The Metaphysical Roots of Political Ideologies
The confusion of definitions in political science
In modern political science, sociology, and the disciplines that have become inseparable from them, such as the history of religion, ethnology, and anthropology (all of which have in recent times yielded to statistics and economism), chaos reigns in regards to the most fundamental definitions of such political trends as fascism, communism, socialism, democracy, etc. Besides the fact that communists, fascists, and democrats themselves as a rule rather vaguely and contradictorily define their ideological positions (a fact explainable to a considerable extent by purely propagandistic goals), at the same time all proportions have been finally distorted amidst the particularly heightened popularity of the methodologies of the New Left, for whom the very word “fascism” has become a synonym for everything bad and communism (read: “freedom of will”) for everything good. On the other hand, among moderate democrats and moderate liberals another definition has become popular, namely, the one put forth by Sovietologists that “communism is fascism.” When it comes to such factors as religion, authoritarian rule, national specificity, and ecological cataclysms, then logical structures crumble altogether and any reasonableness in definitions is at times replaced by passion, emotion, and individual and national sympathies, etc.
All of this is to a certain extent even characteristic of our Russian political science as well, whose condition has deteriorated due not only to the considerable randomness of foreign political science towards which many Russian sociologists orient themselves, but also due to the many years when it was necessary to either intellectually “sleep” or simply hide one’s opinion in matters of politics which, in the end, led to the dominance of “indirect statements” expressed with an eye towards totalitarian dogma from whose form one could not depart even a single step. Thus, not only has our political science as a discipline which studies the spectra and ratio of ideologies, but also our politics itself, i.e., the sphere of actually direct (not analytical) ideological assertions, have turned out to be composed of irrational and contradictory theses, grotesque and absurd discussions, and a system of hints which have formed the Soviet “argo” that can be decrypted only with the knowledge of particularly sophisticated codes understood only by the “elites” themselves and “Western Sovietologists.” Be that as it may, the need for clear definitions for the principles and relations of different types of ideologies remains pressing and relevant insofar as the possibility of uncensored ideological statements might soon become the norm in Russia.
In this situation, we propose our own variation of a foundational political scheme which, in our opinion, will help cut the Gordian knot of political contradictions and isolate the main, irreducible ideological complexes or ideological “extremes” whose variations and numerous combinations form the multicolored spectrum of contemporary global politics. We by no means claim that our understanding is absolute, for it remains but a scheme and therefore should be taken with rather rough approximation. At the same time, however, we are convinced that no synthetic or holistic picture can be obtained by descending into details and nuances. On the contrary, applying the principle to the concrete is always an easy and purely technical task. Moreover, in our opinion, it is the the fear of schematization and commitment to the analytical method that has led political science to the miserable state in which it finds itself today, a state of “luxurious poverty.” In our study, we will employ diverse spheres of human thought, naturally beginning with religious and metaphysical concepts since it is at this level, whether directly or indirectly, affirmatively or negatively, that the specificities of different political platforms are predetermined.
Metaphysical dogma behind the scenes
We believe that the origins of politics and man’s political self-determination first and foremost stem from certain metaphysical dogmas, and only later do they draw slogans and cliches from the specific social reality through which these dogmas find their direct expression. Moreover, in most cases these dogmas themselves remain entirely behind the scenes, and not only an ideology’s ordinary representatives but also its exponents or “creators” at times do not even have the slightest idea of such. These metaphysical dogmas can take root in a person through either the semantic implication of traditional symbols and signs (the cultural and social factor), through innate psycho-mental attitudes (the psycho-genetic factor), or through man’s existential reaction to Being (the existentialist factor). In any case, the metaphysical dogmas which predetermine ideology are experienced by man as something internal, unconditional, and as some kind of existential imperative. Perhaps this is why attempts at identifying this dogma in its pure form are so often abhorrent and draw repulsive reactions. This can be seen on a more superficial level as well, when the bearer of a specific political doctrine rather often finds it difficult to determine the essence of his principal position (and not some specific position in relation to a given issue), instead identifying his position as something self-evident. For example, there are communists who are unaware of the fact that communist ideology belongs to the category of “left” ideologies, a categorization which is consistent with its objective position, instead believing communism to be neither right nor left but “central” or “naturally” true.
