VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger X

This reading continues on from here.

The 27th essay in Ride the Tiger is called ‘Relations Between the Sexes’ and seeks to cover a different range to the essay about marriage. When the order of the world is dissolving, men and women are naturally separated. Our sexual prejudices have contaminated our ethics. Nowhere is this more evident that in the idea of sexual revolution.

Processes have worked towards a freeing of sex, but not a freeing from sex. The sexual revolution has not liberated us from the suffering caused by sexual desire; to the contrary, we are now intoxicated by it. This is contributing to the collapse of society, but we can use the space afforded by the chaos to assert higher values. Bourgeoisie values, being materialistic, cannot conceive of woman in anything more than her anatomical capacity as instrument of reproduction – in reality, she has a spiritual value.

Sexual liberty therefore leads to materialism, and thereby away from spirituality. Incredibly for the 1960s, Evola is already able to anticipate how widespread pornography has affected the “polarity” between men and women. Nowadays a naked woman doesn’t stir much more interest than the sight of a cat. This is a tragedy because the sexual union is capable of acting as a bridge to higher consciousness via “an existential rupture of planes”. Making love can be Dionysian.

Part Eight of Ride the Tiger is where Evola finally gets to the spiritual side of things. This final section is titled ‘The Spiritual Problem’, and consists of two essays. The first of these is called ‘The “Second Religiosity”‘.

In this essay Evola decries what he calls “neospiritualism”, which he describes as an attempt to lead people beyond the material without giving any credence to the old, dogmatic religious movements. He has no time for the “movements, cults, sects, lodges, and conventicles” of the modern day, and considers them also a phenomenon of dissolution. In fact, things have gone so far that we are now in the rigor mortis stage, and all that awaits is the decomposition of the corpse.

When man closed himself off to the higher, transcendent world in the 19th century, this did not liberate him from superstition but merely opened him up to the lower, primitive emotional world in the 20th. We are now in the “soulless, collectivistic and materialistic phase corresponding to the closing of a cycle of civilisation”. All of these neospiritual movements thus represent an excess of the feminine. Evola is highly cynical and dismissive of these movements.

It’s difficult to correctly discriminate between all the garbage thrown up by neospirituality and the wisdom of genuine value. The emphasis ought to go on the deconditioning of the spirit. Here, Evola is at pains to emphasise that a person cannot achieve initiation by themselves, in contrast to the belief espoused by many. One is either born initiated, or one achieves initiation by way of spiritual emergency or ordeal, or one is initiated deliberately by someone who is part of a tradition and who knows what they’re doing. This is hard to achieve because the organisations that do so hardly exist any more.

The 30th and final essay is titled ‘Death – The Right Over Life’. Evola begins here by talking about the common belief, held by Heidegger (as well as by Socrates) that life is in some way a preparation for death. Death appears to be the end of the “person”, and atheism and materialism have made this simpler to deal with. Contemplation of death is a noble endeavour, as it can lead to a heightened state of appreciation of one’s life.

The traditional doctrines had the correct approach to death. The truly differentiated man cannot believe that his being began with the beginning of his physical body. He must solve the problem of nihilism by “displacing the I towards the centre of ‘being'”. Here Evola is talking about consciousness: “the human condition οf earthly existence is only a restricted section in a continuum, in a current that traverses many other states.” This eternal truth is not easy to grasp in an age of dissolution like ours, but it is much better than the lies of theistic creation myths.

A truly differentiated man, much like the Stoics and the Pythagoreans, could never take his own life, no matter how poor his conditions. This is because to do so would acknowledge that he was not strong enough to overcome the irrational part of his being. However, one always has the moral right to exit the world, should one decide that remaining ordeals are not meaningful. The differentiated man would be extremely disinclined to take this option in any case, right or otherwise. This is because of the possibility that one has chosen and said yes to – whether before or beyond this life – all of the ordeals in it.

In the final analysis, one can say that, no matter how degenerate and dissolute the world, it can still have value. It might be that, in order to achieve the highest state of being, consciousness must challenge itself as intensely as possible. To that end, there’s little more challenging than existing in a world where everything is contrary to one’s nature.

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Generation X and the Wisdom of Robert Anton Wilson

The great philosopher Robert Anton Wilson liked to say “It only takes twenty years for a liberal to change into a conservative without changing a single idea.” As it happens, I first heard this statement almost 20 years ago, when I was just about to begin studying at university. How did RAW’s observation stack up for those of us born at the arse end of Generation X? Let’s have a look.

