What I am about to say does not concern the ordinary man of our day. On the contrary, I have in mind the man who finds himself involved in today’s world, even at its most problematic and paroxysimal points; yet he does not belong inwardly to such a world, nor will he give in to it. He feels himself, in essence, as belonging to a different race from that of the overwhelming majority of his contemporaries. ~ Julius Evola.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Oswald Spengler's Civilisation Model and the Decline of the West

  Video from the excellent Oswald Spengler Youtube channel


Spiritual epochs

Phase Indian from 1500 BC Classical from 1100 BC Magian (Middle Eastern) from 0 Western from 900
Spring Rural-intuitive. Great creations of the newly-awakened dream-heavy soul. Super-personal unity and fulness Birth of a myth of the Grand Style expressing a New God-feeling. World-fear. World Longing
1500–1200 BC
1100–800 BC
Earliest mystical-metaphysical shaping of the new world-outlook. Zenith of Scholasticism
Preserved in the oldest parts of the Vedas
Summer Ripening consciousness. Earliest urban and critical stirrings. Reformation: Internal Popular Opposition to the Great Springtime Forms
10–9th century BC
7th century BC
Beginning of a purely philosophical form of the World-feeling. Opposition of idealistic and realistic systems
Preserved in the Upanishads 6–5th century BC
6–7th century
16–17th century
Formation of a new Mathematic Conception of Number as copy and Content of World-form.
Missing 540 BC
  • Algebra (the indefinite number)
  • (development not yet investigated)
Puritanism. Rationalistic-mystic Impoverishment of Religion.
Traces in the Upanishad 540 BC
  • Pythagorean society (from 640)
Autumn Intelligence of the City. Zenith of strict Intellectual creativeness "Enlightenment". Belief in the Almightiness of Reason. Cult of "Nature". "Rational" Religion
Zenith of mathematical thought. Elucidation of the Form-World of Numbers.
Zero as a number
The Great Conclusive Systems
Winter Dawn of Megalopolitan Civilization. Extinction of spiritual creative force. Life itself becomes problematical. Ethical-practical tendencies of an irreligious and unmetaphysical cosmopolitanism Materialistic World-Outlook. Cult of Science, Utility and Prosperity.
Ethical-social ideals of life. Epoch of "Unmathematical Philosophy". "Skepsis".
Tendencies in Buddha's time Movements in Islam
Inner Completion of the Mathematical Form-World. The Concluding thought.
Degradation of abstract thinking into Professional Lecture-Room Philosophy. Compendium Literature.
Schools of
Spread of Final World Sentiment
Indian Buddhism since 500 Hellenistic-Roman Stoicism since 200 The practical Fatalism in Islam since 1000 The spread of ethical Socialism from 1900

Artistic epochs

Phase Egyptian Culture Classical Culture Arabian Culture Western Culture
Pre-Cultural Period Chaos of Primitive expression forms. Mystical symbolism and Naive Imitation 2830 BC-2600 BC
1600 BC-1100 BC
500 BC-0
Culture Life-history of a style Formative of the entire inner-being. Form-language of deepest symbolic necessity Early Period Ornamentation and architecture as elementary expression of the young world-feeling: "The Primitives" 2600 BC-2200 BC
100 BC-650 BC
Birth and Rise. Forms sprung from the Land, unconsciously shaped
2550 BC-2320 BC
11-9th century BC
1st-3rd century
11-13th century
Completion of the early form-language. Exhaustion of possibilities. Contradiction
2320 BC-2200 BC
  • 6th dynasty
  • End of pyramid and epic relief styles
  • Bloom of archaic portraits.
8-7th century BC
4-5th century
14-15th century
Late Period Formation of a group of arts urban and conscious, in the hands of individuals: "Great Masters." Formation of a mature artistry
2130 BC-1990 BC
Perfection of an intellectualized form-language
1990 BC-1790 BC
480 BC-350 BC
7-8th century
  • Umayyad dynasty
  • Victory of architecture and picture-less arabesque art
Exhaustion of strict creativeness. Dissolution of grand form. End of style. "Classicism" and "Romanticism"
Confusion after about 1750
Civilization Existence without inner form. Metropolitan city art as a commonplace: luxury, sport, nerve excitement. Rapidly-changing fashions in art (revivals, arbitrary discoveries, borrowings) Modern art. "Art problems". Attempts to portray or to excite the metropolitan consciousness. Transformation of music, architecture and painting into mere craft-arts
1675 BC-1550 BC
  • Hellenistic painting modes ( veristic, bizarre, subjective)]]
  • Pergamen (theatrically)
  • Archetictual display in the cities of Diadochi
9-10th century dynasties
19-20th century
End of form development. Meaningless, empty, artificial, pretentious architecture and ornament. Imitation of archaic an exotic motives
1550 BC-1328 BC
100 BC-100 AD
From 2000
Finale. Formation of a fixed stock of forms. Imperial display by means of material and mass. Provincial craft-art
1328 BC-1195 BC
  • Mongol Period from 1250
  • Giant building (e.g. in India)
  • "Oriental craft-art" (rugs, arms, implements)

