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: 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. 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 Venezula 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.

Civilization as a Discursive Tool of Western Politics

Author: Leonid Savin

Translator: Jafe Arnold 

The following is an excerpt from a forthcoming book on multipolarity…

The notion of civilization was introduced into broad scholarly circulation in the late 18th century by the Scottish philosopher Adam Ferguson, who meant by such a stage in the development of human society characterized by the existence of social classes, cities, writing, and other phenomena. The preceding stages, according to this thinker, were savagery and barbarism. In his Essay on the History of Civil Society, Ferguson remarked: “This progress in the case of man is continued to a greater extent than in that of any other animal. Not only the individual advances from infancy to manhood, but the species itself from rudeness to civilization.”[1] A similar approach was subsequently taken up by many scholars, especially in Soviet times, due to the fact that this view was maintained by Friedrich Engels. This imperative wields influence to this very day, hence such expressions as “civilizational approach”, and “civilized society”, etc. Around the same time, a similar idea was expressed by the English scholar, John Boswell.

The German sociologist Norbert Elias argued that the concept of civilization “expresses the self-consciousness of the West”, and: “By this term Western society seeks to describe what constitutes its special character and what it is proud of: the level of its technology, the nature of its manners, the development of its scientific knowledge or view of the world, and much more.”[2] Elias notes further:

But ‘civilization’ does not mean the same thing to different Western nations. Above all, there is a great difference between the English and French use of the word, on the one hand, and the German use of it, on the other. For the former, the concept sums up in a single term their pride in the significance of their own nations for the progress of the West and of humankind. But in German usage, Zivilisation means something which is indeed useful, but nevertheless only a value of the second rank.[3]

As is characteristic of the German school, Elias shares Spengler’s distinctions between culture and civilization, suggesting that civilization signifies a process or, in the very least, the result of a process. If civilization “plays down” national differences, insofar as the “concept of civilization has the function of giving expression to the continuously expansionist tendency of colonizing groups, the concept of Kultur mirrors the self-consciousness of a nation which had constantly to seek out and constitute its boundaries anew, in a political as well as a spiritual sense, and again and again had to ask itself: ‘What really is our identity?’”[4]

Examining the origins of the contrast between culture and civilization, Elias cites Kant’s 1784 Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View, which reads: “The ideal of morality belongs to culture; its use for some simulacrum of morality in the love of honor and outward decorum constitutes mere civilization.” In other words, according to Kant, civilization is a special kind of behavior, even if it is artificially created with the aim of legitimizing social status.

The sociogenesis of the notion of “civilization” is seen analogously in France. “The first literary evidence of the development of the verb civiliser into the concept civilisation is to be found, according to present-day findings, in the work of the elder Mirabeau in the 1760s.”[5]Maribeau wrote:

I marvel to see how our learned views, false on all points, are wrong on what we take to be civilization. If they were asked what civilization is, most people would answer: softening of manners, urbanity, politeness, and a dissemination of knowledge such that propriety is established in place of laws of detail: all that only presents me with the mask of virtue and not its face, and civilization does nothing for society if it does not give it both the form and the substance of virtue.

Elias thus summates:

Concepts such as politesse or civilité had, before the concept civilization was formed and established, practically the same function as the new concept: to express the self-image of the European upper class in relation to others whom its members considered simpler or more primitive, and at the same time to characterize the specific kind of behaviour through which this upper class felt itself different from all simpler and more primitive people.”[6]

This, let us note, means that people from the very same state or nation were seen as backward “barbarians” in the eyes of court-aristocratic and bourgeois circles. If earlier the upper class in all regions of Europe fundamentally opposed the lower strata, the “mobs”, then in the epoch of bourgeois revolutions, the idea appeared that all of society could be “finished up” and led to the state of “civilization.” It was often under this idea that the bourgeoning bourgeoisie fought against caste restrictions and everything that might interfere with their trade and interests. “The consciousness of their own superiority, the consciousness of this ‘civilization’, from now on serves at least those nations which have become colonial conquerors, and therefore a kind of upper class to large sections of the non-European world, as a justification of their rule, to the same degree that earlier the ancestors of the concept of civilization, politesse and civilité, had served the courtly-aristocratic upper class as a justification of theirs.[7] Thus, Elias argues that “civilization” was needed by the West in order to extend its power and influence to other regions of the world through a system of coercion and subordination in various forms. He emphasizes: “In this way civilizing structures are constantly expanding within Western society; both the upper and lower strata are tending to become a kind of upper stratum and the centre of a network of interdependencies spreading over wider and wider areas, both populated and unpopulated[8], of the rest of the world.”[9]

The “spread of civilization” is therefore the penetration of Western institutions and behavioral standards into other countries. Non-Western countries can voluntarily join this process insofar as they see the need for their own survival, the point of which is not only the borrowing of technical skills, but also forms of “civilized” behavior which allow them to enter the network of interdependencies. But the center of this network remains occupied by the people of the West.

 In fact, what Norbert Elias was describing is what is now called “globalization”, although the latter author arrived at these conclusions in the interwar period. In the present time, criticisms of Western civilization in its “exclusive form” have only intensified. For example, Raymond Aaron notes that “suspected, explicit racism could not endlessly resist the opening up of the greatness of other civilizations or the obvious fragility of European supremacy.”[10] Hamid Dabashi from Columbia University argues that the idea of Western civilization was for European nations a kind of umbrella structure asserting the universal identity of European national cultures and to “unify these cultures against their colonial consequences.” Dabashi thus surmises:

Islamic, Indian, or African civilizations were invented contrapuntally by Orientalism, as the intelligence arm of colonialism, in order to match, balance and thus authenticate ‘The Western Civilization.’ All non-western civilizations were therefore invented exactly as such, as negational formulations of the western, thus authenticating the western. Hegel subjected all his preceding human history into civilizational stages leading to the Western Civilization, thus in effect infantilizing, Orientalizing, exoticizing and abnormalizing the entire human history…[11]

Footnotes: 

[1] https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/ferguson-an-essay-on-the-history-of-civil-society; Accessed in Russian in: Бенвенист Э. Цивилизация. К истории слова Civilization. Contribution a l’histoire du mot // Общая лингвистика. — М.: URSS, 2010.

[2] Norbert Elias, The Civilizing Process: Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), 5.

[3] Ibid, 6.

[4] Ibid, 7.

[5] Ibid, 33-34.

[6] Ibid, 34.

[7] Ibid, 43.

[8] The Russian translations reads “colonized and un-colonized”: Норберт Элиас. О процессе цивилизации. Изменения в обществе. Проект теории цивилизации. Т. 2. М.: Университетская книга, 2001. p. 256.

[9] Norbert Elias, The Civilizing Process: Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), 381.

[10] Реймон Арон. Избранное: Измерения исторического сознания. – М.: РОССПЭН, 2004. С. 97.

[11] Dabashi Hamid. For the last time: civilizations. Rethinking civilizational analysis// Intern. sociology – L., 2001. – Vol. 16, N3 (Special issue), P. 364.

Noomakhia: England or Britain? The Maritime Mission and Positive Subject

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

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TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Introduction: England – The Homeland of the “Modern World”

Part I: England or Britain?

Chapter 1: From Britain to England: Ethnoi and States

Chapter 2: Anglo-Britain in the Middle Ages: Two Churches

Chapter 3: The Norman Invasion and the House of Plantagenet: The Franco-English Epoch

Chapter 4: English Theology

Chapter 5: Knights, Damsels, and Fairies in the Anglo-British Lai

Chapter 6: The Reformation

Chapter 7: English Thought at the Foundation of the Paradigm of Modernity: Locke’s Heartland

Chapter 8: Dreams on the Eve of Modernity

Chapter 9; The Yates Paradigm

Chapter 10: Pax Britannica: The Mercantile-Maritime Empire

Chapter 11: In Love with the Mind and in Trust of Feelings

Chapter 12: The Romantics: Gods and Titans in the Meadows of Green England

Chapter 13: Liberalism: The Positive Individual Subject

Chapter 14: Realism and Irony

Chapter 15: The Subtle Charm of Decadence: Pre-Raphaelites, the Dandy, and Satanists

Chapter 16: The 20th Century: Historial and Empire

Chapter 17: English Positivity

Chapter 18: Imperialism, Tradition, and Utopia in English Literature

Chapter 19: The British Invasion

Chapter 20: Conclusion

Part II: The Celtic Pole

Chapter 21: The Celtic Pole of Anglo-British Civilization

Chapter 22: Wales: The Titanomachy of Trees

Chapter 23: Scotland: The Drowsy Titans

Chapter 24: Ireland

“Noomakhia: Geosophy, Horizons, and Civilizations”

Alexander Dugin, Noomachy: Wars of the Mind – Geosophy: Horizons and Civilizations (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017).

“A philosophical-methodological introduction and companion to the Noomachy cycle”

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS: 

Part I: The Basic Concepts of Geosophy

Chapter 1: Horizons of Cultures: the Geography of Logoi

Chapter 2: Deconstructing Eurocentrism

Chapter 3: Defining Civilization

Chapter 4: The Topography of Geosophy

Part II: Theories of Civilizations: Criteria, Concepts, Correspondences

Chapter 5: Proclus

Chapter 6: Joachim de Flore

Chapter 7: Giambattista Vico

Chapter 8: Johann Gottfried Herder

Chapter 9: Friedrich von Schelling

Chapter 10: Georg Hegel

Chapter 11: Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky

Chapter 12: Johann Bachofen

Chapter 13: Friedrich Ratzel

Chapter 14: Halford Mackinder

Chapter 15: Carl Schmitt

Chapter 16: Robert Graebner and Wilhelm Schmidt

Chapter 17: Moritz Lazarus, Wilhelm Wundt, and Alfred Vierkandt

Chapter 18: Franz Boas

Chapter 19: Oswald Spengler

Chapter 20: Richard Thurnwald

Chapter 21: Leo Frobenius

Chapter 22: Herman Wirth

Chapter 23: Marija Gimbutas

Chapter 24: Robert Graves

Chapter 25: Károly Kerényi

Chapter 26: Sigmund Freud

Chapter 27: Carl Gustav Jung

Chapter 28: Johan Huizinga

Chapter 29: René Guénon

Chapter 30: Julius Evola

Chapter 31: Mircea Eliade

Chapter 32: Ioan Culianu

Chapter 33: Georges Dumézil

Chapter 34: Pitirim Sorokin

Chapter 35: Gilbert Durand

Chapter 36: Nikolai Trubetzkoy

Chapter 37: Petr Savitsky

Chapter 38: Lev Gumilev

Chapter 39: Arnold Toynbee

Chapter 40: Fernand Braudel

Chapter 41: Samuel Huntington

Chapter 42: A Common Nomenclature of Basic Terminologies

Part III: Pluriversum: Geosophy and its Zones

Chapter 43: A Nomenclature of Horizons and Plans of Greater Noomachy

Chapter 44: The Logos of Europe: A History of Flight and Fall

Chapter 45: The Semitic Horizon

Chapter 46: The Horizons of the Two Americas

Chapter 47: The Eurasian Horizon

Chapter 48: The Iranian Logos

Chapter 49: The Indian Logos

Chapter 50: Chinese Civilization

Chapter 51: Japan and its Logos

Chapter 52: African Horizons

Chapter 53: Horizons of the Pacific

Conclusion

geosofiya

The Strength of the Weak

Author: Petr Petrovich Suvchinsky

Translators: Yulian Orlov and Jafe Arnold 

Source: Exodus to the East: Forebodings and Events: an Affirmation of the Eurasians (Sofia 1921), accessible in Russian here

What happens if one has not yet begun to be disturbed,
while another has already come up against a bolted door
and violently beaten his head against it?
The same fate awaits all men in their turn unless they walk in the saving road of humble communion with the people.

– Dostoevsky (Pushkin Speech) [1]

At the current time, an event of global importance is unfolding, the true essence and consequences of which are impenetrable even to the most perceptive. This event is the Russian Revolution, not in its socio-political meaning and importance, but rather in its national-metaphysical essence. As a manifestation of a socio-political order, it is most likely submissively flowing forth through the watercourse of revolutionary legitimacy. Its secret lies in its national and global sum.

The West, in trying to surround Russia with barriers, is not only afraid of the communist contagion. Europe has understood (albeit it unclearly and without confidence) or rather felt, the future result of the Russian Revolution and has already shuddered before it and, finally, taken defensive measures. She has understood that this result is defined not by the revolutionary energy of Russian communism, but by the historical predestination of the entire Russian people. She has understood that before the eyes of the world a former European province is rising up and growing in strength; a province that will unavoidably have to engage in combat, a province that will strike first, without even waiting for a lofty challenge, and engage itself in a war of reproof, reproach, and rage against its recent and apparently eternal parent state.