In 1999, when I first went to university, I was more or less a liberal. I had grown up in a welfare family that had been strongly adversely affected by the 1991 Budget of the conservative National Party. A consequence of this budget was that sometimes my brother and I had to go hungry, and the effect of this would often reduce my mother to tears. This gave me a very deep and powerful sense of contempt for conservative politics.

Twenty years later, things have changed immensely, although I haven’t. RAW’s observation holds just as true this century as it did in his time.

In 1999, race was a major issue, as it had already been for centuries, but the tone of it was different. The liberal belief in 1999 was that, although there had been a lot of inter-racial violence in the past, people of all races were capable of coming together in shared humanity. Although biological reasons could clearly explain much of the racial differences in intelligence and behaviour, segregation was an example of the utmost evil.

All that has been flipped. In 2018, the white race stands alone as the singular cause of all the suffering in the world. Now, I’m a conservative because I don’t support the outright destruction of the white race and of Western culture. Even believing in borders is seen as conservative in some quarters, merely an impediment to the neoliberal objective of maximally efficient allocation of labour resources.

Although it’s true that no two things in Nature are identical, it’s no longer permissible to assert that racial differences in intelligence have a biological component. Although this was accepted without question 20 years ago, now one must blame everything on economic and social reasons or be considered right-wing, if not actually fascist. All races are perfectly equal in intelligence, not only when measured in general terms but also when it comes to specific behaviour. Evolution stops at the neck.

Neither has gender escaped this miserable phenomenon. In 1999, I considered myself a strong believer in women’s rights. I considered men filth if they abused or harassed women, and was glad that New Zealand had its first elected female Prime Minister later that year.

Now, a man is sexist if he does not support a system that actively undermines and destroys him. It’s not enough to support scholarships for women to study at university – now that women heavily outnumber men among university students, the agenda has moved on to boardroom quotas and the “gender gap”. MPs like Julie Ann Genter attack white men on account of being white and male, even when there is already a suicide epidemic among those some young men.

Anyone who mentions that men commit suicide at 300% the rate of women is considered a bigot, or dismissed as an incel men’s right’s activist. It’s not enough for men and women to be equal – men have to be made to suffer for the historical crimes of their gender. Many people, like New Zealand’s Poto Williams, want to remove the right to presumption of innocence from men accused of rape.

Religion is no different. Some say that religion is supposed to represent the timeless and eternal, but public attitudes to religion have not remained the same over the past 20 years. In 1999, it was widely understood that Islam was an extremely conservative religion that treated women and homosexuals appallingly. For these reasons, it was obvious that Islam was a right-wing ideology and therefore the enemy of liberals such as myself.

Twenty years later, it’s all different. In 2018, Muslims are – bizarrely – seen as victims, despite a 1400-year world tour of slaughter, mayhem and conquest. I’m a racist if I don’t like people who choose to worship a murderous warlord paedophile. If I oppose the mass immigration of Muslims to my country, I am equated with Hitler, despite being able to point to dozens of historical examples of local populations suffering immensely after mass Muslim immigration.

Believing in history is now conservative, because it supposedly normalises a white male way of thinking. The liberal approach to history nowadays is just to make up whatever needs to be made up in order to further one’s political aims. Lebanon was always a Muslim country, and no natives ever benefitted from colonialism.

Last of all, a similar thing has happened with homosexuality. In 1999, I was a fervent supporter of gay rights. Not only did I think it was appalling that our government had taken until the mid-80s to decriminalise homosexual activity, but I fully supported gay marriage. Gay adoption was clearly a step too far, however, as society was made up of men and women, mostly in breeding pairs, and it would be best for a child to be exposed to this and to both genders.

Now, 20 years later, I’m a conservative for believing that a gay couple is different, in any way, from a heterosexual one. A man can just say he’s a woman now, and if I continue to insist that he’s different to a woman – in any way – then I’m a bigot. I’m not even allowed to find homosexual activity odd, or disgusting, no matter how fervently I support someone’s right to engage in it. Fucking a 16-year old boy in the arse is as natural as anything else in the world.

Even worse, those same homosexuals I defended for many years against hissing, hateful Christians are now attacking me because of my criticism of Islam. They call my criticism of Islam ‘racism’, even though it’s motivated by an appreciation for gay rights – precisely the same sentiments that motivated my criticism of Christianity!