Political epochs

Phase Egyptian Classical Chinese Western
Pre-Cultural Period Primitive folk. Tribes and their chiefs. As Yet No "Politics" and no "State" Thinite Period (MENES) 3100–2600 Mycenaean Age
(AGAMEMNON) 1600–1100
Shang Period
Frankish period
Culture National groups of definite style and particular world-feeling: "nations." Working of an immanent state-idea Early Period Organic articulation of political existence. The two prime classes (noble and priests).
Feudal economics; purely agrarian values
1. Feudalism. Spirit of countryside and countryman. The "City" only a market or stronghold. Chivalric-religious ideals. Struggles of vassals amongst themselves and against overlord.
Feudal conditions of IV Dynasty
Increasing power of feudatories and priesthoods
The Pharaoh as incarnation of Ra
The Homeric kingship
Rise of the nobility
(Ithaka, Etruria, Sparta)
The central ruler (Wang) pressed hard by the feudal nobility Roman-German Imperial period
Crusading nobility
Empire and Papacy
2. Crisis and dissolution of patriarchal forms. From feudalism to aristocratic Stare
VI Dynasty. Breakup of the Kingdom into heritable principalities. VII and VIII Dynasties, interregnum Aristocratic synoecism
  • Dissolution of kinship into annual offices
  • Oligarchy
934–904: I-Wang and the vassals
  • 842. Interregnum
Territorial princes Renaissance towns. Lancaster and York
  • 1254. Interregnum
Late Period Actualizing of the matured State-idea. Town versus countryside. Rise of Third Estate (Bourgeoisie). Victory of money over landed property
3. Fashioning of a world of States of strict form. Frondes
11th Dynasty
  • Overthrow of the baronage by the rulers of Thebes
  • Centralized bureaucracy-state
6th Century
  • First Tyrannis (Cleisthenes, Periander, Polycrates, the Tarquins)
  • The City-State
Period of the "Protectors" (Ming-Chu 685–591) and the congresses of princes (–460) Dynastic family-power, and Fronde (Richelieu, Wallenstein, Cromwell)—circa 1630
4. Climax of the State-form ("Absolutism") Unity of town and country ("State" and "Society." The "three estates")
1990–1790: 12th Dynasty
The pure Polis (absolutism of the Demos)
590–480: Chun-Chiu period ("Spring" and "Autumn")
  • Seven powers
  • Perfection of social forms (Li)
Ancien Regime. Rococo. Court nobility of Versailles. Cabinet politics Habsburg and Bourbon. Louis XIV. Frederick the Great
5. Break-up of the State-form (Revolution and Napoleonism). Victory of the city over the countryside (of the "people" over the privileged, of the intelligentsia over tradition, of money over policy)
1788–1680: Revolution and military government. Decay of the realm. Small potentates, in some cases sprung from the people. 4th century: Social revolution and the Second Tyrannis (Dionysus I, Jason of Pherae, Appius Claudius the Censor) Alexander 480: Beginning of the Chan-Kwo period. 441: Fall of the Chou dynasty Revolutions and annihilation-wars Napoleon
Civilization The body of the people, now essentially urban in constitution, dissolves into formless mass. Megalopolis and Provinces. The Fourth Estate ("Masses"), inorganic, cosmopolitan 1. Domination of Money ("Democracy"). Economic powers permeating the political forms and authorities
1675–1550: Hyksos period. Deepest decline. Dictatures of alien generals (Chian). After 1600, definitive victory of the rulers of Thebes 300–100: Political Hellenism. From Alexander to Hannibal and Scipio royal all-power from Cleomenes III and C. Flaminius (220) to C. Marius, radical demagogues. 480–230: Period of the "Contending States"
  • The Imperial title (288)
  • The Imperialist statesmen of Tsin
  • From 289, incorporation of the last states in the Empire.
  • 19th Century: From Napoleon to World War I, "System of Great Powers," standing armies, constitutions
  • 20th Century: Transition from constitutional order to informal sway of individuals. Annihilation wars. Imperialism
2. Formation of Caesarism. Victory of force-politics over money. Increasing primitiveness of political forms. Inward decline of the nations into a formless population, and constitution thereof as an Imperium of gradually-increasing crudity of despotism
1580–1350: Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt
100 BC–100 AD: Sulla to Domitian
250 BC–26 AD: House of Wang-Cheng and Western Han Dynasty
  • 221 BC: August title (Shi) of Emperor (Hwang-ti)
  • 140–80 BC: Wu-ti
3. Maturing of the final form. Private and family policies of individual leaders. The world as spoil. Egypticism, Mandarinism, Byzantinism. Historyless stiffening and enfeeblement even of the imperial machinery, against young peoples eager for spoil, or alien conquerors. Primitive human conditions slowly thrust up into the highly-civilized mode of living
1350–1205: Nineteenth dynasty of Egypt
100–300: Trajan to Aurelian
25–320: Eastern Han Dynasty
after 2200

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Race, "Ethnos" and "The Fourth Political Theory" - Part 2

By Giuliano Adriano Malvicini 
Part 2 of 3

Since liberalism, as an ideology founded on the rights of the individual, calls for "the liberation from all forms of collective identity in general, (and is therefore) entirely incompatible with the ethnos and ethnocentrism, and is an expression of a systematic theoretical and technological ethnocide", "ethnocentrism" and the positive affirmation of "ethnic" identity are viewed by Dugin as a potential base for resistance to liberalism. This is why he argues that "ethnocentrism" can be viewed as a positive component of national socialism, if it is neutralised by purging it of any racial or national connotations. Dugin's notion of "ethnos" has nothing to do with race - he makes it very clear that it is a purely cultural, linguistic and sociological concept with no biological basis whatsoever. As we shall see, Dugin’s concept of “ethnocentrism”, which he says is derived from the German sociologist Wilhelm Mühlman (who, however, was a convinced racialist and national socialist), differs from the commonly accepted meaning of this term. As for the concept of the “ethnos” itself, in "The Fourth Political Theory" he only touches upon it in passing, defining it as "a community of language, religious belief, daily life, and the sharing of resources and goals". However, he develops it much more fully in a lecture series on "ethno-sociology" (a term that means the same as cultural or social anthropology, ethnology or structural anthropology), which can be viewed on Youtube.