Regardless of whether the rank-and-file adherents of certain political views or sophisticated analytical political scientists might protest, it is none other than generalizing ideological principles and the metaphysical dogmas of ideologies that allows one to somehow navigate the intricacies of contemporary political processes. Such books as Norman Cohn’s Fanatics of the Apocalypse, Igor Shafarevich’s The Socialist Phenomenon, and the works of Alain Besançon (written as attempts at making global-scale generalizations), despite all the skepticism displayed towards them, will sooner or later become guiding reference points for the majority of experts in the field and more detailed and nuanced models will be built on them. In this sense, as long as they generalize something, even the nearly irrational ideologues of the New Philosophers (such as Lévy and Glucksmann) are often taken as starting points for studying more “sober” and “rational” sociologists and political scientists. Moreover, it is precisely on the level of global generalizations that representatives of diametrically opposed worldviews often come to adopt one and the same objective picture of ideological space. Despite the fact that they might naturally place moral and valued emphases on opposite poles of this space, at the same time, without these generalizations, the very use of certain terms by one political group or another is so different that the impression is made that people adhering to different ideologies belong to altogether different universes with no common ground whatsoever. Yet it is precisely agreement on the objective picture of ideological space between political antagonists and agreement yielded by global generalizations and schematizations that has brought life to the hallmark of “right and left extremism merging.” This hallmark, which would be completely senseless if we understood it literally, is in fact but a distorted kind of ascertainment of “agreement on objective generalization” between the most profound ideologists of the most different orientations who, with the utmost clarity, understand the metaphysical dogmas underlying their own positions. This stands in contrast to the ordinary carrier of ideas who acts more out of ideological inertia and does not separate cause from effect or, in other words, the idea from its carrier, i.e., from himself. This is what Dostoevsky had in mind when he described the character Kirillov in his novel Demons as having been “eaten by his idea.”
Thus, we can speak of extremism only in the etymological sense of the word, i.e., as the “ultimate” (the “extreme”, the “limit”) penetration of the essence of one’s own and another’s positions. Instead of a “coincidence” or “fusion” of opposites, in reality we are dealing with the proponents of opposing ideologies’ “understanding” (or lack thereof, which would no longer be “extremism”) of the deep origins and metaphysical dogmas which surface through the pragmatically advanced propagandistic slogans, ideas, and doctrines of specific political forces. In real ideological life, like in reality in general, opposites do not coincide, for otherwise the spiritual struggle of metaphysical positions and reality itself would be illusory spectacles devoid of any ultimate meaning.
Paradigms in traditional societies
In searching for terms which would be adequate for characterizing those fundamental philosophical trends which we will employ in our scheme, it would be best of all to appeal to the history of traditional societies, i.e., those societies in which metaphysical dogmas were expressed directly in metaphysical language. In none other than traditional societies is it easiest to find “borderline cases” of those principles which have always – outside of time – remained the driving factors in the ideological history of mankind, those which do not expire or disappear, but merely change their forms over the course of history much in the likes of a human body which does not change depending on the style in fashion, but is nevertheless different in proportions as, for example, between various races.
The first type of ideology which we can distinguish is Paradise-Pole ideology which has historically manifested itself in the Gnostic tradition, esotericism, and the inner, secret doctrine of religious teachings, and on the political level as the sacred imperialism of the Ghibellines in Medieval Europe and ultimately as German National Socialism in the 20th century. The essence of this position amounts to affirming the Subject of Divine Nature lying at the heart (in the Pole or in the middle) of and completely dominating (hence “paradisal”) the sacralized cosmos, the mirror cosmos, in which nothing is reflected besides the Subject itself, the salt of the Earth and the Sky. The Divine Subject has nothing outside of itself, over it, around it, or underneath it, has no higher metaphysical principle to take into spiritual account, and is therefore absolutely free and inseparable from God. God is within it. This position corresponds to Christ’s affirmation of the Old Testament maxim in the Gospel: “I said, You are gods.” There is no God outside of it. Thus, in the cosmos, in nature, and on Earth there is only the Divine Subject’s reflection, nature therefore being synonymous with Paradise – not an obstacle to its Will, but the extension of its Will, the realization of its Will, its “great body.” Such are the essential principles of the polar-paradisal worldview.
Wherever this worldview arises, immediately to the fore emerge such themes of the Divine Subject as the Hero, the Divine Incarnation, the Holy Emperor, the Angelic Leader, and the Prophet on the one hand and, on the other, the Sacred Cosmos and the shadow and extension of the subject unopposed to it. “Another World”, “better world”, the “Kingdom of God on Earth”, “Sacred Empire”, “New Heaven and New Earth”, “New Paradise,” “Thousand-Year Reich”, etc. – all of these can be synonymous for such a sacred cosmos. Whatever the historical forms of this type of ideology might be, they all develop out of this intrinsic paradigm of Pole-Subject and Cosmos-Paradise. The emphasis always falls on the absence of an intermediate distance between this immanent pole and the Absolute, the Transcendental Principle which opens up from within the Pole-Subject as this Subject itself, as its inner dimension.
As a rule, the Paradise-Pole worldview is strictly monarchically oriented, i.e., in real history it strives to maximally elevate the figure of the Ruler, the necessarily One and Angelized of the “polar side.” Together with this, it tends to “horizontalize” the distribution of this Ruler’s power through imperial expansion and drawing into the sphere of things subject to the Ruler, and the sphere of his personality’s reflection, a maximum amount of cosmic space, which is thereby converted into Paradise (the Sacred Empire) or into the field of the restored sacral-heavenly dimension. Here, however, it must be stressed that such monarchism and “imperialism” does not always correspond with historical monarchies and empires insofar as the foundation of this polar-paradisal worldview is necessarily conjuncted with totality. A monarch’s lack of subjectivity or the cosmos’ lack of a heavenly dimension, even amidst their nominal presence, leads to Gnostic revolution which in turn strives to restore the Pole and Paradise in all of their metaphysical volume with no room for relativity, circumstances, or “collective agreement.”
