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Julius Evola

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Julius Evola
Julius Evola.png
Evola circa 1920
Born Giulio Cesare Andrea Evola
(1898-05-19)19 May 1898
Rome, Kingdom of Italy
Died 11 June 1974(1974-06-11) (aged 76)
Rome, Italian Republic

Giulio Cesare Andrea Evola (Italian pronunciation: [ˈɛːvola];[1] 19 May 1898 – 11 June 1974), better known as Julius Evola (/ˈuljəs ɛˈvlə/), was one of the most influential fascists in the history of Italy.[2] A philosopher and a esotericist, Evola advocated a "spiritual racism" that was personally endorsed by Benito Mussolini.[3][4]

According to one scholar, "Evola’s thought can be considered one of the most radically and consistently antiegalitarian, antiliberal, antidemocratic, and antipopular systems in the twentieth century."[5] Much of Evola's theories and writings is centered on Evola's own idiosyncratic spiritualism and mysticism. Evola's work was influential on fascists and neofascists.[6][7]

Biography

Early years

Giulio Cesare Andrea Evola was born in Rome to a Sicilian family of minor aristocracy. He was occasionally attributed with the title "Baron". Little is known about his early upbrining except that he considered it irrelevant. Evola studied engineering in Rome and was involved in the Italian social and artistic Futurist movement until he broke with a leading figure.. He joined the artillery as an officer in the First World War. Returning to civilian life, Evola was a leading painter and poet in the Dada movement.[8][9]

Buddhism and Esotericism

A keen mountaineer, Evola found the experience a source of revelatory spiritual experience. Evola describes a spiritual crisis after his return from the war. He had experimented with drugs and more importantly with magic until, around age 23, Evola considered suicide. He says he avoided suicide thanks to a revelation he had while reading an early Buddhist text. The text dealt with shedding all forms of identity other than absolute transcendence. This then led to Evola's fusion of European Idealism and Buddhist principles and practice.[8]

In 1927, along with other Italian esotericists, he founded the Gruppo di Ur (the Ur Group). The group's aim was to provide a "soul" to the burgeoning Fascist movement of the time through the revival of an ancient Roman Paganism.[10]

Evola on Race and Racism

Racism is a fundamental, spiritual idea underlying Evola's writings.[11] There are hundreds of examples of racist language and concepts in Evola, For example, in "The Doctrine of Awakening" Evola writes:

We have to remember that behind the various caprices of modern historical theories, and as a more profound and primordial reality, there stands the unity of blood and spirit of the white races who created the greatest civilizations both of the East and West...

Evola links "awakening" and asceticism to race. In the second chapter of the "The Doctrine of Awakening" entitled "The Aryan-ness of the Doctrine of Awakening," Evola writes:

The aryan-ness of the doctrine of awakening stood essentially for an aristocracy opposed, both in mind and body, not only to obscure, bastard, "demoniacal" races among which must be included the Kosalian and Dravidian strains found by the Hyperboreans in the Asiatic lands they conquered, but also, more generally, to that substratum that corresponds to what we would probably call today the proletarian and plebeian masses born in the normal way to serve...

Evola developed a racist "general objective law: the law of the regression of the castes"

The meaning of history from the most ancient times is this: the gradual decline of power and type of civilization from one to another of the four castes - sacred leaders, warrior nobility, bourgeoisie (economy, "merchants") and slaves - which in the traditional civilizations corresponded to the qualitiative difference in the principle human possibilities.

Evola developed this caste-based perspective in the 1930s and during the war in his extensive writings on racism. For Evola, the core of racial superiority lay in the spiritual qualities of the higher castes, which expressed themselves in the in physical as well as in cultureal features. The law of the regression of castes places racism at the core of Evola's philosophy. He sees an increasing predominance of lower races as directly expressed through modern democracy.[12][8]

Relationship with Fascism

Julius Evola was one of the most influential fascist racists in the history of Italy. His importance stems both from being a fascist at the time of Mussolini's rule and the unifying force his occult ontology has had on post-war fascism and neo-fascism. His version of spiritual Nordicism had a profound impact on the development of Italian fascist racism.[2] Over his long and prolific writing career, Evola developed a complex line of argument, synthesizing and adapting the spiritual orientation of writers such as Rene Guenon with the political concerns of the European Authoritarian Right.[8]

Evola hoped to influence Mussolini's regime toward his own variation on fascist racial theories and his "Tradionalist" philosophy. Early in 1930, Evola launched La Torre (The Tower), a bi-weekly review, to voice his conservative-revolutionary ideas and denounce the demagogic tendencies of official fascism; government censors suppressed the journal and engaged in character assassination against its staff (for a time, Evola retained a bodyguard of like-minded radical fascists) until it died out in June of that year. From 1934 to 1943, he edited the cultural page of Roberto Farinacci's journal Regime Fascista (The Fascist Regime).

