenkampf: Soziologische Untersuchungen (Innsbruck: Wagner, 1928).

[41] This is explored in: Alexander Dugin, “Russia and Virgo Solar” in Mysteries of Eurasia.

[42] Alexander Dugin, Voobrazhenie: Filosofiia, sotsiologiia, struktury [The Imagination: Philosophy, Sociology, and Structures] (Moscow: Academic Project, 2015)

[43] G. Durand, Les Structures anthropologiques de l’imaginaire (Paris: Borda, 1969).

Alexander Dugin & Sergey Kuryokhin – Manifesto of the New Magi

Authors: Alexander Dugin and Sergey Kuryokhin

Source: Open Revolt , Arktogeia (1996) 

***

1. We are facing a crisis of art, a lack of vitality, and the domination of pure mechanicism. Post-Modernism – the very syndrome of degeneration – is itself deformed. Interest in art today is either tackiness (in theatre, cinemas, and rock concerts), or das provozierte Leben (“the provoked life” in Gottfried Benn’s words), that is the occupation of a narrow and closed circle of “vampiric intellectuals” who have completely lost all orientations, but have not lost the need for food, social status, and vanity.

2. We are facing a crisis of politics, a lack of thought and fresh ideology, and the degeneration of politics since the splash of Perestroika. Politics has totally lost all logic and life. Politics today is either a pathological conjunction (in the center) or a pathological caricature (in the periphery). Politics is always and everywhere equally uninteresting.

3. The critical low points in the degeneration of art and politics have now been reached simultaneously, all at once. This is not always how things go, but it is none other than the case now. The lowest points of the two sinusoids have coincided.

4. In such moments in the cycle of decline, a new impulse must be acquired for development, one which lies generally outside of the sphere of the process itself. Sometimes politics spurs art, and sometimes vice versa. But now both spheres are in decline. Impulse must be sought elsewhere.

5. This new realm is MAGIC. Magic studies not events, things, and objects, but their causes, which magic does not simply describe but actively operates. Magic precedes art and politics. Art and politics became autonomous only upon being detached from their magical source. This source has not disappeared, but has merely slipped away to the periphery from where it exerts indirect influence. Secret societies, lodges, and orders have governed history and inspired artists.

6. Yet indirect influence has not been enough, as politics and art have forgotten the necessity of constantly appealing to magic. Only the direct, total replacement of art and politics with MAGIC can save this situation.

7. Today’s politicians and artists have outlived themselves. Nothing can save them. They are incapable of nourishing themselves with magic and alivening. They ought to be written off and discarded. They are totally uninteresting. A new type should replace them.

8. This new type is not a politician or artist dealing with magic, but the NEW MAGUS engaged in politics and art.

9. All forms of art and all political ideologies have their occult parallels in operative magic. Paintings emerged as worldly depictions of the gods and symbolic signs. Political ideologies are secular expressions of metaphysical and religious doctrines, e.g.: capitalism is, according to Max Weber, secularized Protestantism, while socialism and fascism are variations of Indo-European, Aryan traditions in which, according to Georges Dumézil, there is no caste of merchants. The source has gradually been lost sight of. In modern politicians and artists, we are dealing with incurable, inveterate idiots. Degree of talent and ideological success now directly depend on degree of acquaintance with occult doctrines.

10. This fact must be recognized and accepted as an inevitability.

11. Instead of a separate art, separate politics, and separate magic, a new synthetic discipline should be introduced, that of MAGIC, which directly establishes its own politics and its own art. The new hermeneutics is that historical context and aesthetic peculiarity should be discarded: it all comes down to occult paradigms. Goethe and Breton, Lenin and Churchill can all be boiled down to the magical paradigms (of the Masonic-Occultist and Hermetic-Rosicrucian bent) which they represented. All the rest can be discarded. Along with the new art and new politics will come a new approach to the study of art and a new political science.

12. The new scholars of art and the new political scientists will not be separate people from the new artists and new politicians. They will be one and the same figure. And this figure will be none other than that of the NEW MAGI.

13. Art thus becomes not the imitation of ritual or the imitation of the manufacture of fetishes, amulets, and idols, but the ritual itself, the manufacturing of amulets, fetishes, and idols.

14. Politics thus becomes not the captured “remake” of collective orgies or the realization of vaguely, indirectly perceived metaphysical projects, but the direct myth-making and occult architecture of the masses.

15. All of this is being carried out and conceptualized by the NEW MAGI.

16. Magic is an operative science. It demands real results, real metamorphoses – of objects, phenomena, and the operator himself. MAGIC is an experimental science that does not allow “obscurantism” and demagogy. The result, not the project, is the assessment. Without concrete “eidetic realization”, there is no magical act. If everything remains essentially as it was before the magical act, then we are dealing with either failure or charlatanism. Idiots and intellectuals shall not pass.

17. The NEW MAGI affirm their art and carry out social coups. They specialize in geopolitics, large-scale science, and they subjugate the elements; they tame the Atlantic Leviathan and feed the continental Behemoth. The minimum social scale of the NEW MAGIC is a country, people, state, or legions of human masses. Ascetics and marching bands of degenerate sects are of no interest to anyone. The NEW MAGIC deals with the phenomenon of the GIGANTIC, the GIGANTIC-NEW (a la Martin Heidegger).

18. Our aims will become clear only when people begin to participate in our practice, whether actively or passively, as subjects or objects. Magic solves all gnoseological problems through Praxis (like Marxism).   

19. From the outside, the crisis of art and politics may seem to be something objective. But do not build illusions, for it was organized by US, in order to clear the path for the NEW RACE, the race of magic kings.

20. We operate with abysses. For us, the invisible has its own geography. Black is not simply the absence of light, but a huge gamut of shades which earthly optometry has not even dreamed of.

21. Abyssus abyssum invocat –

22. In voce cataractarum.

Alexander Dugin – The Three Logoi: An Introduction to the Triadic Methodology of NOOMAKHIA

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold 

Chapter 2 of Noomakhia – The Three Logoi: Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele (Moscow: Academic Project, 2014).

***

Noomakhia and the Three Philosophical Countries

In the book In Search of the Dark Logos [1], we approached the existence of the Logoi as three views of the world or three fundamental paradigms of philosophy. We defined them as such:

  1. The Light Logos = the Logos of Apollo
  2. The Dark Logos = the Logos of Dionysus
  3. The Black Logos = the Logos of Cybele

These three paradigms can be provisionally placed along a vertical axis between the “here” (ενταύθα) and the “there” (εκείνα), between Earth and Heaven, between cause and effect, between the yield and the source, and so on. Each Logos builds its own universe and presents itself as the master and “demiurge.” Therefore, from a noological point of view, we are dealing not with one world but three whose paradigms conflict with one another and each encompass an infinite number of cosmic layers, hierarchies, and life cycles. It might be said that the Noomachy unfolds between these three Logoi in their vying for domination, and the reverberations of this primordial struggle are projected within these three noological universes, thus giving rise to internal battles, conflicts, splits, and oppositions. By virtue of implosion, this paradigmatic “three-way war” collapses each of the Logoi, immersing their content, structures, and “populations” into a funnel of fundamental catastrophes. Studying Noomakhia therefore demands a more careful dissection of these three Logoi. Each of them can be presented as a philosophical country, organized in accordance with certain rules with their own extended geography and topology of central and peripheral zones, and with a number of internal levels and both common and local hierarchies. These three noological countries are the country of Apollo, the country of Dionysus, and the country of Cybele (the Great Mother).

Gilbert Durand’s Three Regimes of the Imagination: The Diurne

The Three Logoi under discussion can be visually correlated with the three regimes of the imagination described in the theory of the French sociologist and culturologist Gilbert Durand [2]. We devoted a separate work to Durand and his ideas, Sociology of the Imagination: An Introduction to Structural Sociology [3], in which we rather thoroughly examined these three regimes: the diurne, the dramatic nocturne, and the mystical nocturne. Developing Henry Corbin’s central philosophical focus on the “imaginal” – that is the world of active imagination, the intermediate world between the corporeal and the spiritual, or the alam al-mithal of the Islamic tradition – Durand proposed the theory of the imaginaire, that is the “anthropological trajectory” of the structures located between the subject and object and organized in accordance with the prevalence of one or another dominant reflex. The imaginaire is structured in early childhood and later on determines the fundamental points of personality formation. Although the imaginaire necessarily encompasses all three regimes, one of them is always dominant and represses the others, thereby erecting the structure of consciousness in accordance with its own geometry and topology.

The domination of the postural reflex (which pushes the child up into the upright, vertical stance) organizes consciousness in accordance with the diurnal regime. This regime is dominated by diaeretic operations, such as division, dismemberment, the establishment of clear limits, contemplation, vertical hierarchy, severe logical laws, and is characterized by the concentration of identity towards one end (i.e., the construction of a consolidated subject) in parallel to the dissection (down to miasma) of the subject of perception at the opposite end (e.g., analyzing an object, dismembering a sacrificial animal, etc.). In the diurnal regime, the subject recognizes itself as a hero confronting time and death, with which it wages endless war. Vertical symmetries, images of flight (and fall), and masculine symbols such as the straight line, the sword, the scepter, the axis, arrows, light, the sun, and the sky are predominant in this mode. The diurnal regime fully corresponds to what we call the Logos of Apollo. This is the solar, masculine, heroic, noetic universe.

The Mystical Nocturne

The second mode of imagination, according to Durand, is completely opposite to that of the first. Durand calls this the mystical nocturne, and associates it with the nurturing reflex, with memories of the intrauterine state. When the imaginaire is captured by the structures of this mode, it perceives the world under the sign of the Night and the Mother. This regime is marked by the absence of clarity, as consciousness enjoys the continuous and unlimited tissue of hardly distinguishable things. Sensations of digestion, saturation, napping, comfort, stillness, gliding, and slight immersion are dominant. The prevailing elements are water, earth, and warmth. The relevant symbols are the cup, the Mother, twilight, reduced objects, centripetal symmetries, the infant, the blanket, the bed, and the womb. This is the feminine, maternal regime. The mystical nocturne is based on radical feminization and is an antiphrasis. In this mode, dangerous and ominous phenomena (death, time, evil, threats, enemies, and misfortune, etc.) are given softer or contradictory names:

Death = dormition (literally falling asleep) or even birth (resurrection);

Time = progress, becoming, improving;

Threat = a game resolved in peace and bliss;

The enemy = a friend who is not dangerous, and to whose side one must necessarily cross as soon as possible (Stockholm syndrome)

Misfortune = happiness (a temporary challenge designed for something good), etc.

A person with a dominant mystical nocturne is prone to seek compromise, is distinguished by conformism and hyper-conformism, is peace-loving, easily adapts to any conditions, is feminine, is drawn towards serenity, and sets comfort, satiety, safety, and harmony above all else, believing that the best is guaranteed to come naturally. Here we can unmistakably recognize the structures of the Black Logos, the noetic world of Cybele, the Great Mother, and the chthonic worlds of the womb.

The Dramatic Nocturne

The third regime of the imaginaire is also nocturnal, but is dramatic, dynamic, and active. It can be placed between the diurne and the mystical nocturne. It is built on a copulative dominant, on rhythm, movement, and dual symmetries. Its symbol is the bisexual being, the Androgyne, a pair of lovers, choreia, the circle, dance, rotation, repetition, the cycle, motion returning to its origin.

The dramatic nocturne does not struggle with time and death like the diurne, and does not cross over to the side of time and death as the mystical nocturne does. It closes time in a cycle and keeps death in a chain of births and deaths regularly replacing one another (reincarnation). In this regime, the subject is reflected in the object and vice versa, and this game of reflections is reproduced in an infinite sequence. If the diurne is the masculine regime, the realm of the day, and if the mystical nocturne is the maternal realm of the night, then the dramatic nocturne correlates with twilight (dusk and dawn) and the male/female pair (sometimes united into one). While the diurne rigidly divides one from another (diaeresis) and the mystical nocturne unites everything (synthesis), the dramatic nocturne unites the divided and divides the united – never entirely, but retaining differences in their merger and sameness in division.

Those who have a dominant dramatic nocturne exhibit developed artistic abilities, psychological flexibility, eroticism, lightness, mobility, the ability to maintain balance in motion and to perceive events in the external world as a never-ending, shifting alternation of dark and light moments (the ancient Romans’ dies fastus/dies nefastus).

Durand’s dramatic nocturne perfectly fits the description of the Dark Logos, the noetic universe of Dionysus, the god who fuses opposites in himself – suffering and dispassion, death and resurrection, male and female, high and low, and so on. Hence precisely why the “search for the Dark Logos” led us to Dionysus and the broad complex of his situation.