If you are also young and reading this, don’t think it won’t happen to you too. When I first heard RAW predict that I would be a conservative in 20 years if I didn’t change any ideas, I refused to believe him. RAW was old, and didn’t understand that we had now made everything right after centuries of misrule, and that we didn’t need to go any further.

But RAW was right, and much wiser and more perceptive than me. If you are a liberal now, and young, just know that in 20 years those who call themselves liberal will be pushing all manner of absolutely insane shit, and if you don’t go along with it then you’ll be considered a conservative.

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Jordan B Peterson is the Timothy Leary of Our Generation

Helping the next generation to see beyond – or corrupting the youth?

Jordan B Peterson has struck a dull and ossified mediascape like a meteor. Where there used to be only talking heads reading from teleprompters and a variety of family-rated corporate whores, the Canadian professor has burst onto the scene spraying the truth like machinegun rounds. Being so used to lies as we are, this has astonished us, and as of right now Peterson is the man of the moment. The reaction he has generated is an echo of another psychologist who clashed with the Establishment of his time – Timothy Leary.

Once described by U.S. President Richard Nixon as “the most dangerous man in America,” Leary was a pioneer of psychedelic therapy. Also like Peterson, Leary was once a psychology lecturer at Harvard University. Leary devoted his life to understanding the human mind and behaviour and communicating this knowledge to other people, and in doing so helped set them free.

And in setting people free, he became the enemy of the Establishment.

Peterson and Leary are hated by the Establishment because they deprogrammed the young people of their time from the brainwashing that the elites had forced onto them. In Leary’s time, during the early 60s, the young had been brainwashed to be right-wing: they had been programmed to be judgmental, harsh, even hateful. Leary’s task was to teach them to love, and he found that psychedelics were useful for accelerating this deconditioning process.

The only difference with Peterson in this regard is that the young people being deprogrammed by Peterson have been brainwashed with left-wing logic. Instead of being programmed to be discriminating and hard, they have been programmed to be unquestioning, passive, yielding and soft. In other words, where Leary was confronted with a youth that was too masculine as a response to World War II, Peterson has been confronted with a youth that is too feminine as a response to the great decades of peace.

Timothy Leary showed in the Concord Prison Experiment that violent felons could be induced to repudiate their criminal ways if given a guided psychedelic therapy session under the supervision of a qualified therapist. Recidivist criminals learned some empathy for the victims of their aggression and swore off it. In other words, he showed that an excess of masculinity can be countered by the restorative effects of psychedelics.

Those restorative effects can also counter an excess of feminity. They can help a Western world that has lost itself in materialist sensations. We are so obsessed with our own bodies and with sensory pleasures that we have lost touch with the spiritual and with the transcendental. Peterson correctly understands that psychedelics can help here but he is also canny enough not to fall into the Leary trap of propounding something that the populace isn’t mentally ready to handle.

Both men also had a message of “turn on, tune in, drop out”, only they are different. Leary’s message was to drop out of society entirely. His belief was that people who turn on to their true nature will realise that it isn’t served by the way society is structured, and that if they completely rejected it they could form a new society that suffered from none of those problems. A new society could be built by a switched-on movement of hippies, and it would prevail.

Peterson has a similar message, only without the anarchism. For both Peterson and Leary, turning on and tuning in involved learning to know one’s own mind, one’s one thoughts and consciousness. Where Peterson is different is that his emphasis is on restoring order within oneself before attempting to impose order upon the external world. His catchphrase is “Clean your room before you worry about fixing the world,” echoing Gandhi’s “Be the change you want to see.”

Where both men are exactly the same is in that they teach people to look within for answers, instead of without. Teaching young people to rely on their own judgment and their own experiences instead of taking direction from aggressively self-imposed moral authorities absolutely terrifies the Establishment – because the Establishment consists of nothing more but self-imposed moral authorities.

The Government, the Church and the media all gain their power from the attention that they are given by those who look to them for guidance. Power flows where attention goes. When Peterson exhorts young people to impose order upon their own inner lives so that they can more easily impose order upon the outer world, these Establishment elites correctly see this as a massive risk to their own influence and control – and that’s why the Establishment and its lackeys are attacking him more and more.

