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)

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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.

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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). 

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). 

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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. 

 

NOOMAKHIA: GEOSOPHY – The Horizons of Cultures: The Geography of Logoi

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Chapter 1 of Noomakhia: Wars of the Mind – Geosophy: Horizons and Civilizations
(Moscow: Academic Project, 2017)

***

The Horizons of Cultures: The Geography of Logoi

Virtually all of the books of the Noomakhia series are dedicated to what might be called “Geosophy” or “plural anthropology.”

In the first volume of Noomakhia, The Three Logoi [1], we offered a most general representation of the Three Logoi as three basic paradigms within the framework of which one can interpret the semantic structures of any culture and civilization. In the very least, we have proceed from precisely such a possibility as our initial position, allowing for the possibility of this tripartite reading in each and every society with numerous overlaps and combinations. As we proceed to examine different civilizations, we are faced with either accepting the conviction that such an approach, upon which all of Noomakhia is based, is indeed competent or, upon encountering insurmountable obstacles, recognizing the limited applicability of this noological methodology. The triplicity of the fundamental Logoi constitutes the essence of Noomakhia, and we will pursue this in the most diverse historical, religious, and social contexts. The main substance  which we understand by the “Three Logoi” described in the first volume will be further refined as we examine the most diverse civilizations and cultures, first and foremost the Hellenic and Byzantine, where the corresponding figures of Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele attained their clearest and most generalized expression. We have taken the latter to be a universal structural template, a paradigm. Thus, the two volumes of Noomakhia dedicated to the Greeks are of great importance to any correct and complete understanding of the foundational paradigms on which our study is based.

In the present work, we will examine yet another aspect of the plurality of Logoi. In the first book, we described – in the most general contours and primarily based on the example of the Hellenic cultural circle which determined the destiny of Western Europe for the last two and a half millennia – the structure of the three fundamental paradigms of thinking corresponding to three types of philosophy, religion, mythology, ritual, symbolism, gnoseology, ontology, and anthropology. The three paradigms which we distinguished – those of Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele – can be considered the main constituent moments of the vertical topography. In our point of view, these three paradigms comprehensively exhaust all the possible variations of the concretization of the Mind (Νοῦς) in the Logos and logological structures. Although we limited ourselves to the Hellenic zone, it is theoretically possible to arrive at an analogous model on the basis of other cultural templates, be they developed and detailed like Indian and Chinese philosophy, or altogether archaic, such as in the case of shamanic complexes or the most elementary mythological systems.

This vertical topography of the Three Logoi can be envisioned as a perpendicular angle constructed upon and penetrating each geographical (or, more precisely, geocultural and geosophical) zone of the world. Every cultural space (cultural-historical type, civilization) by definition can possess Apollonian, Dionysian, or Cybelean dimensions as three dimensions of  its (cultural) space, i.e., height (the Light Logos), breadth (the Dark Logos) and depth (the Black Logos). We say “can”, for this does not mean that each of these Logoi will necessarily be present, much less predominate. The diversity of cultures and societies on earth lies in that every culture and every society presents its own kind of projection of the three vertical Logoi in different proportions and different relations. One of the Logoi might dominate in one place while the others remain in a virtual state; elsewhere, the picture can be more complex. The Three Empires of the Logoi are projected onto each culture not only in terms of this geometrical schema, but always also from different angles, just as one and the same projected image can, taking into consideration different folds, curvatures, breaks, dips, etc., yield different shapes on different surfaces. When reflected upon the sea, the sun’s rays are transformed from straight lines into curved lines, and their constancy gives way to a rhythmically repetitive sinusoid. Light disappears on a dark surface; it is reflected in a mirror, and so on. If we add to this understanding the fact that cultural fields are not strictly horizontal with relation to noetic topography, but are reflected at certain angles which differ from culture to culture, then we can appreciate and estimate just how diverse and multidimensional cultural geography can be, just how multifaceted the field of geosophy is, and, as follows, we can appreciate the richness of anthropological pluralism. The very identification of the presence of three Logoi and the discernment of the dramatic war between their Empires fundamentally enriches our understanding of the structures of the Mind, imparting vital and intense volume. Taking into account the diversity of the projections onto the horizontal plane of human cultures which these Logoi and Noomakhia can yield, turns the whole picture into a grand panorama of qualitative intellectual plurality, a fertile and substantive pluriversum.

In the first book of Noomakhia, we primarily busied ourselves with the vertical symmetries and oppositions of noology, as well as the philosophies and mythologies which express such. Now we shall transition to horizontal symmetries and approach the study of the diversity of the Logoi among civilizations and cultures. In the following books of Noomakhia, we intend to present a number of developed illustrations of how the Logoi independently and distinctly manifest themselves in the most different civilizations, both those close to Europe and those distant. This qualitatively complicates the overall picture of noology. We will see how, in addition to or beyond the war between the Three Empires, the oppositions and conflicts between these Empires are projected onto the horizontal plane, as well as the internal polycentrism and historical dynamics inherent to these projections. This will explain many aspects of inter-civilizational relations and inter-cultural ties, but still the resultant field of geosophy will present itself as an extremely complex model, even in its mere static structure, without taking into account temporal (whether cyclical or unilinear) dynamics. Taking into consideration the dynamic changes in cultural systems which are organized along primordially different lines and represent a field of intense battle between the Three Noetic Empires, promises to transform history, philosophy, religious studies, anthropology and cultural studies into such a complex picture, simultaneously containing such a multiplicity of layers and levels, that it should come as no surprise why no one has undertaken such before. After all, the hands of the most courageous and resolute scholar can waiver in the face of such an abundance of materials and the sheer quantity of relevant factors. Thus, all previous undertakings which, no matter what, pursued something similar, will be made all the more valuable to us.

Yet the horizontality discussed in this volume of Noomakhia is such only in correlation with the verticality of the model of the Three Logoi. Horizontality in itself is multidimensional and polycentric. It harbors not only the static layers of culture that are discernible independently of time and which constitute the structure of permanent identity, but also historical dynamics, over the course of which the very proportions of relations between these layers dialectically change. Thus, in each and every civilization (culture), we must inscribe history into the unchanging synchronic model of identity, as well as situate space in the structure of civilizational time. On this matter, Martin Heidegger posed the followed fundamental question in his Ponderings (The Black Notebooks):

Не является ли пространство временем народа?

Ist das auch der Raum als die Zeit für ein «Volk»?

Is that also space as time for a “people”?

Пространство и время не нечто рядоположенное, что было бы «дано», но прорыв и начало бытия, которое должно быть отвоёвано.

Raum und Zeit nicht das Nebeneinander, das es so «gibt», sondern Ausbruch und Anbruch des Seins, das ersrtitten warden muss.

Space and time not the juxtaposed, which is simply “given,” but instead the opening and upsurge of being, which must be striven for. [2]

Heidegger’s use of the two words Ausbruch and Anbruch is important as a formula for expressing being in both space and time. Both are formed by the common root brechen, that is “to smash”, “to sever”, “to break through”, “to split.” Space corresponds to the Ausbruch of being (Sein or Seyn), and time is the Anbruch of being (Sein or Seyn). Ausbruch can be interpreted as an “invasion”, “breakthrough”, “acute unfolding”, or “upsurge.” Being unfolds as space (living space, the space of the people) and thereby “surges” into existence, making it present. Time begins the being of Anbruch, that is “opening”, “revelation”, “discovery.” Space and time therefore form a common, but differentiated horizon of ontology based on a fundamental trauma – that of the “breaking”, “splitting”, the “glaringness of the abyss”, of the “primordial differential.” The Romanian philosopher Lucian Blaga called this the “divine differential” that lies at the heart of the cosmogonic act [3]. It is on these grounds that Blaga based his analysis of cultural and epistemological forms which he interpreted through the analysis of spatial and temporal horizons.[4]

Time and space, that is to say the dynamism and stasis and of every culture, together compose the intertwined edges of a common semantic horizon which we conceptualize as a horizon only by force of the fact that we are examining it in light of the noological vertical of the Three Logoi. In and of itself, a “horizon” is not flat, but simultaneously contains several dimensions – both spatial and temporal.

Therefore, we can envision the structure of this horizontal topography which is of priority interest to us in this work as a spatial-temporal whole. If we evaluate it from the synchronic perspective, then it can be seen as qualitative space or “living space” (Lebensraum a la Friedrich Ratzel [5]), i.e., a field which harbors events and meanings (Raumsinn or “spatial meaning” [6]) The discipline of Geopolitics as it developed over the 19th and 20th centuries was founded on this principle, yet this view can also be detected – indeed, like virtually everything else – in ancient Hellenistic culture, especially in the Neoplatonists and above all in Proclus.

If we approach this horizon from a diachronic point of view, then we will have to deal with the phenomenon of “history” in the form of a chronological sequence strung out along a semantic axis. History here opens up as a semantic sequence. Heidegger called this understanding of history “onto-history”, Seynsgeschichte.[7] Proceeding from this Hedeiggerian methodology, a closely related concept was proposed by the French philosopher and historian of religions Henry Corbin, who coined the notion of l’historial, or “existential-semantic time”.[8] Insofar as here we are dealing with a semantic chain, the diachronic order of unfolding cannot be free from the structure predetermining it, which in a religious context is usually referred to as “Providence” or “Predestination.” In the historial, everything is determined by the structure, which dictates not so much events themselves as the uniqueness of their interpretation (and, further, their tripartite significance, if we evoke the Three Logoi). The present volume of Noomakhia is devoted to substantiating this methodology. In this study, the phenomenon of culture or civilization is put at the center of attention as the most precise expression of a horizon. The highest form of this refinement is what we call a “Logos of Civilization”, or “Horizontal Logos” (insofar as such represents a shaped and reflected expression of the horizon itself).

The plurality of Daseins

The boundaries and characteristic signposts of different cultural spaces or civilizations can be defined in terms of the most diverse criteria which ultimately yield different results. We should clarify that we do not draw a terminological distinction between “culture” and “civilization”, unless otherwise specifically stipulated, in the spirit of that proposed by Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) [9]. Insofar as there exist many definitions of culture and civilization and many authors who study such, we cannot rely on any established unambiguity in definitions, interpretations, and theoretical generalizations. Therefore, we shall explain right away just which rules we intend to be guided by in the composition of our geosophical map.

First of all, we naturally do not claim to present any complete and detailed description of the Logoi of all different cultures, which is even theoretically impossible. The examples which we have taken for examination are rather arbitrary and are evoked only to illustrate the general approach to the plurality of Logoi which we have developed over the course of Noomakhia. For this reason in some cultures and societies we have chosen only that which interests us as a priority and that which most explicitly resonates with the three Logoi that we have distinguished. We consider the very notion of a “cultural Logos” or “Logos of a given culture”, i.e., the Logos of a people, religion, society, or civilization, to be a projection of the three universal (vertical) Logoi onto a given horizon (whose complex nature we have hitherto emphasized). Thus, the Horizontal Logos (the Logos of Civilization) is unpacked into three vertical, noological vectors. In other words, every concrete culture is a most complex code consisting of three fundamental elements.

Secondly, between all the different criteria for “culture” and intellectual expression, we primarily aspire to emphasize and take into consideration the existential dimension. Such a conceptualization is founded on the theory of the plurality of Daseins which we have outlined in our other works, first and foremost those dealing with Martin Heidegger [10]. This means that we believe that the basic, phenomenological level of the “thinking presence” of man in the world differs in its deepest roots, and this difference is the foundation upon which the structures of culture, society, philosophy, politics, knowledge, science, and art are built. We consider the Dasein of each civilization, in its approach to death, to be unique, and it is this existential plurality that determines differences in secondary significations and configurations.

Dasein is the root structure of man’s presence in the world, the fundamental backdrop of his existence. Although Heidegger himself, as befits a true European, was ethnocentric and believed the fate of Western European civilization to be the fate of all of humanity and the European Logos to be the universal Logos, we can nevertheless attempt to isolate Heidegger’s deep insight into the essence of the existential roots of man, taken as “thinking presence” (Dasein), from such claims to universality. In such a case, we acquire the concept of the plurality of Daseins as several existential poles corresponding to the nomenclature of civilizations. Consequently, we have the following picture:

I. At the heart of every civilization lies a special “thinking presence”, Dasein.

II. This “thinking presence”, Dasein, determines the structure of a given civilization’s Logos, that is to say it lies at the basis of the metaphysics which can subsequently be built upon the root structure of the Dasein.