Finding Italian Fascism too compromising, Evola began to seek recognition in the Third Reich, where he lectured from 1934 onward.[7]

Mussolini read Evola's Synthesis of the Doctrine of Race (Sintesi di Dottrina della Razza) in August 1941, and met with Evola to offer him his praise. Evola later recounted that Mussolini had found in his work a uniquely Roman form of fascist racism distinct from that found in Nazi Germany. With Mussolini's backing, Evola launched the minor-journal Sangue e Spirito (Blood and Spirit). While not always in agreement with German racial theorists, Evola traveled to Germany in February 1942 and obtained support for German collaboration on Sangue e Spirito from leading Nazi race theorists.[13]

Italian Fascism went into decline when, during the midst of the war in 1943, Mussolini was deposed and imprisoned. Evola, although not a member of the Fascist Party, and despite his apparent problems with the Fascist regime, was one of the first people to greet Mussolini when the latter was broken out of prison by Otto Skorzeny in 1943.

It was Evola's custom to walk around the city during bombing raids in order to better 'ponder his destiny'. During one such raid, in March or April 1945, a shell fragment damaged his spinal cord and he became paralyzed from the waist down, remaining so for the remainder of his life.[14]

Post-World War II

After World War II, Evola continued his work in esotericism. He wrote a number of books and articles on sexual magic and various other esoteric studies, including The Yoga of Power: Tantra, Shakti, and the Secret Way (1949), Eros and the Mysteries of Love: The Metaphysics of Sex (1958), Meditations on the Peaks: Mountain Climbing as Metaphor for the Spiritual Quest (1974), The Path of Enlightenment According to the Mithraic Mysteries (1977). He also wrote his two explicitly political books Men Among the Ruins: Post-War Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist (1953), Ride the Tiger: A Survival Manual for the Aristocrats of the Soul (1961), and his autobiography The Path of Cinnabar (1963).

In the post-war years, Evola's writings were held in high esteem by members of the neo-fascist movement in Italy, and because of this, he was put on trial from June through November 1951 on the charge of attempting to revive Fascism in Italy. He was acquitted because he could prove that he was never a member of the Fascist party, and that all accusations were made without evidence to prove that his writings glorified Fascism.[15] Ride the Tiger, Evola's last major work, which saw him examining dissolution and subversion in a world in which God was dead, saw him rejecting the possibility of any political/collective revival of Tradition due to his belief that the modern world had fallen too far into the Kali Yuga for any such thing to be possible. Instead of this and rather than advocating a return to religion as Rene Guenon had, he crafted what he considered an apolitical manual for surviving and ultimately transcending the Kali Yuga. This idea was summed up in the title of the book, the Tantric metaphor of "Riding the Tiger" which in general practice, consisted of turning things that were considered inhibitory to spiritual progress by mainstream Brahmanical society — for example, meat, alcohol, and in very rare circumstances, sex — were all employed by Tantric practitioners into a means of spiritual transcendence. The process that Evola described involved potentially making use of everything from modern music, hallucinogenic drugs, relationships with the opposite sex, and even substituting the atmosphere of an urban existence for the Theophany that Traditionalists had identified in virgin nature.[16]

Death

Evola died unmarried, without children, on 11 June 1974 in Rome. His ashes were deposited in a hole cut in a glacier on Mt. Rosa.[citation needed]

Philosophy

Friedrich Nietzsche heavily affected Evola's thought. However, Evola criticized Nietzsche for lacking the "transcendent element" in his philosophy. Arthur de Gobineau, most remembered for developing the theory of the Aryan master race and helping to legitimize racism, is constantly cited by Evola as fundamental to his thinking on race. A reference point is needed according to Evola, and this this point cannot be reached with senses or logic. Transcendental experiences and spiritual racism supply this reference point, achieved through the heroic element in Man .[2][17]

Like Guénon, he believed that mankind is living in the Kali Yuga of the Hindu tradition, the Dark Age of unleashed, materialistic appetites. The Kali Yuga is the last of four ages, which form a cycle from the Satya Yuga or Golden Age through the Kali Yuga or the Hesiodic Iron Age. Evola argued that both Italian fascism and National Socialism held hope for a reconstitution of the primordial "celestial race."[18]