The first part of Dugin’s course is a very summary overview of different national schools of social anthropology, which he sees as an important peripheral scientific discipline that has the potential to challenge and subvert Western cultural hegemony (i. e., Western “racism”). Those familiar with the work of Kevin McDonald and his book "The Culture of Critique" will be struck Dugin's very positive evaluation of figures like the Jewish-American anthropologist Franz Boas, who is famous for having tried to debunk the concept of race.
Dugin is especially interested in the French school of structural anthropology, founded by the Jewish-French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, who was a student of the Jewish-Russian linguist Roman Jakobson. This connection is important to Dugin, since Jakobson was not only one of the founders of the structuralist school in linguistics, but also a Eurasianist. Structuralist anthropology is also an important link between the study of pre-modern forms of rationality and poststructuralist thought, and between “holistic” conservative thought and postmodern relativism. The structuralist method - viewing a culture as a system of synchronic relations - is assimilated by Dugin to the holistic, organic view of society characteristic of conservative thinkers. Dugin also says that his concept of “ethnos” based on the work of the Russian ethnologist Sergey Shirokogorov, who studied archaic tribes living on the Siberian tundra.

Shirokogorov’s work also functions as a link between the concept of "ethnos" and the political ideology of Eurasianism.

Dugin has proposed the "ethnos" and “civilisation” as possible subjects of the "fourth political theory". For Dugin, the "ethnos", and not the individual, is the social "atom” (the simplest, most basic form of social being). The “ethnos” is only fully embodied by primitive hunter-gatherer societies and neolithic agrarian societies. The ethnos, again, is not a racial group. The essence of the "ethnos", as Dugin defines this term, is not a biological fact, but a social, symbolic and linguistic structure. He is always careful to emphasise that the ethnos is a cultural phenomenon, not defined by blood relations or race. It is similar to the phenomenological concept of a pre-logical "life world" (Lebenswelt). The "life world" is pre-logical in the sense that it is the shared horizon of understanding of a community. The notion of life world allows Dugin to link the concept of “ethnos” to Heidegger’s concept of Dasein as being-in-the-world. This is important because Dasein is supposed to be the “subject” of the fourth political theory. The ethnos, then, is apparently a specific type of Dasein.

Although the notion of ethnos is only fully applicable to archaic societies, it continues to exist as a residual stratum in modern societies, in the form of the timeless symbols and archetypes of the collective unconscious. In modern society, the ethnic life-world has disintegrated and society is increasingly transformed into an economic system governed by instrumental, technological rationality. By taking the ethnos as a paradigm of interpretation, it is set up as the “normal” type of society, and modern society is viewed as a deviation from or distortion of this original standard. The methods of social anthropology, developed specifically for the study of primitive societies, can then be used as a critical tool in the interpretation of modern societies - something already attempted by semioticians like Roland Barthes and Jean Baudrillard. The non-individualist, non-utilitarian gift economies of primitive societies, based on symbolic exchange and honour, are presented as a possible basis for an economic system that could be an alternative to modern liberal-capitalist economies.

The ethnos itself cannot be properly understood using historical methods. One of the characteristics of archaic, primitive societies is that they are ahistorical, or prehistorical. They lack written records. They live in mythical time rather than historical time - mythical time in Mircea Eliade’s sense, the time of the eternal return of the same. The ethnos (primitive society) is not an historical community but a social structure that reproduces itself indefinitely.  

This means that it must be studied using the methods of structuralism, which were initially developed within the field of linguistics but later applied to the social sciences. Structuralists view primitive societies as systems of oppositions that must be studied holistically and synchronically, like a language. They cannot be adequately interpreted in causal terms, whether as the result of biological evolution (Dugin rejects evolutionary interpretations of culture as tainted by the “racist”, modern doctrine of progress) or as arising from historical processes. The ethnos is simply a phenomenological given. Although it frequently seems to be a purely theoretical, artificial and utopian construct, Dugin insists that it is empirically validated by ethnological studies of archaic societies.

Instead of historical terms, the ethnos must be interpreted in spatial (synchronic) terms. The spatial structure of the ethnos, however, is first of all an expression of the specific landscape in which it dwells. The landscape should not be understood in simply material or naturalistic terms. The landscape of the ethnos is a sacred landscape. It is not just the natural environment of a tribal group, but the symbolic, mythical space into which the natural environment is inscribed. The concept of “nature”, even in its anti-modern, romantic form, already presupposes man’s separation and alienation from the cosmos as a primordial whole. The world of naive, primitive man, of the ethnos, is a whole prior to conceptual oppositions like artificial and natural, subject and object, symbolic and the real, language and things, thought and experience, the individual and society (and in this sense, it shares characteristics with the postmodern world, in which the boundaries between the virtual and the real, the natural and the technological are erased).

What Heidegger calls "a world” is a space of possibilities rather than a collection of objects observed from the outside. There is no independently existing, transcendental subject that subsequently crosses over into the world, no objective world that confronts a detached, abstract subject. Being-in-the-world comes first, and the subject and its “sense-data” are only abstracted out of it by philosophers. The opposition of subject and object conceals the primordial unity of being-in-the-world, which is irreducible to the subject-object relation. Concrete being-in-the-world is studied phenomenologically, uncovering its temporal and spatial structure.