Russia has been a great power and has never been a state [2]. The state habits of every people is determined resultant state consciousness of all individuals that compose it. This great-power essence is the predestined potential of the authority, scope, and overflow of the entire essence of a people. It is the subconscious feeling of power, the fateful weight of the entire mass of the people, a mass that dislodges and moves the environment that surrounds it. It is involuntary self-confirmation, the droit sacré of one’s own being. The great-power essence sometimes arrogantly sprouts up, and sometimes weakens, disintegrates, thereby transforming the apparently strong flesh of the state into a crumbling, weak, collapsing human substance. Sometimes, the gift of the great-power essence coincides with developed aptitudes for the building of a state; sometimes, however, they are mutually exclusive… 

The glory of Russia is not consciously dependent on the governmental capabilities of her people. The glory is that Russia has been blindly endowed with its great-power essence. It is by this essence that the entire history of the Russian popular collective has been determined, the Russian person is fully subordinate to it, the traits of the Russian soul and will are contingent on it, and, to be more precise, even the character of the mass flows forth from the character of the person. Similar to the ebb and flow of the great-power essence of the Russian state collective, the Russian person is on the path to spiritual ascension, on the path of a vital test, all the while wavering, reeling between rise and fall, ascending and stalling. Ascension astounds with its rising force, as if an unseen hand extends from heaven and swoops it up. Stalling is always horrific through the void of the fall, through the loss of the Image of God.

And then humility and obedience border on servility, cowardliness, the dirty feeling of personal lostness: at times, bravery turns into insanity, yielding pride. In this wavering lies the law of the history of the Russian people, as does the law of the life of every individual person of the Russian people. In this interchange of exaltation and humiliation the popular [3], elemental Russia lived, at times limitlessly like a great power, at times powerless and enslaved when the mysterious forces of popular effort and elasticity suddenly dried up, ran out, were pushed together like the gigantic wings of a frightened bird.

The Russian intelligentsia has long accustomed to interpreting European culture not on an equal footing, but by seeing it as superior, obligatory, exclusive, and right. This servility and submission are undoubtedly rooted in the very essence of the Russian nature: if one acknowledges oneself as unequal, allows someone’s superiority to take hold over one, then it is necessary to submit, acquiesce, cowardly rejecting one’s own. This is a kind of servility, even a form of self-betrayal. In relation to other peoples, elemental Russia was either like a great power i.e. dominant, or spasmodically compressed herself, collapsing, involuntarily submitting, surrendering, while simultaneously hiding her covenants in the depths of the popular soul…  

Pan-human ideas are reflected by different peoples in the forms of diverse cultures. By developing within herself the genius of pan-human ideal capacity, the Russian intelligentsia actually combined, absorbed within its conscious all varieties of alien European cultures up to the level of total congeniality, thereby harming the self-discovery and affirmation of Russia’s own culture. As a result of this, the Russian intelligentsia was internationally enlightened, but de-personalised.

A specific “intelligentsia” does not, of course, deplete Russia as a great whole. In the manifestations of dominant great-power essence and in creative work, she guards examples of a unique, exclusive, and true national will as a valuable property.

In our days, in an era of the greatest tragedy of the decline, the paralysis of the sovereign forces and will of the Russian people, in an era where the whole concentration of Russian statehood [4] has weakened and become blurred, and thereby its internal interrelationships must be born anew and structured, the popular element has unconsciously yet powerfully begun a persecution of revenge and reproof against its conscious/responsible part, when it could not provide the people during a time of tribulation with a familiar, comprehensible, popular, national culture. We cannot say that the entire intelligentsia has been banished; however, we can confidently state that, with small exceptions, only the intelligentsia has been banished.

Through the medium of this banishment an awesome judgement has been passed on that form of the reception of Western culture that was seen as the Russian consciousness from the times of Peter [5] as immutable and true. As much as the creative, prophetic genius of Russia is free and unique, in equal measure is it accommodating and assimilative, and this genius revealed itself in all its shyness and submissive conditionality. The intelligentsia finds itself atomised all over the world. Simultaneously, the popular element is once again acquiring its mysterious, great-power forces through torturous battles and passions, forces that will sooner or later spread it out, pour it out into its former glory and strength. The Russian intelligentsia, which has for the first time been confronted face to face, person to person with the civilised peoples of the world must thereby, finally, deservedly self-assess its capabilities, most importantly its national, popular roots and begin to experience the redemptive process of belated self-discovery and self-confirmation. Only in this forceful, virtual contraposition, not from the “beautiful far-away” or the process of blind adoption has the Russian intelligentsia really felt the line that has been drawn between it and its spiritual idol of yesterday. It has understood and remorsefully shuddered as its own has turned out to be too invaluable and precious,  and the foreign too obsolete and poor. Powerless and banished, the intelligentsia has begun its rebirth and, if it does not interrupt this process, then in the near future it will regain its true strengths and rights. The people gather their strength in collective struggle, while the intelligentsia(s) in the experience of personality. At this moment they are enemies, as in its thirst for self-identification and liberation from alien forms of thought and life, the people placed the intelligentsia on the side of its European enemies; however, it would be a great mistake to think that the Russian people is fighting Europe and the intelligentsia with the sword of communism. On the contrary: communism is the final likeness that the intelligentsia has taken in its fanatical defence of the principle of equalisation and universality.

Having banished its false ideological leaders in a burst of hatred, in its search for conscious truth, the Russian people has followed its usual submissiveness put its fate in the hands of another, subjected itself to slavery once again, to the dictatorship of that very same intelligentsia that had ruled to that very moment until the revolution had actually manifested and did not reside anymore in the realm of fanatical will. The unaccountable, rebellious forces of the intelligentsia, selected in a blind drive towards global socialist ideas, have focused a terrifying, painful energy into the unhealthy, overheated atmosphere of the emigre community and the underground. This will is  fiery, merciless, vengeful, without any restraint; it has now grabbed the popular masses, which have lost their star, in its grasp. However, its guiding truth is alien and hateful towards the true Russia as much as its predecessor; after all, the Bolshevik international is but a volitional consequence of the cosmopolitan errors and temptations of the godless, sinful spirit of the Russian intelligentsia – sinful, because the dream of the global and true cannot be righteous outside of the Church. All will understand this sooner or later, after which the volitional (final?) dictatorship of the intelligentsia will be wiped out with the very same elemental fury. Then the great covenant of Russia will be fulfilled, her prophetic mystery will come into being: the wisened and calmed people and the enlightened intelligentsia will, reconciled, unite under the single great and all-solving cupola of the Orthodox Church

Translator’s notes:

[1]: The full speech is accessible in English here.

[2]: That is to say, Russia has never been a state in the European, Westphalian sense of the word.

[3]: The Russian term народ has no direct equivalent in English. It corresponds best to the German term Volk, which has a limited analogue in English folk or “the people”.

[4]: As has been noted above, this does not mean that Russia is a European state; rather, this is a reference to the loss of Russia’s territorial integrity and great-power essence.

[5]: Peter the Great.  

Thinking Chaos and the “Other Beginning” of Philosophy

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Yulian Orlov

From Platonizm.ru 

Chaos was not part of the context of Greek philosophy. Greek philosophy was built exclusively as a philosophy of the Logos, and to us such a state of affairs is so normal, that we (probably correctly from a historical point of view) identify philosophy with the Logos. We do not know any other philosophy, and, in principle, if we are to believe Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger along with contemporary postmodernist philosophy, we will have to acknowledge that the very philosophy which was discovered by the Greeks and built up around the Logos has today fully exhausted its contents. It incarnated itself in techne, in the subject-object topography that turned out to be evidentiary for only two or three centuries until the final, sunset note of West-European philosophy. As a matter of fact, today we are standing on the line or endpoint of this philosophy of the Logos.

Today, we can glimpse the entire process of the evolution of logocentric philosophy that began with Heraclitus and the Pre-Socratics, reached its apogee in Platonism and Socrates, was developed fairly violently in Greco-Latin patristics and later in Scholasticism and the Neoplatonic Renaissance and, in the New Era, turned together with Descartes through the subject-object topography onto its last- self-reflective stage that, in turn, ended with Nietzsche.  According to Heidegger, it was precisely Nietzsche who ended West-European philosophy. Thus, we have before us a finished story with a beginning, climax, and end, all about logocentric culture. The Logos, from cradle to grave. But then we have to ask ourselves: who was Heidegger?

On the one hand, Heidegger definitely ends this process of Western philosophy and puts down the final seal, but on the other hand he (potentially) lays the foundations of something new. The end of philosophy is absolutely clear, but the question about the “other Beginning” (der andere Anfang) remains open.

It is totally clear that West-European philosophy, being logocentric, has exhausted its potential. However, we have to ask ourselves the question: what role did chaos play in this logocentric philosophy? It was rejected from the very beginning, left out of account, crossed out, because the Logos is based on the exclusion of chaos, on the affirmation of there being a hard alternative to it. What is the fundamental difference between logos and chaos? The Logos is exclusivity, the Logos is separation, the Logos is a clear idea about the one and the other; it is not by random chance that the Logos received its formalised form in the logic of Aristotle, in its fundamental laws: the law of identity, the law of negation and the law of the excluded third. It is necessary to emphasise that modern and post-modern studies entirely correctly show, that the logocentric understanding of the world is masculinoid, i.e. exclusively male, exclusivist [1]. It is this way, in an explosive manner, that men think of the world and order. The Logos is a male, hierarchised beginning that was simplified in West-European philosophy, reached its high point, and… collapsed, was cast down, dissipated. Today, the “great man”, the “cosmic man” has been shattered into fragments. He collapsed, and together with him his philosophy crumbled, as the Logos and the male beginning are, as a matter of fact, the very same thing. This is where the rightness of the postmodernist, critical term “phallo-logocentrism” comes from. The entire West-European philosophy was built on the male principle from beginning to end. This end is here. We are living through it. This means that the Logos is exhausted. Therefore, we must either meekly slip into the night, or search for new paths.

If we review this process of the appearance, establishment, and downfall of Western European philosophy and the appearance of the Logos in a pure form, consequently, as demasculinisation continues (according to Plato, only the philosopher is a true man; in other words, a man is he who philosophises; therefore, today we can speak of a sweeping degeneration and spiritual castration of men, as they are no longer capable of engaging in philosophy) and the Logos falls, we see before us an image of mixing: dissipated fragments of male logical thought are turbulently mixing amongst each other, thereby forming a post-masculinist amalgamate. It is precisely to this mixing, this phenomenon of the turbulence of parts that are no longer part of something whole that is indicated by those who use the concept of “chaos” in modern science.

Here, we must immediately say that the chaos with which modern science, modern physics, and chaos theory operate is actually a set of structures of order that is more complex. This is nothing else than complex systems that are not at all alternatives to order as such, but are just an extravagant, baroque (here, too, the ideas of postmodernist G. Deleuze from his essay “The Fold: Leibnitz and the Baroque” are valuable) version of a complexified, twisted and significantly perverted order. That was is today called “chaos” by representatives of the scientific and, in part, the cultural establishment is the condition of the post-logical world, a world that is still located, however, within the Logos, inside its orbit, albeit at the most distant periphery, at its last border. A very precise name for such a state of affairs has been given by René Guénon, who called this situation “la confusion” (Fr. “mixing”, “tangle”, “everything getting caught in everything else”.

The concept of “chaos” that is dominant in modern science does not correspond at all to the Greek chaos as something primordial, organic, and spontaneous, but as the product of the collapse of logocentric philosophy and the logocentric culture that was based on it. The fact that we are today dealing with an alleged “chaos” actually refers to the product of the Logos’s collapse and separation into different fragments. It is precisely for this reason that scholars of “chaos” find within it residual or extravagant, eccentric structures of the Logos. These can be studied and quantified only in more complex procedures and with the help of a special device that has been adapted for the quantifying and description of bifurcational processes, non-integrated equations (I. Prigozhin), and fractals (B. Mandelbrot). The theory of “chaos” studies process that are exceptionally dependent on initial conditions. The definition of “chaos” in modern science is today taken to be the following: a dynamic system with the following traits: sensitivity to initial conditions, topological mixing, and the density of periodical orbits. Mathematicians further specify, that a “chaotic system should have non-linear characteristics and be globally stable, but also have at least one unstable point of equilibrium of oscillating type; in addition, the dimensions of the system should be no less than 1,5 (i.e. the order of a differential equation should be no less than 3)” [3].