Influence

On Breitbart News, Milo Yiannopoulos has cited Evola's works as being an essential part of the alt-right philosophy.[19]

Evola's writings have continued to influence many European far-right political, racist and neo-fascist movements. He is widely translated in French, Spanish and partly in German. Amongst those he has influenced are Miguel Serrano, Savitri Devi, GRECE, the Movimento sociale italiano (MSI), Falange Española, Gaston Armand Amaudruz's Nouvel Ordre Européen, Guillaume Faye, Pino Rauti's Ordine Nuovo, Troy Southgate, Alain de Benoist, Michael Moynihan, Giorgio Freda, the Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari (Armed Revolutionary Nuclei), Eduard Limonov, Forza Nuova, CasaPound Italia and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia. Famed author Herman Hesse was an admirer of Evola, calling him "A very dazzling and interesting, but also very dangerous author". Giorgio Almirante referred to him as "our Marcuse—only better."[20] According to one leader of the neofascist "black terrorist" Ordine Nuovo, "Our work since 1953 has been to transpose Evola’s teachings into direct political action."[21] The now defunct French fascist group Troisième Voie was also inspired by Evola.[22] Jonathan Bowden, English political activist and chairman of the New Right, spoke highly of Evola and his ideas and gave lectures on his philosophy. German psychotherapist Karlfried Graf Dürckheim based part of his "initiatory therapy" on Evola's work.[23]

In addition to Evola's political influence on right-wing radical-conservatives, "black terrorist" (neofascist) factions and traditionalist groups worldwide, he has also considerably influenced followers of certain occult traditions.

Selected books and articles

Footnotes

  1. ^ Rai DOP
  2. ^ a b c Aaron Gillette. Racial Theories in Fascist Italy. London: Routledge, 2002.
  3. ^ Tamir Bar-On (2007): Where Have All the Fascists Gone?
  4. ^ http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/07/mussolini-and-racism/ "Mussolini and Racism"
  5. ^ Ferraresi, Franco. "The Radical Right in Postwar Italy," Politics & Society, 1988 16:71-119, Pg. 84
  6. ^ Stanley G. Payne. A History of Fascism, 1914–1945 Down to the time of his death in 1974, Evola stood as the leading intellectual of neofascism and/ or the radical right in all Europe.
  7. ^ a b Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity By Nicholas Goodrick-Clark
  8. ^ a b c d Paul Furlong, "The Social and Political Thought of Julius Evola", London: Routledge, 2011
  9. ^ Julius Evola, Il Camino del Cinabro, 1963
  10. ^ Isotta Poggi. "Alternative Spirituality in Italy." In: James R. Lewis, J. Gordon Melton. Perspectives on the New Age. SUNY Press, 1992. Page 276.
  11. ^ http://www.juliusevola.com/julius_evola/writings "Writings of Julius Evola - The Doctrine of Awakening"
  12. ^ https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NI060EY "Julius Evola, Revolt Against The Modern World, Inner Visions 1995"
  13. ^ Aaron Gillette 2002.
  14. ^ Stucco 1992, xiii
  15. ^ Evola - "Autodifesa/Self-Defence" in appendix to Men Among the Ruins: Post-War Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist 1953
  16. ^ Ride the Tiger: A Survival Manual for the Aristocrats of the Soul. Inner Traditions, 2003.
  17. ^ Also Sprach Zarathustra (1883-5, Thus Spoke Zarathustra), Nietzsche's major work that denied the existence of God, and repudiated Christian ethics, despising democratic idealism.
  18. ^ A. James Gregor, Mussolini's Intellectuals: Fascist Social and Political Thought. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005.
  19. ^ Bokharia, Allum (March 29, 2016). "An Establishment Conservative's Guide To The Alt-Right". Breitbart. Retrieved October 20, 2016. 
  20. ^ Thomas Sheehan. Italy: Terror on the Right. The New York Review of Books, Volume 27, Number 21 & 22, January 22, 1981
  21. ^ Quoted in Ferraresi, Franco. "The Radical Right in Postwar Italy." Politics & Society. 1988 16:71-119. (p.84)
  22. ^ Institute of Race relations. "The far Right in Europe: a guide." Race & Class, 1991, Vol. 32, No. 3:125-146 (p.132).
  23. ^ Victor Trimondi, "Karlfried Graf Dürckheim"
  24. ^ "Bibliografia di J. Evola". Fondazione Julius Evola. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 

References