In Search of the White Logos
When Daedalus after tragic ordeals at last found firm ground in Cumae, he built Apollo a temple. He hung up his wings as an offering to the god and decorated the golden doors of the temple with his personal story. Aeneas would later reach these doors, and his contemplation of this story served as preparation for his own encounter with Apollo and the founding of Rome. For Apollonian wisdom to be revealed in all its lucidity, it is necessary first to come to terms with the story leading to his temple. Plato needs a Timaeus before the Parmenides, Hegel a Phenomenology of Spirit before the Science of Logic. The major, eternal mysteries need the minor, temporal mysteries, as Apollo needs Dionysus.
As we give our own stories form, other stories come to life for us. By sharing, we achieve a greater detachment from our conditioned selves. In the process we can also help those on similar paths to navigate more successfully than we have been able to do ourselves. For me the path of self-initiation, and the conditions and possibilities for this in the beginning of the 21st century, has been a central theme.
It all started with Nietzsche. I am far from alone in having been inspired by Nietzsche, but for me it was a shattering encounter far beyond finding a favorite author to quote. For me, Nietzsche was the friendly voice in an alien world, who inspired me to a path of radical self-overcoming. Encountering him as a twenty-one-year-old student at the university, I made his words guidelines for my conduct. Nietzsche revealed my world up to now as something very far from what I wanted, something to be totally rejected. What was to replace it was uncertain, but it had to be bold.
When you start a path of radical self-overcoming at such a late age it is almost already too late, and there is no time to worry about being understood by people from the past. Now the only way is forward, always in fidelity to the highest peaks of experience. If your leaps into uncertainty are light enough, unburdened by the inertia of the past, there is a chance you will be welcomed from the other side by teachers corresponding to your level.
My first living teacher was an anarchist professor. He was a tall, energetic man, who with his impeccable suit and purple shirt, combined with hair evoking a mix of mad scientist and Oscar Wilde, constituted the charismatic center of a small circle of non-conformist, talented minds at the university. He introduced me to the idea that the real power in our age is in the ability to control the currents of information. The hero able to dominate the information age is the one who can bridge different parts of the information ecology. As a tool for order and integration, the professor was aiming to create a science to unite all sciences, based on systematization of Gregory Bateson’s cybernetic intuitions. Such knowledge would have to go hand in hand with an intuitive knowledge able to grasp the essence of different subjects. This by a spiritual aristocracy characterized not only by intellect, but by the boldness and sense of responsibility to handle unnerving truths.
The professor was well-read, with profound knowledge from a wide range of disciplines, and he kindled in me a Faustian drive to seek knowledge about everything. He didn’t respect academic borders, neither between different disciplines, nor borders to the outside where academics fear to tread. If you want to maximize information it can be argued that the noisier the more signal, that the weirder the better. He would among other things introduce me to the serious study of alternative histories, of conspiracy theories about 9/11, mind control, phenomena like crop circles and UFOs, paranormal human abilities, the Maya Calendar, entheogens, and unfairly marginalized scientists with potentially world-changing theories and technologies.
The professor’s worldview had with time developed from utopian Marxist positivism towards a more gnostic mood, with a strong attraction towards areas of knowledge where fear and social conformity rather than lack of intellect constitute the main limitations. The Matrix movies represent well the kind of world he introduced me to, but here the fighting scenes were replaced with nightlong symposiums with great amounts of German wine and coffee, and the techno was replaced with the moods of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. I was initiated into a radical questioning of everything, where it was difficult to find certainty. The most certain thing was that the social consensus was wrong about most things of greater importance. Many things commonly thought impossible seemed possible, good things and bad things, and a great drama seemed to be unfolding, open for the hero seeking the weird.
My encounter with the professor would open doors to a wider range of non-conformists, as vivid examples of different existential extremes, and to adventures in other countries. In the Alps I would stay for weeks in total darkness, guided by a man channeling extraterrestrial intelligence. Here I would experience the inner light that awakens after enough days in darkness and encounter my spirit animal. In the Pyrenees I would visit a group of alternative scientists deriving their main inspiration from Gurdjieff, Castaneda, quantum physics, and a Ouija board, until suddenly outstaying my welcome as what they perceived to be a skeptical outsider.
For two years, the freshness of new weird information, the sense of power and responsibility, of having been invited to a real adventure, kept me in this Matrix-story, but with time it seemed more and more difficult to tie it all together in a way that was deeply meaningful. I noticed that people interested in the weird usually took a lot of modern assumptions for granted, not at least in their moral perspectives. Lacking was the kind of erudition that can make you question the basic assumptions of the contemporary world, what constitutes the normal, and the self-knowledge that makes you a sovereign actor in the story where you operate. They often seemed like confused defenders of a modernity that was highly questionable, feeling partly anxious and paranoid, partly hopeful, when encountering anomalous cracks in the walls. When seeking weirdness, you will find weirdness, more than enough to deconstruct the reality normal people take for granted, but now what? How does this relate to your purpose in life?
In this phase of my life I encountered different sorts of titanic temptations, from the kinds that intimately affect you like substances promising to enhance your intellectual powers, to miracle technologies providing dramatic increases in clean energy and medicine. It was questionable to what extent the different solutions worked as intended, but the more important question was whether it was beneficial in a greater context of meaning. If you for example can drink an alchemical elixir to radically improve your intelligence, to what extent is the remaining person still yourself as you are supposed to be? Or if you could offer the world free, clean energy, would this not all too easily just end up in service of the tendencies currently darkening the world?
When in the presence of power, whether it is technical power or knowledge as power, the question of meaning becomes more acute. How many of the ideas which drive you are truly yours, consciously chosen in awareness of other possibilities and of how different ideas are linked to each other? To the extent the ideas driving your story aren’t yours, they cannot serve as proper means of expressing yourself, and cannot satisfy you as a true extension of your dreams.