The Three Worlds in Mythology

Mythology, in particular Greek mythology, provides us with abundant material for composing the three noetic spaces. The realm of the Light Logos corresponds to Olympus, the heavenly world, and the king of the gods, the thunder-god Zeus, his wife, Hera of the air, the solar Apollo, the warrior Athena, the goddess of justice Dike, and other analogous figures. This is the highest horizon of the celestial Olympian gods in the maximal purity in which the Greeks tried to imagine the gods free from chthonic or archaic elements. This series of gods can be called the diurnic series, for their primary realm of rule is the that of the day, wakefulness, the clear mind, the vertical symmetries of power, and purification.

The second realm of myth, corresponding to the mystical nocturne, is that of the chthonic deities associated with Gaia, the Great Mother. This includes the “Urania” of Rhea, the deputies of the titan Cronus and the mother of Zeus, all the generations of the Titans overthrown by the gods, as well as other creatures of the Earth, such as the Hundred-Handed Ones (Hecatoncheires), the giants, and other chthonic monsters. To this category also belong some of the gods for one reason or another expelled from Olympus, such as Hephaestus. In this zone are situated the underworlds of Hades, and below it Tartarus. Here we should pay particular attention to the Titans, whose very nature reflects the characteristic attributes of the mystical nocturne. Moreover, the Titanomachy (like the Gigantomachy) can be seen as a mythological analogue of the “wars of the mind” by which we understand Noomachy. This Kingdom of Night also has its own philosophical geometry and is fundamentally opposed to that of the Day.[4] In Plato’s dialogue The Sophist, the philosophical aspect of the Gigantomachy is described in extraordinarily expressive terms:

Stranger: We are far from having exhausted the more exact thinkers who treat of being and not-being. But let us be content to leave them, and proceed to view those who speak less precisely; and we shall find as the result of all, that the nature of being is quite as difficult to comprehend as that of not-being.

Theaetetus: Then now we will go to the others.

Stranger: There appears to be a sort of war of Giants and Gods going on amongst them; they are fighting with one another about the nature of essence.

Theaetetus: How is that?

Stranger: Some of them are dragging down all things from heaven and from the unseen to earth, and they literally grasp in their hands rocks and oaks; of these they lay hold, and obstinately maintain, that the things only which can be touched or handled have being or essence, because they define being and body as one, and if any one else says that what is not a body exists they altogether despise him, and will hear of nothing but body.

Theaetetus: I have often met with such men, and terrible fellows they are.

Stranger: And that is the reason why their opponents cautiously defend themselves from above, out of an unseen world, mightily contending that true essence consists of certain intelligible and incorporeal ideas; the bodies of the materialists, which by them are maintained to be the very truth, they break up into little bits by their arguments, and affirm them to be, not essence, but generation and motion. Between the two armies, Theaetetus, there is always an endless conflict raging concerning these matters. [5]

The third kingdom, situated between Olympus and Hades (Tartarus), is the domain of the intermediate gods. The undisputed king of this mythical realm is Dionysus, who descends into Hades as Zagreus and rises to Olympus as the resurrected Iacchus of the Eleusinian mysteries and Orphic hymns. Here should also be included the psychopomp god Hermes, the goddess of harvest and fertility Demeter, as well as the countless series of lesser gods and daimons – the nymphs, satyrs, dryads, silens, etc. Some of the Olympic gods, such as Ares and Aphrodite, also gravitate towards this intermediary zone. It is also here that the titans (such as Prometheus) break through in certain situations and strive upwards. Yet the most important aspect for our sake is that it is in this mythological kingdom that we find those people whom the Orphics believed to have emerged from the ashes, or from among the titans struck down by Zeus for dismembering and eating the infant Dionysus. The nature of people is therefore simultaneously titanic and divine, Dionysian. On the upper horizon, this nature touches the realm of the daytime gods of Olympus. On the lower horizon, it descends into the underworld, the nocturnal region of the titans.

Thus, we have acquired a mythological map of the three noetic worlds of interest to us. On the basis of carefully interpreting different tropes, histories, traditions, and legends, we can glean a vast amount of data relevant to our study of Noomakhia.

Philo-Mythia and Philo-Sophia

Insofar as from the very onset we have substantiated the necessity of distance from the “contemporal moment”, we can consider the zone of myth wholly and without any reservations as a reliable basis for our quest. We can treat philo-mythia (a term coined by the Brazilian philosopher Vicente Ferreira da Silva [6]) as a parallel scholarly field alongside philo-sophia. Nothing hinders us from reversing the progression from Mythos to Logos and studying the chain from Logos to Mythos. Moreover, it would be even more productive to consider the logological and the mythological as two equal types of narratives, especially since in Ancient Greece both terms, λέγω и μυθέω, meant discourses of different semantic shades. On the level of the paradigm of thinking, as considered outside of the classical version of the historial, the equal consideration of all types of discourses is wholly legitimate. In fact, this is precisely what we see in the works of Plato and the Neoplatonists, who easily transitioned from one method to another in order to be most understandable and convincing. The “contemporal moment” demands that we approach the logological side of Plato seriously (even descending to the level of his “naive” idealism) and that we leave the mythological dimension aside, insofar as such simply reflects the “remnants and superstitions of the era.” But upon establishing distance from the contemporal moment, this whole interpretive system collapses, and we can and should turn to the Mythos and Logos simultaneously, on common grounds, in search of what really interests us.

Moreover, on the basis of the Neoplatonic language systematically developed by Plotinus, we can propose the following terminological model. The basic paradigms of thinking (and that means the sources of philosophy) are to be placed not in the realm of the Logos, but in the realm of the Nous (νοῦς) which can be seen as the common source of both Logos and Mythos. The noetic precedes the logological as well as the mythical. The Nous contains the Logos, but is not identical to it. The Logos is one specific manifestations of the Nous. The Mythos can also be considered another specific manifestation of the Nous. Therefore, they are parallel to one other on the one hand, and have a common source on the other. We are interested in precisely the noetic section, those layers of thinking and being where this divergence has not yet established. Therefore, the parallelism between philo-mythia and philo-sophia is fully justified. Noomakhia can be described and cognized both as portrayed in the picture of Titanomakhia as well as in terms of the rational polemics of philosophical schools.

With regards to the interpretation of myths and describing the relationship between the “new gods” and “ancient titans”, it is also necessary to assume a correct position from the outset. Based on the fact of the eternity of the Mind, the νοῦς (or its analogue, the spirit, the Source, etc.) as the grounds upon which all non-modern (=traditional) and non-Western (=Eastern) doctrines and religious systems are built, the diachronic structure of myth can be considered a symbolic conventionality. We ought to understand the indication that the “Titans” existed (and reigned) before the gods, sub specie aeternitatis, either as a logical continuity, or as an indication of their place in the structure of the synchronic topology of the noetic cosmos. The Titans always existed, just as the Black Logos of Cybele or the regime of the mystical nocturne. “Before” means either “higher” or “lower” depending on the viewpoint of the zone of the noetic Universe where we stand. For Mother Earth, with respect to the Titans, “before” means “better.” For the Olympians, the converse is true, since they think of themselves as the “new gods” who have won eternity in contrast to the endless cycles of the Titans’ self-closing duration. From the standpoint of the Logos of Apollo, the Titans are “ancient” because they did “not yet” know eternity, and they dwell below because they will never know it. The discrepancy between the interpretation of the “before” and “after” is not simply the consequence of relative positioning, but an episode – and a fundamental one – of the Titanomachy, which is an expression of nothing more nor less than the choice of side in the never-ending battle of eternity against time. The war of the gods and titans is a war for the position of the “observatory point”, a war to control it. Those who determine the paradigm, the grille de la lecture, will rule. We thereby find ourselves in the very epicenter of the wars of the mind. The titans seek to overthrow the gods of Olympus in order to assert their Logos as the exemplary and normative one, while the gods insist on the triumph of the diurne. Therefore, the nature of any mythical figure or account depends on from what sector of the noetic cosmos we view such, and to which army we ourselves belong. And it is this belonging to an order of one or another divine leader that Plato lays out in his Phaedrus, where Socrates explains to Phaedrus that in the person we love, we see the figure of the divine leader which our soul follows in its heavenly hypostasis. In the one we love, we love God and at the same time, in God, our higher “I.”

It would be highly naive to suppose that all people choose the camp of the gods, the Logos of Apollo and the solar regime of the heroic diurne. If this was the case, the Earth would be Heaven. Some tend towards the chthonic forces of the Earth, in solidarity with the worlds of the Great Mother. Some intuitively or consciously see themselves as warriors of the army of Dionysus. As follows, we have the right to expect from such different treatments of myths, philosophical notions, and corresponding figures of Love between the three human types.

The Geometry of the Logoi

Let us imagine this picture as a whole in a diagram.

This mythological snapshot of the world can be interpreted in the most diverse ways. From a synchronic point of view, it is a map of three simultaneous regions of the world, each corresponding to the model of one of the three fundamental zones and three modes of the imagination. In this case, the Three Logoi represent three primordial positions of viewing the map of the Universe: from above (by Apollo and Olympus), from below (by Gaia, Cybele, and Tartarus), and from an intermediate position (that of Dionysus, Demeter, and humanity).

At the same time, it can be said that the basic figure of the Universe will change depending on the arrangement of this or that “observatory point.” The Logos of Apollo believes itself to be the center, the foundation, the top of the triangle or the peak of Mount Olympus (Parnassus). The view from here is a view looking down upon the base of the triangle. The descending vertical of the solar Logos sets at the opposite end of itself its opposition – the flat, horizontal Earth. Hence the Delphic formula “thou art” and “Know thyself”.  The “I” is the “I” of Apollo, the peak of Olympus. And just as is the case with the path from the “I” to the “not-I”, so should the path from the “not-I” (the earthly surface, the horizontal, and expanse) to the “I” be strictly vertical (the path of the hero up Olympus). The highest point in this logological and mythological geometry is deliberately given: all the rest is positioned as away from itself, and the solar rays it emits fall to rest upon the plane of Earth. In this picture, the Earth is necessarily flat, as it is seen from the peak of the world mountain.

The intermediary world of Dionysus is structured differently. Its height rises up to the heavens and its depth reaches down to the center of hell. Dionysus’ center is in himself, while the above and below are the limits of his divine path – formed not by themselves, but over the course of the dramatic mysteries of his tragic, sacrificial death and victorious resurrection. The Logos of Dionysus is dynamic; it embodies the abundance and tragedy of life. Dionysus’ universe differs radically from the Universe of Apollo, insofar as their different views yield different worlds. The Logos of Dionysus is a phenomenon, a mutable structure of his epiphany. It is far from chaos, but it is not the fixed order of Apollo. It is a kind of playful combination of both, a sacred flickering of meanings and minds constantly threatening to plunge into madness – a madness which is healed by the impulse towards the higher Mind. It is not the fixed triangle of the mountain, but the pulsating, living heart that composes the paradigmatic canvas of thinking.

The geometry of Cybele’s Universe is completely different. On the one hand, in her we can see the inverted image of the Universal Mountain turned upside down into a sort of cosmic funnel. The symmetry between hell and heaven was vividly described by Dante. The Ancient Greeks believed that there is a black sky in Tartarus with its own (suffocating) air, its own (fiery) rivers and (foul) land. Yet this symmetry should be not merely visual, but also ontological and noological. The world of the titans consists of the refusal of the order of the diurne. The horizontal thus acquires the dimension of a downwards vertical, a horizontal of the depths. Differences fuse while identities are split asunder. Light is black, and darkness blazes and burns. If in the world of Apollo there is only the eternal “now”, then Cybele’s world is reigned by time (Kronos – Chronos), where there is everything but the “now”, and instead only the “before” and “too late”, where the main moment is always missed. The torture of Tantalus, Sisyphus, and the Danaids reflects the essence of the temporality of hell: everything is repeated to no end. The inverted triangle, as applied to the worlds of Cybele, is most akin to an inverse “Apollonian hypothesis” – and thus indeed Apollo understands this opposite to himself. Mother Earth thinks otherwise: she has no straight lines, no clear orientations. Attempts to separate one from the other cause her unbearable pain. Her thinking is muffled, gloomy, and inconsistent. She cannot break away from the mass which de-figures and repeatedly dissolves all forms, decomposes them into atoms and recreates them again at random. This is how monsters are born.

Therefore, the three views of the universe from these three positions represent three conflicting worlds, and it is this conflict of interpretations which constitutes the essence of the war of the minds.

The Philosophical Season

Looking at this model in static terms, we can also propose a kinetic interpretation. It is easily noticeable that the three synchronic worlds of this model can be taken to represent the calendric cycle: the upper half (the kingdom of Apollo) corresponds to summer, the lower world of Cybele to winter, and the intermediary worlds of Dionysus to autumn and spring. The latter can be interpreted as the cardinal points of the drama of Dionysus, his sacrificial killing, dismemberment, resurrection, and awakening. The fixed positional zones of the tripartite cosmos thus come to life and motion. The changing of the seasons becomes a philosophical process of intense thinking, a manifestation of cosmic war, in which the Logoi attack their opponents’ positions. In winter, the earth strives to swallow light, to capture the sun, and to turn flowing waters into blocks of ice. In summer comes the celebration of order, fertility, creation, and life. The cycles of the Dionysian festivities mark the key moments in this drama: the withering and the new flourishing.