III. The “thinking presence” of Dasein is responsible for both the basic structure of the Logos that is a result of its unfolding as well as this Logos’ transformation over the course of the whole cycle of a civilization’s historical being. We can see this in Heidegger’s analysis of the onto-history, Seynsgeschichte, of Western civilization, as well as in Henry Corbin’s concept of the historial [11].

IV. The plurality of “thinking presences” can be postulated both outside of a concrete civilization (as an other Dasein), as well as, with certain nuances, within it. Accordingly, in Mediterranean civilization, Hellenic, Roman, as well as Egyptian, Semitic, Chaldean, and Anatolian poles were all present, as are Germanic, Celtic, Latin, and other poles present within European civilization. Each of these poles can be analyzed on the basis of its existentials.

V. From the point of view of Noomakhia, the Logos of a given civilization (even in the form of its own inter-civilizational versions) can be subjected to spectral analysis with the aim of identifying the proportions between the three fundamental types of noology – the Logos of Apollo, the Logos of Dionysus, and the Logos of Cybele – the proportions of which can, theoretically, differ in any possible manner within any given civilization.

VI. Hypothesis: The differences in the concrete spectral structure of the Logoi of civilizations must be rooted in the differences of their root foundations, the “thinking presence” of their Daseins.

VII. Thus, on the basis of an Heideggerianism that has been expanded in all directions, and on the basis of Hedeiggerianism’s experience of the “destruction” of Western European metaphysics and the Western European historial, we can develop a methodological foundation for building a plural anthropology and a geosophical map of civilizations, where the Logos of each civilization corresponds to a special Dasein.

On these grounds, we can correlate the model of Heidegger’s existential analysis of the history of the Western Logos with those of other philosophies and civilizations – not to accept such as universal, but with the aim of seeking those possible homologies or, on the contrary, differences which, by virtue of the developed state of studies on European civilization and the relatively underdeveloped state of other civilizational studies, might turn out to be extremely useful and substantive. We have already accomplished something of this sort in the book The Possibility of Russian Philosophy [12] where, in trying to apply the Dasein’s existentials to the Russian “thinking presence”, we developed an extremely substantive and impressive framework qualitatively differing from the one which Heidegger cited as the quality of the existentials of Dasein in Sein und Zeit [13].

martin_haydegger_vozmozhnost_russkoy_filosofii

Thus, it has been revealed in practice that, when speaking of Dasein, Heidegger was in fact dealing with the European, Indo-European, Hellenic, Apollonian, and Germanic Dasein. The Russian Dasein looks significantly different, and it is completely obvious that the Russian Logos, when we try to reconstruct its main features, should also look completely different, for such explains to us the differences between civilizations and, indeed, justifies those intuitions as to the uniqueness and originality of Russian civilization advanced by the Slavophiles, Danilevsky, the Eurasianists, Spengler, and many other authors. It is only obvious that such differences should also be found in the existential structure of the “thinking presences” of other civilizations as well. Accordingly, the Heideggerian methodology for studying Dasein, ingeniously applied by Heidegger himself to his own civilization, can, given appropriate corrections and generalizations, be successfully applied to others (as the first approximation of the Russian Dasein has shown [14]).

The observant reader who has attentively read the first book of Noomakhia, The Three Logoi, could remark at this point: If we have correlated the philosophical phenomenology upon which Heidegger based his views of Dasein with the Logos of Dionysus, then would it really be justified for us to take precisely this Logos – as one of the vectors of the common noological map, as the intellectual jurisdiction of only one of the three Empires of the Mind) – to be the main quality of a cultural unit? This objection is well founded, but we would like respond to it thusly: The Logos of Dionysus to which phenomenology indeed corresponds, is in a certain sense intermediary between the two other poles of Noomakhia; therefore, we can correlate this Logos with the “middle world”, that is the horizontal section located strictly between the Logos of Apollo and the Logos of Cybele, between Heaven and Hell. Thus, we very well can begin precisely with this Logos as the phenomenological fixation of civilization (cultural space). This does not mean that, upon defining (however roughly) the zone of a concrete Dasein, we must stop there. On the contrary, we are faced with discerning the very structure of the correlation between the Three Logoi projected upon a given area, their balances and proportions. In other words, proceeding from an existential analysis, we will try to reconstruct both the Uranic (the Apollonian, the celestial) and the Chthonic (the maternal, the subterranean) dimensions of the cultures under examination. Of course, in some cases we will have to deviate from this application, such as if the Apollonian element or Cybelean Logos clearly predominate and clearly define the morphology of the Dasein. One example of this is the strictly Apollonian Iranian logos [15] or, conversely, the titanic Logos of the Semites [16], in which the intermediary, Dionysian dimension is weak, secondary, or derivative.

Thirdly, we do not wish to pass any final judgements regarding the scale which we have employed. We know some civilizations, such as the European and Russian, much better for a number of quite understandable reasons, hence logically follows our more detailed description of their particular points, such as our discernment in the field of European civilization multiple versions of this Dasein and their pronouncements in particular dimensions of the Dasein of the cultures of North and South America. We know much less about Asian and African cultures and the cultural circle of Oceania, so in examining them we have restricted ourselves to rather approximate generalizations, a point which concerns our own cultural limitations and does not reflect any simplicity or schematics of the cultural worlds under examination. In all of their regions, Asia, Africa, and Oceania present an astonishing ethnic, cultural, intellectual, and existential originality and a most wealthy plurality not only of shades, but also of colors, figures, thoughts, and theories.

The ensuing compilation of this map of geosophy can be continued in this direction to any and all points of the Earth’s space inhabited by people – among technologically developed cultures as well as among the archipelagoes of archaic societies, ethnoi, and tribes whose wealth, diversity, and originality were discerned by the new anthropology of the “cultural school” of Franz Boas, the “social school” of Bronisław Malinowski , and the “structural school” of Claude Lévi-Strauss.[17] 

Ethnocentra and Ethnocentrism

The notion of a connection between thinking and geography can be found among different peoples in Antiquity. Various ethnoi explained the extraordinary qualities of (as a rule, their own) cultures in terms of special geographical conditions. This is the subject of what in the 20th century came to be defined as the field of “sacred geography” and, in its more pragmatic application, Geopolitics [18]. The Ancient Chinese, for instance, were convinced that their country lies in the center of the world, and it is precisely on these grounds that the Chinese called their state the Middle Empire or Middle Kingdom. In the view of the Ancient Jews, Israel, the “promised land” is also to be found at the center of the world, with its center in Jerusalem. It is telling that, according to Judaism, Jerusalem is home to the gates leading both down below the earth, to Sheol, to hell, as well as up to Heaven, are located. The Greeks also placed the region of their Mediterranean resettlement at the center of the Earth, and Proclus argued that the people of Attica were, unlike the populations of the hotter and colder countries, predisposed towards philosophy by virtue of the influence of this temperate climate. The Ancient Persians were convinced that the territory of Iran (Iranshahr) stood at the center of the Earth. The name of the city Babylon meant “Gate of God” and thereby implied a chosen point in space through which the gods enter and exit, i.e., the middle place between the sky and the underworld. In the Temple of Apollo in Delphi to this day rests the Omphalos, the sacred stone whose location was held to determine the center of the world. In the Christian era, the Byzantines believed the center of the ecumene to be Constantinople, the New Rome with its spiritual center in the Hagia Sophia. In the Scandinavian Eddas we find the term Midgard, or “Middle Earth.” We also find such views among the Ancient Slavs, the Irish (who saw Ireland as the island at the center of Earth), the Japanese, and so on. These perspectives are religious reflections of what we propose to represent as the projection of the vertical noetic topography onto the horizontal. Every culture (civilization) conceives itself as being the middle plane in the vertical model of the three worlds. But this vertical centrality is valid for all points on Earth and, as follows, for all ethnoi and cultural zones and, according to the logic of the ethnocentrum, is affirmed along the horizontal plane in contrast to other surrounding, differing cultures and peoples (hence the phenomenon of “ethnocentrism”). This is in line with the stable mythological practice of placing the dwelling place of a people in the center of the horizontal space of Earth, a theme which we invariably encounter in the views expressed by both great civilizations as well as small and archaic tribes.

If in the vertical sense this topography can be recognized as justified, with the nuance that different cultural spaces (in different periods), while existing on one “physical” plane, can find themselves under the preeminent influence of one or another Logos which renders their common vertical “centrality” more differentiated (some contemporary civilizations may be located closer to the subterranean zones of the Great Mother, while others closer to the celestial worlds of the Apollonian Logos), then in the horizontal sense this gives rise to the problem of situational relativity. The center is defined as a special space endowed with special and unique characteristics in comparison (contrast) with those of surrounding territories. Thus, the question of the plurality of horizontal centers raises the problem of “cultural relativity”, or the plurality of ethnocentra. Every culture proceeds from the fact that it itself is in the center of the intellectual universe. Consequently, every culture is built upon the presumption of its own uniqueness, universality, and “singularity.” Its Logos and the less obvious Dasein at its heart are taken as a point of reference and paradigm. This is how the ethnocentrum is formed. Man believes the Logos of the ethnocentrum to which he relates (which is almost always his own ethnocentrum or, in some cases, the ethnocentrum which he believes to be normative, e.g. the “Europe” of Russian “Westernizers” or the “Europe” of Asian “globalists”) to be “universal”, “obvious,” “self-evident”, and the “best.”

Here we arrive at the main methodological quality of geosophy. In order to correctly interpret the structures of a given civilization (culture), we must deliberately, consciously refrain from projecting our own ethnocentric views. Here we should turn to the phenomenology of philosophy, deconstruction, and apperception to bracket our own “ethnocentrism” which leads us to believe that the methods and criteria for evaluating our own civilization are a universal scale for interpreting all other cultures. In contrast to the semantic structure of the ethnocentrum which structures space, and departing from its exceptionalism and implicit superiority, we must consciously allow for the plurality and qualitative equality of ethnocentra, we must recognize every ethnocentrum to have the right to its own cultural topography, and we must share this topography to the extent that we wish to conceptualize the roots of its existential structure.

One advocate of the phenomenological method in the history of religions, Henry Corbin, who devoted many years to the study of Shiism and its philosophy, in some of his texts arrived at a complete identification with the society he studied, even using the phrase “We, Shiites.” While himself a Protestant Christian by confession and a phenomenologist in the field of the comparative study of religions, Corbin recognized that studying another religion is fully possible only if one abstracts himself over the course of study from his own established dogmatic and confessional positions – otherwise, we will be left with a variety of apologetics and insistences on the universality of our ethnocentrum. However, this need not entail an irreversible change of confession and cultural code. Corbin himself remained a Christian even though in his studies of Shiism he adopted the positions of another ethnocentrum for the sake of fuller understanding, and as a result of which his works were rendered more weighty, authoritative, and foundational. The point is not to leave the zone of one ethnocentrum only to enter another, but to accomplish the process of transparent philosophical apperception, to conceptualize one’s “natural”, “historical” position as ethnocentric and, without departing from one’s loyalty to such, to recognize that other studied cultures are just as ethnocentric and just as well claim “universality”, “exclusivism”, and “obviousness” as our own.

We cannot abolish the ethnocentrum, for in such a case we would be left without any philosophical territory, without any place for situating ourselves and our study; we would be left outside of the phenomenon we are examining. The only solution is to consciously accept the plurality of ethnocentra as founded on the plurality of Daseins, to accept that each and every one is built on the implicit recognition of its own (and not someone else’s or any outsider’s) centrality and exclusivity. In order to break through to cultural codes, we must recognize their existential rules. If not, we will remain within the confines of our own ethnocentrum and will not be able to travel beyond it. Even if we decide to act strictly impartially, still the Dasein embedded deep inside us will make itself known, albeit indirectly. And if we attempt to uproot it without accepting a new one, then we will simply disappear as a “thinking presence.” All that remains is to enter ethnocentra by accepting their structures, while also preserving consciousness of the fact that we are dealing not with anything “universal”, but with “relative universality” – not with a universum, but a pluriversum, in which any “exclusivity” and “self-evidence” are in essence no more than established protocol necessitated for the sake of free intellectual movement throughout a given cultural zone.