Actually, it is not the Greek chaos at all that is hinted at in this concept of “chaos”, but a product of the dispersion and disintegration of the Logos. This is so because we have not yet left the bounds of the Logos: the chaos that modern science deals with is integrated into the Logos, it splashes around within its inner space (albeit at the most extreme orbit), as far away as possible from the logocentric axis, in the furthest borderland of the conceptual Platonic cosmos, in the world of the Titans [4]. Therefore, we must, strictly speaking, call this reality a “very remote copy” that has nearly lost its link to the original; we must not in any case, however, call it “chaos”. Here, either the term “mixing” (Guénon’s “la confusion”) is most appropriate or the postmodern concept of the “simulacrum”, which J. Baudrillard interprets as a “copy without an original”. This is an intralogical zone (albeit at a maximum distance from the centre) that has nothing in common with the initial image of Greek chaos, which, according to myth, precedes the Logos, precedes order, i.e. the cosmos. True chaos is pre-cosmic, pre-ontological. The “mixing” or “chaos” of modern science is post-cosmic, and although almost nothing of being remains within it, it still is, which means that it is in some sense ontological. Here, Zeno’s aporia on the quick Achilles and the turtle is entirely relevant. No matter how much the “mixing” might try to run from ontology, it is analytically incapable of doing so; as René Guénon shows, a line x moving towards 0 will never be equal to 0, but will only continually approach 0 while always remaining at an ever diminishing but still infinitely great (although it is infinitely small) distance from it. 

While researching “chaos” (the philosophical Gilles Deleuze describes this as a way of coexistence for incompatible monads [6]; Deleuze himself calls such “monads” “nomads”), modern science is researching the intra-logos, post-logos, dissipative order, instead of an alternative to order, as the nihilistically minded postmodernists had hoped. 

Here, it is important to pay attention to the concept of “nothing”. The Logos draws everything into itself and accords to everything the quality of self-identification with itself, i.e. with the Logos. The Logos is everything and draws everything into itself, with the exception of that which it is not; but that which it is not is nothing, the Logos excludes everything that it does not include, and, as it includes everything, only nothing remains outside of it. However, it interacts harshly with this nothing: according to Parmenides, there is no non-being. Nothing surrounds order and serves as a boundary. As we are looking at nothing through the eyes of the Logos, however, it becomes clear that we cannot reach that boundary. However hard we might strive to words nothing, whatever nihilism we might cultivate, we keep remaining in the limits of something and not nothing, inside of order, under the hegemony of the Logos. And even though this hegemony weakens at its extreme limit, it never entirely disappears. Therefore, on the road towards liberation from the power and domination, the modernists (and the postmodernists after them) find the figure of the “despot” in God and traditional society, in society as such, later in reason, even later in man himself, structures, language, context (poststructuralism) etc. The condition that there is no non-being makes being unbearable for those who consider its weight to be a hindrance. All evocations of “chaos” or calls to “nomadic”, incompatible monads that are incapable of providing the desired result, i.e. the final and irreversible uprooting of the “will to power”, which is the main aim of the liberating program of the Enlightenment cannot and will not succeed by its very definition.

Those who understand the situation of the deep crisis of Modernity (in particular Martin Heidegger) turn to the roots of the West, to the Greek matrix that birthed philosophy. Heidegger meticulously studies the birth of the Logos and tracks its faith, all the way up to the rule of technics, Machenschaft. In order to describe it, he introduces the concept of “Gestell”, in which the referential theory of truth itself is summed up, from Plato (and even from Heraclitus) up to the mechanical mercantile-materialistic civilisation of modern, utmost planetary (but continuously Western-centric) decadence. Having examined the history of philosophy (which also is history as such) from beginning to end, Heidegger finds that it ended so wrongly precisely because it begun so incorrectly. As an alternative, he proposes the project of the “other Beginning” [7].

Having described the first Beginning of philosophy, which led to the logos and, finally, to that dissipative postlogos (and post-masculine) ontological regime that we find ourselves in, Heidegger identifies it as the consequence of a fundamental error that was made in the first, even preparatory stages of the development of West-European philosophy. According to his views, the history of Western European philosophy, culture, and religion is the result of a small, primordial fault in our metaphysical contemplation. According to Heidegger, two-and-a-half thousand years of human history were in vain, seeing as at the very beginning, somewhere in the area of the first formulations of the Logos’ status, a certain error was accidentally allowed to sneak in, an error that, as Heidegger puts it, must first be acknowledged and then be overcome. Thus develops his idea of the two Beginnings of philosophy: the first Beginning, which began, formed, developed, flourished, and eventually degraded and has now become nothing (let us at least remember the modern nihilism that was discovered by F. Nietzsche and magnificently examined by Heidegger), and the other Beginning, which could be found as far back as the roots of philosophy (but this did not happen, and we can see the result: the Logos and its defeat), but, in any case, it should be delineated and initiated now, while everything is clear. But this beginning will begin only when everything truly becomes clear. Everything became clear to Heidegger. The rest is experiencing a “delay”, everything is “still not clear”, noch nicht[8], the eternal “still not”. The other Beginning — der andere Anfang.

If we examine in detail what Heidegger means by the “other Beginning” (the alternative, potential Beginning that has not yet formed or come to pass), and if we trace the line of the grandiose deconstruction of the Logos that he has undertaken, we will be able to view the entirety of West-European philosophy, culture, and history, including religious history; after all, religion is nothing other than the development of constructions of the Logos (which is why Heidegger speaks of “theologica”: the Christian faith, as well as the Muslim kalam and theological Judaism are founded upon the Logos, and, in principle, we know of no other monotheistic religions but for those religions of the Logos). The logocentrism of religions is a very important thing to understand: it shows, that it is futile to turn to religion when searching for an alternative or protection from the downfall of the Logos. The crisis of modern religions is the crisis of the Logos; when the Logos collapses, its entire vertical structure and all its variations (including theological ones) fall with it. This is interrelated: monotheism loses its fascinativeness as the attraction of the Logos weakens, and vice versa. Religions without the Logos cease to be themselves. But even in the case where the Logos is present within them, it will be as a phantom pain, a “confusion”, as the vanity of desemantisised structures (which is what we are seeing today in the form of the dubious phenomenon of a “religious renaissance”, which unambiguously smacks of a simulacrum and a parody).

For this reason, Heidegger proposed to look for an exit in a completely different way: in the sources of Greek philosophy, in the very Beginning (even in the vestibule of this Beginning) on the one hand, and beyond the boundaries of our world on the other, thereby uniting the problem of the moment of philosophy’s birth, its existence in an embryonic, intrauterine state with the problem of the moment of final agony and death. Before Heraclitus, philosophy was located in the uterus, the Logos “swam” in amniotic fluid, in a matrix: today, the Logos is buried in its grave. The grave and the womb have, on the one hand, the meaning of an antithesis: the first signifies death, the second birth; however, at the same time we know, that in the collective unconscious they are synonyms, mutual systems. One can figuratively say, that in both cases it is a night, darkness, existence without distinction, erasure of borders, nocturne [9], all the more so because many intiatic rituals are linked to a descent into the grave as well as the beginning of resurrection, i.e. another, second birth. This is also the rite of Orthodox baptism: water symbolises the earth, the grave, death. The total, three-time immersion of the baptised into the baptistery is a symbol of the three days Christ spent in the grave. It is a descent into the earth, into the grave: the “burial of Christ” is a prerequisite for a new birth.

Thus, if the Logos was born in the first Beginning of Greek philosophy through the rejection of Chaos as an exclusive, central principle of division, hierarchy, exception, and order; that is to say, the male beginning was essentially raised to the level of the absolute; and if all of this began the way it did, and if everything ended with what we have in the modern world, then, accordingly, we must follow Heidegger in finding what was lost, what the mistake of that first impetus, which started the development of a logocentric civilisation, was. Heidegger develops his vision in recapitulative and exceptionally complex book “Beitrage zur Philosophie” [10], which I recommend all readers to familiarise themselves with (the work has not been translated, and I would say that this is excellent; it cannot be translated, and there are things that are not just difficult to translate, but which are criminal to translate, things that require the original language to be learned to be understood). The book directly deals with the “other Beginning”; contrariwise, we find a short and relatively “light” treatment of these ideas in the “Geschichte des Seyns” [11].

Heidegger proposes us to think in a radically different way from the one that is usual in philosophical or philosophical-religious thought. But how is it possible to philosophise differently, how can there be a “different Beginning” of philosophy? If we take a close, detailed look at the moment of the birth of Greek philosophy, we will find a single, essential element: philosophy is born alongside exclusion; what is more, it is Chaos that is the first victim of exclusion. Chaos is not a philosophical concept and never was one, but it enters philosophy exclusively through its intermediary, through its substitute in the person of the choir (cora), Platonic “space” in the “Timaeus”, or later in the person of Aristotle’s “matter” (ulh). However, the view of the choir in the “Timaeus” and the view of Aristotle’s matter is the view of the Logos [12], and all the Logos says it that it has already excluded Chaos during the process of its ascension in a similar fashion to “political propaganda” or a “press release”. What the Logos tells us about matter is an exclusively constructivist Wille zur Macht, the “will to power”, a development of an impassioned and aggressive strategy of male domination, the establishment of hierarchic hegemony, the projection of wishful thinking and self-fulfilling prophecy. From the very beginning of philosophy, the “dog was wagged”. Philosophy tries to force unto us that, which is favourable to itself. This is the hiding place of male cunning, the male drive to the absolutisation of the self, and, accordingly, the exclusion of the female beginning, the “other” beginning. And, if we examine this, we can recognise the total incomprehension of the woman. This is the source of woman being accorded qualities that, in reality, she does not have at all. Thus, the male forms between itself that which is excluded by the male from the intellective process. The Logos rejects the choir because of its (un)intelligibility. However, it does not understand it purely because it does not want to understand and prefers to deal with a representation instead of the female itself. The man thinks, that the only way of knowing the woman is to hide her in inner rooms, separate her from the public, social dimension. Later, he thinks a suitable solution is to chase the female away entirely, etching way her traces through the suffering of lonely male asceticism. Therefore, the opinion of the Logos about chaos is a notorious lie, violence, hegemony, the exclusion of chaos as the other. As the Logos is everything, chaos becomes nothing [13].

If we want to comprehend the very possibility of an “other Beginning” of philosophy, on the one hand, we must come to the moment of the birth of the Logos and fix this transition of the boundary, discern the details and semantics of this rite du passage. How could it have come to pass that the Logos managed to break loose, unbind itself, and who allowed it to issue its own, exclusive decrees concerning chaos? Now we come to the most interesting: if we feel discontent with the dissipative logical and postlogical structures, we must acknowledge, that we must turn to the Logos again, seeing as it was the Logos that created all the prerequisites of its dissipation through its exclusivity. We cannot simply up and return to Platonism: there is no way back. The Logos moves only in one direction: it divides and divides (and divides and divides… and so on into the distance [14]). Gilbert Durand [15] call this logic the regime of the “diurn”: until everything is reduced to a chit and stops. This schizomorphosis [16] directly leads to G. Deleuze and F. Guattari’s concept of “schizomass” [17]. This has been beautifully illustrated in the films of Takeshi Miike, for example, in “Killer Ichi” or “Izo”. In the latter film, an insane samurai, having begun his battle with the world, does not stop until he has cut everyone he encounters into pieces. Izo is the Logos.

The Logos will not help us. If we do not like how the modern, postlogical world is organised, we are forced (if we like it or not) to turn to chaos. We have no other alternative: we must fundamentally step backward towards the first Beginning of Greek culture, in order to make even the smallest step forward, truly forward, and not following the endless arc of the eternally ending world, that is still not capable of finally ending (“still not”). If we do not do this, we will reach the eternal deadlock of the infinite return of dissipative structures and confusions. This is the choice we must make: either we choose the modern, postlogical chaos of confusions, or we break through its boundaries; but the way to break through its boundaries can be found only in chaos, which itself precedes the Logos and is located radically beyond its borders, behind the line of its peripheral agony. 

Chaos can and should be seen as an inclusive order, as an order founded upon a principle that is opposite to the Logos; that is to say, the principle of inclusivity, inclusiveness. Therefore, it is very important to understand what inclusiveness means. Once we have comprehended this term, we will know if it is at all possible to build a philosophy of chaos, that is, a philosophy of the “other Beginning”.

If we see chaos the way it is seen by logocentric models, we will get nowhere. There is nothing logical (exclusive, masculine, no Wille zur Macht) in chaos, and this means, that it becomes ouk on (Greek: “pure non-being”), French “rien”, Spanish “nada” to the Logos and Onto-Logos. – ouk on and not mhon, as the Greeks called the non-being that is capable of producing something from itself, “pregnant non-being”). As the Logos will not see anything except itself, according to the principle of Aristotelian logic, we cannot juxtapose anything to it: either A is equal to A (and, in this case, we find ourselves within logical boundaries) or A is not equal to A; now we are outside of those borders, in nothing. According to Aristotle, the latter situation means that A simply does not exist; the A that was not equal to A does not exist. This is in contrast to, for example, the view of the Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida, who has, in contrast to Aristotle, developed a separate logic of spaces, “basho”, founded upon Zen Buddhist models of thought.