The fundamental polarity of the ethnos is not that between the subject and object, but between the sacred and the profane. The polarity between the sacred and the profane corresponds to the polarity between the exceptional and the normal. The profane is the normal, and the sacred is a crisis in the normal course of events - an exception that suspends the oppositions that structure social reality, transcending them and tracing their limits. The sacred is both exceptional and foundational, both dangerous and salvific (“Wo aber Gefahr ist, wächst/Das Rettende auch”). It is the outer limit of the world, but also the dark core of things. The sacred marks the uncrossable limits of communal life - uncrossable insofar as the one who crosses them, ceases to be part of the community, or becomes other (for example, by undergoing initiation). The sacred is a paradigm common to nature and society, designating the primordial totality that transcends them and includes them. The sacred is normative in the sense that it is a limit that unites and gathers all the separate regions of the world, determining their “measures”. The dimension of the sacred belongs to the structure of Being itself, and can therefore never be entirely eliminated, even in the most secularised of modern societies: it can only be displaced and distorted.

The space of the ethnos is structured by the relation between a sacred centre (pole) and a profane margin. Here, Dugin draws on Mircea Eliade's work on the symbolism of the centre. According to Eliade, sacred space is founded and ordered from out of a central point marked by a “hierophany”: a revelation of the sacred. The centre is symbolically designated by the erection of an axis mundi, an axis that connects the various dimensions or regions of the cosmos. Space, then, is not homogenous, but differentiated by a central, vertical sacred axis or core and a profane, horizontal periphery or margin. Traditional cosmogonies frequently describe the cosmos as growing out of a central point. As Eliade defines it, the centre is any point at which a vertical movement between different ontological planes or cosmic regions - between profane and sacred space, between heaven and earth, gods and mortals, the realm of the living and of the dead - can occur. It is the world-pillar, the sacred mountain - Yggdrasil, Olympus, Meru, Irminsul. Climbing a mountain, a cosmic tree or pillar is a passage from one ontological plane to another. Yggdrasil connects the nine worlds to each other and makes it possible to travel between them. The sacred centre is also the spinal column of the yogi, the Vedic sacrificial pole, a lingam, or a sacred tree. It is the gathering symbol of the Christian cross. It is the altar upon which the redemptive sacrificial death of Christ is re-enacted, and churches and temples are oriented around the centrality of the altar. The axis is the totem pole, the “master signifier” that gathers the tribe around itself. A cornerstone or the central column of a building is another embodiment of the sacred centre. The axis unites within itself the symbolism of transcendence and of foundation. It is the column that supports the “house of Being”. The centre makes it possible for man to dwell in the world (the English word “home” is a cognate of the Old Norse word heimr, “world”), it is the pole that gathers, unifies and orders a cosmos. According to Eliade, its “temporal” counterpart is the sun at its zenith - which for Nietzsche was a symbol of the revelation of the unity of Being and Becoming in eternal cosmic recurrence.

While modern society revolves around the pole of the “sacred” and inviolable individual, each ethnos is gathered around a sacred axis. The ethnos views itself as dwelling near the sacred centre of the world. It is the proximity to this point of origin, this source of power and pole of attraction that roots the ethnos in a landscape. It is not primarily defined by borders - by the exclusion of an “other”, an enemy - but by the centripetal attraction of a pole of transcendence.

Each civilisation, while encompassing several ethne, is also organised around a pole, which presumably forms one of the poles of multipolarity. Dugin says that the symbol of Eurasianism, eight arrows radiating out from a central point, is a symbol of the ethno-centre. The radiating arrows are not only a symbol of Russian ambitions of imperialist expansion. They also symbolise the origin of Tradition in the centre of Eurasian heartland, and its subsequent diffusion throughout the rest of the world. Dugin claims that “excavations in Eastern Siberia and Mongolia prove that exactly here were the most ancient centres of civilization.” Finally, in an added postmodern touch, the symbol of Eurasianism is also a symbol of chaos  invented by the British science fiction and fantasy author Michael Moorcock in his 1970 novel “The Eternal Champion”. This is presumably an allusion to Dugin’s “chaotic logos”, and perhaps also to “right-wing anarchism” and its conception of sovereignty.

Each ethnos is a "logos". As Heidegger famously noted, the Greek word logos (speech) is related to the verb legein, an agrarian term signifying "gathering", "harvesting" (the ethnos, remember, is a hunter-gatherer or archaic agrarian society). The logos gathers together everything that has been made distinct by being named, including the dead and the gods, into a single space or “place” (Ort). In this sense, language is the “house of Being”. It is an ordering of space and time, inscribing the landscape and the cycle of the seasons into itself by means of a calendar, a map and a taxonomy. Space, time, man, and nature are gathered together in a single, permanent, identical figure: a world. Dugin identifies this figure with the ethnos, which strives to conserve and reproduce itself as a world, but not as a biological entity (although he does not make it clear why biological conservation of the race is not a necessary part of the conservation of the world of the ethnos). He also identifies the ethnos with a specific language.

Since each ethnos is a “logos” - in the sense of a structure of language, of thought, and of social relations - this becomes the basis for a kind of cultural and linguistic relativism. There is not just the one, universal Reason of the western Enlightenment. There are many different valid "rationalities" (although "reason”, "rationality" and “logic” are already deviations from the original meaning of "logos”). The fourth political theory rejects the “epistemological hegemony” of the West. Dugin argues, for example, that sub-Saharan Africans must not be deemed inferior because they do not live up to the norms and standards of the modern West. The Western conceptions of Reason, enlightenment and “emancipation” are not the universal goal “humanity” is consciously or unconsciously striving towards, with ethnic and cultural differences viewed as mere particularistic obstacles to be overcome on the way. The dominance of the Western form of rationality tends to exclude all other forms of rationality and deny them legitimacy. Dugin, like other postmodernists, wants to relativise the Western logos as only one of many possible logoi, without any legitimate claim to a privileged status. The relationship between these logoi is non-hierarchical, anarchic and pluralistic. Insofar as a subject is a kind of rationality, there are many different types of subjects - not just the modern, Western, enlightened version of humanity, defined by Western rationality. In other words, Dugin reiterates the postmodern critiques of Western culture, all of which are familiar ad nauseam to anyone who has attended a Western university. The global political hegemony of the West is founded on the hegemony of Western reason. Western rationality (technological rationality) not only allowed western man to subjugate his natural environment, it allowed the West to subjugate the rest of the world. It forced other peoples to choose between adopting the Western model themselves, or remaining colonial subjects of the West.