The true counterculture is neither left-wing nor right-wing, but simply a reaction to the excesses of the previous culture. In the same way that Leary was the voice of the left-wing counterculture of the 60s that opposed right-wing thought control, Peterson is the voice of the right-wing counterculture of this decade that opposes left-wing thought control. In this way, he is another iteration of the philosopher-king archetype who gets attacked by the liars in the Establishment – a pattern going back at least to Socrates.

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger VIII

This reading continues on from here.

The 22nd essay in Ride The Tiger is called ‘Dissolution of Modern Art’. Much like everything else, Evola contends that art has also degenerated. In the case of art, it has degenerated into a feminine subjectivity that is too afraid to say anything. Now we can no longer even speak of traditional art because no-one has any idea what that even is.

In this essay Evola echoes Plato’s description of the degeneration of political forms, only applied to the world of art. Modern art would be best served by achieving maximum craptitude, because that would provide the clean spiritual slate upon which something authentic could be written. Literature is also criticised as “fetishising” human relationships and merely documenting them with full banality.

As in many previous essays, Evola concludes that art has been given too great an importance, to the detrimental of the spiritual. What gives meaning to life can exist “even in the virtual absence of art”. Art has, in reality, undermined idealism, especially in the modern world. Positive realism lies in the assertion of values such as truth and spiritual courage. That which truly has value needs no consensus to agree.

The 23rd essay is ‘Modern Music and Jazz’. Evola has a keen interest in music and understands its development over the course of recent centuries. Perhaps weirdly, Evola writes here about the “preponderance of dance music over vocal and emotional music” – a sentiment shared by many today. He considers that the drift towards nihilism in philosophy and art has been echoed by one in music.

Music has, according to Evola, developed in ways that mirror the development of all other social movements. Therefore, the advent of jazz is no surprise – it is merely the democratisation of music, something “primitively ecstatic”. This doesn’t mean that jazz is crude, though, or that jazz players are unskilled musicians. It simply heralds the return to the world of fundamental, elemental forces.

This “Negro music” is associated with “dark forms of ecstasy” in Evola’s reckoning. He compares the feelings that arise from dancing to rhythmic music to the frenzies of the dervishes: “possessions of savage ritual”. Despite frequently being paired with drugs, these occasions cannot be compared to the ancient rites of Dionysus etc. because there is nothing sacred about them – they are mere escapism.

On the subject of drugs, the 24th essay is ‘Excursus on Drugs’. Evola considers drugs to “most visibly have the goal of an ecstatic escape”. Some of the people who choose such an escape are those who have perceived the meaninglessness of human existence. Others are “neurotics and psychopaths”. Part of the danger of drugs is, like rhythmic music, they can be used to open up awareness to a suprasensible world, such as in initiatory ritual.

Despite this caution, Evola gives due credit to the use of various drugs in sacred ritual. The Taoists considered even the use of alcohol to have a kind of magical effect, and he mentions the Central American shamanic traditions that made much use of mescaline, peyote and psilocybin mushrooms. However, he also points out that no-one really understands how to use these sacraments anymore, because no-one is capable of the necessary spiritual preparation. This leads to the risk of “possession by dark powers”.

If used correctly, nonprofanely, drugs offer the possibility of coming into contract with a superior dimension of reality. Stimulants and depressants can more or less be ignored for these purposes. Hallucinogens are excellent but have many drawbacks; their ancient use involved guiding the trip with symbols and a preliminary catharsis of emotion, two things that are seldom done today. Narcotics can be useful for the sake of dissociating from the mundane but the experience is hard to control.

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger VI

This reading continues on from here.

Part Four of Ride The Tiger is called ‘Dissolution of the Individual’ and is comprised of three essays. The first of these, the sixteenth in the book, is called ‘The Dual Aspect of Anonymity’. Railing against the “collectivism, mechanization, standardization, and soullessness οf modern existence,” here Evola attempts to find an answer to the question of what is worth saving.

It’s at this point that Evola finally gets to the esotericism. Individualism is part of the problem facing us, he contends, because it has led to the atomisation of society. Worse, it has no spiritual basis. What is taken by Westerners to be the individual is not what a person really, fundamentally is.

In esoteric terms, Evola is here talking about the difference between silver and gold. Here the men of silver are decried for their pomposity and hypocrisy, for this has obscured the light of spiritual truth and made it more difficult for the men of gold to play their part. The false self must be transcended and the true self reconnected with, otherwise we will continue to flounder.