However, outside of the Logos and its hypnotic suggestion, it is entirely possible to conceptualise chaos as a principle of absolute inclusion or an inclusive philosophy. Why is this possible? Because, if we extract ourselves from the political propaganda of the Logos (under the conditions of which we have been living for two and a half thousand years), we will be able to see chaos as it presents itself, and not the way the Logos presents it. Chaos reveals itself as the inclusive, it carries within itself all possibilities, including the possibility of exclusion, right up to the exclusion of the self. Naturally, chaos contains the Logos as it thinks itself, like a seed in a woman’s uterus: it is and it is being born, it will most definitely be born, tear away, mature, and leave: however, something more important is left out of the picture: that which allows it to live, that which produces, nurtures, and feeds it.

The Logos can be seen as a fish swimming in the waters of chaos. Without this water, thrown onto the surface, the fish chokes, and this is, actually, how the structures of the Logos “croaked”. We are dealing with nothing but its dissipative remains. These are the bones of the fish that has hurled itself onto the shore. It is not by chance, that many speak of the symbolism of Aquarius as the new water, without which the old fish could not live.

The philosophy of chaos is possible because chaos, being all-inclusive, all-encompassing, and the antecedent of any exclusion, contains this very exclusion within itself, but carries a different relation to it and itself, as well as differing from the way exclusion itself (i.e. the Logos) relates to chaos and itself. We know only one view of chaos: the philosophical view from the position of the Logos, and if we want to look at the Logos from the point of view of chaos, we are told that this is impossible, seeing as we are used to examining chaos only from the point of view of the Logos. It is thought, that only the Logos is capable of seeing, and that chaos is blind. No, this is not true, chaos has a thousand eyes, it is “panoptic”. Chaos sees itself as that which contains the Logos, which means that the Logos is located within chaos and can always be within it. However, while containing the Logos within itself, chaos contains it in a totally different way the Logos contains itself, which it does by rejecting the fact that it is contained by anything (whatever that container may be) except itself, and, accordingly, placing chaos out of its view, equating it to nothing, rejecting it. Thus, the fish, recognising itself as something different from the water surrounding it, can come to the conclusion that it no longer needs the water and jumps onto the shore. However one might try to throw the stupid fish back, it will try to jump time and time again. They called this insane fish “Aristotle”.

But water is the beginning of everything. It contains the root of other elements and other creatures. It contains that which it is and that which it is not. It includes that which acknowledges the abovementioned fact, but also that which does not.

We can draw the following conclusion: first, a philosophy of Chaos is possible, and second, salvation through the Logos is impossible: the salvation of the Logos is only possible through a correct turn towards chaos.

Chaos is not just “old”, it is always “new”, because eternity is always new: the eternity (l’éternité) that Rimbaud found again (a retrouvé) – c’est la mer allée avec le soleil. Pay attention: la mer. Chaos is the newest, the freshest, the most fashionable, the latest from the current season’s collection (Il faut être absolument moderne. Point de cantiques : tenir le pas gagné) (1). Precisely for the reason that it is absolutely eternal: time ages extremely quickly, yesterday appears archaic (there is nothing more ancient than the “news” of a month old newspaper), only eternity is always absolutely new. Therefore, the discovery of chaos does not equate to an excavation of history or of the structures that are presented to us as conquered by historical time; no, it is an encounter with the eternally young. Chaos was not sometime earlier or before. Chaos is here and now. Chaos is not that what was, as the Logos propagandises. Chaos is that what is, and that what will be.

In conclusion, we return once more to Heidegger. To reach the truth of being (Wahrheit des Seyns) is possible only in two moments of history: in the Beginning, when philosophy is about to be born, and in the End, when the disappearance, the liquidation of philosophy takes place. Of course, individual personalities could reach the truth in different stages as well; however, they could do this, but they could also be satisfied with something else: they lived in the magic of the Logos, warming themselves in the rays of the solar seed.

Today, this is the only thing we have left, all the rest has been bled dry, and to satisfy ourselves with dissolution in an endlessly ending but incapable of truly ending world, in the “not yet” is the fate of nonentities. Apart from this, doing this in our time is easier than it ever was before. You and I, dear reader, are living in extraordinary times, in which we are presented with an entirely unexpected opportunity to directly encounter chaos. This is not an experience for the weak minded. After all, our task is the construction of a philosophy of chaos.

Footnotes: 

[1] See the problem of the “diurn” in the topography of G. Durand’s imaginative structures. Dugin A. G. Sociology of the Imagination. Moscow:Akademichesky Proekt, 2010.

[2] Deleuze, G. The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. Moscow: Izdatelstvo Logos, 1997.

[3] Gutzwiller Martin. Chaos in Classical and Quantum Mechanics. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1990.

[4] See Proclus. Commentaire sur le Timee. Par A.J.Festugiere. t. I. P.:Vrin, 1966.

[5] Guenon René. Les principes du calcul infinitésimal. Paris, Gallimard, 1946.

[6] Deleuze, G. The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque.

[7] Dugin A. Martin Heidegger. The Philosophy of Another Beginning. Moscow: Akademichesky Proekt, 2010.

[8] Heidegger M. Sein und Zeit. Erstes Kapitel §§ 46–53. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1952.

[9] Dugin A. G. Sociology of the Imagination.

[10] Heidegger M. Beiträge zur Philosophie. Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 2003.

[11] Heidegger M. Geschichte des Seyns. Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1998

[12] Dugin A. Martin Heidegger. The Possibility of Russian Philosophy. Moscow: Akademichesky Proekt, 2011.

[13] Ibidem.

[14] On “diarhysis” and the structure of the “diurn”, which are distinct features of the Logos’ work, see Dugin A. Sociology of the Imagination..

[15] Durand G. Les Structures anthropologiques de l’imaginaire, Paris: P.U.F., 1960.

[16]  Ibidem.

[17] Deleuze, G., Guattari F. Anti-Oedipus. Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Yekaterinburg: U-Faktoriya, 2007.

Translator’s note:

(1): One must be absolutely modern. Never mind hymns of thanksgiving: hold on to a step once taken.

Deconstructing the “Contemporal Moment”: New Horizons in the History of Philosophy

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Chapter 1 of Noomakhia: Voiny Uma – Tri Logosa: Apollon, Dionis, Kibela (Noomakhia: Wars of the Mind – Three Logoi: Apollo, Dionysus, Cybele) (Moscow: Akademicheskii Proekt, 2014).

 

The contemporal moment: destruction/deconstruction

It is obvious that the history of philosophy must be studied by determining a starting point beforehand. It seems a matter of course that we would automatically take such to be the contemporal moment. The contemporal moment means the “here and now”, hic et nunc. This moment acts as our starting position, as our “observatory point” from which we can survey philosophy as the history of philosophy. The history of philosophy thus unfolds in our direction, towards us. This concerns both time and place: philosophy is historically situated between its “sources” (for example, the pre-Socratics) and the situation in the 21st century (in its philosophical self-reflection). As a rule, this temporal vector is more or less reflexive, hence why the main (axial) discipline in all sectors of philosophy is the history of philosophy. By virtue of fixating on this historico-philosophical vector, we acquire the possibility to be involved in this process, to consolidate our own position as that of a “philosopher” in a historico-philosophical structure. This is the nunc, the “now”, the temporal sector in which our thinking is placed, if it wants to be “philosophical.”

Hence follows the rather important conclusion that was fully drawn between Heideigger and his call for “phenomenological destruction” in Sein und Zeit [1], and Jacques Derrida who developed this thesis into the methodology of “deconstruction” [2]. The history of philosophy, according to Heidegger, is tethered in his case to ontology, to the question of being, and, thereby being an onto-history, Seynsgeshichtliche, is a continuity of stages at each of which the question of being is treated uniquely. As follows, the history of philosophy is a logical structure or a series of logical structures which can be more or less described in ontological terms which in turn determine the place and significance of a philosophy or philosophical school in the overall historico-philosophical process. Determining a philosopher or school’s place in this continuity, which has strict temporal and cultural frameworks (from the pre-Socratics to Nietzsche to Heidegger himself), is equivalent to correctly understanding their philosophy and, accordingly, allows for the meaning of such to be revealed. This is ontological destruction – the placement of a philosopher or philosophical tendency through the revelation of the fundamental paradigm of their ontological positions (often hidden, veiled, or implicit) in a strictly notional sequence: 

The First Beginning (pre-Socratics) -> The End of the First Beginning (Plato and Aristotle) -> the middle – the Middle Ages (Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, etc.) -> The Beginning of the End – New Time (modernity – Descartes, Leibniz, and up to Kant) -> The End of the End (Hegel and Nietzsche).

Destruction is the placement of a philosopher into this sequence in order to reveal his place in the history of philosophy, and thus the meaning of his philosophizing.

For Jacques Derrida, the history of philosophy is a text, the structure of which is determined by the intersections of semantic lines. This is a view which more or less repeats, albeit in nuanced and detailed form, Heidegger’s axial construction. Thus, for both Heidegger and Derrida, it is important to place a philosopher in the context in which the semantics of his constructs are found to represent quotations, polemics, or the overturning or reproduction of the discourses that are at disposal before and around him in the “grammatological fabric.” In this case, deconstruction is the attentive inspection of this fabric’s patterns, in which any “authorship” is conceived as no more than a locus of quotations compiled in an ordered manner. Philosophy, thus, is one field of connotation, and its history comprises changes in the predominant connotative matrices and interpretive algorithms. Between Heidegger and Derrida, we can place Michel Foucault and his epistemology.

Of course, such hermeneutical models of the history of philosophy distinctly crystallized around the end of the 20th century. In the 21st century, and earlier, the “contemporal moment” was described in other terms. For Kant, it was paired with the revelation of the the structures of “transcendental reason”, for Hegel such was the “end of history” and the “objective spirit.” For Nietzsche, there was the maximization of the will to power in the figure of the Übermensch. In Marx, there was the horizon of the world proletarian revolution. In all cases, philosophy has been conceived exclusively as a teleological process – whether by those who have tried to give this teleology fixed forms, or those who, on the contrary, have understood history as the accumulation of a “quantity” of individual freedom (Stirner, Bergson or von Hayek/Popper).

For all of these teleologies – both the naive ones of the 19th century and those 20th century theories based on critical reflection, structuralism, and phenomenological corrections (as well as the philosophy of language and psychoanalysis) – the “contemporal moment” serves as an “observatory point”, and he who stands at this observatory point and has considered the content of the moment itself and its structures (no matter who this “someone” might be – the subject, Dasein, a rhizome, a deciphering system, a “body without organs”, a hermeneutic) is the key to the history of philosophy capable of interpreting it in relation to themselves. This is very important, since in such a perspective any preceding “contemporal moment” is conceived as a “preliminary”, “unfinished”, “incomplete” one compared to the current contemporal moment and, as follows, the nunc cannot be adequately described prius, as it does not convert into the past the “contemporality” of the present. In a certain sense, this is history as such, and the history of philosophy is the philosophical conceptualization of its structure.

The French philosopher Henry Corbin used the neologism historial in order to translate the meaning of Heidegger’s expression Seynsgeshichtliche (“onto-historical”) into French. The historial is the structure of the “contemporal moment” which predetermines its content as a teleological vector whose tip points to the nunc and presumes its beginning in the embryonic formation of the Logos.

In one way or another, any attempt to conceptualize the moments in the history of philosophy (of individual philosophers or their schools) beyond the historial, i.e., without deconstruction taking into account such explicit and convincing reflections (phenomenology, Heidegger, Post-Modernity), will look not simply naive, but ludicrous. In the context of the historial, any attempt to read Plato or Hegel outside of their notional sequence, which was in one way or another noted by philosophers in the last quarter of the 20th century, would mean falling into the self-deceit of unreflexive and unstructured quoting with a guaranteed loss of semantic links. If a reading of this or that philosopher does not flow in the context of this historico-philosophical grille de la lecture, i.e., without a thorough review of this observatory point where it is situated – or, in other words, on the other end of destruction/deconstruction operations – then nonsense is guaranteed. Not a single expression, not a single review, not a single intellectual procedure stands a chance at being correctly conceptualized, and instead of philosophy and the history of philosophy, we are left with the “white noise” of gloomy cognition, a simulacrum of thinking.

This is first and foremost the case with the nunc, the historial, or the temporal aspect of philosophy. The matter stands somewhat differently with the spatial aspect, the hic.