As a fundamental trend, Pole-Paradise ideology has never been solely confined to the political sphere, but has projected itself into the realm of pure speculation, religious teachings, and the “sacred sciences.” In the Medieval West’s Hermetic tradition in particular, the central symbol was the “Alchemical King, the “Red Sulphur”. In the Hindu tradition, there exists an entire school of initiatory practice and spiritual realization called Raja Yoga, or “Royal Yoga.” What’s more, the terms “King”, “Monarch” or “Tsar” themselves are most common in the majority of esoteric schools, such as among Christian mystics (the Heavenly King), Muslims (especially Shiites), Lamaists, Jewish Gnostics (Kabbalists), etc. Indeed, these two sides of polar-paradisal ideology, politics and religion, were never completely disjoined – neither in antiquity, when priests participated in the process of monarchical rule in the ancient states of the East, nor in modernity, as in Germany in the 1910’s-’20’s when esotericists from secret Hermetic societies characterized by racial particularities (the heirs of the bearers of polar-paradisal ideology in the Middle Ages – the Templars and Ghibellines) actively participated in the formation of National Socialism. The same can be said in regards to Shiite Gnosis centered on the persona of the Hidden Imam, an analogue to the Divine Subject which is inseparable from contemporary political events unfolding the Middle East and especially in Iran.
One can also present the example of the European Rosicrucians, whose foundational symbols, the Rose and the Cross, meant the four rivers of the Paradise on Earth (the Cross) and the spirit of the Initiate finding himself at the Pole, in the center of Paradise, at the convergence point of the four rivers (the Rose). The very head of the Rosicrucian organization bore the title “Imperator”, which makes the entire system of correspondences fully genuine. The Rosicrucians’ influence on political process in Europe was extremely considerable, as in the case of the authentic Rosicrucians until 1648 actively participating in the Reformation and other most important post-Medieval political phenomena, as well as in the case of pseudo-Rosicrucian organizations in the likes of Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, Golden Dawn in the Outer, H.B. of L., A.M.O.R.C., etc., which by the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries were involved in all of the most important political and geopolitical events of Western politics.
The second type of ideology is the “Creator-Creation” ideology which can be called purely conservative. This ideology corresponds to the exoteric, outer side of religious teachings, but can also manifest itself and predominate in non-religious societies by virtue of inertia. This ideology’s purest form can be seen in Church organizations of the Catholic type or in the Islamic Ummah (primarily the Sunni). As a rule, it would be more precise to apply the terms “theocracy” or “clericalism” to such. This type can also be defined as the “Paradise lost” worldview where, unlike the polar-paradisal principle, this type of worldview places the subject not at the center of the World (at the pole), but on its periphery. The world itself is equated here not with heaven or paradise, but with Creation which separates the subject from the Creator. As a matter of course, this peripheral subject, a post-Fall subject having been expelled from Paradise, is no longer recognized as the Divine Master to whom the cosmos is completely subordinate as an extension of his will. He becomes an Outcast separated from the Creator by Creation which therein becomes an ambiguous territory insofar as, on the one hand, this Creation hides the Creator (the negative aspect), while on the other it bears the stamp of the Creator, which means that it indirectly reveals him (the positive aspect). It is with this postulate that religious thought begins to develop and can develop in the most different ways from the pure apophatic (denying the possibility of knowing the Creator through Creation) to the pure cataphatic (affirming the possibility of knowing the Creator in Creation all the way up to the point at which pantheists equate the two).
Creator-Creation ideology or “creationism” (from the Latin creare – to create) is in all forms and variations always opposed to the Gnostic approach of polar-paradisal ideology for which the theme of Creation or the separation of Creator and Creature is altogether alien. In fact, the main front of ideological struggle in history runs between these two types of ideologies. Let us examine this in greater detail.
The divine subject stands at the center of the world, and the world is subject and subordinate to it. In this case, if this state of affairs is violated, then polar-paradisal ideology does not change its principles, but simply, upon recognizing a deviation of circumstances from the norm, strives to restore the norm. In polar-paradisal ideology, the divine subject cannot be driven out of Paradise insofar as dwelling in Paradise is an inalienable category of its identity. This means that the Master Subject can never be turned into an outcast subject. The former can merely hide – together with Paradise (the Shiites’ Hidden Imam, the Ghibellines’ Sleeping Imperator, etc.). Those beings which know neither the Divine Subject nor Paradise are, from the standpoint of the polar-paradisal worldview, simply bereft of fundamental reality, fiction-ridden, and therefore as such have no right to establish a new metaphysics such as the Creator-Creation type insofar as there is no such thing as an outcast subject or, in other words, an outcast cannot be the subject. Hence arises the extreme form of gnostic anti-clericalism and the notion of the Evil Creator, the Evil Demiurge. The notion of the Evil Demiurge is founded on the assumption that if the fact of the separation of the Creator and Creation cannot be accepted for whatever reason, then neither the Creator nor Creation are spiritually positive. Thus, following this logic, the Creator is none other than the Evil Usurper (the Gnostics’ Awtad or the Albigenses’ Samail) and Creation is, as follows, nothing more than an evil, temporary illusion, a veil over Paradise. It also bears noting that those who uphold the polar-paradisal worldview are opposed to the non-polar subject and non-paradisal cosmos (out of the entirety of which the notions of God-within-and-without, God-the-Object, and the Distant Creator arise), not the idea of the Spirit or God itself.