The Logoi thus enter into a dialectical confrontation, the spatial topography of which is embodied in a temporal sequence. Thus, the changing of seasons is revealed to be a process of philosophizing. The natural cycle is habitually considered to be the direct opposite of history, which consists of momentary, non-repeating events. The historial manifests itself where the cycle opens – this is the axiom of “axial time.” Therefore, the symbolism of the season is seen by “school philosophy” as the direct antithesis of philosophy as such. But this axiom is valid only and exclusively from the standpoint of the “contemporal point”, a view which is only possible if we recognize historicism as a dogmatic truth. By overturning this construct in the spirit of the revolution proposed by the Traditionalists, we can propose an alternative interpretive model: history can be seen as a great seasonal cycle with its own winters and springs, and as follows, its own intersections of the ontological territories of hell and heaven. There are epochs of Apollo, Dionysus, or the Great Mother which replace one another with a certain continuity, in each of which dominates one or another paradigm, one or another Logos, one or another “philosophical season.” The eras of Apollonian rule wield an orientation towards eternity and being, towards sacred tradition and the heroic architecture of life and consciousness. These are vertical epochs, in which the cosmic fire kindles itself (Heraclitus). There is no history in these eras, there is only the event – the epiphany of constant heavenly eternity.

The era of Dionysus balances between eternity and time. It celebrates sacred time in festivals, mysteries, initiations, and ecstatic rapture. This is open time – time from which one can step into eternity. But here there is already a notable dualism between periods of joy and periods of grief (the Triterica). Half of time passes amidst the “concealment” of god, his apophenia. God dies in order to be resurrected in the Great Dionysia. He is resurrected again and resides among people (epiphany), bestowing upon them the horror and dizziness of sacred being.

The epoch of Cybele knows neither Apollonian eternity nor the ecstatic enthusiasm of the dying and resurrecting god. It is monotone and solid. It contributes to all that is gigantic and super-dimensional in a material sense but which is deprived of flight and free movement. It is in precisely this era of winter that lasting, “dragging” time is born, that which is incapable of transcendence. Here begins the reign of temporality.

Applying this theory of the philosophy of seasons to the foundational historial of modern Western philosophy, we reach an interesting conclusion. Is this “Western culture”, built on the very principle of temporo-centrism, not a sign of precisely this titanic earthly cycle? If we take into account the materialism and heightened and clearly unhealthy fixation of modern people on things and atomic (and ever more microscopic) phenomenon, the reign of quantity over quality, earthly over heavenly, and mechanical over organic, the preponderance of individualist fragmentation, including the aesthetic norms of contemporary art, then the notion that we find ourselves under the rule of the Black Logos seems to be a wholly probable supposition.

In this case, philosophy is revealed to be not a radical rupture with nature and its repetitive cycles (as the evidencia of the contemporal moment suggests), but the common, fundamental, and ontological matrix of the seasons themselves. Nature and its universal laws are thus but one form of the manifestation of the Nous and its conflicting Logoi – alongside geometry, philosophy, mythology, religion, culture, and “history.” The Nous organizes everything – both the structures of eternity and the structures of time, both natural transformations and human thinking, the trajectories of the flights of the gods and the counter-attacks of the titans. Thus, the calendar and its symbolism can by all means offer a philosophical reading. If this is a correct reading, then calendric symbolism can serve as a hermeneutic key to the comprehension of history, as has been nobly substantiated by the Traditionalist school. Guénon, Evola, and other representatives of Traditionalism univocally identified our epoch as that of the “Kingdom of Night”, the Kali-Yuga, the final age which corresponds on the synchronic, ontological map of the states of being to hell and its population. Something similar with respect to the meaning of modernity is affirmed by virtually all sacred traditions and religions. As soon as one refrains from interpreting Tradition and religion from the standpoint of the “contemporal moment”, and instead strives to determine the “contemporal moment” from the position of Tradition and religion, then everything immediately falls into place, and the anomalousness of our epoch is revealed in all of its volume. We live in the center of winter, at the bottom point of the Untergang, of descent. In this situation, it is easy to guess which Logos dominates over us, what “deities” are ruling us, and which mythological creatures and religious figures are leading today on a global scale in Noomakhia, in the wars of the mind.

The Philosophy of the First Logos: Platonism

Now we are left with pursuing the parallels between philo-mythia and philo-sophia to their logical end and proposing a systematization of the types of philosophy in terms of the mythological and seasonal maps of their paradigmatic universes. The choice of temporal sectors is more than broad enough to render this possible. However, we ought to act conventionally and therefore take as our point of departure that period which Heidegger called the “First Beginning of Philosophy”, that of classical Greece. On the basis of the synchronism of our reconstruction of the Three Logoi, we should attempt to identify three philosophical schools which to one degree or another resonate with these three corresponding paradigms.

The philosophy of the diurne, of Apollonianism, and the heroic, light ascent is, without a doubt, to be found in Plato and Platonism. Here we have the highest form of this approach, the axiomatic formulas of the vividly expressed Light Logos. Plato’s philosophy is built on the Apollonian triangle, from top to bottom, and represents the most perfect model of the embodiment of diurnic thinking. Plato himself was associated with the figure of Apollo (as was the founder of Neoplatonism, Plotinus, several centuries later). Plato was born on the day of Apollo’s festival (May 21 / Targelion 7, 428 B.C.E.) and died on the very same day in 348 at a wedding feast.[7] To this Apollonian line should be also added the ontological philosophy of the Eleatics (Xenophanes of Colophon, Parmenides, and his student Zeno), as well as Pythagoras and his school.

The structure of Plato’s philosophy meets all the requirements of the Apollonian Logos. At the top of his theory is the One, surrounded by eternal ideas. This is the peak of the divine, celestial world, illuminated by timeless light. The highest principle is the Good, which exudes its abundance firstly upon the world of ideas (paradigms) and then, through the good Creator-Demiurge, on the created cosmos. Plato described all three of these world zones in his Timaeus, in particular distinguishing the realm of paradigms (the observatory point of the gods, the Father), the realm of models, or “copies” and “icons” (the Son), and the mysterious khora (χώρα), the space or country which Plato likened to the Nurse or Mother. In describing the khora (which was later identified by the Neoplatonists with the mother), Plato’s dialogue loses its crystal clarity, thus lending towards the strange assumption that this element can be comprehended only by means of a “special Logos”, which Plato called “bastard” or “illegitimate” (νόθος λόγος) [8]. The vision of the celestial god thus reaches the surface of the earth, the lower limits of the world of copies, but here is confronted with its limits, as it can no longer see anything amenable to clear Apollonian discernment. At the border of the day, the realm of night-dreaming flickers. Timaeus (Plato) restricts himself to only a few suggestions and postulates the khora (space) to be a flat intermediary, beyond which there is nothing, and which is impossible to understand, insofar as there is nothing to properly understand in it. This khora is the view of the back of the Great Mother, a limit unreachable by the Apollonian, where hell begins. Alexander the Great, the disciple of Plato’s disciple, Aristotle, repeated the same gesture when he erected at the Caspian Gates a copper wall which symbolically closed the gateway of the cosmos (=the ecumene) to the wild hordes of North Eurasia, e.g., Scythia, which in Greek sacred geography was considered to be under the control of the titans, hence the legend that the titan Prometheus was the king of the Scythians.

The Neoplatonists extracted all possible gnoseological, ontological, and theological consequences from Plato, thus crowning the nearly millennial existence of Plato’s Academy with a complete and unique monument to Olympic, divine, heavenly thought. In a certain sense, Platonism is eternal, and has continued in both Christian theology by Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, John of Damascus, Dionysius the Areopagite, Maximus the Confessor, Michael Psellos, John Italus, and Gemistus Plethon in the East, and by Boethius and John Scotus Eriugena in the West), as well as in the Renaissance and even amidst modern philosophy.

Aristotle: The Teacher of the “New Dionysus”

The second Logos, the philosophy of Dionysus, can be discerned in Orphism, in the teachings of the Greek mysteries (especially the Eleusinian), and manifests itself most fully in Aristotle. If hardly any doubts arise with respect to the Apollonian qualification of Plato’s philosophy, then the convergence between Aristotelianism and Dionysianism might seem, in the very least, strange and unwarranted. This is so only because Dionysus and Dionysianism are currently treated predominately through poetic, artistic, and aesthetic lenses or only with regards to the Bacchic orgies and ecstatic processes. If anything at all is established as corresponding to Dionysus, it is likely either the “philosophy of life”, biologism, or, in the worst cases, hylozoism. This means that we are not at all ready to take Dionysius seriously as a philosopher and we do not accord full consideration to his structural function in the philosophy of the world. The point is that Dionysus, on the philosophical map of the Three Logoi, belongs to the middle world below the higher paradigms, models, and ideas and above the dubious and difficult to ascertain (for the Apollonian Logos) worlds of the Great Mother. This means that Dionysus rules the world of phenomena. In this case, his philosophy should be a phenomenological philosophy. We are dealing with the notion of “phenomenon” as from φαίνω, whose root can be traced back to the meanings “light” and “reality.” The very same root is used to form aπόφασις (“concealment”), επιφάνια (“revelation”, “epiphany”), as well as λόγος αποφαντικός, which Aristotle employed to express the “declaratory expression”, the fundamental element of his logic. Dionysus is also closely associated with the cycles of “phenomena” and concealments, the rhythms of changes which compose the structure of religious life and, accordingly, the paradigm of sacred time of his adepts. But the main point is that Aristotle’s philosophy, which rethought Plato’s doctrine of ideas, discarded it, and began to construct its theories on the basis of none other than the “phenomenon” located on the border between form and matter, between μορφή and ύλη. On one side, the phenomenon rises up the divine vertical of the eidos (είδος), but unlike the Platonic idea, the eidos here is conceptualized as being closely linked to its material foundation and not outside of it. Thus, we are dealing with a genuinely “intermediary philosophy” situated strictly between the Logos of Apollo and the Logos of Cybele, one which unfolds in the zone now relinquished to the mythology (philo-mythia) of Dionysus, and which claims to have a completely autonomous structure capable of making judgements on what is higher and what is below it on the basis of its own criteria. Heidegger’s great interest in a deep, fresh reading of Aristotle was most likely inspired by precisely this clear consciousness of the fact that besides Aristotle the Logician, beyond the creator of the first ontology (metaphysics) as is customary to qualify him in the theories of the Western European historial, there is another Aristotle: Aristotle the Phenomenologist. This Aristotle tries to overcome something similar to the initiatives of Husserl and Heidegger with regrds to Plato – only not two and a half millennia after Plato, but immediately. We will attempt to illustrate this in greater detail in a separate chapter.

For now we can point out the close association between Aristotle and his royal student, Alexander the Great. According to the beliefs of devout Greeks, Alexander’s father was Zeus himself, who laid with his mother Olympia, a priestess of the cult of Dionysus, in the form of a snake (as with Persephone, the mother of Zagreus) during the Bacchic orgies, as a result of which Alexander was venerated as the “New Dionysus.” It cannot be ruled out that Alexander’s march to India was the product of his own personal faith in this astonishing tale. It is no less surprising that such an initiative – extremely difficult and dangerous in military terms – was ultimately crowned with unprecedented success, as Alexander the Great, the New Dionysus, indeed succeeded in establishing a colossal Empire which united East and West into a single cultural and civilizational space.

Another, somewhat later model of Dionysian philosophy can be discerned in the Hermetism of Late Antiquity, which represented its own kind of synthesis of fragments of Egyptian, Chaldean, Iranian, and Greek cultures with a whole number of ideas and models borrowed from Orphism and the arsenal of mysteries. Hermes, like Dionysus, was a god, but unlike many other gods was distinguished by an ontological mobility, polyformity, and the ability to rapidly and dynamically move throughout all levels of the world – from the heights of Olympus to the depths of Tartarus. The Greeks believed Hermes to be a psychopomp, the “driver of souls”, the one who drove the dead into hell and the heroes up Olympus. The philosophy that was angled around Hermes’ element was also distinct for its hybrid diversity, dynamism, and dialectical poly-semantism characteristic of the middle world. Hermetism can be seen as a shadow of Aristotelian logical phenomenology: here philo-mythia, paradigmatic qualities, the figures of the mystery cycle, and the mysterious metaphors of the planetary-mineral cycle are all employed more eagerly than the procedures of conscious reason which Aristotle and his followers would employ with such priority. The substantive difference in stylistics, however, should not hide from us the commonalities of the fundamental, paradigmatic approach of these two types of philosophizing: they belong to one and the same noological level, like two brigades of one and the same army, acting in solidarity over the course of Noomakhia. We can see this tendency towards synthesis on the part of the Hermetic spirit and Aristotelianism in the Stoa and later in the Middle Ages in Scholastic Aristotelianism (that of Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon, and Thomas Aquinas) and in the shadow duplicated by the alchemical treatises (whether correctly or not, nevertheless tellingly) attributed to the classics of rationalist scholasticism.