The topos of the present: the West as a spatial telos

The contemporal moment is situated not only in a temporal sequence, but also in space, on a scale of synchronic territory. If modern philosophy has devoted enormous, if not all of its attention to the first aspect of the contemporal moment, then spatiality has been left outside of the sphere of interests. Western philosophy is wholly and completely “tempo-centric.” Consequently, in it Sein is bound to Zeit, and this bondage is absolute, as a result of which Raum, or space, is studied merely as a residual principle, as an accident. Kant placed space closer to the object; Descartes altogether identified the object with “extense” (res extensa) in contrast to the subject (res cogens). In new European philosophy, thought is the property of the subject; consequently, time is the basis of philosophy and its context. Hence the historial as a measure.

It is telling that even critiques of the structuralists’ historico-philosophical understanding have by almost no means whatsoever addressed the fate of space in philosophy and philosophical self-reflection. The principle of “spatiality” has been integrated in the form of a synchronic topology intended to serve as a semantic scale for interpreting the content of time. In other words, structuralist topology only serves the historial in the spirit of the Heideggerian sequence or Derrida’s grammatological field.

But if we upset the habitual frameworks of new European philosophy and nevertheless pose the question of “where?” with regards to the observatory point, and if we fix the hic in the famous expression hic et nunc, then we have a specific civilizational concept of the West. The West in this case strictly fulfills the same teleological function as the “now.” The contemporal moment is situated in the West, and is the point towards which all the rays of possible thinking converge, thus achieving their epiphany in none other than the West. The West is the birthplace of the Logos; the Logos is itself in the “evening land”, Hesper, Abendland. This was more or less obvious for the cultural ethnocentrism of the Greeks. It was the core of the Romans’ legal and political self-consciousness, and it became the axis of ecumenism. Then it was incarnated in the concept of universal progress in modernity. It remains the main driving force of the processes of globalization.

Husserl spoke of “European humanity” as a philosophical quintessence of the human as such. Heidegger directly and explicitly equated philosophy with Europe.

The West is the telos of earthly space just as the present is the telos of the past. Thus, “modern” philosophy can only be Western philosophy, and just as the present is the essence of the past, so is the Western the essence of the non-Western. Between nunc and hic there is thus present a direct analogy: time (the historial, or Karl Jaspers’ axial time) convenes in the “now” and space in the “here”, interpreted as “here in the West.” And in precisely the same way that the past is conceived as the not-yet-present, so is the non-Western (for example, the eastern) thought of as the not-yet-Western.

This Western European, spatio-teleological character of the contemporal moment is conceptualized much less distinctly than the historial and the structures of the history of philosophy. Unlike the paramount discipline that is philosophy which deals with the deconstruction of time, spatial correctives and schematizations are the prerogative of the applied, secondary, and even barely institutionalized sciences with weakly developed philosophical apparatuses, such as geopolitics or international relations. On a more serious level, only the first attempts have been made at relativizing the Eurocentrism of modern philosophy as such, as with Edward Said’s introduction of the notion of “orientalism” or the more foundational but not so generalized studies of cultural, social, and structural anthropology.

It is none other than the West for which the absolutization of time and radical tempo-centrism are characteristic. In reducing the historial to a structure, something constructed, and departing from the present, we automatically produce a concentric model of civilizational space in which the West is situated in the center and all the rest of humanity is in the periphery.

Just as attempting to read this or that philosopher in isolation from the historial (without deconstruction and, consequently, beyond the contemporal grille de la lecture) is today philosophical nonsense, the same status is held by all those attempts at substantiating the relevance of non-Western forms of philosophy  – in the best cases, they can be examined as extravaganza, and in the worst as obtrusive attempts by ignoramuses to force themselves upon a scientific problem on equal terms with the opinion of a scholar. What can a not-yet-Logos tell a Logos that the Logos itself does not know?

Thus we have ascertained the structure of the contemporal moment as analyzed from a temporal and spatial point of view.

Post-Modernity and distance

In the structure of post-modern philosophy, the historial is subject to steadfast analysis, and at times this attention is so detailed that the spatial aspect and characteristic Eurocentrism of Western philosophy also come into view. Combined with an anthropological approach, this yields definite preconditions for not only recognizing the structure of the observatory point as such, but also establishing a certain distance from it. The intensive reflections of post-Heideggerian (post-modern) philosophy on the nature of time, and the first glimpses into conceptualizing the spatial situation of contemporality bring us to an entirely new horizon and radically deeper level of philosophical self-reflection. What if the very observatory point from which we survey the history of philosophy, and from departing which we engage in deconstruction, is in turn nothing more than a “philosophical construct?” In other words, to what extent is the very idea of the teleology of the present moment qualified, and as follows, is tempo-centrism justified? Is the historial that serves us as a reliable tool for interpreting philosophy in turn an ephemeral and non-historical paradigm projected into the present which is not cumulative-teleological (regarding content), but arbitrary or arranged in accordance with a mechanism different from the vector of “axial time?” Finally, is the West the “only place” of the Logos, the zone towards which converge the rays of consciousness, or is this only one of many spatial receptacles of thinking alongside others? Does this mean that Eurocentrism is justified at its heart, and does it not follow that we should look for other, uniquely fully-fledged and complete dialects of the Logos?

These suspicions, of course, are left in the periphery of the philosophy of Post-Modernity, in the shadow of more habitual, inertial trends which, although are enriched, detailed, and introspective procedures, perpetuate the “dogmatic” vector of classical Western rationalism. Post-Modernity usually justifies and substantiates itself with routine practices of the contemporal moment, but the post-modern attitude nevertheless makes such suspicions and conjectures wholly natural. This inspires among those most of all worried about the possibility of breaking with the traditions of Western Modernity rather natural concerns: will Post-Modernity not altogether lead to the liquidation of the fulcra of the Western European Logos as such? If distance from the contemporal moment itself might be, even if only theoretically, justifiable, then all the claims of Western European humanity to universality immediately crumble, and this means no more nor less than the collapse of the Logos. Heidegger clearly recognized this prospect and posited that, nonetheless, the West’s teleology and contemporal moment, exposed to nihilistic catastrophe, should and could be overcome only through this moment and only in the West. This proposal consisted not in retreating from the observatory point, but in deepening the bottomless of its fall in order to, in this dramatic collapse, discover the mystery of its meaning and soar up to thrust forth Another Beginning for philosophy. Heidegger deliberately interpreted the shadow unleashed by Post-Modernity as a refusal of the burden of the “difficult knowledge of nihilism.” The decline of Europe, according to Heidegger, is the decline of being itself, and it should be experienced as such.

In post-Heideggerian philosophy, Heidegger’s tragism and heroism were rather quickly adapted into the routine of the new methodology; the anti-technological call to recognize the bottomless nothingness of such in turn became a technology. But postmodernism, albeit vapid and dubious, perhaps even by virtue of its refusal to sink deeper into the dizzying passivity of desperate Heideggerian nihilism, and at the same time not being in any position to turn Dasein’s mode of existence into authenticity (denying the Decision, Entscheidung), nevertheless slightly opened up the possibility for a step in this direction. If the Logos of the West, as far as one can tell, did not accept the Heideggerian invitation to implode, to explode in its own night, then in the very least it dissipated into bits of postmodern miasma and prepared for the last figure of dissolution. The fixation of distance with regards to the moment of contemporality and the clear and intelligible understanding of its “arbitrariness” (in spatial and temporal senses) is already the fait accompli end of the West, its philosophical end. For those for whom the telos of the historial was the only permissible “lifeworld”, this meant the “end of everything.” But here is where the most significant aspect manifests itself: what if the historial, with its fundamental tempo-centrism and concomitant Eurocentrism, with the structure of its Logos and grating deconstruction/ontological destruction, is but one among numerous and equivalent possibilities for reasonably organizing the world? If this is so, then the finale experienced by Western philosophy is no more than an episode in a more complex and multipolar philosophical picture where there might be multiple observatory points and multiple understandings of time, space, and Logos.

Post-Modernity as a whole, of course, does not gravitate in this direction, remaining as it has under the wonted hypnosis of its Eurocentric contemporality, but the distance in question here becomes an open possibility with the dissipation of the European Logos. In Post-Modernity, the structures of this Logos become so blurred and scattered, so unintelligible and weak, that breaking with their suggestiveness turns out to be an extremely easy endeavor. That the strength of this Logos’ inertia is such that the clutch of its impact on the people of the West themselves does not let up even when the nature of rationality itself withers and dissipates in front of their very eyes – that is another matter altogether. The ends no longer come together and liberation from dogma leads to liberation from the process of liberation by virtue of which the subject itself evaporates – after all, Post-Modernity recognizes not only God, but man himself as an “apparatus of suppression”, a “repressive machine”, and thus the freedom of man transforms into freedom from man. This is the logical result. It is a paradox, but today higher humanism means dehumanization or transhumanization. Tragedy thus imperceptibly slips into farce.

Simply stepping away from the observatory point becomes a simple endeavor only for those capable of digressing from the residual hypnosis of the historial, which means that it is by no means simple. Nonetheless, the philosophical space for this has been prepared, and if the distance which we have been discussing is taken as the object of our heightened attention, then we can rather easily differentiate a spectrum of philosophical procedures with which we can feel out a different fulcrum or even a whole constellation of such fulcra in order to, departing from it/them, observe and subject the contemporal moment to deconstruction, thus demolishing the ponderability of temporal and spatial teleology, i.e., the Western Logos’ claims to exclusivity.

Hence the proposal to move in the direction of this new distance and new fulcra, and let the dead bury their dead.

The phenomenology of philosophy as a method

How can this distance be embodied in philosophical practice? Theoretically, the most principled manner is to escape the hypnosis of the contemporal moment, to calmly and with complete self-control refuse the pressure posed by both the historial (the trajectory of the history of philosophy towards the point at which we find ourselves on the scale of historical temporality) and Eurocentrism. To this end, philosophy can be seized through several strategies:

  • the phenomenological
  • the anthropological
  • the Traditionalist

Surely there are other ways by which to resolve this issue, but for now we limit ourselves to these three trajectories. Let us begin with phenomenology. The phenomenologist philosophers, setting before themselves the goal of clarifying the structure of the processes of logical thinking at the first stage, that preceding the engagement of properly logical (in the spirit of Aristotle) procedures of reasoning, transitioned from revealing the nature of intentionality (Brentano) to the concepts of noesis or noema and the “lifeworld” (Husserl). This line was picked up and developed in a particularly original manner by early Heidegger, as a result of which he arrived at Dasein. Phenomenology proposes that we focus our attention on studying the structures of thinking in their pre-logical phases, when consciousness “naively” and “uncritically” operates with its own “representations” (Vorstellungen), by substituting the objects themselves theoretically outside of the subject with the corresponding noema inhabiting consciousness. This logic is constructed upon ascertaining the obvious (evidential) ostensibility of the object, thus as a matter of course accomplishing the step of transcendentalizing. At the heart of this process lies phenomenality itself, on which consciousness usually does not fixate as it instantly flies above this level. However, in phenomenologists’ opinion, it is none other than this phenomenality which is the most authentic and evidential state, and all other procedures of consciousness, including rational logic, are built on top of such with a greater or lesser degree of self-reflection. Thus, in order to achieve a precise and scientifically credible tracing of the basic processes of gnosiology on which thinking, logic, philosophy and science are built, it is necessary to intentionally study the phenomenal level which affects all other stages, hiding under their complexity and thereby dimming clear representations of nature and basic trajectories of thought.

The phenomenological method has been borrowed by the most diverse humanitarian disciplines from sociology to anthropology and psychology. Everywhere where it has been employed, the point has been explaining the arrangement and mechanisms of those structures on a level lesser and more primordial than that of logical thinking. Heidegger constructed his existential analytics on this basis.

In the field of the history of religions, the phenomenological method was actively used by Henry Corbin, who argued that religious doctrines cannot be understood on the grounds of purely, rationally formulated theological dogma and doctrines or by ignoring the inner experience of religious life. It is precisely studying this experience, which may very well contradict our ideas about the structure of the real, possible, and actual, that only can and should construe more complex religious systems. If we ignore this “lifeworld” of the religious person, then our understanding of religious doctrine will be superficial and completely incorrect. After all, we would miss the main and most essential foundation, that upon which such doctrine is built and whose structures it produces (whether revealing or, on the contrary, veiling them). Therefore, Corbin, who studied Islamic mysticism and Iranian Shi’ism in particular, emphasized that in order to understand religion, one must learn to live it from within. Hence why, in some passages, Corbin, himself a Protestant, wrote “we, Shiites” and believed that without such methodological identification with the sphere under study, without such immersion into the phenomenology of religious experience, no reliable judgement concerning the religion under study is possible.

Franz Boas’ cultural anthropology and Claude Lévi-Strauss’ structural anthropology call for studying archaic societies in a similar manner. Archaic man lives in a phenomenal world qualitatively different from the one in which the man of European Modernity lives. They differ not only on the level of development of logical thinking (as the sociologist and ethnologist Lucien Lévy-Bruhl tried to demonstrate), but in the profoundly different organization of the world of phenomena, including taxonomies, the allocation of basic entities, symmetries, and classifications. Lévi-Strauss argued that in archaic tribes and non-literate cultures we are dealing not with a pre-logical type of thinking, but with a different kind of logic that is no less developed than that of European people in Modernity, but is structured around different algorithms and thereby yields different results and gnosiological/ontological systems.

