Heathen Imperialism

We present below some translated excerpts from Evola’s book Imperialismo Pagano and its German version, Heidnischer Imperialismus. Chapter One bears the same title in both : ‘We, the Anti-Europeans’. It is divided into various subsections : in both versions, the first subsection is called ‘European Decadence’, and here the parts deleted in Heidnischer Imperialismus are indicated in italics, the parts added to Heidnischer Imperialismus are indicated in boldface, and variants are indicated in brackets. The second subsection is called ‘Fascism as Anti-Europe’ in the original and ‘The New Symbol’ in the German version ; here the variants are so numerous and remarkable that the two versions will be found one after the other.

Imperialismo Pagano was published in 1928, a few months before the conclusion of the Lateran Treaties between the Italian state and the Catholic Church of February 1929. As summed up by the preface writer of the latest edition of Imperialismo Pagano (Mediterranee, 2004) : « [This] pamphlet of Julius Evola, which summarises and combines several articles which first appeared in 1926-27, was originally intended as a warning to Fascism regarding this event (i.e., the Lateran Treaties – ed.) which, in the author’s view, threatened to clip the wings of the imperial potentialities of the Mussolinian Regime. It was not merely a personal appeal, but recapitulated the positions of a highly heterogeneous esoteric and pagan world which had gathered around the UR Group’s initiative and which, in the Treaties, saw the disappearance of any hope of the possible Fascist affirmation in Fascist Italy of spiritualities at variance with the Christian and specifically Catholic hegemony. It is in this context that this work must be understood, but also as an explicit challenge to the Duce and to all « Fascists worth of the name », explicitly written by J. Evola « in the form of a call to arms ». It is thus an extremely polemical essay, which openly faces the problems, written in as drastic and intransigent a style as is possible to a man in his thirties for whom « Fascism was not enough », as he wrote two years later in the review ‘La Torre’. This is a work which carries out rigorous criticism on the logical, political, philosophical and religious planes, of all those values, all those conditions, all those myths which, according to J. Evola, were hindering Fascism and its will to renew the nation and the state, its wanting to be ‘imperial’: on one hand democracy, liberalism, communism, a misunderstood Europeanism and Occidentalism ; on the other hand, Christianity (not solely Catholicism) as ‘official religion' ».

The publication of Imperialismo Pagano sparked off such violent controversies that J. Evola, who collaborated at that time with Fascist official reviews, was more or less reduced to silence for a few years, until 1933, when a German translation of this work, revised and adapted, was published. In 1959, J. Evola officially opposed the republication of Imperialismo Pagano in an article published in the magazine ‘L’Italiano’ ; until his death in 1974, he never changed his mind about this and repeated his opposition to it. He explained himself in his autobiography, Il Cammino del Cinabro. The explanation is not very convincing. As a matter of fact, there is not a single idea set out in Imperialismo Pagano which cannot be found again in his later works, from Maschera e Volto dello Spiritualismo contemporaneo (‘Mask and Face of Contemporary Spiritualism’) (1932) to Revolt Against the Modern World (1934), Men Among the Ruins (1953) and Riding the Tiger (1961) and even, as far as the criticism against Fascism and National-Socialism is concerned, in the various editions of Fascism as Seen from the Right (1964-1970).

From what we can gather from a reply written by J. Evola in the name of the Ur-Krur editorship to accusations levelled against the writings of this group by the review ‘Ignis’, the fact is that Imperialismo Pagano was meant to be, among other things, a ‘psychic operation’ on Fascism.

European Decadence

Western civilisation needs a complete overhaul or it will fall apart one day or another.

It has realised the most complete perversion of the rational order of things.

Reign of matter, of gold, of machine, of number, it no longer possesses breath, or liberty, or light.

The West has lost the sense of command and obedience.

It has lost the sense of Action and of Contemplation.

It has lost the sense of hierarchy, of spiritual power, of man-Gods.

It no longer knows nature. It is no longer, for Western man, a living body made of symbols, of Gods and ritual gestures – [« a splendid cosmos » instead of « a harmony, a cosmos » ] a harmony, a cosmos, in which man moves freely, like a microcosm within the macrocosm : it has on the contrary decayed to an opaque and fatal exteriority, the mystery of which profane sciences seek to ignore by means of their little laws and their little hypotheses.