***

Footnotes: 

[1] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia: Wars of the Mind – The Three Logoi: Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele (Moscow: Academic Project, 2014)

[2] Martin Heidegger, Überlegungen II-VI (Schwarze Hefte 1931-1938) (Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 2014), p. 18. English translation from Martin Heidegger, Ponderings II-VI (Black Notebooks 1931-1938), translated by Richard Rojcewicz, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016), p. 14.

[3] Lucian Blaga, Les differentielles divines (Paris: Librairie du savoir, 1990).

[4] Lucian Blaga, Trilogie de la culture (Paris: Librairie du savoir, 1995); Ibidem, Trilogie de la connaissance (Paris: Libraire du savoir, 1992).

[5] Friedrich Ratzel, Anthropogeographie, Bd. 1-2 (Stuttgart: J. Engelhorn, 1882-1891).

[6] Friedrich Ratzel, Politische Geographie (Munich/Leipzig: R. Oldenbourg, 1897).

[7] Martin Heidegger, Geschichte des Seyns (Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 2012).

[8] Corbin employed the archaic French term historial in 1938 in his French translation of the fifth chapter of Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit to convey the difference between the German words historische (in French historique) and geschichtliche (historial). The first – historische or das Historische – denotes the totality of historical facts and their correlations, while the second – geschichtliche or das Geschichtliche (l’historial being the French substantive) bears the meanings of existence, fate, and predestination.

[9] Oswald Spengler, Zakat Evropy. Obraz i deistvitel’nost’ (Moscow: Nauka, 1993).

[10] Alexander Dugin, Martin HeideggerVozmozhnost’ russkoi filosofii [“The Possibility of Russian Philosophy”] (Moscow: Academic Project, 2012).

[11] Alexander Dugin, Martin Heidegger: The Philosophy of Another Beginning (Moscow: Academic Project, 2010)/ (Arlington: Radix/Washington Summit Publishers, 2014).

[12] See footnote 10.

[13] Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit (Tubingen: Max Niemeyer, 1972).

[14] See footnote 10.

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

[16] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Semites: The Monotheism of the Moon and the Gestalt of Baal (Moscow: Academic Project, 2016).

[17] Alexander Dugin, Etnosotsiologiia [“Ethnosociology”] (Moscow: Academic Project, 2011). Partially in English: Ethnos and Society (translated by Michael Millerman, London: Arktos, 2018). 

[18] Alexander Dugin, Geopolitika (Moscow: Academic Project, 2011).

 

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NOOMAKHIA: Wars of the Mind

“Traditionalism as a Theory: Sophia, Plato and the Event” – Alexander Dugin (2013)

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Chapter 8 of In Search of the Dark Logos: Philosophico-Theological Outlines

(Moscow: Academic Project/Department of the Sociology of International Relations, Faculty of Sociology, Moscow State University, 2013).

***

 

Mark Sedgwick and his hypothesis on Sophia Perennis

In his book, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century [1], the contemporary scholar and historian of Traditionalism, Mark Sedgwick, based on research into the philosophical sources of the worldview of the founder of Traditionalism, René Guénon, advanced the hypothesis that the Traditionalist movement, in its assertion of Sophia Perennis (Philosophia Perennis) and the “Primordial Tradition” as its foundational theory, is based not on some “mythical”, exotic, “Eastern” sources, but on none other than the Western philosophical tradition, whose roots can be traced back to the Renaissance Platonism of Gemistus Plethon, Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Agostino Steuco, etc. The current which took shape in this circle elevated the figure of Sophia and the corresponding notion of “Primordial Theology” (as in Steuco’s Prisca theologia), and the content of this “primordial theology” boiled down to Platonism, Neoplatonism, and Hermeticism, which were rediscovered in Western Europe thanks to translations from Greek of a broad spectrum of these currents, whose texts were brought by the Greek Gemistus Plethon from Byzantium in the final period before its final fall. Although Sedgwick’s thesis has seemed to many Traditionalists to be “disrobing”, overall this analysis of the intellectual circles of the Renaissance Neoplatonists and their ideas demonstrates a considerable convergence with Guénon’s views and those of his followers. 

In turn, the works of the English Dame Frances Yates dedicated to these very same intellectual currents of the European Renaissance and Modernity [2] have shown just how enormous of an influence Platonism exerted on the formation of the philosophical, scientific, and political views of this transitional epoch. Both Sedgwick and Yates show how a significant number of the founding fathers of the modern scientific view of the world were in fact largely inspired by mystical-religious ideas and Neoplatonic theories, even though only one side of their works – that tied to empiricism, rationalism, mechanism, etc. – would make it into the scientific canons of Modernity, while the mysticism and “Perennialism” of the Renaissance would be left “behind the scenes” or alternatively interpreted in naturalistic, pantheistic, or deist directions. A prominent example of this is Issac Newton, who was both an alchemist and a Kabbalist on the one hand and, on the other, the founding father of mechanistic physics and rationalist, empiricist natural science. The historian of religions Mircea Eliade, who in his youth participated in the Traditionalist movement, developed this perspective with the proposal that we view the rational-scientific and progressist topography of the philosophy of Modernity as a product of the secularization of European Hermeticism. 

These considerations led Sedgwick to reconsider the influence of Traditionalism on philosophy, science, and to a certain extent politics in the 20th century. This movement, lying at the heart of Modernity and appearing in new form as the philosophy developed by René Guénon, Julius Evola, and a broad circle of thinkers on which the former had decisive impact, was much more significant and important than can be judged on the basis of mere superficial familiarity with the subject. At the same time, they appear to be somewhat more modest and even, to a certain extent, marginal. At the source of Modernity lies Platonic universalism, which became the ideological grounds for proclaiming the universalism of the rational philosophy of post-Medieval Europe. Gradually, the bulk of attention came to be drawn towards the technological side of this movement, towards pure empiricism and rationalism, while the metaphysical dimension was neglected and written off as one of the costs and remnants of “Medieval irrationalism.” However, following this scheme, it turns out that with the exhaustion of the technocratic, rationalist philosophy, Baconist scientism, and Cartesian dualism of the epoch of Modernity, this second side, which had long since receded to the periphery, began to make itself known again. Guénon’s Traditionalism became its developed manifesto. Hence the growth of Traditionalism’s significance in correlation with the ever broader and deeper consciousness of the “crisis of the modern world.” Thus, in the transition to Post-Modernity, Modernity has once again remembered its “occult roots.” The Enlightenment, now called into question, has turned towards its “Rosicrucian” beginning. 

This hypothesis of Sedgwick and Yates, shared by a number of other authors, is productive. In the very least, it raises the status of Traditionalism to that of one of the most important philosophical currents to emerge in the critical moment of the exhaustion of the agenda of the classical scientific rationality of Modernity and with the formation of the first Post-Modern theories subjecting Modernity to deconstruction. If we recognize that at the very heart of Modernity, which claimed rationalism and the theory of progress to be the foundations of its universalism, there lies a set of irrational views that appeal to deep antiquity for substantiation, i.e., the Platonic-mystical and Hermetic universalism of the Perennialist and Sophiological shade, then Modernity itself appears under a completely different light, and Post-Modern critics thereby acquire yet another argument, namely, that Modernity was not at all what it claimed to be, but was merely a poorly disguised, masked version of the traditional society which Modernity sought to overcome, annul, and dismantle. 

On the other hand, Traditionalism itself thereby appears to be a phenomenon that is critical of, but nonetheless related to Modernity. It is not simply the “continuation of Tradition” by inertia, but an altogether specific and original critical philosophy which refutes Modernity and subjects the latter to merciless critique on the basis of a special, complex set of ideas and theories which, taken together in their sum, constitute a “Perennialism” or “universal esotericism” which, it ought to be noted, does not coincide with any one single really existing historical tradition. Thus, we are only one step away from recognizing Traditionalism to be a “construct.” The revolutionary, critical, and modern potential of Guénon’s philosophy was rightfully noticed by the Traditionalist René Alleau, who proposed to consider Guénon alongside Marx as one among the constellation of radical revolutionaries and critics of modern civilization.[3] 

From Prisca theologia to René Guénon

A number of various, altogether interesting conclusions can be extracted from Sedgwick’s analysis.[4] Here we will fixate on merely one point, that of the conceptual unity of 20th century Traditionalism (Guénon, Evola, etc.) and Renaissance Platonism (Plethon, Ficino, Steuco, etc.). Both of these philosophical currents can be generalized with the notion of “Perennialism.”

If we can historically trace Guénon’s philosophical inspirations back to the Renaissance, which Guénon himself harshly criticized for misunderstanding the sacred civilization of the Middle Ages, and if we can find there the first formulations of Sophia Perennis or the Prisca theologia which compose the foundation of Traditionalist philosophy, then in it becomes completely obvious that these currents came to Western Europe in the Renaissance from the much deeper past and, to a certain extent, from a different cultural context (more specifically, the Byzantine-Greek). Of course, Platonism was well known in Medieval European Scholasticism, but it had long since yielded to Averroism and Aristotelianism enshrined virtually dogmatically in the realism of Thomas Aquinas. Hermeticism had existed in the form of alchemical currents and esoteric fraternities, but in the Renaissance these tendencies surfaced in rather vivid and magistral form, such as in the forms of open Neoplatonism and philosophically-formulated Hermeticism (with numerous direct or indirect polytheistic elements), which claimed to be not merely a secret tradition parallel to the dominant Scholasticism, but a foundational, universal worldview. Renaissance Platonism and Hermeticism directly opposed Catholic Tomism and formulated the agenda of Renaissance Humanism. This humanism was magical and sacred: man was understood to be the “perfect man”, the Platonic philosopher, the Angel-Initiator. 

The Renaissance Platonists appealed directly to the works of Plato, Plotinus, Hermes Trismegistus, and the broader corpus of Neoplatonic and Hermetic theories, many of which were freshly translated from Greek. Platonic humanism was reformed into a conceptual, theoretical bloc and began its offensive against previous philosophical and theological constructs. The Neoplatonists justified their claims to truth by emphasizing the antiquity of their sources and by claiming to propose a philosophical paradigm which could generalize different religious confessions, and as such was more universal and more profound than the Catholic religion of Europe. This synthesis came to include, in the very least, Byzantine Orthodoxy, but the reform program of Gemistus Plethon was even broader, proposing a restoration of “Platonic theology” as a whole and a return to certain aspects of polytheism. Platonism, like Hermeticism, was seen not simply as one philosophical or religious tendency among many others, but as “universal wisdom” capable of serving as a key to the most diverse philosophies and religions, as a common denominator. This idea of a meta-religious generalization became the most important notion of the Rosicrucian movement and, later, European Masonry (as shown by Yates). 

This universalism was substantiated by references to “Perennialism”, to the existence of some kind of exclusive instance in which all of world wisdom, independently of historical peripeteia, is present and preserved in its “paradisal”, primordial state. This “perennial wisdom”, Sophia, was the point of departure that allowed one to examine specific religions and philosophies as individual and historically conditioned constructs, thus laying claims to a universality transcending any and all individualities. This Sophia was knowable and, as follows, he who participated in her, loved her, and identified with her received access to “absolute knowledge.” Renaissance Humanism was therefore Sophiological. Sophia was treated as the Angel of humanity, the latter’s living and eternally present, eternally youthful archetype or eidos. 

It is by all means possible that European Modernity’s claims to the universalism of its values are to be sought in precisely this source. As Catholic ecumenism was abandoned, the cultural messianism of the West demanded new substantiation, and such was found in “Perennialism”: the new Europe, post-Medieval Europe, conceived itself to be the privileged region of the revealed, eternal Sophia, and on these grounds the Europeans of Modernity acquired their mandate to newly master and conquer the world, seeing themselves as not merely raptorial colonizers, but as the bearers of higher universal knowledge. This explains the special incandescence of the era of geographical discoveries and (Francis Bacon’s) call to discover Atlantis not only in the new colonies, but in the Old World itself. Thus, Renaissance Platonism and its corresponding Perennialism ought to be considered a most important factor in the formation of the structure of Modernity as a whole. The profane universalism of progressist and rationalist Europe has its roots in the sacred super-rationalism of the Renaissance Platonists oriented towards eternity and deep antiquity. 