The Philosophy of the Castrates

What, then, will be the third philosophy corresponding to the Black Logos of Cybele? In the solar Platonic vision, we can obtain only an external, “celestial” view, which sees as its bottom the khora (Χώρα), the space of the subtle film of the chaotic movement of scattered particles not yet formed by the ordering demiurge. Χώρα comes from the same root as mythological “chaos”, χάος, meaning “yawning”, or literally “opening the jaws”, “freeing the empty space.” Instead of the voluminous “chaos” that creates the three-dimensionality of unordered void, Timaeus sees a film that resists comprehension by the classical Apollonian logos and whose comprehension demands falling into slumber, losing clarity and rigor, and degeneration.

Aristotle paid much more attention to “matter”, ύλη. The latter becomes a necessary component of being, without which, as without the “subject” (ὑποκείμενον), there can be no being (unlike Platonic ideas, which are that which is: το ὄν). Accordingly, matter acquires a certain positive ontological dimension that is fundamentally superior to its status in Platonism. The thing as phenomenon stands in the forefront of Aristotle’s system, and all of its traits are conceived as appendices to its actual presence, the essential role in which is played by matter. As follows, in the spirit of the Logos of Dionysus we have drawn substantially nearer to the zone of matter and the Mother. It is this particular, implicit materialism in Aristotle that was taken up by the Stoics who, combining this doctrine with those of the Pre-Socratics, constructed a developed model of rationalist materialism in which even the Logos is assigned the status of a material element. The early and late Stoa (with the exception of the middle, specifically Panaetius and Posidonius, who sought to combine Stoicism with Platonism, thereby departing from the main system of this philosophy) can be considered the borderline scenario of Aristotelian philosophy, in which the center of attention is shifted to matter as its lower limit. Yet still the form, the eidos, remains the fundamental pole of the phenomenon and, as follows, therefore cannot claim the role of being the philosophy of Cybele. Instead, the latter corresponds to a different philosophical tradition, one born in the Thracian city of Abdera and transmitted from Leucippus through Democritus to Epicurus and the Epicureans, up to the Roman philosopher Lucretius Carus. This constellation of thinkers stands closest of all to the structures of the Black Logos.

Democritus built his doctrines on the complete negation of the Apollonian vertical order, thus moving not from top to bottom (as the Platonists), but from bottom to top. Democritus’ philosophy was based on two notions: the minimally indivisible particle (the atom), and emptiness, or the “Great Void.” Such is the pillar of being underlying all phenomena formed out of the interplay of atoms moving chaotically according to the laws of isonomy, i.e., in any possible direction and in any possible combination. The blind rampage of sputtered particles turns into vortices which constitute organizational ensembles, but order itself, including the eidoi, figures, bodies, and processes, is shaped by the aleatoric laws of random combinations.

Thus, Democritus argued that the gods are essentially a hallucinatory cluster of atoms and, as such, are not eternal, but are capable of appearing in dreams to inform a sleeping person of minor events or simply to frighten them. There is no harmony or immanent logic in the world, everything is utterly meaningless. Seeing the world as an insignificant accident, Democritus laughed at anyone who treated being seriously and solemnly, thus earning himself the epithet “the laughing philosopher.” Here we can see the typical depiction of the birth of Gaia as a grimacing, worm-like monster imitative of the human consciousness of a condensed phantom (εἴδωλον). The inhabitants of Abder considered Democritus to be insane. Democritus spent all of his free time – and all of his time was free, as he was a parasite living off of his inheritance – at the cemetery or in city garbage dumps. In the spirit of his general system, Democritus did not believe in eternity, the soul, or immortality, but solely in accident and the Great Void of the dead and alienated Universe.

Here we can see a vivid example of the mystical nocturne, the shift of consciousness towards the opposite side, towards identification with the blind, unseen, or ghostly forces of matter, disorder, and chaos, i.e., the philosophy of Night. Plato was completely right to see in Democritus and his atomists existential enemies, the bearers of the chthonic, titanic element. It is telling that Plotinus directly compared the atomists to the castrated priests of the Great Mother (the Galli) and emphasized that the eunuch is the only truly sterile: while woman can serve as the habitat of the ripening of a fetus, the castrate embodies ultimate vanity and absolute impotence. 

Similar ideas were developed in Epicurus’ philosophy, which reduced all of reality to the sensual world and recognized the doctrine of atoms, thereby rejecting not only the being of Platonic ideas, but also the forms/eidoi of Aristotle. For Epicurus, who believed in many worlds, the gods are like perfect cohesions of atoms in complete isolation from people (between worlds) which have no influence on anything. Epicurus believed happiness to be complete indifference (ἀταραξία). Insofar as the gods are happy, they must be indifferent towards everything and, as follows, they do not participate in the life of the universe, nor the being of peoples, and therefore their presence, completely unmanifest, is essentially identical to their absence – hence the notion of deus otiosus, or the “lazy, idle god” attested in different religious and mythological systems. People are usually inclined to quickly forget such gods.

In this case, man’s soul is as mortal as his body. Epicurus believed in the evolution of species, postulating that material forces develop from the simplest forms towards the emergence of more organized beings. Moreover, Epicurus considered the goal of life to be pleasure. A full exposition of Epicurean views was presented in the poem of Lucretius Carus, who synthesized the philosophical aspects of the Black Logos with a number of chthonic myths concerned with the origins of people, the less perfect yields of the Earth which preceded them, and the forms which have not yet evolved within the span of the animal and plant world known to us.

In Democritus, Epicurus, and Lucretius Carus, we have a developed panorama of the philosophy of the Titans which shaped the Logos of the Great Mother and systematized its procedures and basic concepts. This is the intellectual headquarters of the Titanomachy active on the philosophical, religious, and cultural levels. This is one of the three main poles of the war of the minds, the Noomakhia. In this army of thinkers of the mystical nocturne, we can also see that this is not even what Gaia herself thinks, but rather the products of her parthenogenetic self-fertilization, products of her creation, mobilized into her army, generated by privation, poverty, and deficiency, i.e., the basic qualities of the material element.

The Neoplatonists saw the castrate philosophy of materialism to be a gross violation of healthy sense and related its main principles to the final four hypotheses of Plato’s Parmenides pertaining to the denial of the existence of the One. Thus, we are dealing here with a philosophy of the universe which, from an Apollonian point of view, simply cannot exist – cannot and should not.

The Relevance of the Three Philosophies

Having examined the vertical, synchronic view of the philosophical schools of classical Greece, we have divided such into three types and poles corresponding to the Three Logoi. The main figures of these three headquarters of Noomakhia are represented by Plato (and the Platonists), Aristotle, and Democritus (and Epicurus).

Platonists stand for the verticle when it exists, and they struggle for its restoration when it has been shaken. Their philosophy can change its superstructure depending on the state of the world in which the Platonist finds himself, and depending on the nature of the philosophical season. If Apollo, Zeus, and the Olympian gods hold firmly to power over the city, the people, the country, and the civilization, then Platonists act as conservatives. If Platonists are put in the context of the shifty, flickering, dramatic Logos of Dionysus or Hermes, they will be inclined towards restoration, towards raising Dionysus and preventing him from descending again. Finally, under the reality of hell, under the control of the Black Logos of the Great Mother, Platonists will fulfill the role of radical revolutionaries, philosophical extremists who challenge the suggestive magic of material lies.

Aristotelians, meanwhile, can theoretically harmoniously exist in idealist systems or accept certain positions of materialism. The Stoa demonstrates to us the limits of what is achievable.

Finally, the sensualist atomists will play the role of revolutionary nihilists in a Platonic order, and they will gravitate towards materialist interpretations of intermediary “Dionysian” systems (emphasizing the similarities between Dionysus and Hades in Heraclitus in accordance with the logic of “he went down to hell and staid there”). In the zone of chthonic culture, on the contrary, they will find themselves with the status of apologists, defenders, and guardians of the order of things.

The general system of the culture of classical Greece was built on the implicit recognition of the Olympian element and, accordingly, Apollonian philosophy (including Platonism, the Eleatics, the Pythagoreans, etc.). However, even then this trend, beyond its conservative features, bore restorationist and even partially revolutionary elements, such as in the political ideas of the Pythagorean union or the reforms which Plato proposed to the tyrant of Syracuse, Dionysus (as well as his son). To a considerable extent, they represented vanguard revolutionary projects aimed at returning full power to the solar gods who had somewhat drifted towards more mundane and less perfect powers.

After Aristotle, philosophy came to be dominated by the Stoics with their phenomenological approach and significant share of materiality (insofar as matter was considered to be the vital substance of “pneuma” and even the Logos itself). The Stoics were the first to clearly articulate the philosophy of the Empire of Alexander and then of Rome. Although atomism and Epicureanism were never dominant tendencies in classical Greece, they developed freely and drew a significant number of nocturnal minds in search of pleasure to the “philosophy of the garden.” 

The Middle Ages saw Aristotelianism prevail, with both Platonism and materialism, sensualism, and atomism displaced to the periphery. In this sense, the debate on universals in Catholic Scholasticism reflected the essential sense of the Medieval balance of forces of Noomakhia: Aristotelian Thomism/Realism prevailed over the Idealism/Platonism of Scotus Erigena on the one hand and the Nominalism/Materialism of the Franciscans (Johannes Roscelin and William of Ockham) on the other.

Modernity was distinguished by the gradual rise of the Logos of Cybele. Galileo and Gassendi revived atomism, and nominalism became the basis of the scientific method. Materialism thus gradually became the criterion of scienticity. Eternity was rejected and replaced by the absolutization of time, historicism and, finally, the idea of progress. As in Epicurus’ philosophy, god first becomes “idle” (Deism) and “logical” (the “god of the philosophers”), and then yields to pure atheism (Nietzsche’s “God is dead”). The human soul is thought to be mortal and then comes to be regarded as the “psyche”, that is the sublimated continuation of the physical organism. The doctrine of the atomic structure of matter came to be laid at the foundation of the physical map of the world of Modernity, and the opening of this vacuum brings us back to the Great Void of Democritus. Space becomes isotropic and Democritus’ principle of isonymy thereby becomes dogma.

Modernity, thus, is the onset of the philosophical winter, marked by the domination of the Great Mother of Matter. The Titans storm the abode of the gods. Night triumphs over day. The mystical nocturne subjugates the ranks of the heroic diurne. Thus arises the era of the masses, of gravity (Isaac Newton’s universal gravitation) and – in René Guénon words – the “reign of quantity.” In the context of Noomakhia, this is the shift of the center of attention from the paradisal mountain to hell’s funnel, from the peak and the top to the bottom of the cosmic well. In such a situation, Platonism and its echoes, i.e., the remnants of the army of the gods, the partisans of Olympus, go underground, into the realm of peripheral mysticism, of “secret societies”, “Conservative Revolutionaries”, and “conspirators conspiring to restore the Golden Age.” In the 20th century, their programmatic manifesto was articulated in René Guénon’s books, first and foremost The Crisis of the Modern World and The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times (as well as other of Guénon’s works) [9], and Julius Evola’s Revolt Against the Modern World, The Mystery of the Grail, and Ride the Tiger (as well as the rest of Evola’s oeuvre) [10].

We find the Dionysian Logos in Modernity in Hermeticism and European Romanticism, such as in Schelling’s Dionysiology or Hölderlin’s Christian Dionysianism, as well as in the many mystical circles and secret organizations which became closely interconnected in the circumstances of existence within a common underground in the face of the domination of a common enemy – the Titans. In the 20th century, this was most clearly manifested in such a phenomenon as “soft Traditionalism” (Mark Sedgwick’s term), which seeks not so much to oppose as to reconcile earthly reality with the heavenly Logos. A paradigmatic prototype of this approach can be said to be represented by the group of thinkers associated in one way or another with the Eranos seminars formed around Carl Jung, Mircea Eliade, Louis Massignon, Henry Corbin, Gershom Scholem, T. Suzuki, Karl Kerényi, and later Gilbert Durand and others. Russian religious philosophy, and primarily Sophiology, belongs to this type. In European philosophy, this current includes phenomenology, and especially Martin Heidegger. Nietzsche’s call to appeal to the figure of Dionysus was thus heard by representatives of different currents in philosophy.

Under the dictatorship of the Titans, the Logos of Apollo and the more flexible and subtle Logos of Dionysus (the Dark Logos) find themselves in a subordinate position. The main blows are dealt to direct opponents, such as Platonists, but also to representatives of the Dionysian element which, having a natural share in the Divine, are also subjected to the aggression of the sons of Earth. After all, Dionysus-Zagreus was dismembered by the Titans, and they continue to tear him apart to this day.