The West no longer knows Wisdom : it no longer knows the majestic silence of those who have mastered themselves, the bright calm of the seers, the superb solar reality of those in whom the idea has become blood, life and power. Wisdom has been supplanted by the rhetoric of ‘philosophy’ and ‘culture’, the reign of teachers, of journalists, of sportsmen ; of plans, of programs and of proclamations. It has succumbed to sentimental, religious, humanitarian contamination, and the race of men of fine words who run around madly exalting ‘Becoming’ and ‘experience’, because silence and contemplation frighten them.

The West no longer knows the State : the State-value, the Imperium, as synthesis of spirituality and royalty, as a way to the ‘supraworld’, as it shone brightly from [« as known by the great ancient civilisations from » instead of « as it shone brightly from »] China to Egypt, from Persia to Rome and the western Roman Empire, has been overwhelmed by the bourgeois misery of a trust of slaves and traffickers.

What war is, as a value in itself superior to mere victory or defeat, as that heroic and sacred path to spiritual fulfilment exalted by the god Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita [« hence the celestial sojourn of Odin, the Valhalla, is the privilege of the heroes fallen on the battlefield ; in Islam, ‘sacred war’, jihad, is synonymous with ‘divine way’ ; in Aryan India, the warrior is side by side with ascetic and, in the classic antiquity, mors triumphalis is conceived of as victory over death » instead of « exalted by the god Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita« ] – what such a war is, that is what these formidable European ‘activists’ no longer know, who no longer know warriors but only soldiers, and whom a squabble was enough to terrorise and force back to the rhetoric of humanism and pathos or worse still to that of braggart nationalism and d’Annunzianism [« to the rhetoric of humanism, of pacifism and sentimentalism » instead of « to the rhetoric of humanism and pathos or worse still to that of braggart nationalism and d’Annunzianism »].

Europe has lost its simplicity, has lost its centrality, has lost its life. The democratic evil [« The democratic evil and the Semitic poison » instead of « The democratic evil »] corrodes it throughout, from its roots to its flowers such as law, sciences, and speculative thought. Leaders – beings who distinguish themselves, not by violence, by their gold [« by the thirst for lucre » instead of « by their gold »], the ability of exploiters of slaves, but, on the contrary, by their irreducible qualities of life [« by unwavering and transcendent qualities of life » instead of « by their irreducible qualities of life « ], there are none. Europe is a big insignificant body, sweating and restless because of an anxiety that no one dares to express [« possessed and shattered by an anxiety which no one dares to express » instead of « sweating and restless because of an anxiety that no one dares to express »], whose blood is gold, whose flesh is machines, factories and arms, whose brain is a newspaper page – a great body tossing and turning [« a shapeless body which tosses restlessly » instead of « a great body tossing and turning »], driven by obscure and unpredictable forces, which crush implacably anyone who tries to oppose it or merely avoid its shackles.

All this the praised Western ‘civilisation’ has been able to do. This is the vaunted result of the superstition of ‘Progress’ – beyond Roman imperiality (*), beyond the ancient East, beyond the great Ocean [« beyond Roman imperiality, the Dorian Hellade and all the other exemplary forms of the great Aryan primordial civilisations » instead of « beyond Roman imperiality, beyond the ancient East, beyond the great Ocean »].

And the noose tightens everyday around those who are still capable of the great loathing and the great rebellion.

Fascism as Anti-Europe [‘Imperialismo Pagano’]

Can Fascism be the groundwork of an anti-European restoration?

Is Fascism capable today of the level of awareness necessary for such a task?

Fascism arose from below, from confused needs and brutal forces unleashed by the European war. Fascism has fed on compromises, rhetoric, and the petty ambitions of petty people. The state organism which it has created is often uncertain, awkward, violent, restricted, not devoid of ambiguities.

Nevertheless, if we look around us today, after the decline of the two states – Russia and Germany – which had preserved remnants of hierarchical values, however distorted and materialised, we in the West find that Fascism is our only ground for hope.

For better or worse, Fascism has developed a body. But this body is still lacking a soul ; and this soul – and the superior act which can justify it, complete it, make it really stand up as a principle against all of Europe – this soul, as we have said elsewhere, can only achieve this if Fascism, by means of a radical, profound, and absolute upheaval, takes a new leap forward precisely in the opposite direction to that of the ‘normalisation’ and embourgeoisement which is beginning to pervade it today. It must manage to resurrect a distinct order of meta-economic and meta-political values.