The construct of Sophia 

The “constructivist” character of Renaissance Neoplatonism is obvious to us. We can easily trace how and on what sources it was constructed. The Hermetic Poimandres and Asclepius attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, as well as the cosmological and anthropological dialogues of Plato (the Timaeus, the Republic, the Laws, the Symposium, etc.) were taken to be universal and interpreted in the spirit of the Neoplatonic systematizations of Plotinus and his followers. Neoplatonism situated Sophia as its main content, its systematized philosophical hologram. And it is through this prism that other religions and philosophical systems were interpreted as individual cases of a generalized perennial(ist) paradigm. René Guénon acted in approximately the same manner as he employed a system of definite metaphysical, cosmological, and anthropological views to examine various traditions, religions, and the modern world itself as a denial of these views and, in its final phase (the opening of the egg from below) a parody of them. Not a single religion, theology, or philosophical system contains the paradigmatic matrix with which Guénon operated. But it is with the aid of this matrix, taken from somewhere else, that historical religions, theologies, and philosophers were altogether successfully treated and interpreted by him. Guénon based himself on the “Primordial Tradition”, sanātana dharma, or Sophia Perennis, and he drew his knowledge directly thither. The Renaissance Platonists acted in precisely the same way. 

With Sophia, both the Renaissance Platonists and Guénon in the 20th century deconstructed everything else. The very algorithm of their deconstructions was, in turn, represented by a construct: the construct of Sophia.

The “Dark Logos” of Neoplatonism

The artificial character of Renaissance Perennialism is rather transparent. But here the question should be posed: how does this Renaissance Platonism, which lies at the origins of 20th century Traditionalism, relate to the Platonism on which it was constructed? In other words, was this constructivist nature a quality of the Renaissance anticipating Modernity, or did the very material upon which Renaissance Sophiology was constructed lend any definite grounds to this approach and display any convergent qualities?

With regards to Neoplatonism (from Plotinus and Porphyry through Iamblichus to Proclus and Damascius), this is nearly obvious: Neoplatonism presented a construct developed on the basis of the main ideas of Plato, but in synthesis with other Hellenistic and Middle Eastern philosophical, religious, and mystical systems. This Neoplatonism was distinguished by its extraordinary inclusivity: it selectively incorporated Platonic re-interpretations of Aristotle (and accordingly, a re-thinking of the Stoa), Orphism, Pythagoreanism, Egyptian Hermetism, cults from Syria and Asia Minor (theurgy, the Chaldean Oracles), and Iranian dualist doctrines and Chaldean astrology. On the basis of Plato’s Parmenides and his main hypotheses, Proclus constructed an elaborate “Platonic theology” which was carried on and substantially re-interpreted by Damascius. The latter’s commentaries on the Timaeus thoroughly and in great detail described a synthetic cosmology built on the principle of noocentrism. 

The system that the late Neoplatonists of the Hellenistic era built with their open metaphysics and apophatic, dialectical Logos can, without a doubt, be fully considered to be an earlier version of the “Perennialism” which we encounter in the Renaissance. In Proclus’ works, particularly his exegeses, we can see the skeleton of all the later derivations of Neoplatonism, both religious and philosophical. His theories and methods can unmistakably be sensed in the Areopagites and, further, in the whole tradition of “mystical theology” which became so widespread in the West (from Scotus Eriugena to Meister Eckhart, Henry Suso, and Jakob Böhme) as well as in the East. We can find the dialectic of the uncreated One developed by Proclus in the works of the Islamic thinkers of Al-Falasifa, in Ibn Arabi and the Ishraq school, whereby it defined the dramatic picture of Ishmailite theology and eschatology. Moreover, the classical method of Kabbalistic interpretations of the Zohar and early Kabbalah fully reproduced Proclus’ fixation on certain words and phrases (and their numerological equivalents) in Plato’s dialogues which at other times seemed only secondary. Henry Corbin rightly noted that the Parmenides was for Proclus the Theogony, on the basis of which he would later develop his Platonic Theology. Plato’s Parmenides was a kind of Bible or Sacred Scripture for negative, Neoplatonic, apophatic theology.[5] Every word of Plato’s was subjected to detailed and comprehensive hermeneutics. The idea that Plato was the “sail” of the Divine became a Neoplatonic dogma in its own right.

Neoplatonism conceived itself to be a universal tradition on the basis of which one could interpret all existing religions and philosophical systems. It was the religion of the Logos, a noocentric cosmology and apophatic metaphysics claiming the ability to interpret any and all forms of polytheism, symbolism, and theurgic rites. Following the Greek Neoplatonists, this idea penetrated other religious environments as well, such as in the works of al-Farabi and Ibin Sina, the Sufis, the philosophers of the Ishraq school, the initiatic verses of Rumi and the diaries of Ruzbehan Baqli, to the synthetic doctrines of Haydar Amoli or Mulla Sadra. Something analogous can also be encountered in Kabbalah, as well as in Christian mysticism (with some reservations). Everywhere we look, we encounter the idea of Sophia Perennis and spiritual universalism, reproducing in one form or another the noocentric, and at times paradoxical and dialectical, “Dark Logos” of the Neoplatonists. This Logos is “dark” because it postulates the pre-existential nature of the Principial (the One), the vertical of the Logos is opened upwards, and because it constantly and repeatedly upturns the strict laws of Aristotelian reason with its foundational principles of triumph, denial, excluding the third. Instead of logical clarity, we are dealing here with a paradox, an aporia, or a super-rational ambiguity (amphibole) which is evasive, demanding of the high art of dialectics, and which leads the “philosopher” (whether the Sufi, the adept, or the initiate) through the dizzying chain of insights and initiations, upon each new link of which consciousness collapses and is recreated anew. 

Having established this state of affairs, we can easily extend the history of Renaissance Platonism and its Perennialist construct of Sophia even further back than a millennium. Gemistus Plethon and his Neoplatonic reform in Mystras on the eve of the fall of the Byzantine Empire can be seen as a link in the direct transmission of this tradition from the last Diadochi of the Athenian Academy expelled by Justinian, to Michael Psellos, to the unsuccessful Neoplatonist deemed heretic John Italus, and to the Florentine circle established by Marsilio Ficino around Prince Cosimo Medici. In addition to the Greek branch, we can also consider the “Islamic trace”, where the Dark Logos of apophatic “Platonic theology” became the common denominator of a wide range of different currents representing the heights of Muslim philosophy, theology, and culture. Another route ran through Jewish Kabbalah, which was structured according to the very same algorithm. Finally, in the Latin world, we can see the numerous streams of Hermeticism, alchemy, mysticism, as well as all Gnostic sects and millenarian currents (in the spirit of the doctrine of the Three Kingdoms of the Calabrian Joachim de Flore) which flowed into the revolutionary ocean of the Reanissance. Still further from the Renaissance, following Sedgwick and Yates and numerous other authors studying modern mystical and occult orders, lodges, and sects, we can trace the line of the dark Logos through even more reliable and well-researched material, from Giordano Bruno to the Rosicrucians, Masons, mystics, and the representatives of “occultism” among whom Guénon discovered it and laid it at the heart of his completely original and extremely influential Traditionalist philosophy. 

Thus, tracing the genesis of this construct of Sophia leads us to the history of the Logos  as it has unfolded in the periphery of Western European culture and, as Corbin has shown, in the center of the Islamic spiritual tradition (where the “Dark Logos” was not exclusive and one, but was adjacent to and sometimes sharply rivaled rationalist kalam, Asharite atomism, Fiqr, and Salafist purism). The difficult reception of Kabbalah in the Jewish world and its nearly full and final acceptance as a flawless orthodoxy make up yet another page in this history. Jewish Kabbalah fell into the sphere of interests of the Renaissance Neoplatonists, and in the works of Pico della Mirandola and Reuchlin (and later of Knorr von Rosenroth) we can detect the outlines of a project to establish a “Christian Kabbalah.” Further, once again through Masonry and Hermeticism, Kabbalah reached Fabre d’Olivet, Eliphas Lévi, Papus, Saint-Yves d’Alveydre, and Guénon himself. In Guénon and in his “revolutionary” Perennialism, all of these numerous streams come together to compose the most modern, capacious, and systematized worldview. 

Theory as Homeland

Now we are left with posing a final question, namely: To what extent did the Neoplatonists of the first centuries of our era create something completely unique and original out of the texts, ideas, and traditions associated with the name of Plato, and to what extent can we find something similar in the works of Plato himself? Here the works of the great scholar of Plato, Neoplatonism, and Hermeticism, the French curé André-Jean Festiègere, come to our aid.[6] Festiègere draws our attention to the meaning imbued in the notion of “Theory” (θεορία) in Plato’s era and in his own philosophy. Originally, this notion meant an “inspection”, “survey”, “contemplation”, “meditation”, or “observation.” In Ancient Greece, in philosophical milieus, it bore two subtle terminological nuances: 

  1. A “theory” was a survey of the cultures and societies of different peoples, among whom the philosopher should travel and dwell as part of his preparation for a new life (hence why we constantly read of the travels of philosophers to other countries: “traveling” is a purely philosophical occupation). 
  2. By analogy with the survey of different nations, societies, and their religious and ritual systems, a “theory” was a survey of different systems and ideological connections leading to a higher principle.

This connection between traveling and theoretical contemplation is extremely important. Theory is the contemplation of that which is different, taken to culminate in a common, universal model. Plato’s doctrine of ideas itself is directly associated with contemplation. The contemplation of ideas is active “theorizing”, or the distinguishing of common and unchanging paradigms as well as constantly changing phenomena. Just as the Hellenic philosophical traveler studies the religions and customs of different Mediterranean societies, seeks correspondences with the Greek religion and Greek traditions, establishes analogies and, when necessary, replenishes his own religious views and his language, so does the Hellenic philosopher contemplate ideas, the universals of the infinite order of things and phenomena. There are many societies, religions, and cults, and the contemplative traveler strives to deduce from his survey that which is common, that which he has already identified in the places he has been and in the new, still unknown countries and lands in which he finds himself. The case is strictly the same with immersion into the world of ideas and in the process of comparing them with the world of phenomena. Contemplation and theory are the construction of the common, the culmination of a model. 

In Plato, this acquires a distinct and salient character. Theory as construction is simultaneously illumination, enlightenment, and absorbing the rays of the Good. Ideas are indifferent to things, but they are not indifferent to those who strive to theorize, whom they passionately rush to meet, in excelsis. The field of theory thus transforms into the space of epiphany, where ideas are not only reflected, but acquire a specific being and are embodied in the theoretical existence of the philosopher. By traveling to temples and shrines to various gods and by being present at different rituals, the theoretician (the one who contemplates) prepares to meet with the real God for whom all the different gods of different cults serve as masks, names, and messengers (angels). In different rites and sacred ceremonies, the philosopher rushes to the main philosophical rite, the rite of rites, where the main realization to be accomplished is the discerned merger of the noetic cosmos with the aesthetic cosmos, the “fulfillment of all fulfillments”, the magical meeting of God with the raging sea of multiplicity. Later, this ritual of all rituals would be conceptualized by the Neoplatonists as theurgy. 

Plato’s Theory is therefore not simply a preparation for something – for political activism or sacred rites – but is a higher form of reality, the ultimate expression of concentrated praxis. Contemplation is thus the work of the gods, and is their blissful rest and the source of higher pleasure. Theory is the place where being, dispersed into multitude and elusive in difference, is tied together into the knot of intense concentration, finding in itself elastic unity and bright clarity. The contemplative philosopher stands above the priest and the king, for he rises to the zone of pure divinity, un-diluted by any additional functional burdens and completely free from multiplicity, both temporal (the change of moments) and spatial (the change of places). The culmination of this journey is the return to the philosophical Homeland, where there is no more time or relative forms. Theory is the Homeland. None other than nostalgia for it pushes the philosopher to travel through both countries and the networks of light-like ideas in search of the point of Sophia, whom the philosopher loves with all his being. 