In sociology, an analogous method was employed by Husserl’s student, Alfred Schütz, who proposed to study society by abstracting oneself from the sum of our a priori knowledge of such and any notions of the purported “objectivity” of existing (non-existing) objects of the outside world and their autonomous significance. Different societies, in Schütz’s understanding, operate with different “lifeworld” structures; as follows, they construct different phenomenological systems which at the next stage determine their views of reality, whether internal, external, subjective, objective, etc. Analogous methods were applied by Harold Garfinkel, the founder of “ethnomethodology” who, like Schütz, focused his attention on the “horizons of everyday life” and “practices of everyday life.”

But here is what is interesting: phenomenology as such originally took shape as a philosophical current and was only later applied to other sciences – the phenomenological method was not applied to philosophy itself. Phenomenologist philosophers themselves based their theories on the contemporal moment and, moreover, considered phenomenology to be a more precise and reflective expression of contemporality itself. In its historical movement along the path of scientific process and with its increasing refinement of the methodology of its logical thinking, at one point “European humanity” (Husserl) began developing the sphere of philosophy not in breadth (extensively), but in depth (intensively). This was largely because the expansion of reason had reached its natural borders. This deeper plunge into reason itself is not a step back on the path of singular process in raising the general level of rationality, but a step forward allowing to make those spheres which had previously evaded the arranging and authority of logical procedures into objects of rational attention. Albeit with significant corrections, Heidegger’s philosophy was built in this vein. Philosophical phenomenology, thus, is not only not equivalent to the phenomenology of philosophy, but altogether does not imply the possibility of the latter.

Nevertheless, by making a reverse circle and moving through phenomenological sociology, anthropology, ethnology, and the phenomenology of religion, we can try to apply the phenomenological method to philosophy itself by employing a method opposite to that of deconstruction that reveals the structure of the historial. This is an invitation to perceive this or that philosophical system outside of the context of the history of philosophy, outside of the context of our knowledge about the structure of time, history, reality, the subject and object, and outside of ontology, which we have erected on the basis of the contemporal moment (whether consciously or by inertia). In other words, the phenomenology of philosophy offers the possibility of authentically experiencing the phenomenological basis at the hart of a concrete philosophical Logos, which is taken as a reliable contemporal moment only at a distance from the contemporal moment which constitutes the structure of our philosophical “I.” Thus, an anthropologist immerses himself in the life of an archaic tribe in order to understand its language, its senses, and beliefs from within this life itself, from the experience of being within the tribe, and not from the grounds of superficial comparison with terms, things, practices, meanings, and beliefs which he knows from his personal experience of belonging to modern Western civilization. Since Boas, and especially under the influence of Lévi-Strauss, only field studies grounded in the method of “participant observation”, empathy, and immersion in the phenomenology of the lifeworld of an archaic tribe are considered anthropologically credible. The phenomenology of philosophy should be constructed in a similar way: in order to understand how this or that philosopher thought, it is necessary to trace his thought from the lifeworld to the logical formulation of thought on the high level of logical expression. But this is possible only at a distance from the contemporal moment and its fundamental content, i.e., through the procedure of removing the philosophical identity of the phenomenologist of philosophy. In Heidegger we can see attempts at such a reading of the Greek philosophers and participative immersion into their lifeworld. But the historial in Heidegger supersedes this initiative in full measure, since assigning the pre-Socratics to the First Beginning, and Plato and Aristotle to the end of the First Beginning, forces one to place other relevant doctrines in consciously specified semantic contexts. Heidegger sees the “Greek” and “first beginning” elements in the pre-Socratics on the basis of his reconstruction of the history of philosophy, that is, through performing ontological destruction. Therefore, he also anxiously discarded everything among the Greeks that seemed to him to be “non-Greek” (eastern or oriental – which is clearly evident in his Greece travel journal). In the exact same way, he takes that which does not fall under the “first beginning” among the pre-Socratics (for example, some expressions from Anaximander’s fragments in the likes of the pair of terms γένεσις and φτορά) and attributes such to later contaminations [3]. Furthermore, everything in Platonism which does not fall under his understanding of “finiteness in the First Beginning” – which encompasses no more nor less than the whole scope of “open Platonism”, such as apophatism, the super-essence of the Good in the Republic and the One in Parmenides [4] – is subject to the same censuring. In any case, the level of Heidegger’s self-reflection was so high and transparent that his understanding of the contemporal moment is unprecedented in the profundity of his generalizations of the structure of this moment, which were the most penetrating and convincing (even if their formulation involved his resorting to a certain hermeneutical censorship), and his attempts to immerse himself in Ancient Greek thought were the most successful and authentic among all analogous initiatives.

The phenomenology of philosophy (unlike phenomenological philosophy) proposes that we completely opt out of hermeneutic procedures which presume some starting position (even as a basis for comparison). In clearly accounting for ourselves in the structure of the contemporal moment, in its modernist/postmodernist historial and its Eurocentrism, and in approaching a philosopher or philosophical school separated by time or space from this observatory point, we must effect a radical change in our phenomenological position; we must completely relocate ourselves to a new observatory point where the lifeworld of the person we are studying is situated and from which his ideas and contemplation came. If a philosopher says something about “eternity”, “heaven”, “immortality”, “God”, or “angels”, it follows that such should be understood not in terms of what we know about “time”, the “atmosphere”, the “vacuum”, the “death of God”, or the “naive ridiculousness of faith in angels”, but on the grounds of how this philosopher himself understood, lived, and perceived that of which he speaks. Any discourse on eternity from a human who credibly and absolutely knows (the contemporal moment) that there is no nor can there be any “eternity”, will be perceived either as an allegory, a hyper-exaggerated image, a metaphor, or as a sign without meaning, an empty set. In such a case, one lifeworld (the contemporal) is acting as a judge, prosecutor, and accuser (this is the original meaning of the Greek word διάβολος) of another lifeworld by denying it the right to defend its phenomenological grounds that are completely usurped by contemporaility. If we are capable of logically assessing the arbitrariness of such a loaded approach (explainable through the Nietzschean will to power or Heideggerian Gestell), then the distance from the contemporal moment will take shape on its own, and this means that we are breaking from it and acquiring the ability to embark on a genuine philosophical journey from one observatory point to another observatory point.

The anthropology of philosophy

The case of the anthropology of philosophy is almost the same as that of anthropology. The school of philosophical anthropology of Max Scheler, Arnold Gehlen, etc., took its roots from Kant’s remarks on the anthropological essence of thinking – which can be considered a new formulation of the sophist Protagoras’ maxim that “man is the measure of all things” – a standpoint which was embedded in the language of modernity. However, philosophical anthropology, as a typical product of the contemporal moment, has nothing in common with the anthropology of philosophy. The anthropology of philosophy proceeds from the plurality of human societies and the diversity of their structures as meaningful outside of any hierarchies or subordinations. Man is a plural phenomenon, anthropology (or at least new anthropology) argues, and the societies built by him reflect this essential plurality which can be studied by comparing them, but they cannot be categorically defined on a quantitative scale of primitive/superior, developed/underdeveloped, rational/irrational, savage/civilized, childishly naive/adultly serious and rigorous. A human belonging to a “primitive” (archaic) society and a human formed in a modern, highly-differentiated society (again, the contemporal moment) are both people in a full sense, and their differences are not amenable to hierarchization into greater/lesser, higher/lower, better/worse. It cannot be said that red is “better” than yellow or that savory is “tastier” than sweet, just as it is impossible to argue that larks are “more perfect” than foxes or whales “more perfect” than sharks. Anthropology draws attention to man as a matrix of the society he creates. Once the structure of a human is different, then societies will reflect these differences and repeatedly refract them in the play of reflections, shadows, and flares.

By applying this principle to philosophy – something which anthropologists and even philosophical anthropologists virtually never do – we acquire a myriad of contemporal moments containing historico-geographical (historico-cultural) positions proper to different philosophers, each of which moments should be studied in their internal logic, harmony, symmetry, and by placing the position of the scholar (and his contemporal moment) in brackets. This approach is the qualification of the anthropologist who studies different (archaic) societies and is obliged for the sake of such to operate with a maximally possible pure experience of understanding culture. At the same time, he must obviously, consciously forbid himself from permitting any projections of his own culture and any hierarchizations or hastily drawn systems of correspondences. But anthropologists deal mainly with cultures that are non-literate and have poorly developed systems of rational self-reflection (Lévy-Bruhl’s principle of “mystical complicity”). Myth, ritual, symbol, sacred rite, and initiation by definition deny transparent rationalization. Hence, the open (emphatic) position of anthropologists is considered here to be at once applicable and justified by the difficulty (or impossibility) of establishing precise correspondences between a rational set and set of para-rational (which does not mean “irrational” or “sub-rational” as were so convinced the 19th century evolutionist anthropologists before Boas and Lévy-Strauss). This principle has not been applied to philosophy insofar as it has been believed that transitioning to a rational system means leaving the sphere of the “para-rational” and the implicit (the mythological, symbolic, and mystical) and entering the sphere of universal self-reflection, where such anthropological operations become irrelevant. Thus, from an anthropological point of view, we are affirming a “measure of things” not simply of man, but of modern Western man, and we are assigning the philosophy which has guided this modern Western man the status of a universal algorithm allowing for the interpretation of all other philosophical systems, both non-modern and non-Western. In the study of archaic cultures, such anthropological suprematism (=cultural racism) was categorically rejected for humanistic, ethical, and scientific reasons. But in the sphere of philosophy, it has been implicitly preserved intact and not subjected to any critical reflection. The modern Western philosopher measures all philosophy (ancient and non-Western as well as modern Western) proceeding from the criteria of the absolute superiority of modern Western philosophy as the cumulative telos for all other systems. At the heart of this lies a mono-polar anthropology based in implicit racism.

At first glance, the impression might be had that applying anthropological methodology to philosophy takes us back to a state of naivety and contradicts the methodology of destruction/deconstruction. This is not so. Deconstruction might very well be an excellent propaedeutic for the anthropology of philosophy since it studies in detail the structure of the context in which this or that philosophical system was created or this or that philosopher thought. If we ignore deconstruction, we miss the most important point of language and the semantic structures of the grammatical field in which a particular philosophy is situated. But by including deconstruction as a method, we must simultaneously subject the contemporal moment itself to deconstruction, i.e., deconstruct that which produces deconstruction, which means once again standing at a distance from the observatory point. Deconstruction forbids naively reading a philosopher without indicating his context and semantic ties. This is the force and significance of deconstruction. But in establishing such context and such links, he who engages in deconstruction is in turn operating with the algorithm of the teleological historial which only allows one to order the field of a text. The historial itself is necessary for deconstruction, and the clearer it is realized, the more reliable the result of a deconstruction. But two positions are permissible to take with regards to the historial: one can be under its suggestive, interpretive influence, i.e., be under it, or one can take a certain distance in relation to it, and apply deconstructive reflection and a particular apperception to it. The second case is an invitation to stand above the historial or outside of it. By not curtailing deconstruction in favor of “new naivety”, and by in parallel with this deconstructing the one engaged in deconstructing, we reach the field of the anthropological method in philosophy. In exploring the philosophy of any philosopher and placing it in a well defined context (deconstruction), we should simultaneously perceive such as something open, excluding from our methodology everything that we know with regards to the future and the past vis-a-vis the observatory point in which the philosopher under study is situated. By knowing in advance the end of the play, we unwittingly apply this knowledge to its first acts. It is this which prevents us from genuinely enjoying the action and turns us from participants in the action into the audience or, in the best case, actors ourselves. What truly delights us is the acting of the actors who force us to forget about how the performance will end and who immerse us in the tension of the dramatic moment. Only in this moment, when we seriously begin to believe that the events in the spectacle might actually go quite differently from what we might know from having repeatedly read the script or seen the production, can we talk about any full effect accomplished. The theater becomes what it originally was – an action, a mystery, a transformative act. This is an open theater, a play whose outcome is known neither by the director, the actors, nor, of course, the viewers.

Applying this metaphor to philosophy, he who carries out deconstruction without deconstructing himself and his actions, can be likened to a person who knows the script well and, over the course of the spectacle, obsessively narrates to his neighbor what is happening and how it will end. Sometimes the skeptical and all-knowing expressions of the audience are enough to simply break the spell of theatrical magic. Such annoying companions are capable of nullifying all the drama of the production. Thus, the principle of the “open theater”, in which the content of the drama at its peak breaks away from the rigid frameworks of the script, can be applied to the open history of philosophy based on the anthropological method. If we knowingly rule out that a philosopher whom we are studying might mean something other than what we know of him in identifying his place in the paradigm of the historial, we render ourselves unfit for a real meeting with him. Yet for some reason we dare to describe this weakness of our own spirit as indicating superiority, greater universality of our position, or in accordance with the rules of ethnocentrism and cultural racism. In behaving so, we forbid ourselves from being surprised, and this means we make ourselves completely unfit for philosophy.