According to the ideology of the Enlightenment, reason is universal, and is the defining characteristic of universal human nature, of man as animal rationale. Reason is what all human beings have in common, a common norm on the basis of which conflicts can be neutralised and mediated, and the world ultimately harmonised. This is the telos – the goal and end-point – of history, and the path towards it is progressive, universal enlightenment. When this goal and ideal end-point is reached, conflict, and hence politics in any real sense, will cease to exist. But some critics of the enlightenment have argued that reason cannot neutralise the struggle for power and the conflictual dimension of reality, and that reason is itself an instrument of power and domination. The only authentic freedom is an essentially political freedom that contains within itself the possibility of conflict - conflict that cannot be neutralised by any common norm or foundation in universal reason.

The focus, then, is not on universal reason gradually overcoming the dark demons and phantoms of myth and irrationality, and in the process, uniting humanity, but on the specific world of each ethnos, which is prior to the separation between reason and intuition, logos and myth. Each ethnos identifies itself with the world (the cosmos), or at least sees itself as the centre of the world, insofar as it believes itself to be dwelling in the proximity of the “sacred centre”. The ethnos is a society rooted in a mythical space-time, a sacred geography. The ethnos not only dwells within a space, it is itself a living space, but not in Haushofer’s sense of “Lebensraum”. It is "a space that lives”.

The sacred in itself is an abyss, a chaos. Outside of the cosmos of the ethnos, there is only a terrifying chaos, an abyss of nothingness, the residue of creation. It cannot be eliminated, only held at bay and circumscribed by a boundary. Chaos cannot manifest itself directly. It can only show itself by concealing itself, by taking on a paradoxical figure of form: by masking itself as a “nothingness that is”. It seizes or takes possession of an individual, who then becomes its vessel and personification (as in the case of shamanic possession, or the totemic figure representing the tribe's founder). There, the nameless forces of the outside are socialised and can address the community, taking on the personae (the "masks”) of demons, spirits or gods. Through this personification, the sacred becomes a “subject” that can engage in symbolic exchange with the community. The shaman or healer is the central figure of tribal or "ethnic" society, who communicates and mediates between the ethnos and the beyond - the sacred realm of the dead, demons or gods. The shaman is both a liminal and a “conservative” figure, a guardian who works to conserve the cosmic order, waging war on demons and malignant spirits of the chaotic outside. His or her work consists in dealing with the various crises that the ethnos and its members periodically go through. The shaman not only heals individuals in the tribe, but above all heals the tribe itself and the cosmos, making them whole, restoring the cosmic order founded on the sacred. He or she is able to pass from one ontological plane to another by climbing the axis mundi, the sacred pillar, mountain or world-tree.

Eliade believed that shamanism originated in Eurasia. It was a pre-historic vehicle through which elements of the primordial tradition were transmitted to pre-Columbian America and other areas. Eliade views the shaman as a kind of proto-sovereign, in the sense that he is able to magically bind and unbind. He occupies a “liminal” position - managing crises within the normal order of the tribe and cosmos, but doing so only insofar as he communicates with the dangerous, chaotic outside. He possesses traits similar to those that according to Carl Schmitt define sovereignty - the power to suspend the normative order, not in order to destroy it, but in order to save it from dissolution and chaos.

The shaman enacts the primordial, permanent struggle or strife, the activity and dynamism that underlies the static structure of the ethnos.  

The dynamic of the ethnos is opposed to the new. It views all change as a crisis, as entropy, eroding the stability of the cosmos. The ethnos is inherently conservative and anti-historical, in the sense that its sole purpose is to maintain homeostasis, to work to maintain its identity with itself. Its main concern is self-reproduction. Again, this is not in the sense of the biological preservation and self-reproduction of the race. In reproducing itself, the ethnos ritually restores and maintains the order and equilibrium of the cosmos and the flow of its circular economy. Its existence is centred in the cycle of the seasons, of seeding and harvesting, child-birth and death. The time of the ethnos, then, is not linear and irreversible (historical), but recurrent, circular and reversible. Using Armin Mohler’s terminology, we could also call the time-space of the ethnos a "sphere” (“Kugel”). It is a wholeness that has not yet been split into the dualisms of time and eternity, matter and spirit, man and nature, individual and society, etc. The individual is not seen as separate from the ethnos, and the ethnos is identified with the world. This world transcends and outlives the individual. The primary care of the individual is not self-preservation, but the preservation of the ethnos/world.

Since the time of the ethnos is the eternal return of the same, death itself is not an irreversible event. The souls of the ancestors return in their descendants. The individual as an historically unique, mortal being does not exist. Children are potentially destabilising, alien elements that threaten the cohesiveness of the tribe, but are assimilated through initiation. When they are initiated into adulthood, they become reincarnations or personifications of their ancestors. (Prior to initiation, children are viewed as both dangerous and sacred by many primitive tribal groups.) Individuality has no positive meaning for the ethnos. In this sense, the ethnos is the reverse of modern society, in which the individual defines itself in opposition to the community. Instead of the individual, it is the ethnos as a whole that is the normative unit, "the man". In other words, it could be viewed as a kind of "subject".