One of the last things I would do together with the professor was an attempt to gather people from our network together to aim for something decisive. We hired expensive cabins in a coastal village and mobilized a motley crew consisting of an underappreciated scientific genius, a shipowner, an entrepreneur, a psychologist, a mild-mannered old Marxist, an energetic acrobat in singlet, a psychonaut, a Kant-expert, and a young talkative school dropout interested in homeopathy who confidently identified himself as a Viking. We hoped that fueled by elevated speeches and good amounts of wine, in a spontaneously self-organized way, this gathering would lead to something of great impact. The result was that most of the participants were having a good time, enjoying speeches and conversations, wine and shrimps, and the little excursion we had with a sailboat, in the pleasant temperature of the summer. And went to bed not too late. In the solitude of my cabin, I realized that this was not it.
After this event, my urge for finding a stronger framework for meaningful aims and action got stronger. I had to depart from the professor, and search alone. For a while I found the thinking of Deleuze promising, as a synthesis of my drive towards philosophy, complexity theory, the Nietzschean impulse, and magical navigation of chaos in the spirit of Castaneda, but something was wanting also here.
The most important of the people I met at the time, besides the professor, was a young man of Iranian descent, unique in his uncompromising purity. He had grown up mute because, as he said, the people around him was not interested enough in truth to be worth speaking to. Only recently he had started speaking and sharing his knowledge, with just a few. He contacted me, and in the most sober and lucid manner he told me he was here on a mission from another world, and that he was willing to teach me magic. As grand such claims may seem, his conduct was a model of sincerity, simplicity, tact and inconspicuousness, much in line with what I later would encounter in the Tao the Ching, but with a Zoroastrian touch of moral dualism and truth-extremism.
While what initially attracted me to this young man was the weirdness, what he taught me was the value of the simple, of the authentic, of the magical power of knowing yourself. In what had become an uncertain world, where I felt a titanic responsibility for somehow tying together and giving an answer to an extreme range of seemingly important information, he represented a ray of order, transcendence and direction, leading me back towards my center. One of the things he made me realize was that most things are not important. He also made me aware that whatever you choose to grant your attention becomes your world. The method is to concentrate what you want to affirm the most and build your world from this. His words were simple, but surgically adjusted to what I needed to know the most at the time, and they would stick as pillars in my growing magical Weltanschauung.
To stay as this young man’s pupil in peaceful simplicity and grow a garden or something in a corner of the world, didn’t quite suit my more adventure-seeking temperament. I wanted to find my role in a great, meaningful story. An important aid in this was the literary works of the Danish author Erwin Neutzsky-Wulff. The power of his works, grimoires written in the guise of science fiction, is their ability to connect the concrete existence of the contemporary Scandinavian man with a heroic, sacred worldview, opening doors both to the boldest adventures towards the unknown, and to fresh encounters with great literature and major historical forces.
Neutzsky-Wulff’s approach to literature is that it constitutes a bridge between man and gods. Myths reveal the ritual means for such a bridge, and literature is the best way to express myths in our time. The world is the effect of coagulated stories, renewed from time to time by the man of genius. Of all stories, the one about a man and a woman is the most fundamental, which all other stories emerge from. Neutzsky-Wulff is also a poet of titanic excess, of daring beyond your current capabilities, of aggressively challenging the inertia of the world with your own myth, taking heaven by storm, or breaking in the process. I took to heart his credo that if what you are aiming for does not feel impossible, you are certainly on the wrong path.
Neutzsky-Wulff’s world, and the doors he opened to a broader erudition, was important. But finding a concrete expression in the world was not easy. As I had become very serious in my quest for wisdom, spending most of my time either with books, my own thoughts, or weird people, I had become more and more estranged from normal people, particularly women. It seemed as if the next necessary step, which I hoped would give me both grounding in the world again and access to the sacred, was to find in female beauty.
Encountering She-Ra, or at least a tiara-clad virgin, or at least a virgin, or someone making me feel that despite everything “this is my girl” had so far in life proved to be difficult. Which probably was just as it should be, as this, according to the stories I measured myself from, couldn’t be expected before I achieved something great. But the possibility occurred to me that it could also work the opposite way, that only a profound encounter with female beauty first could give me the power to complete a difficult enterprise. Female beauty is something indisputable, a constant in a world of endless possibilities, something to hold on to for a restless spirit.
Commonsense wisdom cautions against having too great expectations of women and love. That to at least get something out of women, we need to adjust a bit to the realities of our time. This is perhaps valid for many men, for solid preservers of society, men negotiating with social forces on the market of the sexes until acceptable compromises are reached and generations continued. For me moderate expectations are unacceptable. This is the hill to die on. If I was to have moderate expectations here, the world would lose all meaning. Love has therefore been the clearing where something sacred still has been possible in an otherwise desacralized world. If you have ever experienced the sacred in this space, the blacker variants of nihilism and the philosophical ponderings about its problems and solutions appears rather superficial. But high expectations also makes it difficult for me to fall in love with a girl. I tend to lose romantic interest as soon as their history, always involving at least one other man, is revealed.
The way for me to solve this problem was to choose a girl I had never spoken to and knew nothing about as my object of love. A blonde girl I had seen in some dull philosophy lectures, who walked the same way as me to and from the university. She was alienation embodied, the girl you notice while knowing that the natural flow of events is unlikely to ever bring you together. In her normalcy she represented a mystery for me. How can people live like this, following the flow, smiling as if everything is as it should be while the lecturer stands there “correcting” ancient initiatic wisdom with the tools of modern, dead analytical philosophy? Playing out the aesthetics of “being the student” without showing discomfort that the spirit has left the place a long time ago.
Initially, she irritated me. She represented everything wrong, the legitimation of false authority, of beauty divorced from truth. For half a year, whenever I encountered her on the way to and from the university, I tried to catch her eyes in order to force her to look away. Somehow, she was always able to look occupied with something else, as if I was invisible, preventing me from realizing this gesture.
A day in May, on the way from the university, a day I felt particularly miserable and disconnected from the world, I saw the blonde girl coming towards me on the way, and I decided to give up my silly game and leave her alone. Just as I was about to pass her, I got the whim to catch a small glimpse of her beauty to bring back to my cave. For the first time, to my surprise, her eyes not only met mine, but she gave me a smile. I didn’t see her any more for a long time but carried the afterglow of her smile as a precious treasure. First in September, I randomly met her on the way again, now speeding confidently downhill towards me on a bike, smiling teasingly before disappearing as suddenly as she had appeared.