This understanding of Theory illustrates how Plato’s philosophy was that very synthetic universalism which generalizes different philosophical systems and knowledge just as the traveler generalizes the experience of the societies he witnesses. Plato’s works therefore present not one point of view to one or another question, but always several; they become material for contemplation and, like steps, they lead to a higher synthesis. At the peak of this synthesis, ideas begin to live beyond the discursive Platonic text and reveal themselves directly to those who have followed Plato and the personages of his dialogues to the very end, where the stairs leading to the sky end. There dialogue ends, but theory does not. Now the philosopher must take one more step, this time without Plato and texts – this is the step of thought, the step of illumination, the step of contemplation. The step into the sky. Only there does real Platonism – the “secret doctrine” – begin. It has not been transmitted to anyone; it can only be discovered independently, through the sacred experience of theory.

Open Philosophy 

As the formulator of theory, as the guide to the geography of ideas, Plato created a consciously open philosophy, in which the main point is not uttered, but must be sought and experienced independently. Hence the term “philo-soph”, or “lover of Sophia”, of Wisdom. If the question at hand was simply who bears this Wisdom, we would be dealing with a closed system, that is, something individual. Wisdom cannot be learned, it is not a given. One can only break through to it upon enormous labor and at the cost of incredible efforts. Philosophy is the realm where minds and hearts gather together in passionately thirsting for Wisdom, whey they are fallen in love with Sophia and are excited contenders for her hand. No one has any guarantees. There is only Love. Led by Her, they embark on their journey, towards contemplation, towards theory. They settle in the vicinity of Sophia and inch ever closer to her. They seek the universal, and thereby themselves become more and more generalized, eidetic, and less and less individual. Philosophers construct themselves in the vicinity of Wisdom. Purifying themselves in Her rays, they reveal evermore distinct contours. 

In the case of Plato, this means that we are dealing with the Logos as such, for the Logos is in its nearly original form, is still undefined, and is open to being opened or closed, understood in one way or another, or conceived and outlined in one or another vector. In Plato, philosophy is the sharp impulse of nearing Sophia Perennis, the leap into the ocean of eternal light, it is contemplative and divine praxis. In this sense, philosophy is higher than religion and myth, insofar as religions and myths are but testimonies to the main actor – Saint Sophia. Therefore, Plato himself can be called a “Perennialist” and, correspondingly, a Traditionalist. It does not matter whether Plato adhered to Greek civil piety and offered sacrifices to the gods and heroes of his polis. Such was part of a much more important and significant philosophical cult: the cult of Sophia, the cult of the pure Logos. 

Plato as an Event

Let us pose the final question. Did “Perennialism”, Traditionalism, universalism, and the philosophical cult of Sophia all begin with Plato’s Theory? With his doctrine of ideas? With his Timaean cosmology? 

For Guénon and Traditionalists, such a personification would be a scandal. But upon fully recognizing Plato’s direct connection to the “Primordial Tradition”, Traditionalists would undoubtedly begin to see Plato as a link in the golden chain of initiates which stretches back to the dawn of creation, to the earthly paradise, and which has become increasingly difficult to access, closed, and exclusive in our time, the Kali Yuga, the “end times”, the era of the “great parody.” Traditionalists understand “perennialism” literally and even somewhat naively. Such can by all means be seen as a symmetrical response to the just as literal and even more naive historicism which predominates in Modernity. Yet in the vicinity of eternity, “before” and “after”, “now” and “then” are not so important. Indeed, they have no meaning. What is important is what. Plato, like Zarathustra in Iran, might have been both an historical figure and a sacred personage, like al-Khidr or the Angel-Initiator. Perhaps there are multiple Platos. And this means that Plato’s spirit can be called upon (as Plotinus did in the temple of Isis); he can be appealed to. His return can be awaited, for there is no irreversibility in eternity. In eternity, everything is reversible – everything has even already been reversed. In the most rationalized form, one could accept that Plato merely transmitted knowledge that he had acquired along the chain of initiation, and in this sense was their ordinary re-translator who became world famous only by virtue of the importance of the truths he voiced, as a kind of philosophical prophet. 

Yet Plato can be approached in other ways as well, for example, as an Event in the spirit of the Heideggerian Ereignis. This would distance us from both the “Perennialists” and the “historicists.” Plato happened and philosophy happened. Sophia was designated and the philosophical geography was marked. If this was supposed to have happened, then it would have happened no matter what – whether by way of Plato or someone else, should we be reproached on this matter. But perhaps it would be better to think differently: if Plato did not exist, there would be nothing else. In particular, there would be no notes in the margins of his texts. There would be no philosophy. If Plato was in fact divine, then he cannot be subordinated to any mechanical necessity. Nothing can oblige him to be. Further, if he had not risked everything to become Plato, his philosophy would have been negligible. Thus, Sophia might not have been. Or in other words: instead of Sophia, instead of the secret bride of the order of lovers, something else could have been revealed to Plato.

Plato’s exceptionality (although perhaps this is just as wrong and does not correspond to the truth) is more existentially attractive and productive than his link in the chain, even if it is the golden one. Plato’s divinity lies in that he was human.

Modern Traditionalism is, of course, more adequate than profane academic philosophy and is more prosperous than Post-Modernity. But all the signs of Traditionalism’s transformation into a convention, a routine, into a “scholasticism”, of its conscious quenching of any living movement of the soul or heart, are glaring. Here it is discovered that “Perennialism” is a construct and always was such from the very beginning. The appeal of a Traditionalist towards really existing tradition decides nothing, just as Plato’s reverence for his paternal gods did not exhaust his philosophy. 

Traditionalism is something other than tradition. It is a breakthrough to that which is the tradition of traditions, the secret grain, the theory. But being a theory, a construct, it needs to be continuously recreated. A construct is not so bad if the matter at hand is something rooted in the light nature of man himself. By creating, man creates himself. Therefore, Traditionalism must either happen or disappear. Its claims are too enormous and its bar has been set too high by Guénon and the Sophiologists on whom he constructed his doctrine. “Perennialism” means that Sophia is Perennis: she is here and now. But how can we relate the fact of the Kali Yuga, our God-abandoned “now” and the dustbin of the modern Western-centric global world, our vile, desolate “here”, with the rays of the Angel-Initiator, the light of Great Love, and the nature of man as a winged divine being? The Gnostics offered a dualist answer which often seems to be the only one acceptable and applicable to us. But is this not simply a recognition of our own weakness, of our own personal inability to transform the “Cover” into the “Mirror”, Absence into Presence, apophany into epiphany, and occultation into revelation? Is this not the signature on the warrant for the death of the Logos, the insuperability of Western nihilism, or the recognition of the closed, self-referential world to be the only possible and real? 

Traditionalists frequently speak of the “great parody” that is the modern world. This is true, but are they themselves not a parody? After all, not only Guénon, but the Neoplatonists, and Plato himself can all be parodied. 

The discrepancies between Traditionalism and Heidegger did not hinder Henry Corbin from engaging Neoplatonism in Islam with love and delicate refinement over the course of his life. Such is the behavior of a living person who responds to Sophia’s whisper no matter where it resounds.

Today this whisper is more silent than ever. But it cannot be so quiet as to be indistinguishable at all. We must learn to listen to silence, for silence sometimes conveys extremely meaningful things. 

 

Footnotes:

[1] Mark Sedgwick, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

[2] Frances Yates, The Art of Memory (Saint Petersburg: 1997); Ibidem., The Rosicrucian Enlightenment (Moscow: Aleteia, Enigma, 1999); Ibidem., Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2000). 

[3] Réné Alleau, De Marx à Guénon: d’une critique ‘radicale’ à une critique ‘principielle’ des societés modernes (Paris, Les dossiers H., 1984).

[4] Some aspects of this question have already been treated in Alexander Dugin, Postfilosofiia (Moscow: Eurasian Movement, 2009).

[5] Henry Corbin, Le paradoxe du monothéisme (Paris, 1981).

[6] André-Jean Festugière, Contemplation et vie contemplative selon Platon (Saint Petersburg: Nauka, 2009).

The Metaphysical Factor in Paganism

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold 

 

Appendix to Ways of the Absolute (2nd ed., Moscow: Arktogeia, 1999). Text originally written in 1990. 

 

Those traditions which it is customary to call “pagan” are characterized not so much by an actual polytheism as by an immanentism which permeates all of their aspects. In the opinion of the monotheistic religions, the theological sinfulness of “paganism” is obvious: it ignores (whether consciously or inertially) the one transcendent and apophatic (i.e., formulated in negative terms) principle, the recognition and unconditional worship of which constitutes the sine qua non of monotheism. Among the three monotheistic religions, Judaism and Islam hold to this line altogether consistently, whereas Christianity alone takes significant steps in the other direction by asserting the central figure of its cult and dogma to be the immanent hypostasis of the Divine, God the Son. At the same time, Christians have also inherited the Abrahamic argumentation of the other branches of monotheism against “pagans.”

Yet, in our opinion, it would be wrong to reduce all of the differences between monotheism and non-monotheism to the recognition of the supremacy of the transcendent principle, since within the monotheistic traditions themselves there have unceasingly appeared currents which, while unconditionally recognizing the justness of transcendentalism, confer a special metaphysical value to immanent realities, thus being de facto in solidarity with the “pagan” position. We have in mind first and foremost the esoteric dimensions of the Abrahamic religions (Sufism and extreme Shi’ism in Islam, Kabbalah in Judaism, and Hesychasm in Christianity), where the accent invariably falls on the immanence of the Divine Presence. Thus, without ignoring the transcendence of the transcendent, the immanent can be metaphysically accented.

What are the deep reasons which condition this?

An answer to this crucial question would not only rehabilitate paganism, but would also illuminate the most mysterious and secret sides of the “non-pagan” traditions. In one of his public lectures, Geydar Dzhemal precisely defined this problem when he noted that there is a profound opposition, one which has determined the dialectics of sacred history over the last millennia, between the Abrahamic concept of faith as a super-ethical volitional act turned “from here to there”, and the “pagan” concept of the Empire as an expression of the immanent divine force running “from there to here.” The monotheistic inspiration undermines the immanent grounds of the Empire, while the “pagan” force of immanent sacrality in turn deprives monotheism of its uniqueness and uncompromising nature. If the metaphysical truth of transcendentalism is obvious, then where do pagans find justification for their doctrines? What is the secret of the immanent Empire?

Without claiming to offer a complete (much less exhaustive) exposition of this most complex problem, we shall express a few considerations which might help somewhat clarify the essence of the matter. The sphere of the immanent is always de facto a sphere of multiplicity regardless of whether the question at hand concerns the real multiplicity of the manifest or merely the primordial duality of being and non-being inherent to the highest region of ontology, where pure being confronts the transcendent and the non-being encompassing it. This whole sphere is subject to the law of “metaphysical entropy”, according to which every logically ensuing metaphysical modality must obviously be lower in quality than the previous, that is to say inferior on the level of “metaphysical energy.” Monotheism begins with this statement and affirms the principle of transcendent unity, which confronts the whole volume of immanent multiplicity. This principle is organically connected to non-being, since transcendentalism inversely correlates to the sphere of the immanent, which means on the higher plane pure being that encompasses and synthesizes everything immanent. This apophatic, negative unity of non-being is the most logical, metaphysical response to the fact of “entropy.” Remaining within the framework of this picture of metaphysics, asserting anything else as a higher reality is simply absurd, since such would be tantamount to denying the finiteness of being and denying death which, in reality, exists as a quality dominating all metaphysical levels with the exception of non-being itself, which corresponds to the deepest essence of death itself. The most vulnerable point of transcendentalism is the very foundational picture of metaphysics and its basic postulate, the fact of entropy.