At this point, however, it becomes unclear how this can have anything to do with Dasein, since Dasein is defined precisely by its historicity, finitude and mortality. For Heidegger, men are, in their deepest and most fundamental essence, mortals. Dasein’s mortality is not the consequence of modern Western man’s loss of faith or nihilism. In a sense, the essence of man - Dasein - is finitude, and finitude is not simply a human characteristic, but part of the essence of Being itself. Dasein, as finitude, belongs to the structure of Being itself, so that the question of Dasein is a necessary step in approaching the question of Being. Heidegger elaborates his concept of Dasein not as a philosophical anthropology, but as a part of his ontological project. Dugin talks about Dasein, but detaches the term from the question of Being. In doing this, Dugin effectively empties the term of meaning. Nowhere does he show that he actually understands what Heidegger means by “Dasein”, or what is at stake in Being and Time.

The forgetting of Being is not a human error - and much less the error only of Western humanity - but part of the essence of Being itself. The essence of nihilism is not a human error or something created by human beings at all. Moreover, only the complete nihilism that coincides with the end of Western metaphysics and the planetary dominion of modern technology opens up the possibility of the question of Being in Heidegger’s sense. Contrary to what traditionalists believe, nihilism cannot be overcome through a return to metaphysics, since nihilism is itself the final actualisation of metaphysics. The essence of metaphysics is the movement of transcendence (Übersteigen). The history of metaphysics is the event of transcendence, the transcendence of beings by Being. It is in this sense that Heidegger defines metaphysics as “the history of Being”. All metaphysical concepts are structured by the fundamental ontological difference between Being and beings, i. e., the transcendence of beings by Being, through which beings are gathered, grounded and held in suspense by the withdrawal of Being.

The historicity (Geschichtlichkeit) of Dasein is founded on the irreversible and unrepeatable event (Geschehnis) that Dasein itself is. Dasein is not only mortal, but also “natal” (gebürtig). Natality is the essence of historicity (Geschichtlichkeit). Birth is an “event” (Geschehnis) in the sense that ontologically, it is an absolute beginning, an absolute interruption or break with the past (even though ontically, it is of course a natural event, part of a continuous chain of causes and effects). Man has a history because man as Dasein is himself history.

Death, for Heidegger, is not simply a natural event, a consequence of the fact that our bodies are part of the natural world and conditioned by its cycles of growth and decline. On the contrary, man’s mortality separates him (as Dasein) from the natural realm. It has the power to violently tear Dasein out of the automatisms of inauthentic social relations, the commerce of everyday life and the impostures of false subjectivity. Heidegger calls this sleep-walking, inauthentic existence “das Man”. Das Man is not responsible for its existence. Instead, it observes existence from the outside, like a kind of spectacle. Mortality is never “addressed to” das Man, but always concerns someone else. In a sense, “the subject” - abstract humanity - is das Man - a free-floating ego detached from concrete, historical, finite existence. The traumatic truth of being-towards-death, the crisis of existential anxiety, isolates Dasein and liberates it at the same time, but not in the sense in which the “subject” is free because it floats in an unconditioned, transcendent realm somewhere outside or beyond the objective world. 

Finitude is for Heidegger not just a naturally given limit to freedom, power and life. The limits that isolate and liberate Dasein are not simply negative or privative, but positive and active - active in the sense of a power of overcoming. The limit transcends or overcomes what it limits. Dasein’s “transcendence” is being-towards-death, not the transcendence of a subject suspended above concrete existence. The individuality of authentic Dasein is not the basis of the arbitrary freedom of irresponsible, hedonistic egoism. The finitude of Dasein is given meaning only as an historical responsibility. The authentic freedom of Dasein is not an unconditioned freedom from time and history, but is the essence of historicity (Geschichtlichkeit) itself as an event (Geschehnis). Through historical existence, Dasein’s finitude becomes the source of a potential renewal and re-founding of the historical community it is born into. Insofar as Dasein’s limit is active, it is a decision, and Dasein is summoned to affirm, take responsibility for and ground that decision in its projected being-as-a-whole.

Heidegger would view the historicity of primitive, tribal Dasein as only existing as something undeveloped or pre-conscious. Only Western man has a deeper experience of the fundamentally historical essence of Dasein as an event (Geschehnis), which corresponds to Being as an event (Ereignis). However, this experience has remained unthought and philosophically unelaborated, because thinking has remained trapped by the categories of metaphysics, subjectivism and Christian humanism. Dugin, however, attempts to relativise Heidegger's notion of Dasein, claiming that it only applies to Western Europeans. In doing so, however, Dugin shows himself to be more a postmodern relativist than a Heideggerian. By giving complete ontological priority to language, he renders the concept of Dasein effectively meaningless. For Heidegger, man does not exist as Dasein because he has a language, but has a language because he exists as Dasein. In other words, Dasein as an event (Geschehnis) is ontologically prior to language and social life. It follows that the existential structure of Dasein cannot itself be determined by the structure of language and society. Heidegger’s position is in a sense absolutely opposed to that of social constructivism, which is merely a form of subjectivism, making reality - including man himself - entirely a creation of man. It goes without saying that it is also opposed to Marxism, which interprets humanity’s emancipation as humanity’s self-production.

Since the ethnos, according to Dugin, does not know irreversible, historical time - only cyclical time, the eternal return of the same - it is inherently opposed not only to everything new, but to all forms of accumulation. The ethnos ritually destroys (sacrifices) accumulated resources that could endanger its homeostasis and symbolic equilibrium. Not only a deficit, but an excess of production is viewed as dangerous and problematic. In this sense, its economy is anti-capitalist. It constantly interrupts the linear time of accumulation. Accumulation is viewed as guilt, as a debt to the gods that must be repaid. To sacrifice something - to destroy an accumulated excess - means to give it to the gods. The ethnos strives to conserve a social and cosmic equilibrium, as well as an equilibrium between society and nature. Society is naturalised and nature is socialised. Together, they form a sacred whole, a circular economy. 

