Tradition, Religion, & Modern Europe
Synthesis Interviews Martin Schwarz
M ARTIN SCHWARZ is the administrator of the Kshatriya internet resource dedicated to the work of Julius Evola [http://kshatriya.hypermart.net]. This interview was originally conducted for the Polish magazine Odala, reprinted here with permission of MR. SCHWARTZ. English translation edited by ULF HERDER.
Synthesis: What was Evola's approach to religion, and precisely in which religions did he see the spirit of Tradition?
Martin Schwartz: It might seem strange, but Evola was not really interested in what is commonly called "religion." He was mainly interested in the realisation of the potential of the Self and in building (or preserving) the societies which are able to provide the possibilities to those who have the greatest ability of Self-realisation. But from this it follows that such religions which want to minimise the personal efforts of the individuum, in order to provide a spiritual common denominator to all, are hostile to this aim. Evola clearly identified Christianity as a religion which castrates the potential of the few "higher men" in order not to upset the majority of lambs. But the same applies to forms of Mahayana Buddhism and, more or less, to all late forms of religions in the Kali Yuga, the present dark age.
On the other hand, the primordial Tradition can be applied to all or nearly all existing religions if you do not focus on the dogmas, but rather on the way the fighting spirit is to be embodied. Christian chivalry does not differ much from the Jihad fighters or the Samurai, outside of the large distinctions in their religious mythology.
One thing became clear for the mature Evola: a revival of Paganism as a religion is not possible. Therefore we must either cultivate our Hyperborean values outside the religious sphere, or we must strengthen these incorporated values inside the existing religions. In Europe this is mainly Christianity. It is significant that the political and religious movement which realised most of Evola's ideals was the Legion of the Archangel Michael in Romania.
S: What were the relations really like between Evola and Italian fascism, and in the post-war world what was Evola's opinion on the emerging National Revolutionary and (later) New Right movements?
MS: There is no simple answer, because on the level of Evola's involvement with "Realpolitik," many facts are not known or seem to contradict one another. His distance to fascism as a party-based movement was always great. Evola was never a member of the party or of any influential circle, but had different contacts and promoters. On the more important ideological level, an answer can be given easily. Evola rejected Western liberalism as well as communism. And he believed in the resurrection of the ideals of the Roman Empire. After he broke with his former mentor Arturo Reghini, who was a Freemason and who tried to build a "pagan imperialism," Evola connected more with Guido de Giorgio, whom he called the main influence behind La Torre, the magazine Evola edited for a short time. After La Torre was forced to cease publication, Evola tried to follow the same line under the umbrella of other magazines. Now this second concept can be called a less agitative but more profound one than Reghini's, and can be labelled as a form of "sacred fascism." It links the sacrality of ancient Rome with the modern fascist state, which was more or less accidentally determined by how it came to power and through the figure of the Duce and the other personalities involved. The fascist state, which was nevertheless a modern state, should be transformed in the direction of the traditional sacrality of the state and its functions -- symbolised by the fasces and the axis. The concept of "pagan imperialism" was based more on power and much less so on sacrality.
The same question applies to post-war period: How can a traditional society be built with the help of modern movements? This is the only criteria with which to judge National Revolutionary or New Right movements. You can see this in Evola's review of Francis Parker Yockey's Imperium, which can be interpreted as a kind of blue-print for most of the movements seeking to establish the Eurasian New Order. Evola writes that despite his brilliance, Yockey does not pay enough attention to the difference between culture and civilisation (as defined by Oswald Spengler) and tries to build the empire on the basis of civilisation. The Evolian alternative -- a kind of order based on metaphysical and cultural principles -- did not appear on the surface of post-war Europe, and Evola retained a critical distance from existing political movements. Also you must take into account that in contrast to those groups, Evola was a monarchist on principle and never made any compromise with democracy.
S: How would you define the essence of Evola's philosophy of history?
MS: In this his notions are similar to those he held regarding religion. Evola is not primarily interested in history as such. He is concerned with the contact to the immutable, eternal centre of Being. History is the process of ongoing separation from this pole. History comes into the world and is accelerated by three factors. The most important is the decadence of those who should be the guardians of contact with immutable Being. They fail to fulfil their mission when they concentrate on the exoteric view, instead of inner realisation or initiation. On the other hand, there are those who are the enemies of the existing order because they are outsiders due to their alien origin or because their natural gifts are in the field of materialist economy (which is forcibly restricted in traditional societies). So these groups of people are "suppressed" and are the ferment of revolution. Both processes -- decadence and revolution -- culminate when a traditional initiatory society can be turned upside down and begins to be used toward the destruction of the traditional order, instead of for its defence. This has, according to Evola, happened with Freemasonry. Here another important factor comes into the picture: these societies are in fact only tools of supernatural forces which could be called "demonic." Evola does not reveal too much about it, but in essence he has an opinion similar to Corneliu Codreanu (the founder of the aforementioned Legion of the Archangel Michael), that the most important battles are fought in heaven and not on earth (although Evola and Codreanu would differ in their views concerning the real nature of this heaven).
S: What is the influence of the Evolian world-view on contemporary political and philosophical initiatives in Europe?
MS: The influence has always been very high on the level of quality, although on the quantity-level only a few individuals were aware of the importance of Evola's thoughts for the understanding of Europe's destiny. In recent years the influence has increased greatly in its breadth, which brings the real danger of it being diluted into a wishy-washy ideology. A thousand men with strong determination are more important than everybody discussing his thoughts to death. A very important development is the discovery of Evola in the Eastern part of Europe. Through the catastrophical situation which capitalism is leading the former communist countries into, a healthy radicalisation can take place -- a radicalisation of the mind, too. A similar tabula rasa is lacking in the West, and Evola is mingled with this-and-that, which inspires many different cultural and political initiatives. But to what end? I can only hope that a core of traditionalists will find their way to an organisation similar in form to the "Order of the Iron Crown," which Evola sketched out -- not dogmatically, but as one proposal -- as the elite which can survive the total dissolution of culture and civilisation and rebuild the just order.
S: If you would be so kind, present our readers with the activities and most important achievements of Kshatriya.
MS: It is quite simple. In 1994 I began publishing articles about Evola in different political and cultural magazines. These were later spread with the help of the Internet under the auspices of "Kshatriya." This led to international contacts on a global scale. In addition, since 1998 a printed German newsletter has been published. A magazine, which will be improved in quality and design, is to follow. Initiatives to strengthen the contact with the readers will develop. The name "Kshatriya" points to the figure of Evola, of course, but it should also signify that neither myself nor the other collaborators are important as individuals -- and that even Evola, despite his great merits for the traditional current, is not as important as the principle he tried to incorporate: the sacred warrior. In this sense of de-personalisation in the service of Tradition, the ultimate aim of "Kshatriya" is to build a invisible order of watchers or guardians who prepare the way for the re-awakening of Europe.
Synthesis would like to thank MESSRS. SCHWARZ and HERDER for all their help.
Copyright © 2001 Martin Schwarz/Synthesis