That afternoon I decided I was willing to risk everything to get this girl. From now on I would poetize the idea of her as my one and only in my diary. I discarded everything I thought I knew from the past, in ascetic openness to whatever was necessary to bring us two together. I kept a distance to all impulses and people who could threaten this idea. The more rigid and skeptical parts of myself I silenced with Lagavulin, while progressively gathering my feelings, thinking and will in a tighter and tighter knot around this idea possessing me. In every random encounter from now on, she would tease me in new ways, and I would analyze and poetize every aspect of the situation in my diary.
Written words gave solidity to my thinking, embodied themselves subtly in my gestures which spontaneously signaled something to her, giving feedback bringing us more and more into synchronicity, and the random encounters would happen more and more frequently, making it more and more inevitable that eventually we would speak. Finally, having reached December, she was the first who tried to say hi, inaudibly, but by then I was too madly in love to be able to answer. I wasn’t able in her second inaudible attempt either. But in her third attempt, in the library of the university, she said a whole sentence loud and clear, and I was sitting on a chair with no easy way out, so I answered. A bit rusty at first, but as I got warm more confidently. From then on, I would get to know her better and better. It turned out she was a nice girl, free and spontaneous, fun to be with. She had blue, searching eyes, white teeth when she smiled, no conception of time, and was sweet like amaretto.
I chose to follow some of the boring courses she followed at the university as an excuse to meet her, and one of the best early experiences I had was getting drunk with her on mead before trying to act normal during a morning lecture. Things would slowly escalate from there. I wanted to abduct her from the normie world, to leave with me towards something new, while she was hesitant, and wanted time. Two very different worlds, my own by then quite weird, would slowly start to merge. The distance to bridge was enormous, demanding a certain patience and tact. There is a rhythm to everything, and after revelations of beauty the next step is usually silences and solitudes, not forcing things further. I became more sensitive to the background music of it all.
Love is something that must be willed, but to the degree you lack self-knowledge the outcome of the adventure must remain uncertain. Only eternal love grounded in truth can fully satisfy. But for love to be true and eternal, you must coherently be yourself to the utmost degree. Or else you will not be able to recognize the right woman, and she will not be able to recognize you. Love makes you realize the childishness of employing clever techniques or trying to maximize power as a means to win the other. That only fully becoming yourself can save you now. The progressive introduction of this initially normal girl into my world of weirdness culminated a night on psilocybin in May, where she offered her beauty in a last explosion of impressions, before literally and figuratively running away, leaving just her lingering image.
This was not supposed to happen. It didn’t compute. I had gone all in, with no safety net. What could support me now, what was left when the center of my world ran away? Now the great tensions awakened was threatening to strike me down. She had given me deep knowledge about myself, which included strengths, but also a painful awareness of lacks, falsities, immaturities and contradictions.
My unnatural leap into self-willed possession had disturbed the natural order of things, the tacit agreement where the magical formula “it will be OK” still matters, without being able to reinstate new order. The gods, with just a few exceptions, were angry at me, and demanded punishment. An irreversible initiatic process had begun, where I either would go forward finding integrating and healing truths, to fully become who I was supposed to be, or I would become crushed by the forces provoked. The thirst for truth was now so intertwined with my will to live that it became the compass to guide me toward stronger and stronger certainties.
It would take time finding firm ground in the wake of the encounter with this girl. I traversed twilight landscapes where for the first time Kafka made sense, and where also Rilke, Heidegger and the tarot provided certain clearings on the path towards integration. The first strong rays of metaphysical sunlight I would find in Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy. Steiner seemed to offer a path of initiation for our time, combined with a great, coherent historical narrative, and respectable ways of being that could give me a perceivable, accepted role in the modern world. This was the paradigm of modernity in its last tempting form, offering its lost son truce and reintegration. Anthroposophy welcomed me with open arms through some of their best contemporary representatives, and for a year I hoped that this was it. But the gift of the snake would urge me further, towards something truer, to the world which intellectually has constituted my foundation ever since.
Traditionalism and the Radical Subject
The intellectual world I inhabit now started when encountering the works of Julius Evola, then in short order René Guénon, Alexander Dugin, and soon other thinkers related to the discourse of Traditionalism. These men and their works, like Guénon’s The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times and Evola’s Revolt Against the Modern World, constitute the most important pole of thinking today.
If we read Traditionalism through the lens of Nietzsche’s “Three Metamorphoses” in Thus Spake Zarathustra, Guénon becomes the camel, Evola the lion, and Dugin the child. Guénon does the metaphysical heavy work, takes on the burden of giving us the ultimate red pill about the modern world, as the grim inversion of the ideal world of Tradition. He shows the dynamics of decline from the Golden Age to our current postmodern end times. Evola explores ways to freedom and sovereignty within the paradigm of Traditionalism and outlines the risky ways of self-initiation and revolt against the modern world through action. Dugin is the one who not only integrates these ideas, but expand them into contemporary thinking, institutions and political reality, playing with great historical forces, aiming for something new.
The axis, the esoteric core of Alexander Dugin’s philosophy is Nietzsche’s Superman, developed in the context of Traditionalism. His different works revolve around this “conqueror of God and nothingness”, which here is termed the radical subject. When the great minds of the Traditionalist discourse interpret the history leading up to the modern world, they see a progressive worsening of conditions, where we now happen to be at the lowest point. The typical response, represented among others by Guénon, is to strive to at least approximate a traditional way of being to the extent this is within one’s power, even though no great achievements in the world can be expected until we reach a turning point initiating a new Golden age.