The ethnos, then, is a form of primordial, pre-historic communism in which work is play and man lives in perfect accord with his natural environment. It is an ecologically sound, harmonious cosmic and social totality, a golden age before man’s fall into history, a paradise in which the entropic, destructive force of time is defeated, or at least held in check. The ethnos does not know the tension of social stratification, and there is no division of labour, except between the genders. The relationship between the genders, however, is also balanced and non-patriarchal. The space-time of the ethnos, as we noted earlier, is reversible, and this goes for its social relations, too. There are no asymmetrical, hierarchical relationships within society, only a balance maintained through symbolic exchange. In other words, the ethnos is a democratic and egalitarian society (at least on a symbolic level). As an embodiment the golden age, it represents the primordial perfection of man. The man of the ethnos, in other words, is a sort of noble savage (a modern concept if there ever was one!) that can be opposed to the evils of Western society since the scientific revolution.

The restoration of this primordial unity, bringing linear history and capitalist accumulation to an end in a revolutionary holocaust, is according to Dugin the unconscious mythical and eschatological dimension of communism. The revolution abolishes linear time, which is identified with entropy and usury. Dugin apparently thinks that the violence of communist revolutions should be interpreted as a kind of sacrificial destruction of accumulated wealth. Capitalist accumulation is an excess that must be sacrificially destroyed through the liquidation of the bourgeoisie as a class.

The modern age is the age of revolutions, but as Jünger observed, the violence of revolutions - including the Terror of the French revolution - could be interpreted as a return of repressed elemental forces under the mask of enlightened modernity. Just as gods, spirits and demons communicate with the tribe by personifying themselves in the shaman, elemental chaos shows itself under the mask, the “persona” of the modern, supposedly rational, revolutionary subject. This is why for Dugin, the only real problem with communism was that it failed to understand itself. Its self-interpretation, its “hermeneutic circle" must be shattered. Communism made a mistake regarding the political subject. It saw class, rather than the archaic ethnos, as its subject. It wore the mask of a modern, progressive, secular ideology. This is why Marxists could not understand why communist revolutions took place in undeveloped, agrarian societies, and not, as Marx had predicted, in industrially developed societies like Germany.

Authentic communism, Dugin argues, is "national communism" (represented by Stalin, for example) or agrarian communism (represented by Pol Pot). "National communism" (or "national gauchism", as Dugin also calls it) is interpreted as a revolt against the Western, modern world, a revolt rooted in local, ethnic traditions. National communism is a hybrid of the Western rationality of Marxism and the mobilising force of non-Western ethnic myths. Dugin points to the "National Communistic character of successful Marxist revolutions, recognising nationalistic elements as a driving factor and virtue, providing these revolutions with success and stability via archaic national stories of the mobilisation of Marxism as nationally interpreted eschatological myth" [“The Fourth Political Theory”, p. 128]. "National Communism", Dugin tells us, "ruled in the USSR, Communist China, North Korea, Vietnam, Albania, Cambodia, and also in many Communist movements of the Third World, from the Mexican Chiapas and Peruvian Sendero Luminoso to the Kurdish Workers' Party and Islamic socialism [128]. In national communism/gauchism, Marxism functions as a universal philosophical framework that allows national movements - local by their nature - to communicate with each other and "even claim universality and planetary breadth; transforming, thanks to socialist rationality warmed up by nationalism, into a messianic project [130]." In his opinion, "National Gauchism could certainly have a global future, insofar as among many segments of humanity archaic, ethnic and religious energies are far from being spent, whatever can be said of the citizens of the modern, enlightened and rational West" [131]. Dugin evidently follows the old leftist, anti-colonialist topos of the third world and non-whites as the only remaining revolutionary subjects (third world nationalism, unlike European nationalism, was glorified by the left as a revolt against Western imperialism). In reality, mass non-white immigration to the West, attracted by its earthly “paradise” or “golden age” of material wealth, religious tolerance, modernity and generous welfare systems, has long since made it obvious that non-white peoples are not the subjects of national communist revolutions, but simply one of the instruments of the globalist, ethnocidal anthropological revolution. 

Dugin appears to equate the white West with the bourgeoisie, and non-white peoples (or Russians insofar as they are “not fully white”) with the revolutionary subject. He believes that the first successful communist revolution took place in Russia because the "ethnos" had retained more of its primitive vitality there than in the modern West (remember, Dugin views Russians as non-white). His concept of the ethnos allows him to interpret Russia's backwardness as a positive trait, rather than as a source of shame, in the same way that the negative view of the West found in traditionalist writings allows muslims to view their societies as spiritually superior to the decadent, anti-traditional, secular West, while at the same time apparently not feeling the least compunction over living as parasites on the productive labour of Western societies. It becomes embarrassingly obvious that one is dealing with an overcompensation for what is really a collective inferiority complex. Russia's backwardness is interpreted as the proof that it has successfully warded off infection by the “evils” of Western modernity. The communist revolution was in its essence a revolt of the Eurasian Russian ethnos against Western-oriented elites. Bolshevism was a re-Asianisation of Russia. Rather than taking the modern West as a norm, which can only lead to devaluing the history of Russia and other non-Western nations as marginal and backward, Dugin wants to reverse the relationship, restoring Eurasia to the dignity of the "sacred centre" and marginalising the West as its "profane periphery". Dugin assigns a central, Messianic role to Russia analogous to the Messianic role the German conservative revolutionaries assigned to Germany as the sacred centre or axis of Europe. Eurasia is not only a locus of the great geopolitical decisions of our time, it is a sacred centre also in the sense of a crossing, a crucial point, an intersection and mediator between East and West, Europe and Asia. A similar role is assigned to Iran, Hungary and Turkey as Eurasian mediators between the East and Europe. Eurasianists declare themselves to be close to the leftist Turkish Workers’ Party, and Turkey is viewed by Eurasianists as part of Europe for purely geopolitical reasons. The massive occupation of German territory by Turkish immigrants, they argue, will be a positive factor in favouring the integration of Turkey and Germany into a common Eurasian empire. Here, as always for the Eurasianists, geographical and geopolitical considerations take complete precedence over racial factors, to the point of completely denying the latter. We see the implications of Dugin's conception of the ethnos as constituted not by race or by history, but by a space. Here, for some reason, Dugin is suddenly no longer a social constructivist. Geopolitical determinism is substituted for racial or historical materialist determinism. Geopolitical factors are seen as being more decisive than both racial and economic factors. Racial nationalism is rejected as either “utopian” or “reactionary”. The issue of race is not viewed as being of critical, decisive importance - what is decisive for the Eurasianists - what determines the distinction between friend and enemy - is the fight against the West.