Conversely, in applying the anthropological principle to philosophy, we immediately find ourselves in a complex, saturated, and unpredictable world where surprise can seize us at every turn. This is the open philosophy of history, which a priori recognizes the anthropological dignity of all thinkers, none of whom are considered below us, our contemporal moment, or our observatory point regardless of whether it is modern and Western or non-modern and non-Western. The most consistent representatives of postmodern philosophy are moving in this direction as long as they do not stray from this path towards particularities, towards fascination with minor and obsessive details of liberation strategies which in one way or another retain an inertial connection to the arterial tendency of Modernity’s historial, that tendency which has exerted its teleological (anthropologically racist) influence on Post-Modernity in proposing liberation from the details, but remaining in slavery to the overall picture.

Untergang

Before moving on to Traditionalism as the third strategy for attaining distance from the contemporal moment, it is worth dwelling on how Martin Heidegger, the key figure in the clarification of the historial, understood the vector of time in its Seynsgeschichtliche dimension. Heidegger can be seen as a transitional element between those who recognized the indispensability of the contemporal moment in the spirit of Western European philosophy, and the Traditionalists who, on the contrary, as we will see a little later, offered their version of finding the desired distance. The fact is that Heidegger, recognizing the fatality of time confronting the present and the centrality of the West as the birthplace and place of development of the Logos, deciphered the trajectory of time as “descent”, Untergang, “decline”, “flight of the gods”, and as the “abandonment of being” (Seinsverlassenheit). Herein lies the fundamental difference between Heidegger and the majority of philosophers of Modernity and Post-Modernity who, on the contrary and as a rule, treated history as ascent, accumulation, discovery, and movement forwards and upwards. For Heidegger, the contemporal moment is the point of Midnight towards which we are heading from the evening. He decoded the history of philosophy as a process of descent, decline, concealment, immersion, and oblivion. Thus, his philosophy is profoundly tragic, and its eschatology is paradoxical, for at the moment of maximal darkness, Dasein is supposed to remember its Seyn-Being and decipher the pain of its absence as Gottesnacht, “the night of the gods”, as a call to realize Ereignis, “the Event.” Heidegger saw the telos in the moment of Midnight, in the very center of which the sacrament of Dasein switching its mode of existing from the inauthentic to the authentic must be accomplished.

Such a dualistic attitude towards the contemporal moment as a lower threshold, intended as the point from which begins (or should begin) the return, is, however, problematic, as such is not guaranteed. The return might not begin and, at any rate, such presupposes a perspective opposite to that of the historial which inspired Heidegger’s love for Greek thought and his striving to live and think it along with the very creators of the First Beginning of philosophy. Imagining himself as the one completing Seynsgeschichte, Heidegger felt a deep yearning for those who began such. Thus, distance from the contemporal moment was conquered in parallel to phenomenological destruction, without cancelling or replacing it.

The case of Heidegger is unique in many respects, but what interests us in this situation is that the Beginning of philosophy (from the first to the last phase with Plato and Aristotle) in his specific model of the historial is conceived as a philosophical chord followed by descent, Untergang, which leads to the present, and not vice versa as a “childish” and “long-overcome” phase of philosophy. In this regard, the Ancient Greeks and in particular the pre-Socratics are exalted to unattainable heights. As follows, comprehending them is possible only by degree of radically distancing ourselves from the present through the elevation, the “return”, the επιστροφή of the Neoplatonists.

Heidegger distinguishes the Untergang from those who realize themselves in it and see it for what it truly is – the Untergang. One can be simply fascinated by the flow of history, and one can clearly and penetratingly realize that the movement of the historial is a fall into the abyss. Those who recognize time as falling, Heidegger calls “the descending”, the Untergehende. They, unlike all others, descend consciously, clearly perceiving their endeavor without illusions or fears, although not without horror. For them, the Untergang is the Untergang; they see descent as descent, while all others, not being the “descending”, the Untergehenden, can feed themselves with illusions and methodically rise to the luring and guaranteed horizon of “progress.”

Such an interpretation of the historial as Untergang converges Heidegger with the Traditionalists, whose methods we will now examine.

Traditionalism

The philosophy of Traditionalism [5], otherwise termed Philosophia Perennis or “perennialism”, is of colossal significance to our topic. First established and formulated by René Guénon, this philosophy, as correctly noted by René Alleau, can be considered alongside Marxism the “most revolutionary trend in modern philosophy” [6]. If we approach Traditionalism with due scrutiny, we will soon realize that this comparison with Marxism, albeit paradoxical at first glance, is absolutely justified. The Traditionalists’ appraisal of values is, in a whole number of parameters, far more radical, revolutionary, and uncompromising than the ideas of Marx (as well as those of the other “philosophers of suspicion” among whom Nietzsche and Freud are usually numbered).

Of importance to us at the present moment is how Traditionalism helps establish distance with regards to the contemporal moment and, accordingly, why we have distinguished it as an independent strategy. The very structure of Traditionalist philosophy is in many respects close to that of Heidegger’s, insofar as historical time is understood as a downward movement, degradation, a path to the bottom. The Traditionalists extracted this from religious doctrines and myths (including even from the monotheistic religions), as well as from their analysis of the ontological transformations and changes in the state of the cosmos. However, unlike Heidegger, in Traditionalism the scale of degradation takes on a much more extensive scope and goes far beyond European philosophy. If for Heidegger history is the thread of the Logos stretched between the pre-Socratics and himself as an heir and eschatological figure of German classical philosophy, then for the Traditionalists this period is thought of as only one fragment of descent, of the Untergang, amidst more general and fundamental processes.

For Traditionalists, time itself is a fall, or more precisely, a downward spiral. It has ensnared not only the historical European societies known to us, but the entire destiny of mankind, including the societies of the East and those “mythical” epochs from which only the most hazy legends have remained with us (for example, the legends of Hyperborea and Atlantis). Thus, the contemporal moment is conceived by Traditionalists not as a peak or telos, but as a zone of extreme degradation, a lie, oblivion, and delusion. It is the end of the road to the abyss, the moment of reaching the bottom. Accordingly, the observatory point at which modern humanity (in the era of Modernity and Post-Modernity) stands is not the top of a mountain, but the bottom of the world pit from which nothing can be seen besides dark phantoms and unwieldy fantasies. We live in a world of philosophical hallucinations in which the worse we see, the more we flaunt our foresight. Guénon called this the “reign of quantity” and interpreted it as the critical low of spirit.

Accordingly, Traditionalism completely overturns all the proportions assimilated by default by the contemporal moment:

  1. The time in which we live is an era of total poverty and ignorance. If we base ourselves on its “credibility” and “evidences”, it is impossible to correctly decipher the present, let alone the past which was related to more perfect and authentic periods of history.
  2. The West is the cultural field of accelerated degeneration and decline which surpasses other (non-Western) cultures only in the speed of its fall into the abyss.

The distance in relation to the contemporal moment here is maximal: the West and Modernity are thought of as the worst, the sterile, useless, and false which cannot be taken as any kind of reference point for comprehending anything at all. Thus, modern Western philosophy and its axioms are the worst possible philosophy based on ignorance, a wrong decision in its very basic intellectual operations, and completely delusional with regards to nature, the structure of time, space, man, the world, the primordial, the logic of history, the structure of matter, etc. Modern philosophy is arrogant and lofty nonsense. The only way to break through to philosophy lies in absolutely transgressing the foundational paradigms of Modernity and completely overthrowing the dogmas of modern Western culture, science, values, and political and social systems. All of the West and Modernity’s claims to superiority over the past and non-Western societies are completely groundless and unfounded. The modern West is incapable of understanding even its own relatively recent history (the Middle Ages), not to mention Antiquity or the profound, genuine, authentic, and competent philosophies and systems of the East.

In this operation, the observatory point of modern “Western humanity” flies away, and something directly opposite to such is taken as the starting point: Antiquity and the East, which are genuine observatory points and not simulacra. We are proposed henceforth to think against the present and against the West. Thus unfolds a completely different philosophical map on which the vector of authenticity leads not to the contemporal moment, but away from it as if from a black hole, gathering all the more meaningful and enlightening rays the further it is removed from the “center of hell.” The less Western and modern, the more genuine and authentic, the Traditionalists argue. Insofar as degradation is not limited to the West, but has much larger scale boundaries, the distance from the “black point” of reference must be constantly increased. Everything that remotely resembles “modernity” and the West, even in distant periods of history or outside of the European context, must immediately be treated with suspicion. And if we encounter anything similar in philosophy, culture, politics, society, art, etc., then we should be especially careful, for we are likely dealing with things whose trajectory is sharp and rapid fall into the abyss. The West and modernity are the essence of evil, lies, a dead-end, darkness, madness, violence, suffering, and death. And everything that resembles this, even remotely, by virtue of this very fact is dubious, suspicious, and most likely dangerous.

If modernity denies eternity and invests being in the historial of becoming, this means that only eternity is and represents a reliable basis for understanding the nature of time. There is no vice versa. If modernity insists on space being isotropic, i.e., quantitative, then it is obvious that the truth should be the exact opposite, and the anisotropy and “natural places” of Aristotle determine the structures of “sacred geography” and the laws of climate and the elements. If modernity calls reason and corporeality the unquestionably and prime properties of man, then this is in itself sufficient reason to be sure that the body is insignificant and unbinding, nothing more than “leather garments”, and that reason is nothing more than an empty shadow that has accidentally fallen on the temporary surface from the rays of the true, divine, heavenly mind. If modernity proposes to correlate knowledge with experience, then experience as a measure of the authenticity of science should generally be excluded from consideration, for knowledge is realized through contemplation and based on intellectual intuition which grasps the eidetic essence of things rather than their dead shells and “husks.” And so on and so forth.

In other words, in Traditionalism we acquire an operational and fundamental weapon for realizing the most radical postmodernist strategy. No philosophy is capable of so fundamentally relativizing the contemporal moment and exploding the arrogant claims of Modernity and the West to universalism and the teleologicalness of their philosophy. For Traditionalists, the modern Western philosopher is a guaranteed ignoramus or senseless jester, if not a nihilist possessed by infracorporeal entities.

On the other hand, René Guénon’s follower, the Italian Traditionalist Julius Evola, upon developing this line in his book Ride the Tiger [7], came to a very interesting point: if we take eternity seriously, that is, as it was understood and experienced by the philosophers and thinkers of traditional society, then all the content of history should also, in some sense, exist forever and simultaneously. As follows in Evola’s development of this thought, “modernity” as we know it today, what we call the “contemporal moment”, i.e., “the West + Modernity”, should have been present at previous stages as well. In other words, the modern world and Tradition can be considered not in diachronic order, in which Modernity replaces Tradition over the course of degradation and descent, but synchronically, where they coexist with one another simultaneously, even in space. Thus, the forms of Tradition, the philosophy of Tradition, and the Logos of Tradition represent Heaven, and the forms of modernity the worlds of hell, the underworld, Hades, and Tartarus.

Man, as the cosmic mediator, is situated on the border between both worlds, between Tradition (above) and modernity (below). He is always straddling this border, eternally, in both the era of Tradition’s predominance, and in the periods in which modernity temporarily wins. In his eidetic, eternal dimension, man himself is this border, and the movement of his spirit, his thought, his ways and methods of philosophizing, outline the content of that which lies on either side. Through his choice of orientation, spiritual or corporeal, man constitutes the time, the epoch, the age in which he lives.

Thus, residing in the “dark age”, the Kali-Yuga, is neither a fatality, a punishment, nor something arbitrary, but the Night’s testing of the grain of eternity, of the divine center that comprises the essence of man. In other words, no matter how far away the Golden Age might be, a kernel of it remains within man as hope, as opportunity, as a fulcrum, which can always be found in refusing to unconditionally and fatalistically (or unconsciously) accept the conditions of the Iron Age. Time is an illusion. The historial is no more than a sign, a metaphor that can be deciphered in different ways and appealed to freely. We ourselves choose the time in which we live. And if man is born in the modern world and in the West’s zone of influence, this means that he is included in the profound plans of eternity, and this reflects his mission and fate. Modernity is in Tradition, and Tradition is in modernity. But in different sections of the vertical world, their proportions adjust to being polar: in Heaven (Tradition) there is only a drop of hell (the Biblical serpent that first appeared in paradise), and in hell there is a drop of Heaven. But this is enough to stretch a semantic thread of sacred history, or hiérohistoire (in Henry Corbin’s formulation) between these drops.