The radical subject gives the fall a special meaning. He sees the conditions today, which are totally opposed to the conditions where he is at home, as a test. In the Golden age, life was easy, the radical subject lived a royal life in an enchanted world. Wherever he turned his attention, things were harmoniously interconnected in meaningful, wonderous ways. But this state was given, it wasn’t something acquired. Dugin’s inspired vision is that at some point the radical subject in the Traditional world chose the fall of his world to prove his worthiness also in conditions less in agreement with his nature. In a sense he wanted conditions where everything is turned upside down, where matter rules over spirit, and the worst people rule over the noble souls. The world we inhabit now. He wanted the loss of the sacred transmissions, so that he from the bottom could rekindle the initiatic fire by his own power.
With the entrance of the radical subject, the traditional interpretations of the fall from the Golden age, which particularly for Guénon follows a strict, almost mathematical logic, becomes more open. This Traditional logic defines what is possible. We have an initial order giving meaning to everything, which progressively disintegrates into chaos and meaninglessness. Within this metaphysical model, the chaotic bottom, the substantial pole, only has meaning to the extent meaning is given from the top, the essential pole.
The radical subject, however, seeks to find something in chaos which the essential pole couldn’t predict, and from this initiate a new reality. He follows a new metaphysics with invisible roots, where the pains from encounters with the contemporary world serve as signs for where to go. Rather than immediately seeking the return to the ideal, as something behind him, he to some extent already embodies this, and now he wants to elevate what is in front of him, what is alien, fallen, matter. He thinks and acts in such a way that the world can be affirmed, also in its decadent state.
Evola and Dugin represent two particularly promising starting points for thinking today, who through their works and personal examples serve as measures of possibilities for heroic action. Both minds will expand the intellectual horizon of their readers immensely. But Evola’s approach is more of the kind that offers guidelines for personal conduct and action, while Dugin to a greater degree invites thinkers to open-ended projects. There is a greater sense of closure in the works of Evola, of a very concentrated essence. Evola is the one guarding the central fire.
Dugin knows the Apollonian peaks of Evola but has chosen to delve into the multitude of contemporary ideas, to hunt for treasure also in treacherous places where the fire of Tradition is weak, bringing with him his own inner fire. Whatever Dugin gives attention in his intellectual explorations seems to be what matters the most, making whatever phenomenon he speaks of interesting, alluring, pregnant with possibilities of further development. When you follow his trajectory, new doors for exploration opens in every direction, which is wonderful, but also a challenge, for you get the feeling that you will have to read hundreds, if not thousands of books, to really understand. Therefore, the sense of wonder and joy of discovery sometimes gets mixed with a feeling of lack, of being far behind the place you would like to be, who presumably is behind this ever-growing mountain of books you feel tempted to explore. While it is exciting to be at the forefront of intellectual discovery, being the one lagging is not as exciting.
For those following Dugin’s tracks, there may also be a danger of losing the sense of proportions and intellectual hierarchy. In the great amount of texts Dugin himself has written, together with all the texts he urges us to read, a great amount of different and contradictory positions is presented. There can be much of interest to find in newer philosophy, in let’s say a Bataille, a Foucault, a Deleuze, and countless others Dugin along the way urges us to read. But such thinkers are likely to have a decentring effect if you are not already immersed in the flame of Tradition represented by the likes of Evola and Guénon, or at least are supported by a strong code of conduct. Dugin does what he must do, following his Daemon. He may be able to integrate dispersed phenomena, giving them his personal touch, having a strong centre in himself, but how many followers can play the game of traversing different intellectual worlds at a level approximating his?
There are intellectuals who fall into the trap of framing their personal challenges in sophisticated philosophical vocabulary, where following some basic rules of conduct would have served them better. It is worth noticing that many great thinkers didn’t show a particularly impressive conduct in their own life, and that the resulting philosophies, particularly the ones with ethical implications, often will reflect personal shortcomings. To what extent could for example Heidegger’s philosophy have mirrored a darker side of his personality? I am not thinking about his Nazism, but something far graver.
It has been claimed that Heidegger’s adulterous romance with Hannah Arendt was an inspiration for Heidegger’s Being and Time. If so, we may ask, what kind of passion does the work reflect? Obviously not the stable kind of love where you are faithful to your wife, nor the virile gesture of running away with the young student at great social risk. It rather seems like the casual fornications of the bourgeoise, whose actions are not guided by an inner compass, but what they can get away with while keeping a respectable facade. Sometimes I wonder if being-toward-death and the dignification of anxiety got such a central place in Heidegger’s philosophy because they were so ready-to-hand as tools for legitimizing his adultery.
“Hannah, with the old gods dead and the new ones not yet arrived, ethics has become very complicated. We may need two hundred years or more to sort this out, starting with the question of Being. Meanwhile, what is certain is that we are mortal beings who can die at any time, so we may as well fully enjoy this moment together. The more anxious you may feel afterwards, the greater peaks of authenticity you will have reached.”
Heidegger, Being and Time
Is it only because of its truth value such a philosophy would find such strong resonance in French cafes? Is this really the philosophical ground from which we want to support our future Empire?
Swamps have been drained before, and if anyone can get the best out of Heidegger, it must be Dugin. Alexander Dugin employs Heidegger brilliantly in his monographies dedicated to him, in his Fourth Political Theory and Noomakhia. But to what extent is Heidegger here important in his own right, and to what extent because he occupies such an important bridgehead to contemporary thinking? I admit that the specter of Heidegger, particularly the later Heidegger of What is called thinking? is never far from my own path, but I will not shed any tears (if not of joy) the day the sun reemerges and makes Heidegger obsolete.
Alexander Dugin’s perhaps greatest intellectual achievement is his Noomakhia-opus, spanning over 28 volumes, in what is, at the end of Kali Yuga, an overview of all the great civilizations unfolding until today, the grand narrative for a multipolar world. Here, the master key from which to understand how different minds, peoples, civilizations, myths and philosophies are structured, is Dugin’s model of three logoi, three imaginal realms battling each other for the implementation of their style.
We have the White Logos of Apollo, which corresponds to masculinity, to idealism, to the eternal, hierarchy, transcendence, sharp distinctions, verticality. It is symbolized by the sun, and eminently represented in minds like Plato and Plotinus, and in more recent times by Guénon and Evola.