The seventeenth essay is called ‘Destructions and Liberations in the New Realism’. Here, Evola gives us for the first time a specific sense of what it might mean to “ride the tiger”. For him it is a life lived at the limit, in a way that actualises the “absolute person”. Most people who discover this do so through warfare, for it is here that an extreme lucidity stripping away all extraneous concerns can be achieved.

Evola makes vague hints at a gross feminising process that, he warns, will make any individualisation impossible. Crucially, however, this feminisation is necessary, to destroy the corruption of the old order. He continues to emphasise that any true revaluation of values must come from that “minority” who retain a sense of the transcendental. Anyone else will merely make the same mistakes that the other non-spiritual people have made.

What is necessary to move forwards from here is “a clear, detached, objective vision οf existence” and “a positive, existential incapacity to submit to ‘myths’ οf any kind whatsoever”. The new mythologies (such as Marxism) are not only doomed to fail, they are in fact signs of systemic failure.

The eighteenth essay is called ‘The “Animal Ideal” – the Sentiment of Nature’. Here Evola talks about the two fundamental spiritual orientations – the first being the hermit who lives without company and the second the wanderer who lives without fixed abode. Incredibly for an essay published in 1961, here Evola talks about the isolation and detachment that can be caused by modern communication technology and city life, foreshadowing contemporary sentiments about the Internet and smartphones.

Anticipating – and pre-emptively decrying – the hippie movement as a bourgeoisie failure, Evola rejects a return to primitivism as being merely a naked form of materialism. Conceding that athletics and sports may be useful (although he decries professional sport), Evola once again asserts that spiritual needs must come first. The true aristocrat of the soul must feel as comfortable among dams and skyscrapers as among trees and streams, for the former is an expression of human nature and thereby of Nature itself.

Fundamentally, a person needs to accept that “nothing extraordinary exists in the beyond”. Only the real exists and only the real can be said to exist. To this end, there is a lot of wisdom in ancient traditions, especially Zen. These allow us to cultivate an appreciation of how reality consists of both the immanent making itself transcendent and the transcendent making itself immanent.

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger V

This reading continues on from here.

The 13th essay in Ride The Tiger is called ‘Sartre: Prisoner Without Walls’. This essay is very short – only three pages – and concerns itself with the attitude that one ought to take towards inherent freedom. Criticising Sartre’s conception of man as “condemned to be free”, Evola decries the idea that ultimate freedom is any kind of curse, describing this attitude as characteristic of the deep nihilism of the 20th century.

Sartre’s conception of life is, in Evola’s estimation, a fundamentally negative one in that one considers the human experience akin to being a prisoner without walls. For Evola, this maudlin attitude is not appropriate, for it brings with it suffering. Something more is needed.

The 14th essay is called ‘Existence, “Α Project Flung into the World”‘. Here Evola continues to outline his misgivings with existentialism, despite giving it credit for accurately describing the dilemma of the human condition. Existentialism also gets credit for moving beyond primitive solutions like religion and scientific materialism.

As mentioned previously, Evola’s main problem with existentialism is metaphysical. The varieties of existentialism that do not give a satisfactory answer to metaphysical questions are no better than nihilisms. For this reason, the maxim “existence precedes essence” must be rejected. A person is that which transcends the mere physical form; if not, existence is nothing more than morphing randomly into various shapes. Transcendence cannot and will not be found outside the self.

The idea of anxiety over lost choices, opportunities and paths is, for Evola, ridiculous – and materialistic. The transcendent principle ought to exclude such thoughts. The nature of things cannot usefully be said to be sinful in and of itself. Much better to adopt the ancient Greek view of cultivating appreciation of the beauty of limits and form.

The 15th essay is called ‘Heidegger: “Retreating Forwards” and “Being-for-Death” – Collapse οf Existentialism’. The problem with Heidegger, Evola contends, is that his philosophy is motivated principally by a fear of death, in particular the death of the false self, or I. It’s better to disavow identification with the I, and to choose instead to identify with the transcendent, than to march to the drumbeat of death.

Here Evola continues with his criticisms of existentialist philosophy, accusing it of promoting a bleak, sombre and submissive attitude towards the world, one of resignation. Jaspers offers no other solution but faith. In fact, none of the existentialists have offered a satisfactory solution to the problems of nihilism as outlined by Nietzsche. “Existentialism is a projection of modern man in crisis”.