On the other hand, exoteric and clerical Creator-Creation ideology considers the bearers of the Paradise-Pole doctrine to be subversive against the very foundations of Religion and Faith insofar as they reject both fundamental figures of this ideology: the outcast subject and the Creator behind Creation. Moreover, they are seen as logically putting themselves (by virtue of being involved directly or indirectly with the Divine Subject) on the same level as the Creator himself, and at times above him. Such logical conclusions allow for clerical consciousness to identify the polar-paradisal worldviews’ adherents as Luciferians, Satanists, as enemies of God and Man. Indeed, these very notions themselves are meant to characterize typically “polar-paradisal pride.”
The Gnostics’ fundamental denial of an outcast subject, however, does not preclude the recognition of such a figure, albeit without postulating him as bearing subjectivity. This logically leads the Gnostics to an anthropological dualism and affirmation of irremediable inequality. All people are, for the Polar Subject, divided into two categories: Man-Gods, Divine Subjects, and Supermen (the elite, spiritual aristocracy, superior people, “Sonnenmenschen”, “Sons of Light”, etc.) and un-subjective animals (plebs, inferior people, subhumans, “Tiermenschen”, “Sons of Darkness”). Herein arises the caste, racial, or intellectual differentiations found in all purely esoteric teachings. The outcast subject of Creator-Creation ideology is naturally understood by Gnostics as belonging to the lower category of people. Such an approach confirms all the exotericists’ suspicions of Gnosticism.
However, it should be noted that the Christian tradition itself was originally polar-paradisal in relation to Jewish clericalism, in which Creator-Creation ideology is most obviously and pronouncedly expressed, on account of its affirmation of the Apostles’ “New Man” born out of recognizing the incarnation of the Word of Christ-Immanuel (i.e., “God is with us”). Within a few centuries, Christian gnosis, insisting on the polar-paradisal dominant, came into conflict with the already burgeoning non-Jewish, purely Christian orthodoxy, i.e., the clerical version of Christianity in which the Creator-Creation theme increasingly came to take the place of “Paradise regained.” The Gnostic complex was gradually displaced and retired to the realm of secret esoteric organizations and at times heterodox sects. The Albigensians and Cathars were the last mainstream representatives of “polar Christianity” in the Middle Ages. This polar-paradisal complex reappeared later in Anabaptism and the Reformation, albeit in considerably distorted form.
Several essential aspects of Creator-Creation ideology are its characteristic catholicity, faith, and conservative stability. Its catholicity (from the Greek katolikos meaning “all taken together”) is the result of the non-divinity of the outcast subject who, having lost the central position in the world, is no longer self-sufficient and therefore needs social integration, i.e., entry into dialogue with other outcast subjects. This catholicity is needed by Creator-Creation adherents since only through the involvement of an exceedingly large number of individual outcasts from Paradise in the process of searching for the path of return does clerical consciousness see an opportunity to change the non-divine subject’s status. Catholicity can and must assume hierarchy, but this hierarchy is built from the bottom, whereas the most “catholic” persona are to be on top. In contrast, polar-paradisal consciousness’ hierarchy is built from the top, starting with the Divine Subject which is not catholic or compound but absolutely integral, with the degree of non-integrality increasing with distance down the hierarchical ladder. These differences can be traced in the example of the Sunni and. Shiite assumptions on political power. The Sunnis (the exoteric branch of Islam) stand for electoral power in which the majority evaluates the religious qualities of a given candidate, whereas Shiites insist on the right of hereditary power designed to ensure the genetic continuity of the race from the first Holy Imam, Ali.
The necessity of faith stems from the Creator’s being hidden behind Creation, which for the believer supposes a purely religious consciousness as some kind of volitional act of affirming the unevident. Faith is an integral quality of the outcast subject. The position of the Paradise-Pole, on the contrary, is founded on knowing. Hence the characteristic title “gnosis” (“knowledge”) and “gnostic” (knowing). Knowledge presupposes direct and already established contact with God within and the evidence of the internal God which makes faith redundant. The exoteric consciousness believes the Gnostics’ claim to “knowledge” to be Satanism and unqualified self-exaltation.
Finally, Creator-Creation ideology’s conservative stability rests in its neutral attitude towards Being as a whole. This attitude does not presume any sudden, traumatic, or abrupt transformations, and this neutrality is grounded in a fundamentally ambivalent attitude towards Creation. The apophatic and cataphatic approaches assume an indefinite duration which is just as indefinite as the boundaries of Creation itself. In other words, one can arbitrarily and as long as desired consider the positive aspect of the cosmos and find in it the marks of the Creator, and just as indefinitely distinguish Creation’s contrasts with the Creator, for such cannot change the essential status of the outcast subject or the Creator-God. The principle of catholicity is by definition incapable of developing into the principle of indivisibility, and the principle of Faith cannot become the principle of Knowledge without going beyond the framework of Creator-Creation ideology. Such is in fact the case in history with those clericalists who treated the notion of Creator-Creation as something transitional, designed only to realize the true birth of the Subject and the true discovery of Paradise. If they wanted to intellectually and doctrinally form their spiritual aspirations and were not content with the mysterious, “eremite” spiritual realization, then they instantly “fell into heresy,” i.e., fell outside of exoteric religious ideology and were excommunicated.