But this must not create misunderstandings. Fascism has essentially grown on youthful, resolute forces, ready for everything, immune to doctrinal abstractions, immune to the sickness of ‘culture’. This is the living core of Fascism, and those who today start to worry about a ‘philosophy of Fascism’ and a ‘Fascist culture’ are themselves symptoms of decadence, or at least of a deviation from the direction in which Fascism must move in order to presage something really new, a true revolution, as opposed to those of which can ironically be said: « plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose ».

No. Fascism must remain anti-philosophical, resolutely and bluntly so. And, beyond this, reasserting its purest force, it must sweep away the filthy encrustation of rhetoric, sentimentalism, moralism, and hypocritical religiosity with which the West has obscured and humanised everything. There is a necessity for someone – albeit a barbarian – finally to break into the temple in order to drive out as corrupters all those who in ‘civilised’ Europe have succeeded in monopolising ‘Spirit’, Good and Evil, Science, and the Divine, and have declared themselves to be their propagators, while, in truth, they only know matter and what words, fear and superstition have layered over matter.

To all this must be said: ‘Enough!’, so that some men at least can recover the long roads, the long danger, the long gaze, and the long silence ; so that the wind of the open sea can blow – the wind of the MEDITERRANEAN TRADITION – to reawaken the enchained people of the West.

Anti-philosophy, anti-sentiment, anti-literature, anti-religion : this is the premise. Enough! That is what must be said to aestheticisms and idealisms : enough to the thirst of the soul which creates for itself a Semitic God to adore and implore ; enough of the need which binds beggarly men in mutual dependence in the name of the consistency which each of them lacks.

To pass beyond and above all this, with pure forces, which, then, will have to meet a task which transcends ‘politics’, transcends social concern, and which must ignore the clamorous gesture and superficial resonancy, and which is such that the materialistic force which vibrates on things and people no longer serves a goal.

We, in Italy, must create, in silence, through a harsh discipline, inflexible self-control, seriousness, and simplicity, with the brisk and eager effort of individuals, an elite in which Wisdom, this virtus which is inexpressible, which rises in the hermetic and Pythagorean silence, which flourishes from the domination of the senses and the soul, and does not manifest itself through arguments and books, but through acts of power, comes to life again.

We must reawaken to a renewed, spiritualised, acrid sensation of the world, not as a philosophical concept but as something which vibrates in the rhythm of our own blood : the sensation of the world as power, as the agile and free rhythmic dance of Shiva ; the sensation of the world as a sacrificial act (Veda). This sensation will create strong, hard, active, solar, Mediterranean beings, beings made up of force and force alone, open to this sense of freedom and greatness, to this cosmic breathing of which the ‘dead’ have stammered much but understood little.

Against profane, democratic, and material science, always relative and conditioned, slave to incomprehensible phenomena and laws, mute with regard to the profound reality of man, we must reawaken – in this elite – the sacred, inner, secret, creative science of initiations, the science of self-fulfilment and self-dignification, the science which leads to the occult forces which govern our organism and creates domination over them, so that, not as myth but as the most positive of realities, men are born again as beings stronger than the laws of the body and the conditions of space and time.

Then leaders, a race of leaders, shall have come into being. Invisible leaders who do not chatter and parade themselves, but act irresistibly and can do everything. Then, a centre will exist in Europe – in this Europe without centre.

It is an absolute mistake to address the problem of hierarchy in any other way than as the problem of the creation of leaders, a wholly individual and internal problem. Hierarchy exists only when there is a leader and not vice versa.

It is an absolute mistake to imagine that the empire can be built on the basis of economic, military, industrial, or even ‘ideal’ factors. The Imperium, according to the Iranian and Roman conception, is something transcendent, and it can only be attained by those who have the power to transcend the lives of petty men and their appetites, their national prides, their ‘values’, and their Gods.

This the ancients understood when they deified their emperors, when they joined together royal dignity and spiritual dignity. Will the young barbarians who have dared to re-evoke the Eagle and the Fasces understand it? Will they understand that there is no other alternative, that this is the only condition by which their ‘revolution’ can be not just a petty contingent event in an unimportant nation but the germ of the return of Rome to the world, the first light in the thick fog of European decadence and the principle of a true restoration?

The New Symbol [‘Heidnischer Imperialismus’]

Are liberation and renewal still possible in this crepuscular world?

Is Europe capable today of the level of awareness necessary for such a task?

Let us not be mistaken : it is only after having understood the magnitude of the task that we will be able to act. The threatening reality of a destructive spiritual process, whose roots originate almost in the ground of prehistory, whose culminating phases coincide with those which contemporary men exalt as their essential civilisational values, and whose influences now manifest themselves in all fields of thought and action, must be acknowledged.