Neither is faith satisfactory, for that is essentially no different from the “Catholic existentialism” that has already been rejected on account of positing the transcendent outside oneself. It must be accepted that God is dead. Transcendence ought not be conceived of as the ‘other’; rather one should begin from the point of transcendence and consider the world from that perspective.

In any case, all of these men, religious and existentialist alike, are written off as petit bourgeoisie, writing about petit bourgeoisie concerns. The real philosophy comes from the men who have survived the “storms of steel and fire” of the early 20th century: those who have been tested. These are the men who understand the true nature of things; they understand “being able to be destroyed, even, without thereby being wounded”.

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger IV

This reading continues on from here.

The tenth essay in Ride The Tiger is called ‘Invulnerability – Apollo and Dionysus’. Here Evola further describes his conception of an aristocrat of the soul as someone who feels very deeply and who is very moved by things. The modern man (the man of clay, essentially), only feels very shallow emotions, and quickly moves from one such shallow impression to the next.

In this essay, Evola touches on the truly aristocratic topic of deliberately exposing oneself to great trials and tribulations, for the sake of learning one’s true nature. Alchemists will recognise this mentality as the one necessary to burn away everything but the gold so as to learn to distinguish Spirit from Nature. The purifying fire is that which burns away body and mind and leaves one with one’s true nature – it is necessary because it burns away everything shallow, leaving only actions which arise from the depths.

A person who has done this may find themselves gifted with a “transcendent confidence” that is characteristic of the aristocrat of the soul. This is important because in purifying oneself down to the gold one also strips away all of the conditioned belief in life’s meaning. To proceed past this stage, the alchemist must find within themselves the will to assert a meaning to life independent of any outside source. Then one is invulnerable.

To open oneself without falling apart is not easy in an age of dissolution. Here Evola takes care to point out that it’s very easy to fall at the second hurdle. Just because mainstream religion is bullshit doesn’t mean that we should abandon it for wild paganism and barbarianism. There is more.

The eleventh essay is called ‘Acting Without Desire – The Causal Law’. Once a person discovers their true nature, they should also learn the ability to act without desire. This entails taking the correct action at any given time instead of becoming distracted by profit or loss, or by what other people might think of you. Doing what needs to be done.

This needs to be qualified, however. There are naturalistic desires, that arise from the biology of the human animal. These are generally to be avoided. There are also, however, heroic desires, that arise from something greater than the merely physical, from something transcendent. These may be acted upon.

An aristocratic person, then, thinks not in terms of sin but in terms of error. The concept of sin is impossible because God has long been repudiated; all that remains is adherence to standards that one sets from within as an expression of one’s true nature.

One ought to act with a mind to what is effectively a law of karma, in that actions have consequences, regardless of whether those actions conform to any conception of good or evil. Those consequences are real and should be regarded as such. This is fine because the real man of gold doesn’t just live, but rather manifests himself and his true nature in the world.

This is the end of the second part of the book. The next part is called ‘The Dead End of Existentialism’, and the first essay here is the book’s twelfth: ‘Being and Inauthentic Existence’. This deals with the two types of existentialism (as Evola sees it): the philosophical, academic tradition and the practical tradition exemplified by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Evola dismisses existentialism almost entirely, for the reason that the existentialist philosophers are too much a product of their times, and because they are not themselves interested in the world beyond. The existentialists are very materialistic and this disqualifies existentialism from being a philosophy that an aristocrat might be concerned with.

Despite this, existentialism can be credited with some things. For one, the idea that “existence precedes essence” serves to keep the existentialist in touch with the metaphysical and transcendent. It also helps to highlight the dual nature of the aristocratic soul, which, as described earlier, is much deeper than that of the pleb.

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger III

This reading continues on from here.

The sixth essay in Ride The Tiger is called “Active Nihilism – Nietzsche”, and continues to deal with the problem of the Death of God. Also continuing with the esoteric theme of this book, Evola appears to insist that the solution is alchemical. The negative is overwhelming and ascendant; it cannot be resisted. So the question becomes “how far the negative can be transformed into something positive.”