It must also be noted that the polar-paradisal worldview is far from conservative, being instead eschatological since the purported absence of paradisal polarity in Being is felt as absolute Evil. As follows, a profound, uncompromising struggle is to be waged against any non-paradisal conditions (whereas the condition of the Creator-Creation is non-paradisal in the eyes of conservatives themselves). The polar-paradisal worldview’s striving to put an end to non-paradisal Being, i.e., the End of the World (hence eschatology, the “science of the end”), represents a constant destabilizing tendency ultimately aimed against the conservative approach itself, against the maintenance of the religious status-quo. We find this eschatological pathos in all types of the polar-paradisal worldview from the Christian Gnostics and extreme Shiites (Islamists) to the Lutheran Reformation and National Socialist uprising which proclaimed the beginning of the thousand-year Reich, the Third Reich, or Third Kingdom, or the Christian mystic Joachim de Flora’s Kingdom of the Holy Spirit (the first kingdom is of the Father, the second of the Son, and the third of the Holy Spirit).
Both ideological positions, Creator-Creation and Paradise-Pole, often coexist within the same society, the same tradition, or within one political system. However, this in no way negates the enormous difference between them. These ideological types are irreconcilable, like fire and water and light and darkness, and it is between them that battles have raged (the Albigensian Crusade, the Fatimid Caliphate, the Guelphs and Ghibellines war, the French Revolution, etc.) so fierce that they would otherwise be unthinkable between merely different traditions, religions, or different political systems.
The political form of Creator-Creation ideology can find expression in exoteric “theocracy” as well as in the Jacobin state, the Nation-State. As the brilliant political scientist Carl Schmitt showed, the “theology of the state” is preserved regardless of whether strictly religious organizations maintain central positions in society or not. The Creator-Creation principle in form also determines the typological specificity of the Wahhabi theocracy of Saudi Arabia or the fascist “absolute state” of Giovanni Gentile who developed Hegelian theses to their final, logical conclusions. One of the most characteristic hallmarks of such an archetypal, particular ideological position is its mandatory and foundational anti-eschatologism which is equally peculiar to both secular regimes and ideologies with accentuated religious overtones. Indeed, the religious anti-eschatologism of Creator-Creation ideology has its place even when religion itself is explicitly and unambiguously eschatological, as is the case with Christianity, in which it is doctrinally affirmed that Christ comes into the world immediately before the End of the World, as well as in the case of Islam, which Muslims consider to be the last pre-eschatological Revelation. This also in particular explains the “anti-Nazism” of many Western countries, such as England and the US, on the one hand, and the contemporary anti-Iranism of many Middle Eastern and North African regimes on the other. In both cases, the fundamental issue taken is rejecting eschatological pathos, whether of the Aryan Superman in the first case or the World Islamic Revolution associated with the appearance of the Imam of Time in the other.
The ideology of “Magical Matter”
The third fundamental position is that of “mystical materialism”, the ideology of “Magical Matter”, or “absolute pantheism.” This type of ideology denies both the Paradise-Pole and the Creator-Creation pairs. It can also be equated with pure atheism. Here the subject is seen not as the Polar Lord whose inner self is God himself, nor is it an outcast from Paradise separated from an external God, the God-Object, or Creation. In this case, the subject is taken to be part of the cosmos in which the cosmos itself is reflected, and nothing more. In other words, the subject has no internal or external God, and is itself nothing more than a mirror of the external world and, at the same time, an element of this world. Thus, the pure atheist or “mystical materialist” in fact assigns the cosmos the quality of divinity insofar as the notions of Reason and God essentially converge. This gives us grounds to identify this ideology as “pantheism” or “all-godness”, the identification of the entire Cosmos and World with God. One of the most striking varieties of this position is cosmism which can in principle be considered a synonym for pantheism.
Inseparable from this third ideological type is the concept of evolution, i.e., the gradual and unidirectional improvement of the cosmos’ quality to the point of perfection. If adherents of the Paradise-Pole ideal strive to accomplish the once-and-for-all leap from non-paradise and non-subject to Paradise and the Subject, and if the adherents of the Creator-Creation idea are interested in preserving the ontological status quo (in which the apophatic approach would be balanced by the cataphatic), then “magical matter” is above all interested in continuously and gradually improving the cosmos whose inertial course is ultimately self-improvement in and of itself. On the level of ideology, the meaning of evolution and progress can be reduced not to some kind of particularly excessive creativity, but to simply following the natural flow of events, eliminating along the way those obstacles first and foremost embodied in the face of clerical conservatives and eschatological imperialists. Strictly speaking, the subject of mystical-materialist ideology is the “servant of evolution”, i.e., a mirror reflecting the evolutionary process with the utmost distinctness and clarity.