The synchronism and cyclical diachronism of this noological map and calendar thus allow us to discern Tradition and Modernity both as coexisting spatial zones of ontology and as successive, agonal types of domination of one or another paradigm. In the Noomachy, there are starting positions, base areas, and theaters of military operations where control over one or another height changes hands over the course of dramatic and dynamic battles. Insofar as, according to Plato, “time is the image of eternity”, time consists of both eternity’s likeness and its unlikeness. The latter consists of the diachronicity of the order of the unfolding of the philosophical seasons, of the concrete dynamics of military operations, and of the shifts in the episodes of Titanomachy (as well as the Gigantomachy and, more generally, the Noomachy). Eternity’s likeness is at its maximum at the height of Olympus, where time merges with eternity, and is at its minimal at the Great Midnight, where there is only time. This point of the Great Midnight is the culmination of Noomakhia, the moment of the Endkampf, Ragnarök, the final battle, the place and time of the Decision (Entscheidung). It is here, in the zone furthest removed from the kingdom of Zeus, in the period of the abandonment by Being (Seinsverlassenheit), during the Night of the Gods (Gottesnacht), when the gods have fled (der Flucht der Götter) and when Olympus, according to the final Oracle, has fallen, that the final mystery of Dionysus is revealed – the mystery of the only god capable of penetrating to the very bottom of hell. Heidegger spoke of the Untergehende, the one who descends into hell without being hell himself, who enters into time and is torn by it but remains, in essence, a drop of eternity. This is the heart of Dionysus saved by Athena – it is all that is left in the wake of the successful realization of the diabolical plan of the Titans.

Time prevails over eternity completely, purging it, becoming only its unlikeness, its simulacrum, a copy without an original – but only for a moment. It ceases to last once it loses its resemblance to eternity whose image it is. Of course, time denies this and tries to portray its privative being as self-sufficient. Such is the essence of the uprising of the Earth and its monsters against the dwellers of the Sky, of Heaven. The semantics of the End Times and the battle for the End Times, i.e., the battle for the “end of time”, is constituted by this proportion between autonomy and dependency.

And here it is time to remember Dionysus’ name: “The Midnight Sun.” Such is a paradox, for Night is Night because there is no sun. But where is the sun at night? Where are warmth and life during the season of philosophical winter? Where is the sky when Earth wins? Where do the gods flee? This is the question of Dionysus, his concealment, his epiphany, his essence, and his heart. This is the main question of Noomakhia.

***

Footnotes:

[1] Alexander Dugin, In Search of the Dark Logos: Philosophico-Theological Outlines (Moscow: Akademicheskii Proekt, 2012).

[2] Gilbert Durand, Les Structures anthropologiques de l’imaginaire (Paris: Borda, 1969).

[3] Alexander Dugin, Sotsiologiia voobrazheniia. Vvedenie v strukturnuyu sotsiologiiu (Moscow: Akademicheskii Proekt, 2010).

[4] Alexander Dugin, “Noch’ i ee luchi”, in Radikalnyi Sub’ekt i ego dubl’ (Moscow: Eurasian Movement, 2009).

[5] Plato, The Dialogues of Plato. Translated by B. Jowett (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1892). Russian edition: Platon, “Sofist” in Fedon, Pir, Fedr, Parmenid (Moscow: Mysl’, 1999).

[6] Vicente Ferreira Da Silva, Transcendencia do mundo (Sao Paulo: E Realizacoes, 2010).

[7] According to legend, Plato’s tomb in the Academy bore the inscription: “Apollo begat two sons, Asclepius and Plato, the one to save the body and the other the soul.”

[8] See: Alexander Dugin, Martin Heidegger: Vozmozhnost’ russkoi filosofii (Moscow: Academic Project, 2011).

[9] See: René Guénon, The Crisis of the Modern World; Ibidem, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times

[10] See: Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World; Ibidem, The Mystery of the Grail; Ibidem, Ride the Tiger.

 

Petr Savitsky – “Eurasianism” (1925)

Author: Petr Savitsky

Translator: Jafe Arnold

First published in the journal Evraziiskii vremennik [The Eurasian Chronicle] in 1925, abridged version re-published in and translated from: Alexander Dugin (ed.) et al., Osnovy Evraziistva [The Foundations of Eurasianism] (Moscow: Arktogeia, 2002). 

***

I.

The Eurasianists are representatives of a new element in thinking and life; they are a group of figures actively working to radically transform hitherto predominant worldviews and life-systems, and to do so on the basis of a new approach to the root questions that define life, an approach which has arisen out of everything that has been endured over the past decade. At the same time, the Eurasianists have proposed a new geographical and historical understanding of Russia, as well as that whole world which they call Russian or “Eurasian.”

The Eurasianists’ name is of geographical provenance. The point is that they, the Eurasianists, have – where previous geography has counted two continents, “Europe” and “Asia” – discerned a third, middle continent on the mainland of the Old World, that of “Eurasia”, from which they derive their name…

In the opinion of the Eurasianists, the notion of “Europe” as a totality of Western and Eastern Europe is, in a purely geographical sense, inane and farcical. In the West, in terms of geographical outlines, one finds the richest development of coasts, the thinning of the continent into a peninsula, an island; whereas in the East there is a solid, continental mass whose only disconnect is to be found towards the sea coasts. Orographically, the West is constituted by a most complex arrangement of mountains, hills, and lowlands; whereas the East is home to the enormous plains whose outskirts alone are edged by mountains. Climatically, the West is of a seaside climate with a relatively small difference between winter and summer. In the East, this difference is sharply pronounced with hot summers, harsh winters, and so on and so forth. It could be rightfully said that the Eastern European, or as the Eurasianists call it, the “White Sea-Caucasian” plain is in its geographical nature much closer to the West-Siberian and Turkestan plains lying to the East than it is to Western Europe. These three plains, together with the elevations separating them from one another (the Ural Mountains and the so-called “Aralo-Irtysh” watershed) and bordering them from the East, South-East, and South (the mountains of the Russian Far East, Eastern Siberia, Central Asia, Persia, the Caucasus, Asia Minor), represent a special world, one which is united in and of itself and geographically distinct from the countries lying both to the West, East, and South of it. If you apply the name “Europe” to the first and the name “Asia” to the second, then the world just named, as the middling and mediating world, will bear the name “Eurasia.”

The necessity of distinguishing on the mainland mass of the Old World not two, as hitherto done, but three continents is not some mere “discovery” by the Eurasianists. Rather, this discernment also arose out of views previously expressed by geographers, especially Russians (for example, Prof. V.I. Lamansky in his work of 1892). The Eurasianists sharpened this formula and once again gave to this “seen” continent the name that was once attached to the whole landmass of the Old World, to both old “Europe” and “Asia” in their totality.

Russia occupies the main space of the land of Eurasia. The conclusion that Russia’s lands are not split by two continents, but rather together constitute a certain third, independent continent, is not only of geographical significance. Insofar as we also ascribe to the notions of “Europe” and “Asia” some kind of culturo-historical content, and as we think of “European” and “Asian” or “Asiatic” cultural circles as something concrete, then the designation of “Eurasia” also acquires the meaning of a compressed culturo-historical character.[1] This designation indicates that Russia’s cultural being, in its internally comparable proportions, has come to include elements from the most diverse variety of cultures. The alternating influences of the South, the East, and the West, have consistently prevailed in the world of Russian culture. The South manifested itself in these processes mainly in the paradigm of Byzantine culture, whose influence on Russia was long and fundamental. The special intensity of this influence can be seen in the era from approximately the 10th to the 13th centuries AD. The East, in turn, acted mainly in the form of “steppic” civilization, which is conventionally considered to be characteristically “Asian” (“Asiatic” in the above sense). The example of Mongol-Tatar statehood (Genghis Khan and his successors), which managed to master and govern an enormous portion of the Old World for a definite historical period, undoubtedly played a positive role in the creation of Great Russian statehood. The lifestyle of the steppes of the East also exerted broad influence on Russia. This influence was particularly strong from the 13th to the 15th centuries. Starting with the end of the latter century, the influence of European culture prospered and reached its height by the 18th century. Among the categories which, while not always precise, nevertheless highlight the real essence of the division of the Old World’s cultures into “European” and “Asiatic-Asian”, Russian culture belongs to neither one nor the other. Russian culture combines elements of both and converges them towards a certain unity. Therefore, from the point of view of specifying distinctions between cultures, the qualification that Russian culture is “Eurasian” expresses the essence of the phenomenon more than any other…Of all the cultures of the past, two of the greatest and most versatile cultures known to us were genuinely “Eurasian”: (1) Hellenistic culture, which combined elements of the Hellenic “West” and ancient “East”, and its continuation, (2) Byzantine culture in the broader Eastern Mediterranean cultural world of late antiquity and the middle ages (these prosperous realms both lie exactly South of the main historical core of the Russian regions). The historical connection between Russian and Byzantine culture is highly noteworthy. The third great “Eurasian” culture was to a certain extent born out of the historical succession of the two preceding ones.

The “Eurasian”, Russian cultural environment, in terms of the geographical, spatial terms of its existence, received its grounds from and, as it were, strengthened the skeleton of historical culture from another “Eurasian culture.” With the subsequent, successive superposition of Asiatic-Asian (the influence of the East) and European (the influence of the West) layers on Russian soil, this quality of Russian culture was strengthened and affirmed.

By defining Russian culture as “Eurasian”, the Eurasianists act as the conscious bearers of Russian cultural identity. On this matter, they boast even more precedents and predecessors beyond purely geographical definitions. All those thinkers of a Slavophile orientation, including Gogol and Dostoevsky (as philosophers and authors), ought to be recognized as such. The Eurasianists, in the chain of ideas, are the heirs to the powerful tradition of Russian philosophical and historiosophical thinking. This tradition most immediately traces back to the ‘30s’ and ‘40s of the 19th century, when the Slavophiles began their activities.[2] In a broader sense, a number of works of Old Russian literature, the oldest of which date back to the 15th and 16th centuries, should be counted as part of this tradition as well.

When the fall of Tsargrad [Constantinople] in 1453 sharpened Russians’ consciousness of their role as the defenders of Orthodoxy and the heirs to Byzantine cultural succession, Russia gave birth to ideas which, in a certain sense, can be considered the precedents for later Slavophile and Eurasianist ideas. Such “pioneers” of Eurasianism as Gogol or Dostoyevsky, as well as other Slavophiles and associated thinkers like Khomiakov, Leontyev, and others, surpass the contemporary “Eurasianists” in terms of the sheer scale of their historical figures. But this does not annul the condition that they and the Eurasianists share the same thoughts on a number of questions, and that the Eurasianists’ formulation of these thoughts has been more accurate than their predecessors. Insofar as the Slavophiles relied on “Slavdom” as the element that defines the culturo-historical uniqueness of Russia, they took up positions which are difficult to defend. Without a doubt, there is a culturo-historical and, above all, linguistic connection between Slavic peoples. But as an element of cultural uniqueness, the notion of Slavdom, in its empirical content as it has developed up to the present time, has little to offer.

The creative revelation of the cultural identity of the Bulgarians and Serbo-Croat-Slovenians belongs to the future. In a cultural sense, the Poles and Czechs belong to the Western “European” world and represent one of the latter’s cultural regions. Russia’s historical uniqueness clearly cannot be defined as exclusively, or even predominantly, belonging to the “Slavic” world. Intuiting this, the Slavophiles appealed in thought to Byzantium. But while emphasizing the importance of Russia’s ties with Byzantium, Slavophilia did not and could not offer a formula that fully and proportionately expresses the character of the Russian culturo-historical tradition and which captures the “oneness of nature” of Russia and its Byzantine cultural continuity. “Eurasianism” expresses both to a certain extent. The formula “Eurasianism” takes into account the impossibility of explaining and defining the past, present, and future cultural uniqueness of Russia in terms of any preferential appeal to the notion of “Slavdom”; it also points to the source of this uniqueness in Russian culture’s combination of “European” and “Asiatic-Asian” elements. Since this formula affirms the presence of the latter in Russian culture, it establishes the connection between Russian culture and the broader creative world of “Asiatic-Asian” cultures in their historic role, and this connection is exhibited as one of the strong sides of Russian culture, and it compares Russia with Byzantium, which in this very sense also wielded a “Eurasian” culture…[3]

II.

Such, in brief, is the place of the Eurasianists as conscious expounders of Russia’s culturo-historical uniqueness. But the Eurasianists’ doctrine is not limited to this recognition. Rather, with this recognition they substantiate a common concept of culture and derive from this concept concrete conclusions for interpreting what is happening in the present. First we shall present this concept, and then move on to conclusions concerning the present time. In both cases, the Eurasianists feel themselves to be the successors of the ideological cause of the above-named Russian thinkers (the Slavophiles and adjacent thinkers).