Many “pagan” traditions, especially the most metaphysically developed of them – Hinduism – are perfectly aware of the impeccable logic of monotheistic metaphysics, yet still carefully avoid the use of the term “monotheism” with regards to themselves. But by abandoning the upper pole of monotheism, they also renounce its lower immanent component, namely, the understanding of being as multiplicity, as a sphere of entropy. Both poles are thus denied with the same persistence. On the doctrinal level, this can be seen most easily of all in the relationship of both doctrines to the emergence of being. Monotheism in all of its variants is inevitably associated with “creationism”, i.e., the conceptualization of creation as alienation. Paganism in turn invariably insists on “manifestationism”, i.e., on the concept of manifestation and the self-discovery of the principle in being. The essence of the difference between these two traditions lies in the determination of the relationship between being and its hidden source in non-being. Creationism argues that being (and in rarer cases, the cosmos or even the visible universe) arose as a result of the separation of “part” of non-being, a part doomed from the first moment of creation to relate to its source as towards something different from itself. Creationism thus postulates a fundamental and “naturally irremovable”, radical Otherness of creation from its transcendent creator.

Manifestationism, on the other hand, denies this radical Otherness, instead asserting the oneness and substantiveness of the manifest and its unmanifest source. Being here is understood not as part of metaphysically preceding non-being, but as its being-other, as its means of “existing” (naturally, the word existing here is used here as a not too appropriate metaphor).

Thus, if in the first case the very unknowable essence of the Creator is the absolute answer and absolute completion of metaphysics, then in the second case the supremacy of the source of manifestation over itself is relativized, and the problem of being as a fact is not annulled, but rather remains a constantly open question (as in Parmenides’ thesis “Being cannot not be”). In this pagan perspective, there is no horizon of death, since death decides nothing, but only postpones or transfers the same question to a new level. Pagan traditions emphasize the consequence of this inner logic to be an aspect of the transmigration of beings that is conditioned by the fatal inevitability of the problem of being, which is not annulled by returning to the source.

This non-monotheistic approach does not place the manifest above the un-manifest, but merely radicalizes the question of the aim of manifestation, its mission, and the message it contains. It takes this question to its final limits. The finiteness of being is not assigned any decisive importance here, since the non-absoluteness of this finiteness is fixed and does not give any satisfactory answer to the reason and meaning of its emergence. In this perspective, being itself ceases to be the reign of descent and entropy and becomes the expression of some kind of special, metaphysically un-obvious truth. It is precisely for this reason that the principle of oneness thus loses all of its significance and, from a redeeming transcendent horizon, turns into some kind of self-evident statement, a statement of the obvious, the true, but the insufficient. On the other hand, multiplicity itself acquires a purely qualitative character: it is no longer a diluted and “entroping” unity, but the fabric of the gnostic message, in which every detail and every symbol is important and irreplaceable. Thus arise the “gods”, “angels”, and “messengers”, the spokesmen of the special gospel, the sender and addressee of which remain metaphysically unknown within both being and non-being. Thus arises as the crown of pagan metaphysics the notion of “Atman”, the subject, the living, immanent “god”, the qualitative which cannot be exhausted by the determining of being or non-being, that which participates in both but is not identical to one or the other. The subject is the special figure of the non-monotheistic tradition; it is the center of the imperial worldview, the concentration of its essence.

Thus, the subject is the summative, synthesized term of paganism without which the pagan perspective simply loses its raison d’etre. This subject coincides in essence with the two other emphatically immanent modalities of Tradition defined by the terms “spirit” and “light.” It is no coincidence that where traditional doctrines emphasize the terms “light”, “spirit,” and “I”, we are dealing with what monotheism frequently defines as “pagan heresy” or the “heresy of paganism.” This can be seen in the names of various gnostic groups, such as the Brotherhood of the Free Spirit, the Children of Light, etc. In addition, the very Sanskrit term Atman means both “spirit”, “I”, and “self.” It is also curious that, beyond Abrahamic, creationist monotheism’s cursing of “pagans and gnostics”, even the Zoroastrians found their “light gnosis” of Mani to be “heretical.”

However, the “light of the subject” is not an analogue or even a synonym of the “light of being.” It is a completely different light of an absolutely different quality. It is the “light of the problem” born out of the fact of the co-existence of being and non-being regardless of whether this existence is real (i.e., when being de facto is) or potential (i.e., when being is de facto “already not” or “not yet”). Hinduism specifies that alongside the Atman (the subject in being) there is the Paramatman (the subject in non-being). Thus, gnostic-“pagan” immanentism is an immanentism of an altogether different nature, one which is irreducible to any one of the modalities allocated by monotheism.

But does this immanentism remain really immanent? After all, in contrast to the strictly monotheistic optic, this immanentism cannot be satisfied by the transcendent member of the monotheistic dyad (the creator) as the metaphysical final and supreme. However, it does not follow that creation is not a final and exhaustive answer for immanentism. The immanentism of the “problem of light” can be explained by the need to merely fix the very fact of being, thereby not allowing it to disappear in the inexorable logic of monotheistic “ethics.” Here being serves as none other than “proof” of the non-absoluteness of being, and both being and non-being are no longer divorced (as in monotheism), but are fused together, thus becoming one and the same pole of the problem facing a complete Other, without which and outside of which this great problem would not exist. If this is so, then immanentism becomes in fact an expression of the highest and most convincing metaphysical transcendentalism, in which the transcendent quality is borne not out of the monotheistic Creator (who is metaphysically identical to non-being), but something beyond him himself, something so distant and great that it assigns to cause and effect equal metaphysical rights, thereby by making both into but a lower pole of the problem that is turned into the absolute and unattainable top.

In this perspective, the whole “pagan” (or more precisely, immanentist) complex acquires an altogether special meaning. Manifestation and its structure, which are accentuated and thoroughly deciphered by “paganism”, cease to be a not so important consequence of the Creator, who is valuable only relatively and with certain reservations. Rather, these questions become the text of the problem that is of equal significance to both creation and the Creator himself. Hence logically arises the goal of manifestation which, by the very fact of its presence (or the possibility of its presence), testifies (with the means of qualitatively lower principles compared to the principle of non-being) to something that is incomparable and eternal and which is superior to this non-being.

It is precisely in this sense that the “pagan” universe is theomorphic or, even more precisely, “angelomorphic.” Its elements are essentially revelations of the “world of light” beyond non-being, beyond the Creator. If we attentively examine the quality of this angelomorphic, “pagan” universe, we see that there is no opposition between the gnostic “anti-demiurgic” pathos and the immanentist accents of “paganism.” The “anti-demiurgism” of the gnostics can be explained by the rejection of the understanding of the actuality of the Creator as a single answer to the question of the purpose of creation. Such “anti-demiurgism” is polemical and takes aim first and foremost at monotheistic metaphysics, at the very founding logic of this metaphysics. From this perspective, the gnostics were essentially extreme transcendentalists. But the negative nature of the demiurge – or, more precisely, his complete dissatisfaction with the quality of the universal answer – does not diminish anything in the mission of manifestation, which in and of itself is the gnostic attack against its creator, its author. The sign that is encrypted in the cosmos and worshipped in “paganism” is immanent and visualized only as immanent. But this “pagan” immanentism is actually equivalent in its conclusions and in its very logic and source of impulse to gnostic transcendentalism. After all, there can be no suggestion that non-being is insufficient within its own pure self-identity. Such an argument could be drawn up only out of the deep deciphering of its antithesis (being), which reveals its dissatisfaction on the one hand (as the Creator of something imperfect) and on the other reveals certain transcendent potentials which remain problematic and hidden under the metaphysical status quo, but which could also awaken in the form of the light dimension of the universe, as the resurrecting immortal spirit, the eternal “I” of the Savior.

The gods of “paganism” are the subjective parameters of manifestation. They are not so much self-sufficient and self-satisfying principles in the likes of the God of monotheism as much as they are angels in the etymological sense, i.e., “messengers”, “spirits.” In accordance with this logic, John the Theologian, in his most esoteric gospel, utters a phrase which is completely alien to orthodox creationist monotheism: “God is spirit.” Within the framework of pure monotheism, such a downgrading of the principle, the source of all things spiritual and material, to merely one modality, to the spirit, sounds akin to blasphemy. In the pagan perspective, on the other hand, it is difficult to say anything more true and more just. It is no coincidence that it was John the Theologian who became the patron of European Christian esotericism.

In the Christian perspective, the Holy Spirit is the Consoler, the Paraclete, the main deputy in being of other hypostases which are absent in a given moment. For example, before the coming of the Son Christ, he “speaks through prophets”. After Christ’s Ascension, he “consoles and instructs” the once again orphaned world. Only thanks to him are the mysteries of the Church realized. The Holy Spirit of Christianity is the most immanent hypostasis of the Divine, and it is the identification of this hypostasis with the essence of the Divine that is beckoned by John the Theologian’s formula.

Finally, there is one final metaphysical aspect of paganism which ought to be emphasized. Every paganism is necessarily eschatological. This statement may surprise some, given that it outwardly contradicts the above. After all, the “pagan” approach to metaphysics is not obliged to especially accentuate the problem of the end of the world, the end of being, insofar as the absorption of manifestation by the principle not only says nothing to “metaphysical paganism”, but only “annoyingly” postpones the resolution of the great problem without adding anything substantive to it.

However, there is one fundamental consideration which makes eschatologism a necessary and extremely important component of immanentist tradition as a whole, which indeed has a place in the majority of historical “pagan” traditions, especially Aryan paganism. The eschatologism of immanentist doctrines is radically different from the monotheistic positive appraisal of the end of being to be the end of illusion and, as follows, an element of the absolute, unbroken fullness in the bosom of the principle of non-being.

Paganism envisions for the end times not a return to a unity lost in manifestation, but a return to primordial duality. It is no accident that Zoroastrian cyclology calls the final stage of sacred history vicharishn, literally “separation.” Only at the moment of contact between being and non-being is the pagan revealed the whole depth of his doctrine, with all the paradoxical implications. This border realized at the final point of manifestation is the point of departure for the questioning of the subject, who here can only view both metaphysical realities (both exhaustive being and incumbent non-being) as something that does not principally satisfy him, hence his turn to the source which might be beyond both being and non-being.

On the pragmatic level, eschatologism is an essential feature of metaphysically fully-fledged paganism, since the true immanentism of authentic tradition cannot and should not be a doctrine of absoluteness and the non-transcendence of “this world”, which would render it an anti-tradition and anti-nomist materialism. For the subject of pagan immanentism, being is not the final sought-after shore or “paradise.” Rather, it is a symbol of the fact that non-being itself is not this “paradise.”

Thus, pagan tradition has no illusions as to the finiteness of being. On the contrary, this finiteness and non-absoluteness, taken and recognized as such, is attractive to this tradition in being. Hence, eschatology naturally becomes the center of the pagan worldview, guarding pagan metaphysics from fetishism and the inertial worship of being.

The true “pagan” Empire, as well as the true ‘pagan’ subject, are necessarily eschatological. The power which emanates “from there”, on which every true Empire rests, is not a banal affirmation of the identity of being with itself. The “pagan” component in metaphysics is charged with a paradoxical and truly transcendent “energy” which leads much further than the impeccable and unique, yet limited power of faith. This is made especially clear in the critical moments of the unfolding of being, in radical eschatological moments – only then can pagan metaphysics fully demonstrate its deepest foundations.