This complete precedence given to soil at the expense of blood makes the relevance of Eurasianism for European nationalists today - for whom immigration is the existentially decisive question - very dubious. The massive occupation of European soil by African and Middle Eastern immigrants on does not make them Europeans, and never will. This is not just because they lack a deep relationship to European soil and traditions, but also because they are racially alien. Blacks and arabs in Europe may be “westernised”, but that only means globalised, that is, Americanised. Homo Americanus is the normative “human” type of the post-modern age.

Dugin tries to interpret Marxism’s profane, linear vision of history in terms of cyclical, mythic time, making the communist political revolution into a cyclical cosmic revolution, a return to a utopian golden age. Just as he tries to translate historical time into mythical time, he tries to translate geopolitical space into sacred geography. He wants us to see the West as the absolutely negative pole, and the East as the absolutely positive pole. In the Manichean and tiresomely propagandistic narrative of the Eurasianists, the East is paradise (Eden) and the West is hell. “Sacred geography on the basis of ‘space symbolism’ traditionally considers the East as ‘the land of Spirit’, the paradise land, the land of a completeness, abundance, the Sacred ‘native land’ in its fullest and most perfect kind. […] The West has the opposite symbolical meaning. It is the ‘country of death’, the ‘lifeless world’ […]. West is ‘the empire of exile’, ‘the pit of the rejected’, according to the expression of Islamic mystics. West is “anti-east”, the country of […] decay, degradation, transition from the manifest to the non-manifest, from life to death, from completeness to need, etc.” Moreover, “[a]long the East-West axis were drawn peoples and civilizations, possessing hierarchical characters — closer to the East were those closer to Sacral, to Tradition, to spiritual wealth. Closer to West, those of a more decayed, degraded and dying Spirit”.

 “[S]acred geography univocally affirms the law of ‘qualitative space’, in which the East represents the symbolic ‘ontological plus’, and the West the ‘ontological minus’. According to the Chinese tradition, the East is Yang, the male, bright, solar principle, and the West is Yin, the female, dark, lunar principle.” “Geopolitical East represents in itself the straight opposition to geopolitical West. […] Instead of ‘democracy’ and ‘human right’ the East gravitates around totalitarianism, socialism and authoritarianism, i.e. around various types of social regimes, whose only common feature is that the centre of their systems there is not the ‘individual’, ‘man’ with his ‘rights’ and his peculiar ‘individual values’, but something supra-individual, supra-human — be it ‘society’, ‘nation’, ‘people’, ‘idea’, ‘weltanschauung’, ‘religion’, ‘cult of the leader’ etc. The East opposed to western liberal democracy the most various types of non-liberal, non-individualistic the societies — from authoritarian monarchy up to theocracy or socialism. Moreover, from a pure typological, geopolitical point of view, the political specificity of this or that regime was secondary in comparison with the qualitative dividing between ‘western’ (= ‘individualist - mercantile’) order and ‘eastern’ (= ‘supra-individualist – based on force’) order. Representative forms of such anti-western civilization were the USSR, communist China, Japan about 1945 or Khomeini’s Iran”  [“From Sacred Geography to Geopolitics”].

Here, Dugin deviates completely from traditionalism in confusing brute material force with true authority, and interpreting communist forms of totalitarianism and collectivism, as well as the unstratified, non-hierarchical collectivism of primitive societies, as "supra-individual" and transcendent. Evola, who never advocated totalitarianism, regarded them both as the opposite of supra-individual and transcendent - as sub-individual and undifferentiated.
Ernst Jünger, in his National Bolshevik period, not only rejected bourgeois individualism, but also its flip side, the collectivism of the masses. Instead, he believed that both bourgeois individualism and the formlessness of the masses would be overcome by the emergence of a new “type” of man, which he called “the Worker”, that will be capable of mastering the forces mobilised by modern technology. But Dugin simply adopts, reversing it, Popper's liberal reduction of fascism and communism to the single term "totalitarianism”, reducing radically heterogeneous movements to the same, simply because they reject liberalism. In this sense, he actually interprets fascism not so much from the point of view of the left, as from the point of view of liberalism.

The ethnos, then, is not what traditionalists like Evola call a traditional society. Moreover, given that the ethnos is in its essence ahistorical and lacks a relation to the other, Dugin has not sufficiently clarified how it can be a political and historical subject. It is also unclear how Dugin proposes to unite Heidegger’s concept of Dasein as historicity with the anti-historical position of traditionalism. He has, however, proposed another possible political and historical subject: civilisation. This will be the topic of the next installment of this essay.

Part one can be found here.