Despite its intransigence, the conflict between Gnosticism and conservatism always (or almost always) takes place within religious teachings. After all, there can be no doubt that even the worst heretics never rejected the very idea of God. On the level of the “theology of the state”, neither Gnostics nor “exotericists” deny the need for the existence of the state. The first uncompromisingly insist on the Empire whereas the latter are satisfied with the nation-state. For its part, mystical materialism is essentially non-religious or atheistic insofar as Reason (God) is not only not hidden (behind the cosmos or within the human ego), but is simply obvious and always visible for the bearers of the idea of Magical Matter, surrounding them as this reason is the cosmos for which there is no reason to look anywhere else. The same goes for the idea of the state, which is alien in its roots to the mystical materialist (such as Marx’s thesis of the withering away of the state under communism, etc.).
Whereas Paradise-Pole ideology speaks of the Divine, Central Subject and the world subordinate to it, and Creator-Creation ideology presents a subject outcast to the periphery where it lies alienated from, yet still indicative of the existence of God (while hiding him at the same time), “mystical materialists” know no subject. According to the revelation of the famous Marxist, György Lukács, the subject and object coincide within the proletariat, i.e., the central figure of the most radical materialist doctrines. The proletariat is the ideal human machine or human mirror. The same can essentially be said of the notion of the “noosphere” which “deduces” the mind out of the evolutionary development of matter. Without a doubt, this mind is a mirror of the external world.
Such an approach to the subject yields a particularly materialistic catholicity which ideally entails the abolition of hierarchy altogether but in practice creates a special hierarchy based on degrees of “cosmicness”, i.e., ranking based on the greatest affinity to the material nature of the external cosmos. Herein arises the need to put an object or machine at the top of the atheist collective as a concentration of spiritual poverty. Hence the rather characteristic doctrine of the “dictatorship of the proletariat.”
Characteristic of “servants of Magical Matter” is pure agnosticism, i.e., a third way between Gnosis and Faith. The agnosticism of mystical materialism is conditioned by the inadmissibility of the subject questioning knowledge, since the subject, as part and parcel of the cosmos, is merely one of the facts of this cosmos and nothing more, thus the subject’s reflective capacity (its mind) cannot add or subtract anything from the flow of the cosmos. In this view, knowledge is identical with cosmic fact, but insofar as the cosmos is in motion, knowledge is identified with practice, i.e., it is simply discarded. In other words, agnosticism is the result of the absence of the pair of “knower” and “known” which is necessary for knowledge itself. For the proponents of Magical Matter, the absolute surface of the world coincides with its absolute depth. Here it would be interesting to recall Nietzsche’s aphorism regarding how “a woman needs to find depth in her superficiality.” Such an analogy is no accident, since the ideology of Magical Matter bears an openly gyneocratic, matriarchal character, in some sense being a projection of the female subconscious closed to itself.
Despite the fact that in its purest form, the ideology of Magical Matter appeared altogether recently (true and open doctrinal materialism is relatively young, around two to three centuries old), the “pantheistic” tendency existed earlier as some kind of hidden anti-religious reality within a religious worldview. From time to time, materialism was present within this worldview only indirectly, whether in the form of the pantheistic or “cosmisist” exegesis of Religion as the absolute opposite of the polar-paradisal, Gnostic, and purely initiatic exegesis. The Christian tradition, for instance, could at once become the basis for historical Christian Gnosticism (up to the Cathars of the Middle Ages), canonical Judeo-Christianity (Creator-Creation) and, finally, the outright cosmism of the neo-spiritualist doctrines of Fedorov and de Chardin in which purely atheistic, evolutionary pantheism stands behind a nominal appeal to Christian symbols. However, what Fedorov and de Chardin expressed explicitly and clearly, can be veiled by other pseudo-religious thinkers. In any case, since the very beginning of Christianity’s spread (and with Buddhism before it, which became the favorite doctrine of Eastern pantheists), attempts have been made by individual theologians to reinterpret religion in a pantheistic spirit. In Christianity, this manifested itself in emphasis being put on the humanness of the Incarnate Word and, as follows, the “new sacralization” of the material world after the Incarnation despite the entire absurdity of such ideas of “new total sacralization” which were thoroughly refuted in the Gospels and the Epistles of the Apostles, where it is clearly stated that the “world lies in evil” and a new sacred cosmos is discussed as imminent not after the First, but the Second (!) Coming of Christ. On a similar note, if one can really speak of some kind of continuity between Russian communism and Russian Orthodoxy (as some authors do, in particular Berdyaev), then this can only be related to cosmisist, pantheistic, and magical-materialist Christianity which completely disregards essential dogma in both the esoteric (Paradise-Pole) and exoteric (Creator-Creation) dimensions and develops a special type of materialistic and ultimately atheistic worldview which does not have the slightest relation to genuine Christianity.
This same cosmism can be seen in Hinayana Buddhism which emphasizes the mirror-like and composite nature of the subject as a temporary “clot” of cosmic energies or “dharmas” which does not possess any spiritual autonomy (not even the status of an outcast subject). It is precisely this branch of Buddhism which can be called “mystical atheism.” Hinayana Buddhism, however, in contrast to the whole and complete ideology of Magical Matter, lacks the evolutionism which is necessary for orthodox cosmism, thus rendering it somewhat different from other typologically close worldview forms.