We have the Black Logos of Cybele, corresponding to femininity without transcendence, to the fall into time, to inertia, egalitarianism, quantity, and materialism. In the realm of Cybele, sharp edges are dulled, distinctions blurred, peace is born through inclusion and compromise. Cybele is the tolerant mother, seeking to embracing everything, even the most monstrous and contradictory things, inversing meanings if necessary. The style here is to hope for good things to happen while passively following the flow, to avoid the excesses of taking anything too seriously. The titans serve as her sons, producing materialist philosophies like the ones of Democritus and Lucretius, and a dead logic further and further removed from the sacred, culminating in scientism, cybernetics and AI, tending towards the goal of ultimate safety and lack of personal responsibility.
Cybele dominates the contemporary world, rewarding her pragmatically minded servants richly. The followers of Apollo have mostly gone into hiding, fighting a metaphysical guerilla war from almost lost positions. These are the last guardians of the measure, stone guests fighting through detachment and by striking from afar.
The Dark Logos is the logos of Dionysus, an androgynous, flexible logos which knows the solar peaks of Apollo, but unlike Apollo can reach everywhere, even deeply into the world of Cybele. Dionysus represents light and masculinity in the world of blackness. He is the god who fights Cybele and the titans, who dies and resurrects, renewing the paths to the peaks of Apollonian light from the bottom. Philosophically, the dark logos corresponds to currents like hermeticism, phenomenology, and Heidegger in our contemporary world.
While the White Logos begins with the ideal, and demands the world should strive towards it, the Dark Logos begins with the world in a fallen state and enjoys the heroic enterprise of bringing light to its darker places. It is also here, in the twilight kingdom of Dionysus, that the dramatic as such plays out, including the drama of romance. Even if the goal is an Olympic, eternal love, it is hard to reach such peaks without the musicality of Dionysus, which is concerned not only with the ideal, but the ideal in the context of one’s concrete situation in the world. A danger however, for Dionysus, is that he may get so pulled by the darkness of Cybele that he is unable to ascend. There is also a dark double of Dionysus, the one who, lacking the vertical orientation, has joined, or emerged from the domain of Cybele, a figure connected to the figure of Antichrist.
When trying to imagine such a figure, my thoughts, perhaps unfairly, are drawn towards a thinker today very explicitly taking the side of the titans against the gods. A man interested in the occult the ways Traditionalists like René Guénon and Julius Evola warned about. A man who seeks to deconstruct the great traditions and philosophies by exposing their foundational lies. He wants to bring a “world state of emergency” into being, positioning himself, with a mercurial smile, as the herald of Antichrist, which will rise from a resurrected Iranian Civilization, or Iranian Leviathan, as he calls it. I speak about Jason Reza Jorjani. He mirrors Dugin in his love of philosophy, in appreciation of Heidegger as the central pole of philosophy today, and in the understanding of Iranism as the key to understand and win the eschatological drama. But from what I believe ultimately are opposite positions. This could be a very promising field for a true intellectual encounter, a war of the minds.
Finding the field of ideas connected to the Traditionalist pole corresponded with externally being in my worst position in life. I live and act strongly only when following the narrow clearing of inspiration. Outside this path I am a useless, fragile shell, not particularly good at anything, and very bad at prude compromises and adjustments to economic realities. Things many people can do with ease I do only with the greatest of efforts, in an oblique manner.
I don’t understand the world of “selling myself” to get a job, or the games of cunningly “using the system” to my advantage. And I don’t want to understand. My twenties were a gambit and a struggle against time: Either I would find an expression in the world corresponding to my true will which as a side effect could solve the economic problem, or the world of inertia would exact its revenge for my attempts at challenging it.
As it turned out, the labyrinth proved to be too long. When I truly wanted something, doors would open, but I constantly lost faith in the meaning of my actions. First when I encountered the Traditionalist pole, I got the intellectual reference points necessary for meaningful action. Now, however, the inertial forces of the world had become so overwhelming that, after keeping a distance to wage slavers for as long time as I possibly could, they finally caught me. Or even worse: I degraded myself by applying to get caught, something I had made no preparations for, and was extremely bad at doing.
When you are young it is legitimate to open-mindedly experiment in many different directions to find your central tendency, and you have a certain flexibility about what to do. The situation is different when you already through a long process has sharpened your purpose to a high degree, having made great sacrifices and painful partings with people and environments to be as faithful to your purpose as possible. The sharp purpose is in a sense your greatest achievement. Then being forced out of this strong field of purpose is not a pleasant experience.
The only way to make a living was by lying. To without conviction or credibility, and in painful lucidity, claim enthusiasm and competence for work I knew all too well I was not supposed to do, and which was outside my field of competence. The fear of getting “exposed” in job situations was constant, and sometimes such fears came true. And there was no way of winning even if to some degree “succeeding”, only efforts to minimize damage. Much of my time would from now on be meaninglessly stolen, either working, sleeplessly worrying about work, or in recovery after having worked.
I felt like a fragile instrument, highly specialized for a rare purpose, which now was being carelessly tossed around according to the laws of inertia, for the most menial of tasks. Errors would lead to new errors, pushing me further and further away from the center. I despised myself. Wave after wave of impossible situations with no authentic solution but escape. Several times I tried to improve my external conditions by physically moving to a new location, usually only to exchange the frying pan for the fire. The other possibilities of escape I sought was to expand my intellectual horizon, to contemplate suicide, and to attempt cooperation with other non-conformist people.
Contemplating suicide gives a certain spiritual intensity, a sharpened and inspired focus on what is essential and not. What comes less naturally is the kind of efforts that demand discipline; like systematic discursive work, cultivation of the body, or the acquisition of new languages important for one’s interests. When you are seriously contemplating suicide. investing in the future becomes irrelevant. I wondered what story I belonged to. Perhaps suicide now was the closest approximation within my reach of expressing myself, or would it constitute the final decentering? Was I like the disgraced samurai whose only duty left now is to commit seppuku, or was I more like the grail night, where humiliation may be a part of an authentic path, a test? When strongly contemplating the possibility of ending it all, there were always new revelations of hope at the edge, driving me further.