Independently of the views expressed in Germany (by Spengler), but approximately simultaneously with the appearance of the latter, the Eurasianists put forth the thesis of denying the “absoluteness” of modern “European” (i.e., in common terminology, Western European) culture, of denying the claim that the latter’s qualities constitute the “perfection” of the whole hitherto process of the cultural evolution of the world. Until altogether recently, the affirmation of such “absoluteness” and such a quality of “European” culture was firmly insisted upon, and today persists in the brain of “Europeans”; moreover, this assertion has been blindly accepted in the form of a faith by the higher circles of “Europeanizing” societies and peoples, particularly by the greater part of the Russian intelligentsia. The Eurasianists have challenged this situation with the recognition that many of the achievements and structures of “European” consciousness, especially those of an ideological and moral nature, are relative. The Eurasianists have noted how the European has time and again called “savage” and “backwards” everything which can by no means be objectively seen as standing below its own achievements, and everything which is simply not similar to the European’s own manner of seeing and acting. Even if it were possible to objectively show the superiority of the latest science and technology in some fields over all the other achievements of this type accomplished over the course of observable world history, it is still essentially impossible to offer any such proof when it comes to matters of ideology and morality. In light of the internal sense of morality and freedom of philosophical conviction which, for the “Eurasian” concept, are the only criteria for evaluating the ideological and moral fields, the much younger and more modern Western European turns out to be not only not superior but, on the contrary, inferior in comparison with the corresponding achievements of various “ancient”, “savage”, and “backwards” peoples. [4] The Eurasianist concept signifies a decisive rejection of culturo-historical “Eurocentrism”, and this rejection stems not from some emotional worries, but from certain scientific and philosophical preconditions…One of the latter is the rejection of the universalist perception of culture which reigns among modern “European” notions. This universalist view encourages Europeans to indiscriminately qualify certain peoples as “cultured” and others as “un-cultured.” It bears recognition that in the cultural evolution of the world we encounter “cultural environments” and “cultures”, some of which have achieved a great deal, while other less. Yet determining precisely what a given cultural environment has achieved is only possible upon distinguishing between branches of culture.

A cultural environment which is low in some sectors of culture might time and again prove to be higher in others. There can be no doubt that the ancient inhabitants of Easter Island in the Great [Pacific] Ocean “lagged behind” the modern English in very many branches of empirical knowledge and technology, but this did not prevent their culture from manifesting a measure of originality and creativity against which the sculpturing of modern England can lay no claims. Similarly, Muscovite Rus of the 16th-17th centuries was behind Western Europe in many industries, but this did not hinder it from creating a “self-initiating” epoch of artistic creativity, from developing its own unique and remarkable types of “towered” and “patterned” churches which cannot but force one to admit that, in terms of artistic creation, Muscovite Rus stood above the majority of Western European countries of its time. The same is the case in other eras of the existence of this very same “cultural environment.” Muscovite Rus of the 16th-17th centuries gave birth, as previously said, to a “self-initiating” era of church building, but its developments in iconography marked a clear decline in comparison to the achievements of Novgorod and Suzdal in the 14th and 15th centuries. We have cited such examples from the sphere of fine arts as the most visual. But also in the case of knowledge of an external nature, if we distinguish between the fields of “theoretical knowledge” and “living vision”, then it would turn out that the “cultural environment” of modern Europe, while attaining success in the field of “theoretical knowledge” has, in comparison with many other cultures, seen decline in the field of “living vision.” The “savage” and “black man” perceives a number of natural phenomena more subtly and precisely than the most learned modern “naturalist.” Examples of this could be multiplied to infinity; let us say further that the whole sum of “facts of culture” is but one continuous example of the fact that only upon examining culture with a view to deconstructing and differentiating between fields can we arrive at any complete knowledge of its evolution and character. This examination can be accomplished with three basic concepts: “cultural environment”, the “eras” of the latter’s existence, and “cultural fields.” Any analysis is duly confined to a certain “cultural environment” and a certain “era.” Where we draw the borders of these depends on the point of view and purpose of study. The character and degree of division of “culture” into “fields” depends on these factors. It is important to emphasize the fundamental necessity of division, as it eliminates the uncritical examination of a culture as an undifferentiated totality…A differentiated consideration of culture shows that there are no indiscriminate “cultured” and “un-cultured” peoples, and that the most diverse peoples whom “Europeans” call “savages” by all means wield “culture” in their customs, traditions, and knowledge and in some fields and from some points of view stand high.

III.

The Eurasianists are drawn to those thinkers who deny the existence of any universal “progress” which is, at any rate, determined by the above-presented concept of “culture.” If the evolutionary line moves differently in different fields, then this means that there is not and cannot be any common upward movement, any gradual, steady, common “perfection”, insofar as one or another cultural environment, or a whole number of cultural environments, while “improving” from one or another point of view, might often be declining in another. This postulate is applicable to the ‘European’ cultural environment in particular: its scientific and technological “perfection” has been bought, from the point of view of the Eurasianists, at the price of ideological and most of all religious impoverishment. This dual nature of its achievements is clearly expressed in its approach to the economy. For many long centuries in the history of the Old World, there existed a certain common relationship between the ideological-moral-religious element on the one hand and the economic on the other. More precisely, there existed a certain ideological subordination of the economy, and it is precisely this permeation of the whole approach to economic matters by the religio-moral element that allowed historians of economic doctrines (for example, the old 19th century German-Hungarian historian Kautz, whose works retain a certain significance to this day) to unite into one group, in terms of their approaches to economic matters, such diversely ranging landmarks as the literature of China, the Iranian laws of the Vendidad, Mosaic law, and the works of Plato, Xenophon, Aristotle, and Western medieval theologians. The economic philosophy of these milestones is, in a definite sense, a philosophy of “subordinated economy.” These doctrines emphasize, as something necessary and due, the link between the satisfaction of our economic needs and the common elements of morality and religion. The economic philosophy of the European “new ages” is the opposite of this view. Although not always in direct words, but often enough in the foundations of its worldview, the new European economic philosophy asserts the circle of economic phenomena to be something self-sufficient, a value in itself which encompasses and manifestly exhausts all the ends of human existence…It would be a sign of spiritual blindness to deny the enormity of those purely cognitive achievements and successes in understanding and envisioning the economic phenomena which the new political economy has realized and amassed. But in acting as an empirical science, and being to a certain and large extent none other than such, the new political economy, in a number of its postulates, imposes itself upon minds and eras as a metaphysics…Similar to how the economic ideas of ancient legislators, philosophers, and theologians were associated with certain metaphysical views,  so are the economic ideas of modern economists tied to such values. If the metaphysics of the former was the philosophy of “subordinated economics”, then the metaphysics of the latter is the philosophy of “militant economism.” The latter is, in a certain sense, an ideological price which the new Europe has paid for the quantitatively enormous economic rise that it has experienced in the modern age, especially over the past century. There is something instructive to be found in this picture: at the end of the Middle Ages and in the early modern centuries, the ancient wisdom of the primordial moral covenant which restrained man’s selfish instincts with words of exhortations and denunciations – in a word,  the philosophy of “subordinated economics” – collapsed under the pressure of the new ideas of modern times which presumptuously asserted the theories and practices of “militant economism.” [5] Historical materialism is the most complete and acute expression of the latter.

Thus, the link between the philosophy of “subordinated economics” on the one hand, and “militant economism” on the other, in terms of a certain approach to matters of religion is observable in empirical ideological reality. If the philosophy of “subordinated economics” is and has always been an appendage to one or another theistic worldview, then historical materialism is ideologically tied to atheism. Hence the atheistic essence concealed within historical materialism which, like the wolf of a fairy tale, conceals itself from time to time with the mask of the sheep’s clothing – that of empirical science. In Russia, the atheistic worldview has accomplished an historic triumph, as state power is in the hands of atheists and has become an instrument of atheistic preaching. Without going into the question of the “historical responsibility” for what is happening in Russia, but while also not wishing to annul anyone’s responsibility, the Eurasianists understand that the essence which has been received and subsequently introduced into life by Russia – by virtue of the receptivity and excitement of its spiritual being – is, in its source, in its spiritual origin, not the Russian essence. The Communist sabbat has dawned in Russia as a perfection of more than two centuries of “Europeanization.” Recognizing that the spiritual essence of the Communism of the ruling state in Russia is, in a special way, the reflected ideological essence of European modernity (the “new ages”) is a postulation which is empirically grounded to a high degree. Here one should also consider the origins of Russian atheism in the ideas of the European “Enlightenment”, the introduction of socialist ideas into Russia from the West, the link between Russian Communist “methods” and the ideas of the French Syndicalists, as well as the significance and “cult” of Marx in Communist Russia. In seeing the ideological essence of the European “new ages” in such a way, taken to its logical conclusion, the Russians who have not accepted Communism and, at the same time, have not lost their abilities to think consistently, understand that they cannot return to the foundations of modern “European” ideology. The experience of the Communist revolution implies for the Eurasianists’ consciousness a kind of truth, both old and new. Healthy social housing can only be built on an inseparable connection between man and God, man and religion. Non-religious housing and a non-religious state must be rejected. This rejection harbors no preconceived claims regarding specific constitutional-legal forms. Such a form, in the Eurasianists’ view, could exist harmlessly under certain conditions, such as in the “separation of Church and state.” But in essence, it is yet highly significant that what is perhaps the first government in world history to be consistently atheist and which has turned the profession of atheism into the official confession of the Communist government, has turned out to be, as in the prophetic words of the most profound Russian philosopher of the late 19th century, Leontiev, “organized flour” – that is to it say it has become a system of shocking and destroying the “common blessing” or “common good” (supposedly in whose name the Communist authorities have installed themselves), of such abuse of the human personality that all images fade and all words are powerless in describing the terrible, unprecedented, blasphemous atrociousness of this reality. We shall repeat: the circumstance that the domination of the first consistently atheistic government has turned out to be the domination of all that is beast-like is not a coincidence. Historical materialism and its complementing atheism unveil and unleash all those primordial, creatural instincts, including those primordially economic ones which, in the final analysis, amount to extortion. The main determining force of social being under the conditions of the ideological reign of materialism and atheism is hate, and its worthy fruit is the torment of all which, sooner or later, cannot but lead to the final fruit: the torment of the tormentors.

Russia has seen through the triumph of historical materialism and atheism, but the laws which have manifested themselves over the course of its revolution far from concern Russia alone. The cult of primordial economic interest and  animalistic primordiality has, by virtue of abundant germination, sprouted in the consciousness of peoples beyond Russia. Yet this cult cannot form the basis for long and prosperous community outside of Russia. The destructive forces that have accumulated under these conditions will sooner or later exhaust the forces of social creation. This problem must be beheld in all its depth and breadth. The pressure of materialist and atheist views must be opposed with an ideological essence whose content must be  precious and voluminous. There can be no hesitation.

With hitherto unprecedented directness and uncompromising determination, and on the broadest possible front – everywhere – it is necessary to initiate and lead a struggle against all that is to even the slightest degree related to materialism and atheism. The evil must be traced back to its roots, it is necessary to literally eradicate it. It would be superficial and impotent to attempt to combat only the most acute manifestations of historical materialism and atheism and one communism. The problem is posed much deeper and more substantially. We must declare war on “militant economism” wherever it manifests itself. In the name of a religious worldview, we must gather forces to fight with passionate feeling, clear thoughts, and full understanding against the specific spirit of the new Europe.

Insofar as the latter has reached its historical and ideological limits, at which it finds itself presently, it can be said with great certainty that at some point in the future one of the two following scenarios will happen: either the cultural environment of the new Europe will perish and dissipate like smoke in torturous, tragic shock, or the “critical epoch”, as the Simonists term it, which began in Western Europe with the end of the Middle Ages, will come to its end and be replaced by an “organic epoch”, an “epoch of faith.”

Ancient wisdom cannot be flouted with impunity beyond well known limits for sake of the fact that it is truth. It is not on the basis of erecting a higher principle out of primordial, selfish human instincts as taught by the philosophy of “militant economism”, but on the basis of curbing and restraining these instincts with an enlightened religious pulse that the highest measure of the “common good” possible on earth can be achieved.

A society which succumbs to an exceptional concern with its earthly goods will sooner or later be deprived of them – such is the terrible lesson that is translucent in the experience of the Russian Revolution. The Eurasianists have attempted to fully and entirely understand and consciously grasp this experience, to derive all the lessons that stem from it, and to be fearless on this matter unlike those who, reeling in turmoil and timidity from the bestial image of Communism, cannot refuse themselves that which constitutes the basis or root of Communism – those who, holding the plow, look backwards; those who try to pour new wine into old furs; and those who, upon seeing the new truth of the abomination of Communism, are incapable of renouncing the old filth of “militant economism” in any and all of its forms…

Personal faith is insufficient. A faithful person must be part of the greater spiritual community. The Eurasianists are Orthodox. The Orthodox Church is that light that illuminates the path ahead of them. The Eurasianists call upon their countrymen to strive towards Her, towards Her Gifts, and towards Her Grace. The Eurasianists are not disconcerted by the terrible distemper that has been instigated by the atheists and theomachists that are rising in the Russian Orthodox Church. The Eurasianists believe that there is enough spiritual strength, and that struggle leads to enlightenment. The Orthodox Church is the realization of higher freedom. Its primordial element is that of conciliation, unlike that of the element of power which prevails in the breakaway Roman Church. It seems to the Eurasianists that in harsh worldly affairs one cannot do without harsh authority, but in spiritual and Church affairs, only graceful freedom and conciliation compose the essence of good leaders. “Europe”, meanwhile, in some of its parts, is destroying the effectiveness of government and is introducing tyrannical power into Church affairs.