Noomakhia: Great India – Civilization of the Absolute

Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – Wars of the Mind: Great India – Civilization of the Absolute
(Moscow: Academic Project, 2017)

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Table of Contents:

Introduction: The Indo-Europeans of the Eastern Limits

Part I: Vedic Civilization

Chapter 1: Approaches to Understanding India

Chapter 2: India’s Pre-History

Chapter 3: The Indo-European Ecumene

Chapter 4: Indian Titanomachy

Chapter 5: Varna: Castes of the Great Subject

Chapter 6: Vedic Religion

Chapter 7: The Structure of the Sruti

Chapter 8: The Logos of the Upanishads

Chapter 9: The Religion of Dasa

Chapter 10: The Indian Structure

PART II: The Indian Historial

Chapter 11: Vertical history

Chapter 12: The Conventional History of India

Chapter 13: The Logos of the Sramana: Jainism and Buddhism

Chapter 14: The Mahajamapadas, the Maurya Empire, and Nastika

Chapter 15: The Bhagavad Gita and the Metaphysics of Vishnuism

Chapter 16: Sankhya: The Philosophy of Parkriti and the Awakening of the Snake

Chapter 17: Adi Shakti: Woman vs. Mother

Chapter 18: Brahmasutra: Counter-Strike of the Vedanta

PART III: India in the Middle Ages

Chapter 19: The Structures of the Medieval Historial

Chapter 20: Tantra

Chapter 21: The Three Crowned Kings

Chapter 22: Gondwana: Central and South India in the Middle Ages

Chapter 23:  Advaita Vedanta

Chapter 24: Anti-Advaita

PART IV: Buddhism: Mahayana – The Indian Philosophy of the New Beginning

Chapter 25: The Transformation of Buddhist Metaphysics

Chapter 26: Madhyamaka: How to Philosophize by Emptiness

Chapter 27: Yogachara

Chapter 28: Tathagatagarbha: Non-Duality on the Counter-Attack

Chapter 29: Vajrayana: Sin Transformed

PART V: The Post-Middle-Ages: Islam and India

Chapter 30: After the Middle Ages

Chapter 31: From the Ghaznavids to the Delhi Sultanate

Chapter 32: The Great Moghuls and the Transcendental Unity of the Traditions of Akbar

Chapter 33: The States of North-West India

PART VI: Towards Modernity: From Colonization to Independence

Chapter 34: The European Colonization of India

Chapter 35: Reformed Hinduism

Chapter 36: Fundamentalists and the Politics of Swaraj

Chapter 37: Sanatana Dharma: True Hinduism

Chapter 38: Modern India: Post-Colonial Legitimacy and Deep De-Colonization

Conclusion

Noomakhia: Eastern Europe: The Slavic Logos

Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – Eastern Europe: The Slavic Logos – Balkan Nav and Sarmatian Style
(Moscow: Academic Project, 2018)

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Table of Contents:

PART I: The Civilization of the Goddess and the Peasant Ecumene of Europe

Chapter 1: Eastern Europe as a Geosophical Concept

Chapter 2: The Matriarchal Pole of Eastern Europe

Chapter 3: The Turanian Invasion

PART II: The Eastern European Nav

Chapter 4: The Worlds of Nav and the Gestalt of the Vampire 

Chapter 5: The Witch, the Idiot, and the Languages of the Nocturne 

Chapter 6: The Indo-European Element: The Homeland of Dionysus

PART III: The Proto-Slavs

Chapter 7: The Structures of Slavic Identity: The Paleo-European Mother and the Indo-European Father

Chapter 8: At the Dawn of Slavic History

PART IV: The South Slavs: Bulgarian Katechon and the Mission of the Bogomils

Chapter 9: The Bulgarian Historial

Chapter 10: The Parallel Historial of Bulgarian Identity

Chapter 11: Macedonia: Gospel of the Vampire 

Chapter 12: The Structure of the Bulgarian Logos

PART V: Illyrian Civilization: Fiery Serbia and other South Slavs

Chapter 13: The Serbian Historial

Chapter 14: Bosnia: Bogomils and Islamization 

Chapter 15: The Serbian Wail 

Chapter 16: In Search of the Serbian Logos

Chapter 17: The Historial of the Croats 

Chapter 18: The Croatian Logos: Pan-Slavism and/or Nationalism

Chapter 19: Slovenia

Chapter 20: Slovenian Style: Euro-Integration and Nihilism

PART VI: The West Slavs: The Moravo-Bohemian Logos

Chapter 21: The West Slavs in the Slavic World

Chapter 22: Sources and Flight of the Czech State 

Chapter 23: The Czech Logos of the Hussites 

Chapter 24: The Czechs and Modernity

Chapter 25: The Philosophy of the Czech Renaissance

PART VII: The Polish Horizon: Sarmatian Spirit and European Mission

Chapter 26: The North-West Slavs in Antiquity 

Chapter 27: The Polish Historial

Chapter 28: Old Polish Religion

Chapter 29: Union, Partitions, Modernization, Freedom

Chapter 30: Polish Pride and the Polish Logos: The “Christ of Europe”

Chapter 31: Polish Terror

Chapter 32: The Polish Structure

Conclusion: On the Path Towards the Slavic Ereignis

“Noomakhia is the war in the sphere of the mind. The author of Noomakhia examines human history and the present as a ceaseless war between diverse civilizational projects founded on three noological paradigms (the Three Logoi of Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele). The panorama of humanity presents in all its fullness and diversity the many dialogues, combinations, juxtapositions, appropriations, and annihilations of the Logoi which yield numerous types of rationality, mythologies, philosophies, religions, metaphysics, and constitute the plurality of civilizational constructs.

The space of Eastern Europe is a frontier between two civilizations – Western European and Russian. Precisely here ran the border between the nomadic, Indo-European, patriarchal civilizations of Turan and the matriarchal civilizations of Old Europe (which emerged in Anatolia and spread to the Balkans and Southern Europe), between the Catholic (Latin) Celto-Germanic West and the Russian-Orthodox East. The mosaic of this pivot region’s peoples and religions has never in history been geopolitically united, but this does not mean that the peoples of Eastern Europe cannot develop civilizational unity in the future and retrieve a cultural identity founded on the common Eastern European Dasein.

Since the fifth-sixth centuries A.D., the Slavic peoples have played a decisive role in the space of Eastern Europe. This volume of Noomakhia examines the Slavic horizon of Eastern Europe, which the author calls “Great Slaviania.” In question is not a concrete polity, but the inner unity of the Slavic Dasein, language, and ethno-sociological structure, constituted by the predominance of the settled agricultural population and the allogenic superstructure of a ruling warrior elite, the latter being an indirect trace of Sarmatian, Turanian, or Germanic influence. Alexander Dugin believes that, despite the powerful impact exerted on Slavic horizon of Eastern Europe by a number of non-Slavic peoples and powerful civilizational poles – such as Byzantium, Rome, Germany, France, England, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire – the mosaic of the West and South Slavic peoples, being the foci of mixed, self-sufficient cultures, can in the future form a multi-faceted and fully-fledged civilizational unity.

Noomakhia: The Logos of Turan – The Indo-European Ideology of the Verticle

Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – Wars of the Mind: The Logos of Turan – The Indo-European Ideology of the Verticle (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017)

 

 

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Table of Contents:

Introduction: Turan as an Idea

PART I: The Indo-European Logos

Chapter 1: Cultures, Peoples, and Languages

Chapter 2: Indo-European Structures

Chapter 3: The Indo-European Proto-Religion: Exclusive Patriarchy

Chapter 4: Dumézil and the Tripartite Ideology

Chapter 5: The Indo-European Foundations of Philosophy

Chapter 6: Marija Gimbutas and the Indo-European Historial

Chapter 7: The Indo-Europeans of the Polar Myth

PART II: The Indo-Europeans Leave the Homeland: The War of Interpretations in Ancient Anatolia

Chapter 8: The Hittites

Chapter 9: The Phrygians and the Descendants of the Hittites

Chapter 10: The Semantic War of Anatolian Horizons: Mutterrecht and Vaterrecht

PART III: The Indo-Europeans Unbroken: The Tocharians, Armenians, and Kurds

Chapter 11: The Tocharians and the “Turanian Language” Hypothesis

Chapter 12: The Armenians: Faithfulness to the Sun

Chapter 13: The Kurds: The Rustling Wings of the Peacock Angel

PART IV: Great Scythia and its Rays

Chapter 14: The Metaphysics of the Great Steppe

Chapter 15: The Scythians: Nomadic Might

Chapter 16: The Peoples of Turan of the Scythian Type

Chapter 17: Afghanistan/Pakistan: The Third Empire

Chapter 18: The Sarmatians: Empire of the Nart

Chapter 19: The Thracians and the Turanian Heritage

Chapter 20: The Germanic Peoples and the Steppe

Chapter 21: The Slavs and Balts in the Horizon of Turan

Conclusion: Turan and the Logos of Apollo in the Indo-European Ecumene

Martin Heidegger, Russia, and Political Philosophy

Author: Leonid Savin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

The works of Martin Heidegger have recently been met with heightened interest in a number of countries. While interpretations of his texts vary widely, it is interesting that Heidegger’s legacy is constantly criticized by liberals across the board, regardless of where and what the object of criticism is – be it Heidegger’s work as a university professor, his interest in Ancient Greek philosophy and related interpretations of antiquity, or his relationship with the political regime in Germany before and after 1945. One gets the impression that liberals intentionally strive to demonize Heidegger and his works, yet the profundity and depth of this German philosopher’s thought gives them no break. Clearly, this is because Heidegger’s ideas harbor a message which is relevant to the creation of a counter-liberal project that can be realized in the most diverse forms. This is the idea of Dasein applied to a political perspective. We will discuss this in more detail below, but first it is necessary to embark on a brief excursion into the history of the study of Martin Heidegger’s ideas in Russia.

In the Soviet Union, Martin Heidegger’s ideas were not known to the general public, primarily because the peak of his activities coincided with Nazi rule in Germany. Heidegger himself, like many ideologists of the conservative revolution in Germany, criticized many aspects of National Socialism, but in the Soviet period any philosophy that did not follow the Marxist tradition was treated as bourgeois, false, and harmful. Perhaps the only exception is the work of Vladimir Bibikhin, although his translations of Heidegger’s Being and Time and Time and Being were published in Russia only after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moreover, these translations have been repeatedly criticized for having too simplistic of an approach, incorrect terminological interpretations, linguistic mistakes, etc. Bibikhin’s lecture courses on early Heidegger at Moscow State University were delivered only in 1990-1992, i.e., during late Perestroika when the horizons of what was permissible in the USSR were expanding. That being said, it bears noting that a circle of followers of Martin Heidegger’s ideas had formed in the academic sphere in Moscow in the 1980’s. A similar situation took shape in St. Petersburg, which later found manifestation in translation and publishing activities.

Starting in the late 1990’s, other works by this German thinker began to be translated and published. The quality of translations improved considerably (and was done by different authors), and Heidegger’s legacy began to be taught at different Russian universities. Heidegger’s main philosophical concepts became obligatory for students at faculties of philosophy. However, the study of philosophical ideas does not mean that students will become philosophers or appeal to certain such concepts with regards to political processes. Plato and Aristotle are studied from the school-bench early on, but who is seriously engaged in using these philosophers of Ancient Greece’s ideas in discussing socio-political issues today?

Interest in the ideas of Martin Heidegger in the context of Russian politics was triggered in the early 2000’s by the various articles and presentations of the Russian philosopher and geopolitician Alexander Dugin.

Later, these materials were systematized and presented in voluminous texts. In 2010, the publishing house “Academic Project” released Alexander Dugin’s book, Martin Heidegger: The Philosophy of Another Beginning, which was logically succeeded in the following year by Martin Heidegger: The Possibility of a Russian Philosophy. In 2014, both works were released by the same publishing house in a single volume entitled Martin Heidegger: The Last God. Dugin’s interpretation of Heidegger’s ideas is tied to the history of Russian ideas, Orthodox Christianity, and a special path of state development including the theory of Eurasianism.

Needless to say, recounting Heidegger’s philosophical doctrine in a short journal publication would be senseless. Hundreds of volumes have been published in Germany alone which include whole works, lectures, and diaries. For our scope, let us focus merely on some provisions which, in our opinion, are applicable in a political context.

Firstly, it is worth pointing out that Heidegger employed many neologisms to describe the unfolding of time and being. One such key concept is Dasein, which is often translated as “being-here”. The French philosopher Henry Corbin translated this term as “human reality”, but for the sake of genuine, complete understanding, this and many other of Heidegger’s terms are best left untranslated. They should be provided in the original alongside something similar in one’s native language. Other possible variations should also be considered. For example, das Man expresses inauthentic Dasein that has fallen into banality, whereas in authentic existing, Dasein has the property of being-towards-death – Sein zum Tode – which represents existential terror. Terror is counterposed to fear, which imbues the world with external things and the internal world with empty worries. Interesting to note in this regard is the fact that modern Western policies and liberalism as such are built on fear. This tendency dates back centuries and is directly connected to the formation of Western (European) philosophy.

Let us add that another one of Dasein’s properties is spatiality, as space depends on Dasein, while on the other hand it is not a function of time. Dasein conditionally exists between the outer and inner, the past and present, the margin and the instant. Dasein has existential parameters – being-in-the-world (In-der-Welt-Sein), being-in (In-sein), being-with (Mit-sein), care (die Sorge), thrownness (Geworfenheit), Befindlichkeit (attunement, sofindingness, disposedness), fear (Furcht), understanding (Verstehen), discourse (Rede), and mood (Stimmung).