I invested some of my spare time to get an online magazine on its feet with a few other non-conformists. It started as a small experiment, but my hope was that this magazine not only could change the mainstream discourse by introducing alternative intellectual horizons, like Evola and Dugin, but constitute a meeting place and think tank for good people to create powerful synergies. With time perhaps an organic, economically self-sustaining network could emerge, consisting both of pragmatic and intellectual people. I could also see a storm brewing in the horizon, making such a network even more important.
For such an ambitious endeavor to succeed, a precondition would have been a strong core of people willing to have this project as their main priority, to initially sacrifice a lot and tolerate discomfort and stress. There is a threshold you have to reach: either you achieve enough momentum to start redefining the coordinates and rules of the game, becoming a center that will draw resources and inspiration towards itself. Or you will merely end up either as a vent for the societal system, and possibly, if you represent ideas that can make a true difference, also become a target for the thought police, and end up in a worse position than if you did nothing.
Unfortunately, we lacked a common idea that could motivate great efforts beyond the level of being a hobby for most of the contributors. Besides, despite being the editor-in-chief, I was as usual more interested in uncompromisingly following ideas than in focusing on how to motivate or attract other contributors. The magazine didn’t get enough momentum to reach the needed threshold and ended up in the twilight zone between becoming a vent and a target for the system’s paid gossipers.
I don’t know if we ever provoked any significant changes in any person of significance, but the attention of the thought police decreased my already slim possibility of getting a non-painful relation to the world of “jobs”. It could be argued we enjoyed some moderate quantitative successes, everything considered, but for me the whole affair became too much a compromise with the lukewarm contemporary spirit for it to feel like meaningful action expressing my purpose.
The silver lining of the enterprise was that it put me in contact with some good men. Besides, it constituted a learning experience which taught me that this wasn’t the right time for either cooperation or for trying to reach out to a broader audience. Despite the fact I could expect no gratitude from the people in my nation, to say the least, I had done my duty in at least trying to reach out to see if there was room for ideas that could make a difference. Now I had more than enough challenges merely surviving in a meaningless job, chained to a computer screen on the Mediterranean island I had fled to. I resigned as editor-in-chief, detached myself from the world again, from everyone.
When at bottom, what else remains to do but to aim as straight as possible towards your highest dream? While my first deeply transformative experience with female beauty had been a confused attempt to merge my dreams with a somewhat random, normal girl, this time I chose a girl who had the highest expectations and measures for love and life, being willing to fight the contemporary world in the process. This young lady possessed a combination of seriousness, artistic talent, a love of philosophy, and a playful approach to the world. Her attributes, however, were not really the point. The point was that she awakened something in me, connected me to what was most myself.
In the external world I had become almost imperceptible, with not much to show for, and despite this the young lady, in what couldn’t have been a rational decision, answered my hail Mary by believing in me. As in Rilke’s unicorn poem, das Tier, das es nicht gibt, she offered space for something to emerge. In the sinister darkness of my electronic coalmine, she become the one single ray of spiritual light, the starchild transforming my prison island to Avalon, where we a short summer and Christmas ruled as king and queen. With her, everything was experienced not meaninglessly alone, but in the trajectory between us. Now, at the end of history, the whole world, with all its poetry, philosophy, music, histories, randomness, misery and madness, was at our disposal. A place of possibilities, of seeds, from which we could choose the building materials for a new world. There was a purity in our interaction transcending our conditioned beings, an excessive force, testifying its presence through new revelations over time.
In the end, however, we would outstay our welcome in Avalon. For me this fall revealed a still unresolved strife between different tendencies in my mind. Should I describe it in Noomakhia terms, Apollo and Dionysus ended up fighting each other for the throne of my self, impeding a coherent conduct in the outer world against the challenge of Cybelian inertia pulling her back. While Dionysus could find inspiration in interpreting our relationship as an orphic enterprise demanding time, Apollo had little patience for any twilight romanticism. When things didn’t go this straightforward, it could only mean detachment and war, with sporadic Dionysian attempts at reconciliation. In the end, after a last futile gesture of reaching out, Dionysus resigned. Apollo marked a limit, an end to this story, and became the undisputed ruler of my inner throne. Now Apollo was free to guide me towards the White Logos in its purity.
In Search of the White Logos
There were several options to explore in search of the White Logos and its most suitable expression for a man like me in the contemporary world. Several of them related to the heritage of the last great Apollonian mind: Julius Evola. When walking the streets of Vienna during a bomb raid at the end of the world war, testing his destiny, Evola ended up immobilized in a wheelchair. Could this have been the way for the world of myth to express in the world of history that Evola had assumed the position as the wounded king in the Grail myth? He was, after all, the voice of his time closest to approximate the role of bridgebuilder between the spiritual and political, the role of the Traditional king. In the Grail myth, the knight has to ask the king what led to his wound. This means he has to intimately understand the king’s position, to understand his mistake, flaw or imbalance. In this way the knight can find the tempering remedy which can heal the regal spirit, thereby healing the land. The king’s flaw in the Grail myth is his desire.
Evola was interested in tantrism, and it could be argued that this current at least in two aspects was reflected in his general approach. The first aspect his emphasis on will as a more fundamental faculty than thinking, the other an emphasis on what we represent as types, rather than what we represent as individuals. A man on a spiritual path should not be too concerned about the woman in her conditioned form, but only about the absolute woman, as a type that can manifest in many women. What matters for the tantric vira is the awakening of the sexual force and dominating it through detachment and will. And it is easier to achieve this detachment outside a monogamous relationship, when not attached to a particular woman.
An interesting path to consider in relation to this, which I think was a response to Evola’s tantrism, is the mystery of Sacro Amore, revealed in Graal – Saggio Sul Mistero del Sacro Amore by Julius Evola’s student and friend Massimo Scaligero. In this essay, exploring the Grail and the mystery of sacred love, Scaligero criticizes the tantric approach as a path that was valid before, but is no longer valid in our current conditions. What characterizes the conditions today is that the faculties of thinking, will and feeling all have been corrupted by the spiritual darkness of the corporal world. The faculty of thinking, however, has a potential freedom from this conditioning.