The cosmisist aspect is extremely developed in yet another mystical doctrine, namely, European Freemasonry. Masonic doctrines are the descendants of Western forms of Gnosticism, i.e., polar-paradisal ideology, which at a certain historical stage were reinterpreted in a cosmisist vein and subject to atheization and materialization. The Masonic worldview had an enormous impact on European consciousness overall but was more hidden and latent than the direct influence of Christianity. Gradually over the course of the 18th century and especially in the 19th century, Masonry drastically altered its spiritual and ideological orientations and, while maintaining some external attributes, completely, diametrically altered its inner content. From this time on, evolutionism, pantheism, materialism, and cosmism began to play an extremely important role in Western culture and science. The very fact that almost all prominent cultural and scientific figures have been members of Masonic lodges is either overlooked altogether or is considered to be a simple formality, a kind of fad. But in fact, Freemasonry boasts a fundamental doctrine which corresponds to a particular type of religious consciousness that cannot but shape Freemasons’ specific positions. Many of the cultural and scientific developments in the West in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries had definite correlations in the modifications undertaken in Masonic doctrines and statuses either in certain branches of Freemasonry or in Freemasonry as a whole. The atheization of Masonic statuses instantly gave rise to the spread of European “scientific” cosmism and evolutionism in both the purely methodological, scientific sphere, as well as in the form of neo-occultist, essentially pantheistic movements (such as theosophy, occultism, neo-spiritualism, etc.).
Just as the polar-paradisal worldview can reinterpret any religious form in its spirit, so can the doctrine of Magical Matter, despite its essentially anti-religious character, usurp a religious form to assert its principles. Meanwhile, the Creator-Creation position as a rule avoids the radical exegesis of religious doctrines in order to keep them intact even at the cost of rendering them relics and lifeless shells.
The political implications of metaphysical dogmas
We can now summarize the 20th century socio-political positions of the three principle ideologies which we have distinguished. Paradise-Pole proponents stand for a new, heavenly, eschatological Empire formed around the superhuman Leader-Pole (the Third Reich and Fuhrerprinzip of German National Socialism). The Creator-Creation position’s supporters stand on the side of moderate democracy and liberalism, seeking to preserve the social status quo of autonomous individuals “outcast from Paradise” without abandoning the search for the lost Principle, but nevertheless not insisting on such an endeavor (this is especially true for the Central European democratic regimes and North American states of the 18th-19th centuries). Finally, the doctrine of Magical Matter, openly and originally atheistic, has manifested itself in socialist and communist political systems whose types vary from absolute totalitarian cosmism, such as Korean Juche and the Cambodian Pol Pot experiment (in which the Pavlovian notion of the acquired reflexes of the man-object found its widest application), to the contemporary American and Swedish models of the “consumer society” in which the natural, coarse cosmos of the “primitive socialists” has been replaced by an industrial, technological, artificial, and socialized “cosmos” – a veritable dream come true for mystical materialists.
These three positions which we have distinguished allow us to explain certain contradictions in the history of ideologies which have to this day puzzled many scholars. First of all, it is clear in our classification that these positions are essentially incompatible with each other and, being engaged in one and the same traditional ideological form, they are certain to sooner or later drift towards an internal conflict in which each of these positions asserts its independence. The Paradise-Pole worldview might be unnoticeable for a long period of time in the overall Christian tradition, but sooner or later the Albigensian Crusade and the Gnostic Cathars are burned in their Christian churches, set alight by the hands of the bearers of the Creator-Creation idea. As for another example, socialists can conveniently remain indistinguishable from liberals or moderate democrats, but sooner or later, if socialists manage to seize power, then democrats and liberals will be the first sent to the guillotine or the dungeons of the Cheka for being fundamentally incompatible with the ideas of “serving Evolution” and for wishing to preserve the status quo and obstructing progress. Granted, arson and Chekist torture chambers are extremes, but it is a fact that these three types of ideologies cannot but be in conflict with one another, and sooner or later this will always manifest itself in one way or another.
At this point we are left with addressing yet another aspect. Which of these three types of proto-ideologies, or as the Germans would say, Urideologien, are fundamentally incompatible with each other, and which can enter into an alliance? In principle, their interrelations are not quite symmetrical. It can be said, for instance, that Paradise-Pole ideology is the ideology of the Absolute Right, while Creator-Creation ideology is Absolute Centrist, and mystical materialism is the Absolute Left. Here the word “absolute” is employed to translate these definitions from the sphere of concrete politics into the realm of their metaphysical origins. We can also propose this ratio in the following order:
Absolute Right – Subject over Object
Absolute Centrist – Subject alongside Object
Absolute Left – Object over Subject
Absolute Right – History as the Fall; the necessity of instant Restoration; the primacy of eschatology.
Absolute Centrist – History as Continuity; the necessity of preserving balance between the Spiritual and Material.
Absolute Left – History as Progress; the necessity of contributing to the continuation and acceleration of progress by all means.