The Orthodox Church has for many centuries only shined upon those peoples who have remained faithful to Her; she has shed light through the truths of her creed and the feats of heir ascetics. Perhaps new periods are dawning now, as the modern Orthodox Church, continuing the line of succession of the Ancient Eastern Church, has received to be the main principle of its existence a complete lack of bias towards approaches to forms of economic life (as opposed to the methods of the Western Church, which for many centuries fought against charging loans with interest), and towards the achievements of human thought. Perhaps it is for this reason that none other than the Orthodox Church has been called upon, to the greatest extent and as part of the new religious epoch, to cover the achievements of the latest economic technology and science, to cleanse them of the ideological superstructures of “militant economism”, materialism, and atheism, just as in the times of Constantine, Theodosius, and Justinian, the Ancient Eastern Church succeeded in encompassing, in the genuine and inspired “era of faith”, an altogether complex and developed economic life as well as significant freedom in theological-philosophical thinking.

In modern economic technology and empirical science, regardless of their hitherto development, there is nothing that would exclude the possibility of their existence and prosperity in the bosom of a new era of faith. The combination of modern technology and science with the ideology of “militant economism” and atheism is by no means necessary and inevitable. From a religious point of view, economic technology is, regardless of the limits of its abilities, a means to realize the Covenant bestowed by the Creator upon the creation of the human race: “They may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (Gen 1:26). Empirical science is, from a religious point of view, the revelation of a picture of the Divine world that, as knowledge progresses, more perfectly, fully, and evermore clearly reveals the Wisdom of the Creator.

IV.

Eurasianism is not only a system of historiosophical or theoretical doctrines. It strives to combine thought and deed and to ultimately lead to the affirmation of a certain methodology of action alongside this system of theoretical views. The main problem which stands before Eurasianism in this regard is the problem of synthesizing a religious view of life and the world with the greatest empirically founded practicality. The posing of this problem is substantiated by the whole character of Eurasianism. The Eurasianists are essentially and at once advocates of religious principles as well as consistent empiricists. Their ideology is born out of facts. In their characterization of the Russian world as “Eurasian”, it is as if their bodies are adjoined to each expanse of their native land, to each section of this world’s history.

Understanding facts is insufficient. Facts need to be governed in the plastic process of history. As people who perceive and feel the world religiously arrive at this task, they find themselves faced with the problem of evil in all of its nakedly glaring and mystically shocking reality. The Eurasianists feel the reality of evil in the world to the utmost extent – in themselves, in others, and in private and social life. They are the least utopian of all. In their consciousness of the damage of sin and the empirical imperfection of human nature arising out of such, they in no way agree to build their calculations on the premise of the “goodness” of human nature. Insofar as this is the case, the task of acting “in the world” arises to be a tragic task, for the “world lies in evil.” The tragedy of this task is inescapable. The one thing towards which the Eurasianists strive is to be in harmony in their thoughts and deeds at the very height of this tragedy. Firm philosophical conviction and, we would say, the very nature of the Russian historical and national character in which the Eurasianists participate, exclude the possibility of sentimentally approaching this task. Consciousness of the sinfulness of this world does not exclude but, on the contrary, demands courage in empirical decisions. No ends justify the means. Sin always remains sin. But while acting “in the world”, sin must not be feared. There are situations in which one must take burden upon himself, for idle “holiness” would be an even greater sin. In the practical sphere, for the Eurasianists, the problem of “right” versus “left” political and social solutions has been annulled. This subdivision is irresistibly important to those who, in their ultimate ends, cling solely to the limited realities of human existence, and have lost their minds amidst the notions and facts of political and economic application. Whoever relates to these questions in this manner has no other values beyond concrete political and social resolutions of “left” or “right”; and for every such resolution, every such person is supposed to stand steadily and “with frenzy”, for beyond such resolutions and himself, like of the spiritual heights, nothing remains. If a political or economic direction which has been adopted turns out to be unsuitable to the demands of life and impractical, then any consistent person must nevertheless cling to it, for the direction is he himself. This is not the approach to practical solutions of a Eurasianist. For the Eurasianist, religious reliance is essential, and it is acquired beyond the sphere of political and economic empiricism. Insofar as decisions in the latter sphere allow for religious appraisals, a “right” or “left” decision may be good in different situations, just as one or the other may be bad in others. The greatness of number of practical resolutions is seen indifferently from a religious point of view. While understanding all the whole importance of political and economic applications, and while simultaneously not attributing supreme values to them, the Eurasianists can bring to the religiously-indifferent spheres applications with an open-mindedness and freedom inaccessible to people of other worldviews. In all practical decisions, the demands of life are, beyond any prejudice, the guiding principle of the Eurasianist. Hence in some decision the Eurasianist may be more radical than the most radical, while in other cases more conservative than conservatives. Historical perception is organically inherent to a Eurasianist, and the sense of continuing historical tradition is an integral part of his worldview. But this feeling is not regenerated in a pattern. The Eurasianist is bound to no patterns whatsoever – only the subject of the matter, with the full understanding of the nature of phenomena, shines through to him from the depths of every problem.

The present Russian reality more than any other demands precisely such an approach “to the essence.” The Eurasianists’ approach to the spiritual element of the revolution has been expressed previously, but in its material-empirical guise, in the ratio of political power between separate groups which it has created, and in the new distribution of property, the revolution should in large part be seen as an unavoidable “geological” fact. A sense of reality and elementary state-feel compels this recognition. Out of all the acting groups of a “non-revolutionary” spirit, the Eurasianists might be the ones who can go further along the path of the radical and encompassing recognition of this fact. Facts of political influence and the distribution of property, which in this case the matter concerns, are not of primary, self-evident importance to the Eurasianists, but are only secondary values. This eases the task of recognizing fact for the Eurasianists. But the fact in many cases is the product of abomination and crime. In this lies the severity of the problem. But since abomination and crime have been allowed by the Will of God to become an objective historical fact, it must be considered that the recognition of this fact does not contradict the Will of God. Whatever be the extent of the direct worship of fact lies in the empirical necessities of the era which must find a way out of the revolution. In religious terms, this necessity of fact-worship can be equated to temptation through which one must pass: to give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s (that is, to take into account all the empirical political-economic demands of the era), without surrendering and harming God. From the point of view of the Eurasianists, the task at hand is to redeem and to transform this abomination and crime with the establishment of a new religious era that will shine its radiant light upon all that is sinful, dark, and terrible. This is possible not in the order of the dialectical disclosure of history, which mechanically and “Marxistly” turns all “evil” into “good”, but in the process of the internal accumulation of moral force, in the face of which even the necessity of fact-worship would pose no overwhelming temptation. 

***

Footnotes:

[1] In Russian and some Romano-Germanic languages, two adjectives for “Asia” have been produced: “Asian” and “Asiatic.” The first, in its historical meaning, referred primarily to the Roman province encompassing the Western part of Asia Minor, and then to the diocese, whenceforth the mainland continent of the Old World acquired this name. “Asia”, “Asian”, and “Asians” were employed in the original, narrower sense in Acts of the Apostles 19:20. The adjective “Asiatic” concerns the whole continent. The root of the words “Eurasia”, “Eurasian”, and “Eurasians” is the first, more ancient designation, yet not because “Asianness” was constructed exclusively for the Roman province and diocese, but rather because the Eurasianists appeal to a much wider historical and geographical world. Due to a number of misconceptions, the word “Asiatic” has on the tongue of Europeans acquired an odious connotation. This odious seal, which testifies only to ignorance, can be removed by way of appealing to the more ancient name, as is accomplished in the designation of “Eurasianism.” In this term, “Asian” refers to the cultural circle not only of Asia Minor, but of “Greater” Asia. In particular, the Eurasianists highly appreciate the cultures that inhabited Asia in the apostolic and subsequent centuries, i.e., Hellenic and Byzantine culture, and the Eurasianists by all means seek paradigms for modern spiritual and cultural creativity in some branches of this culture.

[2] From the point of view of historiosophical concepts, Eurasianism as a matter of course lies in the same sphere as the Slavophiles. However, the problem of the relationship between these currents cannot be reduced to that of a simple succession. The prospects opening up before Eurasianism are conditioned, on the one hand, by the scale of the ongoing catastrophe and, on the other, by the emergence and manifestation of completely new culturo-historical and social factors which, naturally, did not play a role in the construction of the Slavophile worldview. Moreover, much of what the Slavophiles considered to be foundational and indisputable has since become obsolete over the past several decades or has been exposed to be essentially inconsistent. In some sense, Slavophilia was a provincial and “domestic” current. Now, in connection with the real opportunities opening up before Russia to become the center of a new European-Asiatic (Eurasian) culture of the greatest historical significance, any conceptualization and realization of a holistic, creatively conservative worldview (as Eurasianism considers itself to be) must determine its appropriate, unparalleled paradigms and scales.

[3] The latter definition can claim substantial historical accuracy. The essence of Byzantine culture was determined by a combination of the most diverse elements. Currents of religious, artistic, and other impulses which flowed from the East – from Palestine, Syria, Armenia, Persia, and Asia Minor, as well as some parts of Africa – mixed with perceptions of the Western state and legal tradition (as in the existence and development of Roman law in Byzantium). Moreover, the contact with steppe cultures that was so definitive to the forming of Russian culture did not fail to leave its traces in Byzantium as well. Much in Byzantine fashions and mores can be traced back to being borrowed from the steppe “barbarians” who in successive waves closed in on the borders of the empire.

[4] The same situation applies to the field of art, and in particular to some branches of fine art (artistic architecture, sculpting, painting), where the inadequacy of the latest “European” creations is especially evident in comparison with that achieved in more ancient epochs and by other peoples.

[5] Militant economism, as an element in the sprit of the human being, has existed and exists everywhere. Yet it is significant that it is in the new Europe that this principle has been elevated to be an ideological principle.

[6] The Eastern Church, in rejecting the proposal of a ban on borrowed interest at the Council of Nicaea in 325, thereby recognized authoritative interference into economic life to be unbefitting  of the Church. The Eastern Church stood on this position in all subsequent centuries and continues to stand on it today. The practice of the Western Church has been different: the ban on the charging interest on loans was maintained for a millennium and still in the 18th century Turgot was forced to reckon with such as a reality of life.

Leonid Savin – “The Multipolar Moment”

Author: Leonid Savin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Journal of Eurasian Affairs 5:1 (2018) / Excerpt from a forthcoming book…

***

In his article, “The Unipolar Moment”, which was based on a series of lectures delivered in Washington, D.C. in September 1990, Charles Krauthammer wrote that a new world order was emerging in which the United States would be the only superpower.[1] In the second paragraph of the article, Krauthammer introduced three main theses being discussed in the US political science community at the time: (1) the rise of multipolarity (interestingly enough, he suggests a “diminished Soviet Union/Russia” as one future pole, thus anticipating the collapse of the Soviet Union), (2) weakened consensus on foreign policy within the US, and (3) a diminishing of the threat of war in the post-Soviet era. Krauthammer promptly dismissed these arguments as erroneous, and instead spoke of the coming triumph of a unipolar world under the undisputed dominance of the US and its Western allies. Krauthammer did, however, immediately make one reservation: “No doubt, multipolarity will come in time. In perhaps another generation or so there will be great powers coequal with the United States and the world will, in structure, resemble the pre-World War I era.”

It seems that this moment has come. But for now let us refrain from making hasty statements, and first analyze on what grounds Krauthammer based his conclusions, where he was right, and on what he was mistaken. Such an excursion into the history of geopolitical thought will refresh our memory as to the methods by which Washington operates.

Krauthammer presents the Persian Gulf crisis and Washington’s reaction as an example of unwavering US might: “In the gulf, without the United States leading and prodding, bribing and blackmailing, no one would have stirred. Nothing would have been done: no embargo, no ‘Desert Shield,’ no threat of force.” In other words, this was not a multilateral action as it might have seemed, but the exclusive concoction of the US. As Krauthammer writes further on: “It is largely for domestic reasons, therefore, that American political leaders make sure to dress unilateral action in multilateral clothing.” This is done, evidently, because American citizens need legitimacy for the sake of their faith in democracy.