Therefore, despite its immediate lack of life, the desert of conceptual thinking is the place the initiate today first has to make himself familiar with. This in order to first achieve a cold detachment from the immediacy of the corporal world, but then, with time, from this free space of thinking find an opening for the spirit. The spirit can then vivify the thinking, resurrect lifeless, conceptual thinking into living thinking, and through living thinking reach down to penetrate the faculties of feeling and will.
There is, however, a limit to how far this can be done by the solitary ascetic. All the levels of our being are initially dominated by the sexual force, in its impure, corporal state of desire. We must learn to master this force, but the faculty of thinking is not strong enough alone, and the faculty of will already compromised by this corporal sexual force. What we need to do is to transform this unruly sexual force into love at every level. As in surgery of the corporal body, this is a process that must consider very precisely the uniqueness of the person’s constitution, and it must happen in the organic way that allows for natural growth. This is a path only the monogamous couple can undertake, traveling together from level to level, purifying wild desire into love, stabilized by the unique conditions of the other, in what is also a quest of self-knowledge.
Those undergoing such an initiation will constitute the centers of the new mysteries. This is the center from which all other kinds of love, empathy and goodness derive. What from Scaligero’s perspective was lacking in Evola’s personal equation, was a proper appreciation of thinking as a precondition for initiation, and of love towards the unique person as a more, not less, fundamental power than impersonal sexuality. The uniqueness of the person is central to the experience of the sacred in our time. In Scaligero’s approach to spirituality, the influence of Rudolf Steiner is very strong, which gives reason for some caution, but I find the vision of such a path appealing and close to my own intuitions about love.
Another approach to the heritage of Evola I in recent years have found worth consideration is the work of the Hungarian Traditionalist András László. His collection of aphorisms, Solum Ipsum, is the sharpest and most concentrated extract of Traditionalist wisdom and spiritual conduct I am aware of. Here the solipsistic approach of Evola’s magical idealism and the traditional doctrines of Guénon seems to have been seamlessly integrated. While Dugin represents the most centrifugal, expanding, tendency of the Traditionalist impulse today, László with Solum Ipsum, represents a very centripetal, contracting tendency.
Another thinker following the Evolian track, is the Italian lawyer Giandomenico Casalino, who makes an interesting contrast both to Dugin and László. Casalino seeks to purify what is typical for the Indo-European Tradition, particularly the Greek and Roman parts, from what he regards as the Asian tradition. A main difference between Indo-European and Asian spirituality is in the interpretation of what constitutes its peak experience. For the Indo-Europeans it is the revelation of the world as a well-rounded ordered whole, as we find in Plato’s exaiphnes, and more recently in the philosophy of Hegel, who Casalino reads as a hermetic initiate. Asian spirituality, on the other hand, seeks encountering apeiron, the limitless beyond human control and comprehension. Casalino views Guénon as the foremost representative of such an otherworldly, Asian metaphysics. Where Dugin evokes Heidegger in order to build a Dionysian bridge between the world of the multitude of phenomena and the ideal world of Tradition, Casalino invokes Hegel to purify the most Apollonian, Indo-European parts of Tradition. Unbeknownst to the general public, dialectical encounters between such great minds are one of the most decisive activities for determining the course of the future.
Another figure I have given some attention, and befriended, in recent years, who does his own thing outside all major discourses, is Miguel A. Fernandez. Judging from the cover images of his Solar Warrior-books, it seems as if Fernandez is not particularly interested in provoking the attention of academics, but younger people seeking adventure. Fernandez is a profound and original thinker, who is particularly concerned with extracting the warrior impulse from the world of Tradition and seeking expressions for it in the Zeitgeist of our contemporary world. To some extent his works pick up the thread where Evola’s Revolt against the modern World and Ride the Tiger finished over fifty years ago, where developments of the techno-system, in cybernetics, and peak oil are taken into account as great facts more fundamental than the drama playing out on the political arena.
Fernandez’ answer to the challenges of our time, as developed in his most recent work, Operative Traditions, lies in the encounter between Julius Evola’s philosophy of magical idealism, mainly expressed in the Theory of the Absolute Individual and Phenomenology of the Absolute Individual, and Ernst Jünger’s “Operator” (as Der Arbeiter was translated by Evola). Emphasized in Operative Traditions is the necessity of a deep personal transformation, which is sought not through intellectual speculation but through people who test and expand their limits through action and the mastery of an art or craft.
What the world eminently needs is new leaders, negentropic centers of integration and stability who can thrive in chaos. Leaders who have learned to dominate themselves to such an extent that what they subtly and spontaneously signal to the world in gestures create order and inspiration through their presence. If such a man, the Solar Warrior, in addition to the mastery of himself achieves a deep understanding of the main operating powers driving the Zeitgeist, he has a chance to dominate them, and restore what Fernandez terms the “Solar Empire”.
Fernandez synthesizes large and diverse intellectual fields, in a style that is fresh, bold, and unacademic, while employing several concepts which demands a certain effort. The style, with its unusual mix of unacademic playfulness and conceptual sophistication, might prevent many from giving these works the serious attention they deserve. But perhaps they will reach exactly the ones they are meant to reach, those who grew up without ever renouncing the inner greatness of He-Man, silently waiting for the external freedom and intellectual power of adulthood to find expressions for the secret spirit of Eternia in our time. What matters for Fernandez is to urgently reach men of action now, not to be discussed by intellectual connoisseurs in a thousand years.
I share Fernandez’ interest in Evola’s magical idealism, which may constitute a better starting point for a new beginning than Heidegger’s philosophy. Evola does something similar to what Marx does in relation to Hegel’s idealism: He turns the emphasis of philosophy from the task of understanding the world to the task of changing the world. But the fundamental producer of reality and actor in history here is not the proletariat, but the absolute individual, the initiate, the pontifex, the immovable mover, who in the world of Tradition rules as the legitimate king. His task is not to act in accordance with an ideal order behind us, but to create order from the chaos in front of us.