These metaphysical ranks determine the possibility of coalitions between these three positions. The Absolute Center and Absolute Left can unite against the Absolute Right (for example, Allied forces in the Second World War). But for the Absolute Left, the Absolute Center is also “fascism” (as in Stalinist propaganda or for the New Philosophers). Therefore, the Absolute Left is ultimately incompatible with the Absolute Center and seeks to destroy it. At times, the struggle against the Absolute Center can lead the Absolute Left to establish a pragmatic alliance with the Absolute Right but, as a rule, such very quickly dissipates (as with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, or the National Bolshevik alliance between Lauffenberg and the Nazi Strasser in Germany in the 1930’s).
All of this allows us to understand the logic of those who inflate Nazism (the Absolute Right) and Communism (Absolute Left). Such an identification is possible only for a person of the Absolute Center, a supporter of the Creator-Creation concept. Curiously enough, such diametrically opposite political thinkers as the Russian patriot Shafarevich and the famous Russophobe, Jew, and Sovietologist, Besançon, despite completely diverging on practically all concrete issues, can exhibit astonishing unanimity in their mutual hatred of Soviet socialism (the Absolute Left) and German National Socialism (the Absolute Right). For Shafarevich, both the former and the latter are essentially manifestations of a suicidal, tanatophilic, and eschatological impulse in civilization, the sources of which he sees in the Babylonians, Plato, and later in the Cathars and Anabaptists. A similar mixing of the Paradise-Pole with Magical Matter is characteristic of Russian patriotic authors (such as Lev Gumilev and Yuri Boroday). We can even see the same thing in Besançon’s work when he calls both Soviet socialists and German Nazis representatives of “Marcionism”, i.e., emblematic of the anti-Judaic, anti-creationist, and Gnostic tendencies of early Christianity embodied in the figure of Marcion of Sinope. Medieval eschatological movements are also seen as the precursors of both Communist and Nazi regimes by the intriguing political scientist, historian, and Jew, Cohn. Thus, both Russophobic Jews and Russian patriots can find unity in metaphysical ideology beyond the extreme opposition of their particular political views. We hope that we have sufficiently explained the essential aspects of the metaphysical roots of ideology in order to write off the coincidences or randomness of this or that author. In addition, something similar can be said of a number of other intellectuals whose metaphysics (sometimes not even consciously perceived) establish principled ties even when political details presume an unbridgeable gap.
Speaking of a potential balance or harmonization between these three proto-ideologies is impossible on the basis of historical accounts, since in reality relative harmony arises only when the reigns of ideological governance are seized by the proponents of one of these positions by pressuring or casting to the periphery the others. All recipes for reconciliation are utopian and unrealistic. What’s more, such initiatives often come from cosmist circles who are so convinced of the reasonableness and, most importantly, positiveness of evolution that they can even make way for justifying the necessity of barriers to evolution in the interests of evolution (this is basically the case with some neo-Masonic projects, certain mondialist organization like the Club of Rome, Trilateral Commission, etc., as well as some of the ideas of de Chardin who proposes that democrats, fascists, and communists unite in a single political system).
On the other hand, there exists some kind of continuity in history between these three types of proto-ideologies. The deeper into antiquity one goes, the clearer and more “totalitarian” is the type of Absolute Right ideology, the polar-paradisal complex. In later antiquity, the Creator-Creation type began to acquire predominance and received its most pronounced doctrinal form in late Judaism and the other Abrahamic religions. Also in this period of “totality”, the structures of Creator-Creation ideology cyclically exuded the polar-paradisal tendencies, this time out of the desire for a “Revolution from the Right” colored with all the rising eschatologism. Finally, with modernity and in the contemporary period, Absolute Left trends have come to enjoy the greatest propagation, engulfing and denaturing the vestiges of previous traditional forms (Cosmisist Christianity, Cosmisist Hinduism and Buddhism, Social-Democracy, atheist neo-Freemasonry, “enlightened Judaism”, etc.). Even under the domination of Magical Matter, however, Absolute Center and Absolute Right tendencies have never been completely erased, and at each first opportunity they accumulate oppositional energy which yields a theocratic or polar-paradisal revolution. Thus, despite changing periods and reigns, our three trends or types of worldviews can cannot be fused or reduced in number. On the contrary, the opportunities offered by external forms which these proto-ideologies can take depending on circumstances are not limited. Even the most complex syncretic models designed to fuse together elements of the Absolute Right, Absolute Center, and Absolute Left, however, cannot relieve the proponent of such an endeavor from intrinsically and invariably belonging to one proto-ideology whose very ideological variations or alternative form would be precisely what comprises this syncretic model.
While not wanting to end on such a note of complete relativity and plurality, we would nevertheless like to express our belief that the secret of the history of global ideologies still has a rather straightforward solution. Sooner or later, one of these three metaphysical positions will reveal itself to be the only genuine and only true one. Which one exactly, however, time will tell.
Translator: Jafe Arnold
Text written in 1988, first published in the journal Mily Angel in 1990, subsequently published in the book Konservativnaya Revolyutsiya in 1994 and the book Konspirologia in 2005.