Yet here Krauthammer immediately follows up with a question: How long can America maintain its unipolar preeminence? To this end, light must be shed on theories of decline and imperial overstrain. Here Krauthammer introduces some figures – the United States was then spending 5.4% of GDP on defense, whereas earlier it spent nearly twice as much, and was now planning a reduction to 4% by 1995. However, Krauthammer adds that “American collapse to second-rank status will be not for foreign but for domestic reasons.” Let us take note of this.

Considering the balance between US domestic and foreign policy, Krauthammer suggests that it is “a mistake to view America’s exertions abroad as nothing but a drain on its economy…America’s involvement abroad is in many ways an essential pillar of the American economy. The United States is, like Britain before it, a commercial, maritime, trading nation that needs an open, stable world environment in which to thrive.” Later on, he adds that America is interested in maintaining its unipolar status, but questions whether Americans support such.

Here we can see mention of a dichotomy between the interests of the political elite and ordinary American taxpayers. Krauthammer himself notes that American isolationism “seems the logical, God-given foreign policy for the United States” by virtue of geography and the history of America’s founding, which is said to be have been motivated by the desire to distance itself from the intrigues and conflicts of the Old World.

Krauthammer also mentions another option, which he calls a far more “sophisticated” and “serious” school of international relations which insists on national interests – realism. In this context, he argues: “International stability is never a given. It is never the norm. When achieved, it is the product of self-conscious action by the great powers, and most particularly of the greatest power, which now and for the foreseeable future is the United States. If America wants stability, it will have to create it. Communism…is quite dead. But there will constantly be new threats disturbing our peace.” First and foremost among these threats is posited to be the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Also notable are such concepts as “rogue states” and “failed states,” although Krauthammer speaks of only one type – “The Weapon State,” under which he mentions Iraq, North Korea, and Libya. In his opinion, in order to become a Weapon State, a country only needs to develop its own industry, and then additional interests will arise which might conflict with the interests of other countries. This point is not discussed directly, but it is clear based on the context. Krauthammer writes:

With the rise of the Weapon State, there is no alternative to confronting, deterring and, if necessary, disarming states that brandish and use weapons of mass destruction. And there is no one to do that but the United States, backed by as many allies as will join the endeavor. The alternative to such robust and difficult interventionism – the alternative to unipolarity – is not a stable, static multipolar world. It is not an eighteenth-century world in which mature powers like Europe, Russia, China, America, and Japan jockey for position in the game of nations. the alternative to unipolarity is chaos.

Thus, Krauthammer recognizes that multipolarity is not only possible, but has historical precedent and, moreover, can help establish static stability (although the role of Japan in the 18th century, and indeed that of America, is up for debate).

Krauthammer’s next article on the same topic appeared twelve years later under the title “The Unipolar Moment Revisited.”[2] He begins with the same thesis as earlier, asking whether the US will face decline. Krauthammer argues that the third episode of American unipolarity has arrived with the threat of war posed by rogue states acquiring weapons of mass destruction. It is worth noting that this article happened to be released a year after the terrorist attack in New York and just before the invasion of Iraq (which was launched without UN sanction or the support of the US’ European partners). Krauthammer writes: “American dominance has not gone unnoticed. During the 1990s, it was mainly China and Russia that denounced unipolarity in their occasional joint communiqués. As the new century dawned it was on everyone’s lips. A French foreign minister dubbed the United States not a superpower but a hyperpower.” In other words, many countries did not take a liking to American dominance, and this was manifested against the backdrop of the bombing of Serbia and the occupation of Afghanistan, which were something like demonstrative wars at a distance that showed the whole world the new forms of US power.

If before the 9/11 terrorist attack many were pondering the possibility of an anti-hegemonic alliance, then afterwards many began offering the US their support, which “accentuated” the “historical anomaly of American unipolarity.” This happened by virtue of the “American anti-terrorism ultimatum”, which was essentially a mandate for the widespread use of military force by the US. Preventative operations violated traditional doctrines of just war, which led to a crisis of unipolarity. According to Krauthammer, this unipolarity found definitive formulation in the words of Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld on Afghanistan and the “War on Terror”: “the mission determines the coalition.” The mission is determined by the US.

Important here is Krauthammer’s admission that so-called multilateralism was merely a means of “liberal internationalism” to keep the US from falling into embarrassing situations in which other countries in disagreement with Washington’s position could “isolate” the US and make decisions themselves. If we soberly analyze both the “multilateral” approach of Madeleine Albright during the Bill Clinton administration, as well as the same rhetoric employed by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton with her “reset”, then it is obvious that the “openness” and “interestedness” of the US has been but a cover for imposing its agenda. All of this was pursued, in Krauthammer’s words “in service to a larger vision: remaking the international system in the image of domestic civil society”, i.e., the American model.

From this standpoint, the nation-state is seen as an anarchic legacy of the past. Thus, Krauthammer explains, it is important for liberals to accelerate the erosion of sovereignty by means of new technologies and the unhindered movement of capital across borders. But America, as the great sovereign, must be “domesticated” by and for liberals who feel “discomfort” with US dominance. This in turn becomes a challenge to unipolarity, as the dominant pole inevitably comes to be diluted through international agreements, interdependences, and new norms.

At this point, Krauthammer briefly summarizes the contention between two schools of international relations – liberalism and realism – with regards to “paper or power”, i.e., agreements or threats and the use of force. In passing, Krauthammer reminds the reader of the question of multipolarity and actually contradicts himself. If in his previous article he spoke rather positively of multipolarity as once incarnated and possibly on the rise again, then this time his tone has changed dramatically. He writes: “Multipolarity is inherently fluid and unpredictable. Europe practiced multipolarity for centuries and found it so unstable and bloody, culminating in 1914 in the catastrophic collapse of delicately balanced alliance systems, that Europe sought its permanent abolition in political and economic union. Having abjured multipolarity for the region, it is odd in the extreme to then prefer multipolarity for the world.”

Prototypes of multipolarity actually existed in more places than just Europe by the 20th century. Before the arrival of European colonizers in Asia, Africa, and both Americas, similar systems existed which used special mechanisms of checks and balances that differed from European norms. Moreover, European countries developed within the paradigm of rationalism and the Enlightenment, which leaves Krauthammer’s argument unconvincing. Krauthammer can be understood, however, if we recognize the author’s Western-centric mindset and American political scientists’ propensity to justify double standards. Moreover, the nature of this shift can be explained as in the interests of many countries to develop multipolarity during this period (including not only China and Russia, but also the “left pivot” in Latin America, and the founding of the African Union in July 2002).

Further on, Krauthammer unveils his message: “[the] principal aim is to maintain the stability and relative tranquility of the current international system by enforcing, maintaining and extending the current peace. The form of realism that I am arguing for—call it the new unilateralism—is clear in its determination to self-consciously and confidently deploy American power in pursuit of those global ends.” Thus, in contrast to isolationist realism, this approach proposes that the US pursue none other than global objectives in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and the world ocean.

But let us recall what actually happened in 2002-2003. NATO officially invited Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia to join its alliance; the state of Yugoslavia ceased to exist with its partition into Serbia and Montenegro; American troops occupied Afghanistan and Iraq; Israel carried out punitive operations against Palestinians; numerous terrorist attacks took place on Russian and Turkish soil; and a series of color revolutions began in the post-Soviet space following the effective testing of this new type of coup d’etat in Yugoslavia. For Krauthammer, this must all be “stability and relative tranquility.” Ironically, this actually might be such for the US, since all of these events took place with direct or disguised encouragement from Washington and outside of the borders of the United States (except for the terrorist attack of September 11th, 2001, which to this day remains the subject of serious debates). The maintenance of this unipolarity also means the preservation of the post-colonial legacy with its artificial division of the globe into first, second, and third worlds, entailing the merciless exploitation of the natural resources of countries incapable of effectively defending their sovereignty from transnational corporations, predatory policies of the IMF and World Bank and, of course, the US’ right to military intervention in other countries under false pretexts. As is well known, the concept of “Responsibility to Protect” was tested in Haiti in 1994 and in Yugoslavia in the early 1990’s and in 1999 to detach Kosovo and Metohija.

According to Krauthammer, the US should be “advancing democracy and preserving the peace by acting as balancer of last resort”, and “countries will cooperate with us, first, out of their own self-interest and, second, out of the need and desire to cultivate good relations with the world’s superpower.” In other words, other countries are presented with no real choice.

Although Washington uses both unilateral and multilateral approaches in similar fashion to advance its interests, there is one principal difference between the two which Krauthammer discerns in the form of a question: “What do you do if, at the end of the day, the Security Council refuses to back you?” As we very well know, even after the UN Security Council blocked its resolution on Iraq, the US acted as it saw fit. Even before this entered into force (let us recall that Krauthammer’s second article was released several months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003), Krauthammer believed that the unipolar moment had already become the unipolar era.

Thus, the article concludes with the following:

The new unilateralism argues explicitly and unashamedly for maintaining unipolarity, for sustaining America’s unrivaled dominance for the foreseeable future. The future of the unipolar era hinges on whether America is governed by those who wish to retain, augment and use unipolarity to advance not just American but global ends, or whether America is governed by those who wish to give it up—either by allowing unipolarity to decay as they retreat to Fortress America, or by passing on the burden by gradually transferring power to multilateral institutions as heirs to American hegemony.

Krauthammer therefore reiterates that unipolarity will be challenged not from without, but from within.

Now let us turn to summation. Krauthammer is partially correct that the unipolar regime depended on the US political elite. The lack of clear consensus therein and the ever-increasing gap between the aspirations of the American people and the corporate interests of the establishment which incessantly leans towards globalism, all yielded the phenomenon of populism and helped Donald Trump win elections with partially isolationist slogans.

Krauthammer was incorrect in his panicking over the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In the nearly 20 years since, the real balance in this sphere has remained virtually unchanged. Only the DPRK has increased its military-technological capabilities to a level causing panic reactions among US military and political circles. Without a doubt, another important landmark to be distinguished on this note is the decision by Russia’s leadership to deploy troops to Syria to help in the fight against terrorism.

The unipolar era never arrived. The unipolar moment lasted unfortunately long – for nearly two decades. But it was not an era. Krauthammer was right in his first article when he argued that multipolarity would arrive after one generation. Indeed, if we follow the criteria set for challenges facing the US, then according to such documents as the US National Security Strategy [3] and National Defense Strategy [4], the US now faces competitors in the face of certain powers familiar to us in the multipolar declarations of Russia and China. Iran and the DPRK have also openly challenged unipolarity and been assigned by Washington to the club of “rogue states.” Over the past few years, additional studies have increasingly suggested that America is losing its status as the global center of power in the face of emerging multipolarity.[5]

Therefore, we can say that Krauthammer was mistaken in saying that unipolarity would be threatened from within the United States. Threats have always come from the outside and, in different conditions, whether embryonic or frozen, have anticipated appropriate opportunities to change national strategies. As a matter of course, a number of countries have seized the first opportunity to escape Washington’s control. These cases can be called different things –  whether “opportunism”, “transitioning to an active anti-colonial stage”, “searching for new solutions”, or “reactions to the US’ actions” – depending on the ideological framework and school of international relations employed.

What is important to understand is that unipolarity is disappearing forever. Even if globalists from the Democratic Party come to replace Trump, they will strategize how to erode sovereignty as such, including American sovereignty, and they will have to deal, first and foremost, with their taxpayers, who clearly showed their preferences by electing Trump. Moreover, given the heightened capabilities of other countries, the globalists will have to concede serious concessions and are unlikely to be able to achieve the same results that they did during the rise of the unipolar moment under Clinton or in the Obama administration’s later attempts to instate multilateralism. In one way or another, by this time faith in the US will have already been completely undermined – especially as newly declassified documents once again demonstrate to the whole world the dirty methods of the State Department and form a powerful argument in favor of severing relations with Washington – and, as former allies come to prefer new alliances, the balance of forces will change significantly in all regions across the board.

We now find ourselves in the multipolar moment. Our task is to transform this multipolar moment into a multipolar era.

Footnotes: 

[1] Charles Krauthammer// Foreign Affairs, Vol. 70, No. 1, America and the World 1990/91 (1990/1991), pp. 23-33. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20044692

[2] Charles Krauthammer. The Unipolar Moment Revisited// The National Interest—Winter 2002/03. рр. 5-17

[3] National Security Strategy of the United States of America, December 2017 https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/NSS-Final-12-18-2017-0905-1.pdf

[4] Summary of the National Defense Strategy. Sharpening the American Military’s Competitive Edge. https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2018-National-Defense-Strategy-Summary.pdf

[5] See:  C. Richard Neu, Zhimin Mao, Ian P. Cook. Fiscal Performance and U.S. International Influence, RAND Corporation, 2013; Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, a publication of the National Intelligence Council, december 2012 http://worldview.unc.edu/files/2013/10/Global-Trends-2030-Executive-Summary.pdf; Global Trends to 2035 Geo-politics and international power. European Parliament, September,2017 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2017/603263/EPRS_STU(2017)603263_EN.pdfhttps://www.dni.gov/index.php/global-trends-home.