Here we are concerned with “the transition to the postnihilist stage.” Modern man is free, free from the strictures of Abrahamism – but free for what? We have striven against our enslavement for so long that we don’t know what to do with freedom. We invented God to assuage our existential anxiety, and, now that we are “free” from this God, that anxiety has rushed back with a vengeance. Evola cites Sartre here: “We are condemned to be free.”

Evola contends that Nietzsche’s conception of the Superman is not sufficient to avoid this nihilism. His reasoning is that the Superman theory is not sufficiently different from the other eschatologies, such as the Marxist one, and therefore cannot be more than a pseudosolution to the problem of nihilism.

As was true for Marxism, the Superman theory could potentially be used to justify all manner of horrors in the present by promising paradise in the future. However, Nietzsche’s theory of eternal recurrence strikes much closer to what might be described as a perennial philosophy.

The seventh essay is called “Being Oneself.” It seems as if that, once the pseudosolutions and outright false philosophies are abandoned, what one is left with is oneself. This something is beyond morality (indeed, morality is considered something to be liberated from), and internal, instead of imposed from without as if by God or King.

Nietzsche comes in for some criticism here. Evola considers his attitude to the human spirit “materialistic”, but concedes that Nietzsche must have seen beyond because he is capable of distinguishing the “Self” from the “I”. Other thinkers, such as Guyau, are considered, but dismissed for not offering anything truly new, merely “restrictions that more or less return to one οf the systems οf the old morality.”

Evola concludes that the answer, as ever, is to “Know Thyself”. However, there’s a caveat. In the past, it was easier to know thyself because one was defined by strictures of class, religion, nation, caste and many other things. Modern man is free, so he cannot fall back on these now-abandoned strictures.

Modern man is, in fact, so free that it is as if he has been shattered to pieces. His soul “contains multitudes”. This shattering, Evola contends, can be most easily observed in remorse, which is an emotion that mostly affects divided people and which is characteristic of our time.

The eighth essay is called “The Transcendent Dimension – ‘Life’ and ‘More Than Life'”. The man who gets it, Evola contends, is one who possesses a transcendental dimension, a spiritual dimension. Here he distances himself further from Nietzsche, who for Evola was more of a vessel that history acted through than a genuine actor in his own right. Nietzsche’s great error was “confusion of the sacred with the profane”.

Evola, through quoting Nietzsche, gives us a prescription for a man of gold, although without using alchemical terms: a many who has great passions (clay), but who holds them in check (iron), and who hold them in check with apparent ease (silver) and who, last of all, does not draw any particular egoic satisfaction from doing so (gold). Here, the highest sort of man is one who overcomes great dangers, for it is only in doing so that all these qualities can be expressed.

Evola mentions the common interest in Zen philosophy among the Beat Generation that was heavily influenced by the existentialists. Here, religious belief (of any kind) is rejected as a failure of the human spirit, of the sort of person who did not have the character to survive the tension of the Age of Nihilism, and who hence surrendered to easy answers.

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger II

This reading continues on from here.

Part II of Ride the Tiger is called ‘In the World Where God is Dead’, and deals with the ever-present problem of the nihilism that arises when one abandons traditional values. This part consists of nine essays.

The first of these (the third essay in the book), ‘European Nihilism – the Dissolution of Morals’, sets the tone for this section. The subject matter will be familiar to any reader of Nietzsche, and indeed Nietzsche is mentioned in the first paragraph. This essay also mentions Doestoevsky, in the context of “If God is dead, everything is permitted.” It promises to be heavy stuff!

“Rational”, or atheistic morality, has no firm basis, Evola contends. Without an appeal to a higher power, any moral philosophy will eventually be chipped away at by critics until it disintegrates. Moral taboos cannot be justified, and therefore we can’t move past “everything is permitted”.

Perhaps more worryingly, it’s possible that, even if God did exist and inform us all, nothing would really change.

The fourth essay is ‘From the Precursors of Nihilism to the “Lost Youth” and the Protest Movement’. Existence has become absurd, Evola contends, because there are no longer any restraints. Here he traces the advancement of nihilism in the years post-Nietzsche. As Nietzsche predicted, the problem of nihilism only intensified as we entered the 20th century.

Movements such as punks and beatniks are drawn under the wider rubric of nihilists. The counter-culture becomes, for Evola, a “destructive, voiceless rage”. It’s isn’t necessarily that things are bad in and of themselves, but that a quiet, peaceful, mediocre life evokes this rage. Natural man feels little difference between the modern cornucopia of manufactured goods and slavery.