The way a temple gives support to a sacred experience, Evola here seeks to give the sacred support through a conceptual system answering to a state Evola already possessed as a natural initiate. While Heidegger seeks to sidestep the old metaphysical vocabulary with new words, Evola in his philosophy seems less troubled by the metaphysical implications of problematic modern concepts like “power”, “individual”, “will”, and “value”. For Evola the method is to actively, subtly, bring such key concepts of modernity together in a system corresponding to a magical worldview. We can do this by going further from the peaks of idealism, without having to invent idiosyncratic languages far from common use, like Heidegger and the postmodernists do.
Magical idealism is not only important for the project of Fernandez. I think it constitutes the center of Evola’s opus, the esoteric core. In Evola’s early philosophical works, the absolute individual appears in a pure conceptual form. The rest of Evola’s works show us how the absolute individual appears in different cultural contexts, in politics, and in different initiatic currents. Perhaps we in these early philosophical works also have the “cure” to what Scaligero found to be a too tantric approach in Evola. Julius Evola may have underestimated his philosophical works, by regarding them more as ladders to Tradition to be thrown away after having reached this goal, than as the pillars they really can be.
The absolute individual seems closely related to the radical subject which constitutes the center of Dugin’s project, but with some difference in emphasis. Where unconditional freedom is the main theme of the absolute individual, and action an expression of pure excess, the radical subject seems to be more like a sharply attuned instrument of sacred necessity inspired by pain. Where for Evola the mover of ideas is the most important, for Dugin the ideas themselves seems to be more important than their representatives. It seems like the absolute individual corresponds to Apollo and the radical subject to Dionysus.
Roberto Calasso is an interesting figure, in his combined role as publisher, as connoisseur of literature and ancient Indian spirituality, and as author of works like The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony and Literature and the Gods. Calasso draws lines from the early Rgveda, through poets like Hölderlin, Novalis, Baudelaire and Mallarmé, up to Nabokov, in order to localize the ardor of Tradition as it manifests in literature. His thesis is that the gods may have fled from organized religion and other spheres dominated by social forces, but they have sought refuge in what Calasso terms absolute literature, to be awakened by the solitary act of reading.
In Literature and the Gods, Calasso writes that the fundamental gesture of literature is the conquest of the water of the nymphs, the mental waters of pure inspiration. Apollo must allow himself to be possessed by the love of the nymph to immerse himself in these waters. From the knowledge of these water he can impose his meter, his order, and ultimately establish his center. Nabokov’s nympholeptic seeking this power in Lolita, becoming the enchanted hunter, is one of the last echoes in literature of such a quest, indicating how treacherous the founding enterprise becomes in late modernity.
A bold exploration of the warrior impulse in contemporary literature, which gives vivid illustrations of themes Nietzsche, Evola, Dugin and Fernandez outline, in figures like the Übermensch, the Absolute Individual, the Radical Subject, and the Solar Warrior, is Roman McClay’s Sanction. Here we encounter the particularly American version of this figure, which here is explored as the Sigma Male. Sanction seems to emerge from the humble outskirts of manosphere and self-improvement Twitter but stretches its roots back to Emersonian self-reliance and Melvillian mysticism, and even further back to the regal Scottish Highlander, to the Viking warrior poet, and to the Rimbaudian North. It stretches its branches forward to a future dominated by developments in AI, nanotechnology, and genetic engineering, culminating in what is a century-defining work of literature.
Sanction is a thought-provoking work fueled by sacred wrath and pain. Dangerous questions are contemplated. While Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov in the end would fall for Christian slave morality, the protagonist in Sanction, Lyndon has realized that enough is enough, a limit has been reached. God needs space, a clearing. The Holzweg of the mystic is no longer enough, that’s not Lebensraum enough for a God wanting to make a difference in the world. Unfortunately, many people stand in the way. Not ready for the Logos yet? Too bad. Here it comes like a jackhammer, ennobling what is golden, destroying what is base. Pain demands a response.
Beyond the main theme of pain demanding response, we find a chivalric ethos centred around the sacredness and protection of female beauty and purity. McClay dissects the modern relationship between men and women not less ruthlessly than a Houellebecq or a Delicious Tacos, but in addition he embodies an uncompromising spirit which dares to demand everything, dares to dream the ideal, to reassert the measure. The centre of the mysteries today, our Grail, is in the awareness of the true relationship between man and woman. Errors in this domain will corrupt, while right conduct will ennoble our words and deeds in all other domains. Perhaps the main reason Sanction is such a great work of literature is because my friend Roman possess such a finetuned measure of what not just man but also woman can be. He has dared to glimpse Sofia, whose encounter with a world without Liebensraum sanctions war.
Harsh as it may be, Sanction is the kind of literature Novalis would have had to write had he lived today. It is what Roberto Calasso would term absolute literature, Harold Bloom literary theurgy, Joséphin Péladan simply magic. It’s also a renewal and celebration of the Word in English, the Lingua Latina of the contemporary Occident, from the belly of Leviathan. In the beginning was not Nietzsche, Evola, Dugin, or any other thinker, but the Word. To the extent we master the word we can master the chaos by taking control of our own story. Roman McClay’s Sanction is a great reminder of this. And there are certain words and people not content with being confined by literature.
The Last God
“Only a god can save us” is Heidegger’s famous words from his last interview. Who is this god? For Alexander Dugin this god is Dionysus, for Jason Reza Jorjani Prometheus and Atlas. But we could also switch context to Norse mythology. Odin represents the logos of Dionysus as it takes shape in a leader of wisdom and war, a figure that reminds me more of the role Dugin tends towards than Dionysus does himself. Jorjani reminds me of the mercurial Loki, who in Lokasenna accuses the old gods, not unlike the way Jorjani today also seeks to deconstruct what he claims to be the founding lies behind our greatest pillars of religion and philosophy.
Offering Loki space, and listening attentively is Víðarr, the wanderer silently preparing for one single gesture of violence and verticality, to kill the wolf and initiate a new world. Detached yet is Heimdall, guardian of the bridge between gods and men, the watchman overseeing it all, ready to blow the horn.