Another important element of Heidegger’s philosophy is the fourfold encompassing Sky, Divinities, Earth, and Mortals – which are depicted in the following manner: the Sky in the upper left, the Divinities (immortals) in the upper right, mortals (people) in the bottom left, and the Earth in the lower right. An axis runs between people and gods and another between Sky and Earth. The center of the fourfold is the most authentic modus of the existence of Dasein.

It should also be noted that Heidegger distinguishes between past and that which has passed, what is present and what is now, and the future and what is forthcoming. Dasein, according to Heidegger, must make a fundamental choice between the forthcoming and the future, i.e., the choice of authentic existing and directly confronting being (Seyn). Then the forthcoming will become the future. If Dasein chooses inauthentic existence, then the forthcoming will only be forthcoming, and therefore will not come into being.

Upon describing all of these elements of Heidegger’s philosophy in detail, Alexander Dugin poses a question: can one speak of a specific Russian Dasein? What are its existentials? In what does it differ from the European Dasein? Dugin arrives at the conclusion that a special Russian Dasein does exist, and not only a Russian one, for at the heart of each civilization lies a particular “thinking presence”, Dasein, which determines the structure of a given civilization’s Logos. As follows, every people (civilization) has its own special set of existentials.

And here we can find the political dimension of Dasein as Dugin sees it in his proposed concept of the Fourth Political Theory. Dugin focuses on three political theories claimed to be universal – Liberalism, Marxism and Fascism (National-Socialism). Each of them has their own subject of history.

Historical experience has proven that the Western liberal world has tried to forcibly impose its will upon all others. According to this idea, all public systems of the Earth are variants of the Western – liberal – system1 and their distinctive features should disappear before the approach of the conclusion of this world epoch.2.

Jean Baudrillard also states that this is not a clash of civilizations, but an almost innate resistance between one universal homogeneous culture and those who resist this globalization.3.

Apart from Liberalism, two more ideologies are known for having tried to achieve world supremacy, namely: Communism (i.e. Marxism in its various aspects) and Fascism/National Socialism. As Alexander Dugin rightly notes, Fascism arose after the first two ideologies and disappeared before them. After the disintegration of the USSR, the Marxism that was born in the 19th Century has been definitely discredited as well. Liberalism, based mainly on individualism and the atomistic society, human rights and the Leviathan-State described by Hobbes, emerged because of bellum omnium contra omnes4 and has long held on.

Here it is necessary to analyze the relation of the aforesaid ideologies in the contexts of their contemporary times and the loci from which they emerged.

We know that Marxism was a somewhat futuristic idea – Marxism prophesied the future victory of Communism at a time that nonetheless remained uncertain. In this regard it is a messianic doctrine, seeing the inevitability of its victory that would usher the culmination and end of the historical process. But Marx was a false prophet and this victory never eventuated.

National Socialism and Fascism, on the contrary, tried to recreate the abundance of a mythic Golden Age, but with a modernist form5. Fascism and National Socialism were attempts to usher in a new cycle of time, laying the basis for a new Civilization in the aftermath of what was seen as a cultural decline and death of the Western Civilization (hence the idea of the Thousand-Year Reich). This was abortive too.

Liberalism (like Marxism) proclaimed the end of history, most cogently described by Francis Fukuyama (as “the End of History and the Last Man)6. Such an end, nonetheless, never took place; and we have instead a nomadic-like “information society” composed of atomized, egoist individuals 7 that consume avidly the fruits of techno-culture. Moreover, tremendous economic collapses are taking place worldwide; violent conflicts occur (numerous local revolts, but also long-term wars on an international scale); and disappointment dominates our world rather than the universal utopia promised in the name of “progress.”8

From such an historical perspective, it is possible to understand the links between the emergence of an ideology within a particular historical epoch, or what has been called the zeitgeist or “spirit of the age.”

Fascism and National Socialism saw the foundations of history in the state (Fascism) or race (Hitlerian National socialism). For Marxism it was the working class and economic relations between classes. Liberalism on the other hand, sees history in terms of the atomized individual detached from the complex of cultural heritage and inter-social contact and communication. However, nobody has hitherto considered as the subject of history the People as Being, with all the richness of intercultural links, traditions, ethnic features and worldview.

If we consider various alternatives, even nominally ‘socialist’ countries have adopted liberal mechanisms and patterns that have exposed regions with a traditional way of life to accelerated transformation, deterioration and outright obliteration. The destruction of the peasantry, religion and family bonds by Marxism were manifestations of this disruption of traditional organic societies, whether in Maoist China or the USSR under Lenin and Trotsky.

This fundamental opposition to tradition embodied in both Liberalism and Marxism can be understood by the method of historical analysis considered above: Marxism and Liberalism both emerged from the same zeitgeist in the instance of these doctrines, from the spirit of money.9

Several attempts to create alternatives to neo-Liberalism are now visible – such as the political Shia in Iran, where the main state goal is the acceleration of the arrival of the Mahdi and the revision of socialism in Latin America (reforms in Bolivia are especially indicative). These anti-Liberal responses, nonetheless, are limited within the borders of their relevant, single statehood.

Ancient Greece is the source of all three theories of political philosophy. It is important to understand that at the beginning of philosophical thought, the Greeks considered the primary question of Being. However, they risked obfuscation by the nuances of the most complicated relation between being and thinking, between pure being (Seyn) and its expression in existence (Seiende), between human being (Dasein) and being in itself (Sein).10

It is noteworthy that three waves of globalization have been the corollaries of the aforementioned three political theories (Marxism, Fascism, and Liberalism). As a result, we need after them a new political theory which will generate a Fourth Wave: the re-establishment of (every) People with its eternal values. In other words, Dasein will be the subject of history. Every People has its very own Dasein. And, of course, after necessary philosophical considerations, political action must proceed.

Let us continue the preceding discussion about Heidegger’s ideas in Russia in the context of politics. It is significant that in Russia in 2016, Heidegger’s notebooks, Ponderings II-VI, known as his “Black Notebooks 1931-1938”, were published by the Gaidar Institute – a liberal organization which Russian conservative circles consider to be a network of agents of Western influence. Yegor Gaidar was the author of the liberal economic reforms in Russia under President Yeltsin and held the post of Minister of Finance in 1992. Gaidar was also acting Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and acting Minister of Economics in 1993-1994. Due to his reforms, the country was subject to inflation, privatization, and many sectors of the economy were ruined. The latter work of Heidegger’s is considered his most politicized, in which he speaks not only of philosophical categories, but of the role of the Germans in history, upbringing and education, as well as the political project of National Socialism. The Gaidar Institute most likely intended to discredit Heidegger’s teachings with such, but the opposite has happened, as the publication of Heidegger’s diaries has been met with widespread interest.

Paradoxically, in this work Heidegger criticizes Liberalism in the following manner: “The ‘liberal’ sees ‘connectedness’ in his own way. He sees only ‘dependencies’ – ‘influences’, but he never understands that there can be an influencing which is of service to the genuine basic stream of all flowing and provides a path and a direction.”11 Let us present a few more quotations from this work which, in our opinion, are of interest with regards to our approach.

The metaphysics of Dasein must become deeper in accord with the innermost structure of that metaphysics and must expand into the metapolitics ‘of’ the historical people.”12

The worthiness for power out of the greatness of Dasein – and Dasein out of the truth of its mission.”13

Education — the effective and binding realization of the power of the state, taking that power as the will of a people to itself.”14

At issue is a leap into specifically historical Da-sein. This leap can be carried out only as the liberation of what is given as endowment into what is given as task.”15

As Dugin has pointed out, if early Heidegger assumed that Dasein is something given, then later Heidegger concluded that Dasein is something that must be discovered, substantiated, and constituted. To this end, it is necessary first and foremost to accomplish a serious intellectual process (see Heidegger’s What is Called Thinking).

It is crucial to understand that although Heidegger’s ideas are considered to be a kind of culmination of European philosophy (which began with the Ancient Greeks, a point which is symbolic in itself since Heidegger built his hypotheses on an analysis of Ancient Greek philosophers), Heidegger is also often classified as a thinker who transcended Eurocentrism. For this reason, still during his lifetime, many of Heidegger’s concepts were welcomed in regions that had developed critiques of philosophy with regards to the European heritage as a whole. For example, enormous interest in Heidegger’s works could be found in 20th century Latin America. In Brazil, Heidegger’s works were addressed by Vicente Ferreira da Silva, in Argentina by Carlos Astrada, Vicente Fantone, Enrique Dussel, and Francisco Romero, in Venezuela by Juan David Garcia Bacca, and in Colombia by Ruben Sierra Mejia. Additional confirmation of this can be found in the words of the Iranian philosopher Ahmad Fardid to the effect that Heidegger can be seen as a figure of global significance, not merely as a representative of European thought. Given that Fardid, who is known for his concept of Gharbzadegi, or “Westoxification”, was a consistent critic of Western thought, which he believed contributed to the emergence of nihilism, such recognition of Heidegger is rather telling.

Indeed, Heidegger has had followers not only in Iran, but in many Asian countries as well. In Japan in the 1930’s, Heidegger’s student Kitaro Nishida founded the Kyoto School of Philosophy. Although in Japan Heidegger was largely considered a bearer of the European spirit (following the Meiji reforms, Japan was swept with excessive enthusiasm for everything European, especially German culture and philosophy), it is interesting to note that Heidegger’s notion of “existence” was redrafted in a Buddhist spirit as “true being” (genjitsu sonzai) and “Nothing” (“Oblivion”) was interpreted as “emptiness” (shunya). In other words, the Japanese interpreted Martin Heidegger’s basic concepts in accordance with their own concepts and often blended his terms with the concepts of such European existentialists as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Gabriel Marcel. Another Japanese philosopher, Keiji Nishitani, has adapted Heidegger’s ideas to traditional Eastern models, as is so often done in the East. Parallels between traditional Eastern philosophy and Heideggerian analysis have also been drawn in Korea by Hwa Yol Jung.

In this regard, Russia and the study of Martin Heidegger’s legacy form a kind of bridge between Europe and the East, between the rigid rationalism that has subsumed European consciousness since the Middle Ages, and the abstract contemplative thinking characteristic of Asian peoples. Let us say even more directly that Eurasianism and Heideggerianism are in some sense interconnected and spiritually close tendencies among contemporary ideological currents in Russia.

Although these two schools can also be examined as independent philosophical doctrines, as is often done by secular scholars and opportunistic political scientists, any deep understanding of one can be had only upon grasping the other.

Footnotes:

1 For example, the insistence that all states and peoples should adopt the Westminster English parliamentary system as a universal model regardless of ancient traditions, social structures and hierarchies.

2 « Les droits de l´homme et le nouvel occidentalisme » in L’Homme et la socié (numéro spécial [1987], p.9

3 Jean Baudrillard, Power Inferno, Paris: Galilée, 2002. Also see for example Jean Baudrillard, “The Violence of the Global” (< http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=385>).

4 In English: War of all against all.

5 Hence the criticism of National Socialism and Fascism by Right-Traditionalists such as Julius Evola. See K R Bolton, Thinkers of the Right (Luton, 2003), p. 173..

6 Francis Fukuyama The End of History and the Last Man , Penguin Books, 1992.

7 G Pascal Zachary, The Global Me, NSW, Australia: Allen and Unwin, 2000.

8 Clive Hamilton, Affluenza: When Too Much is Never Enough, NSW, Australia: Allen and Unwin, 2005.

9 This is the meaning of Spengler’s statement that, “Herein lies the secret of why all radical (i.e. poor) parties necessarily become the tools of the money-powers, the Equites, the Bourse. Theoretically their enemy is capital, but practically they attack, not the Bourse, but Tradition on behalf of the Bourse. This is as true today as it was for the Gracchuan age, and in all countries…” Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, (London : George Allen & Unwin , 1971), Vol. 2, p. 464.

10 See Martin Heidegger on these terms.

11 Martin Heidegger, Ponderings II-VI: Black Notebooks 1931-1938 (Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2016), 28.

12 Ibid, 91.

13 Ibid, 83.

14 Ibid, 89.

15 Ibid, 173.