Citing Paul van den Bosch when he wrote that “When we were born, the gold was already transmuted into lead,” Evola makes another appeal to the perennial philosophy and its esoteric nature. This is necessary because the left-wing revolution has “betrayed its origins” with “a new conformism” – a statement that echoes in 2018.

The fifth essay is ‘Disguises of European Nihilism – The Socioeconomic Myth and the Protest Movement’. To Evola’s mind, there are two great socioeconomic myths of our time: the myth of Western prosperity, and the Marxist-communist myth of oppressor versus oppressed. Both myths are predicated on the same falsehood, namely that the signs and markers of the dissolution of society represent “progress”.

One severe problem exists with both of these myths: neither has any room for any conception of a higher world – the realm of gold in alchemism – and so both myths, while they solve the problem of nihilism, introduce unacceptable problems of their own. Both ideologies are predicated on a gross, fundamental error: that solving questions of material suffering will also solve questions of existential suffering.

Perhaps the last words here are “there is no correlation between material and spiritual misery.” This lays out the futility of trying to find absolution through materialist avenues. One is left with the impression, in Evola’s words, that “The time is near of the most despicable οf men, who can nο longer despise himself.”

Are we now in the time of the Man of Clay?

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger I

Having chosen a left-wing work (The Interregnum) for our previous reading, we now go to the right again and have a look at Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger. Subtitled “A Survival Manual for the Aristocrats of the Soul”, it’s based on the premise that the fight against modernity has been lost and the only thing a thinking man can do is ride the tiger of modernity until it’s time to rebuild on the other side.

Part I of the eight parts of this book is called “Orientations” and divides into two essays.

The first of these is called ‘The Modern World and Traditional Man’. This opens outright with a declaration that this text isn’t for everyone. Like The Satanic Bible, Evola is explicit in that his book is only for a particular kind of person. Ride the Tiger is written for the outsider.

Evola’s style seems timeless in the sense that his complaints about the nature of society apply just as well to 2018 as they did to his time, and probably apply well to many times in the past. Things are collapsing, certainly in social terms if not yet physical ones, and so Evola advocates a return to traditional values.

These traditional values are not bourgeoisie ones, Evola is at pains to point out, but in fact “the very antithesis of them.” Indeed, he hints at evoking the perennial philosophy, such as when he writes “It is good to sever every link with all that which is destined sooner or later to collapse. The problem will then be to maintain one’s essential direction without leaning οn any given or transmitted form.”

Psychonauts such as the readership of VJM Publishing will commiserate with this feeling, as it’s a handy description of the ego death experience that comes with the peak of a psychedelic trip. One loses all touch with and memory of the fleeting forms of energy that make up the material world, and resides solely in pure consciousness, and thereby reunites with God.

Fittingly, then, Evola states that the Tradition that inspires him has “the character of an esoteric doctrine.”

The second essay, ‘The End of a Cycle – “Ride the Tiger”‘, continues in the same vein. Evola explains that the expression “to ride the tiger” is from the Far East and refers to the idea that it’s safer to ride on the tiger’s back than to try and flee and get pounced on, for the tiger will eventually tire out and then one can make an escape.

Essentially, the idea expressed here is this: great and terrible changes are sweeping the world, and will continue to do so. They will destroy much, if not all, of the existing order, regardless of whether this order is good or bad. There is no hope of resisting this process.

All of this sounds terribly pessimistic and nihilistic on the surface, but it’s clear that, like Nietzsche before him, Evola has anticipated the nihilism that follows the destruction of the incumbent value system, and is speaking of what must come beyond that. He writes of the “Four Ages” system famililar to readers of Plato’s Republic as well as to Hindus.

The warning of this chapter is that the forces of destruction and degeneracy are too powerful to be overcome; resisting them is as futile as resisting the tide. But in this there is still a message of hope: those destructive forces are too mindless, stupid and disorderly to hold sway for very long and so, like the storm, they will pass, and leave an opportunity to rebuild order in their wake.

And so, Evola mocks the “progressive” and “advanced” thinking of the West as little more than symptoms of a disease of the soul. This is apparently the context in which the book ought to be read.

The object of the book is summed up in the final paragraph of this essay: “defining the attitude to be taken toward certain experiences and processes of today”. In other words, how do we deal with the fact that everything’s falling to bits?

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).