Thus, Traditionalism offers such a radical revolution in relation to the contemporal moment, which opens up not only the possibility of establishing the desired distance in one direction, but makes available a whole world of mountain peaks consisting of possible observatory points to be sought in Antiquity and in the East, in traditional society and in religious teachings, everywhere and among all, except the modern West and its philosophers. It bears admission that such an open and substantial philosophical perspective cannot but inspire. It proposes to discover what we ourselves have closed, to dive without skepticism and distrust of religion into ancient philosophy, mythology, traditions and beliefs, both those close (European) and distant (Asian). It is tantamount to a proposal to tear off the blindfold covering our eyes which, contrary to the assurances of false doctors, are fully capable of seeing the light and contemplating a world imbued with eidetic, sagacious rays.

We have thus prepared the basis for our further study into the structures and versions of the Logos. We have outlined what in our vision is the field upon which the main strategies of Noomachy, the wars of the mind, should take place. We have relativized the contemporal moment while leaving the possibility for periodically referencing it with the aim of clarifying its ontological content, its place in the overall construct of the different Logos worlds which we will explore along different axes – both vertical and horizontal, moving freely through times (eons) and spaces (layers of being).

In accord with Tradition, the primordial source, the quintessence, the center of all that is the Mind, the νοὖς of the Neoplatonists, the boddhi of the Buddhists, the Mind is eternal and contains everything at once. This means that it also contains us who think of it, and the world that has unfolded before It (before us) in the process of thinking about it. The world exists to the extent that it is conceived by the Mind. But the Mind, containing everything in itself, also encompasses contradictions, conflicts, falls, and descent. It contains modernity as well. Therefore, upon having rejected and undermined modernity at the very outset of our study, we must also find the latter’s rightful place in it. Truth can truly judge not only truth, but also lies, as well as that which lies between truth and lie: the opinion (δὸξα). Thus, the roots of war, tragedy, catastrophe, and problems must be sought within the Mind. In the Mind must be sought the meaning of the night of the gods and the secret of their flight that comprises the essence of modernity. But it is impossible to participate in the Mind and not be involved in the wars which It wages, which are waged within it. We cannot move towards the Logos and remain indifferent to its internal tensions, its splits and its amalgamations.

Philosophy is a mobilization to the front of the spirit. Resolute and irrevocable. We will devote ourselves and one another to such over the course of the unfolding of our book’s subject matter.

Footnotes:

[1] See paragraph six, “Die Aufgabe einer Destruktion der Geschichte der Ontologie”, in Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 2006), p. 19.

[2] Jacques Derrida, De la grammatologie (Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1967).

[3] Martin Heidegger, Holzwege (Frankfurt a. M.: Vittorio Klostermann, 1972), p. 296.

[4] See Aleksandr Dugin, V poiskakh temnogo Logosa (Moscow: Akademicheskii Proekt, 2013).

[5] See Aleksandr Dugin, Filosofiia traditsionalizma (Moscow: Arktogeya-tsentr, 2002).

[6] René Alleau, De Marx a Guénon: d’une critique «radicale» à une critique «principielle» de sociétés modernes in Les Dossiers H. René Guénon (Paris: L’Âge d’Homme), p. 193. 

[7] Julius Evola, Cavalcare la tigre: Orientamenti esistenziali per un’epoca di dissoluzione (Rome: Edizioni Mediterranee, 2008).

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Introduction: The Aims and Tasks of Noomakhia

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold 

Introduction to Noomakhia: Voiny uma – Tri Logosa: Apollon, Dionis, Kibela [Noomakhia: Wars of the Mind – Three Logoi: Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele] (Moscow: Akademicheskii Proekt, 2014). 

The open triadic method

The Noomakhia series consists of five books written methodically and following an initial plan. This first book, Three Logoi: Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele, represents the philosophical part which establishes and describes the method that lies at the heart of all of Noomakhia. A number of preliminary remarks should be expressed regarding this first book.

First of all, we consider Noomakhia, especially this first book, Three Logoi: Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele, to be a continuation of another book: In Search of the Dark Logos [1]. We believe that this search has been initiated, but left unfinished, and, who knows, maybe it can never be finished. But it is important that we recognize the persistent need to continue it. As follows, the topics, plots, and trajectories designated in In Search of the Dark Logos will be further developed here in different directions, and perhaps with unexpected consequences. We propose to let the fundamental intuition which lies at the heart of this book unfold of its own will and freely, and we take upon ourselves the conscious risk of such leading to horizons and topoi which justifiably evoke fear and even horror. In this sense is conceived this open exposition, which reflects the landscapes grasped by the intellect over the course of active and free contemplation. We are moving forward in the “search for the dark logos.” And this is the goal. 

Secondly, we are presented with the vitally important question of retrieving Plato, Platonism, and Neoplatonism. We see in Plato not only a philosopher or founder of an individual school, i.e., a phenomenon to be considered alongside other philosophers and other schools, but we are convinced that Plato represents the focus of philosophy as such. He yields the very paradigm of philosophy which all other philosophers are left with comprehending or interpreting. But in order to fully recognize this approach, it is necessary to consciously embrace the standpoint of Platonism or some other philosophico-religious doctrine based on the ontology of eternity. The philosophy of New Time (modernity) dismantled eternity as a “dubious hypothesis”, as a “myth”, as a remnant of the “not-yet-scientific”, as an “archaic” style of thinking. It was replaced with the ontology of time – history, process, development, evolution, etc. In this case, Plato and Platonism came to be associated with a temporal point or moment, and all of Platonism’s theses were interpreted on the basis of the knowledge attained later over the course of the further shaping of philosophy. Therein, with the onset of New Time, Plato is treated like the discourse of children or teenagers – albeit genius, but limited. But everything is completely different if we treat Plato like his contemporaries or he himself did. If he spoke of eternity, god, and ideas, then we should live through and experience these ourselves – as eternity, gods, and ideas – without the smallest tint of conditionality or comedy. Is this possible? We will learn if this is possible only once we try to perceive Plato and Platonism directly, and if we become Platonists in the fullest sense of the word. Whether we will succeed in importing the dimension of eternity into the epochs of Modernity and Post-Modernity, which are explicitly and implicitly founded on the rejection of such, is an open question. In order to undertake such an attempt, it is necessary to accomplish a fundamental revolution in consciousness – a Platonist revolution. We can only approach Platonism, even purely theoretically, if we perceive such as absolute truth demanding our adaptation to it, and not its adaptation to our understanding. This is what we began in In Search of the Dark Logos, in the section “Open Platonism”, and we will continue this in the present work.

Thirdly, studying Platonism (by means of deep philosophical empathy, plunging into Platonism itself, and assimilating its elements) implores us to describe the structures of the light logos, the intellectual worlds of Apollo. This is necessary in order to more clearly understand the structures of the “dark logos” and their differences with those of the light logos. Along with this, as shown in our book In Search of the Dark Logos, we will encounter a number of philosophical plots, topics, and methods which allow us to advance the hypothesis that there exists an even more hidden “black logos”, the Logos of the Great Mother (Cybele), or “black philosophy.” The dark logos of Dionysus thus contrasts not only with the light logos of Apollo, but also with the black logos of Cybele. Thus, our goal is to further study into this black logos, this “third logos” which least of all resembles a logos itself, but rather “matter”, “space”, “autonomous corporeality”, the “insurgent void”, or even “madness.” Here we arrive at a very disturbing zone of ontology and gnosiology which, nonetheless, is up for decisive mastery and conceptualization within the framework of our overall philosophical program. This is the question of Dionysus and Cybele, their correspondences, differences, contrasts, and relation.

In the following four books of Noomakhia (The Logos of Europe: Mediterranean Civilization in Time and Space, Border Civilizations, On the Other Side of the West: Part I – The Indo-European Civilizations of Iran and India, and On the Other Side of the West: Part II – China, Japan, Africa, and Oceania) we will switch our study’s focus and transition to the subject of the horizontal multiplicity of logoi (whereas in this first part we focus on studying the vertical multiplicity). Over the course of our study, the following tasks will be accomplished.

We must decipher the correlation between the existential category of Dasein (Heidegger) and the multiplicity of cultures and their logoi. This requires constructing an existential structure for each concrete Dasein, clarifying the identity of each society we examine and the correspondence between this deep identity and the layers presented by each civilization’s logos – their ontological, or even better (if there is such), “fundamental-ontological” levels [2].

We will illustrate several examples of how existential structures are shaped into cultural complexes of philosophy, myths, metaphysics, rites, etc. in the context of large spaces with developed or, on the contrary, implicit self-reflection (on the basis of the large-scale reconstructions of ancient cultures in the works of Leo Frobenius, Oswald Spengler, George Dumézil, Mircea Eliade, Károly Kerényi, René Guénon, Julius Evola, and other theoreticians of the civilizational approach which offer broad generalizing models), or in the context of more narrow (spatial and historical) borders [3]. The aim is to demonstrate how the concrete historical logoi of this or that culture are built on the foundations of different existential structures and reflect distinguishing, original combinations of the elements of the three vertical logoi. At the same time, we will not restrict our aims to necessarily reducing the logoi of different civilizations to our earlier proposed triadic system of Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele. We are ready to, upon meeting different cultures, religions, and peoples, encounter the most unexpected combinations and variations which might confirm or deny our initial model of three logoi, correct it, or even, perhaps, refute it. We would least of all want to project a dry, deductive model onto the living and dynamic wealth of diverse cultures. We are ready to reconsider our method if it turns out inapplicable in this or that situation. And in such a case, we agree to restricting the reconstruction of this or that society, ethnos, or collective’s civilizational (horizontal) logos and presenting such as is (tel quel) without distorting our starting points. In this consists the openness of Noomakhia as a project. Setting off with our triadic approach based in Platonism (albeit freely interpreted and substantially re-conceptualized, especially with regards the problem of χώρα, “matter” and the feminine element in metaphysics, ontology and cosmology), we will attempt to construct a noological model for all the civilizations we examine. If this is successful, we will consolidate our original position; if this method requires revision and refinement, then we are ready to carry out such; if it turns out to be altogether inapplicable, then we are even ready to desist and proceed to search for a new one based in contemplating the nature and structure of the difficulties and obstacles which we might encounter.

On the “father of all”

The title of Noomakhia, which literally means “war of the mind” (Noomachy) [4] – and which can also be conceived of as “war within the mind”, “war of minds”, or even “war against the mind” – is intended to emphasize the conflictual nature of logoi structures as well as the multiplicity of noetic fields in each of which surprises, conflicts, aporias, struggles, contradictions, and opposition lie in wait for us. The field of thinking is the field of warfare [5]: thoughts wage ceaseless wars not only against phenomenality, matter, and their own reorganization into elements (whether existing or not is an open question), natural law, dispersion, non-structurality escaping the “control” of multiplicity, etc., but also against other types of thoughts, other thoughts, and the complex diversity of vertical and horizontal, noetic and noeric chains which permeate the reality of the world on different planes and different geometries. Wars between people, including even the most cruel and bloody, are but pale comparisons to the wars of the gods, titans, giants, elements, demons, and angels. And these, in turn, are but figures illustrating even more formidable and profound wars unfolding in the Mind, in the sphere of the Nous and its limits in which the Mind itself borders the zone of Madness. Thus, everything is Noomachy, even that which is bigger and came first of all – ϋπερπαντα. War, according to Heraclitus, is the father of all (πολεμος πατηρ παντων). Indeed, it is about this, the “father of all”, that Noomakhia is written.

[1] Dugin, A.G. V poiskakh temnogo Logosa. Moscow: Akademicheskii Proekt, 2013.

[2] The meaning of the Heideggerian term “fundamental-ontology” and its differences with the classical ontologies of Western European philosophy are described in our first book on Heidegger. See Dugin, Martin Heidegger: Filosofia Drugovo Nachala (Moscow: Akademicheskii Proekt, 2010), translated into English as Martin Heidegger: The Philosophy of Another Beginning (Arlington: Radix/Washington Summit, 2014).

[3] Particularly applied to Russian culture, we already began such work in our second book on Heidegger, Martin Heidegger: Vozmozhnost’ russkoi filosofii (Moscow: Akademicheskii Proekt, 2011). This will be continued here in the third book, Border Civilizations, which is partly devoted to the Russian logos and particularly the sophiology and culture of the Silver Age.

[4] From the Greek words νοῦς (mind, spirit, intellect, cognition, thinking) and μαχία (war, battle, fight, struggle).

[5] The French poet Arthur Rimbaud justifiably wrote about this in his work Une Saison en Enfer  (“A Season in Hell”): Le combat spirituel est aussi brutal que la bataille d’hommes [“Spiritual combat is just as brutal as the battle of men”].