This is not a matter of compromises or adaptations. The power of a new Middle Ages is needed – a revolt, interior as well as exterior, of a barbaric purity. Philosophy, ‘culture’, everyday politics : nothing of all this. It is not a matter of turning to the other side of this bed of agony. It is a matter of finally waking up, and getting up.

There are still, here and there, men in whom live memories of an ancient nobility, who as individuals are ill-at-ease and feel the need to react, sometimes in this cultural domain, sometimes in that. Before it is too late, what must be recalled to the consciousness of these scattered men is the heights, beyond all the limits and private interests which currently exhaust their strength. Implacable action must ensure that their purest strength emerges, indomitable, ready to shatter the filthy encrustation of rhetoric, sentimentalism, moralism, and hypocritical religiosity with which the West has covered and humanised everything.

The one who enters the temple, however much of a barbarian he may be, has the unquestionable duty to drive out as corrupters all those who in ‘civilised’ Europe have succeeded in monopolising ‘Spirit’, Good and Evil, Science, and the Divine, and have exploited their monopoly by declaring themselves to be their propagators, while, in truth, they only know matter and what words, fear, and superstition have layered over matter.

To all this must be said: « Enough! », so that some men at least can recover the long roads, the long danger, the long gaze, and the long silence ; so that the wind of the open sea can blow again – the wind of the Nordic primordial tradition – to reawaken the sleepers of the West.

Anti-philosophy, anti-humanitarianism, anti-literature, anti-‘religion’, this is the premise. Enough! That is what must be said to aestheticisms and idealisms ; enough! To the thirst of the soul which creates for itself a Semitic God to adore and implore ; enough of the need which binds beggarly men in mutual dependence in the name of the consistency which each of them lacks.

We must pass beyond and above all this, with pure forces, which, then, will have to meet a task which transcends ‘politics’, which transcends the social prejudice, which must ignore the clamorous gesture and the superficial resonancy, and which is such that the materialistic force which vibrates on things and people no longer serves a goal. In silence, through a hard discipline, a self-possession and a self-overcoming, we must create with a tenacious and eager effort of individuals an elite, in which the ‘solar’ Sapience lives again : this virtus which is inexpressible, which rises from the depths of the senses and of the soul and which does not express itself by arguments and books but by creative acts.

We must reawaken to a renewed, spiritualised and austere sensation of the world, not as a philosophic concept, but as something which vibrates in our own blood : to the sensation of the world as power, to the sensation of the world as rhythm, to the sensation of the world as a sacrificial act. This sensation will create strong, hard, active, solar, Mediterranean beings, beings made up of force and force alone, open to this sense of freedom and greatness, to this cosmic breathing of which the ‘dead’ have stammered much but perceived little.

Against profane, democratic and material science, always relative and conditioned, slave to incomprehensible phenomena and laws, deaf to the most profound reality of man, we must reawaken – in this elite – the sacred, inner, secret and creative science, the science of self-fulfilment and ‘self-dignification’, the science which leads to the occult forces which govern our organism and joins together with the invisible roots of race and things themselves, and which creates domination over these forces ; so that, not as a myth, but as the most positive of realities, men are born again, as beings who no longer belong to ‘life’, but, now, to the ‘more-than-life’, and are capable of transcendent actions.

Then there will be leaders, a race of leaders. Invisible leaders who do not speak and do not show themselves, but whose action does not experience resistance and who can do everything. Then, a centre will exist in the West – in the West without centre.

It is a total mistake to think that we can achieve renewal if a hierarchy is not re-established, that is to say, if we do not place a higher law, a superior order, which can find confirmation only in the living reality of the leaders, above inferior forms, linked to earth and matter, to man and human.

It is also an absolute mistake to believe that the State can be anything other than a civitas diaboli if it does not resurrect itself as Imperium, and it is also a mistake to want to build the Imperium on the basis of economic, military, industrial or even ‘intellectual’ or nationalist factors. The Imperium, according to the primordial conception rooted in Tradition, is something transcendent, and it can only be attained by those who have the power to transcend the lives of petty men and their appetites, their sentimentalisms, their national prides, their ‘values’, and their Gods.

This the ancients understood, when, at the peak of their hierarchy, they venerated beings in whom the royal nature combined with the sacral, in whom temporal power was permeated with the spiritual authority of natures ‘no longer human’, bearers of a secret and invincible force of ‘victory’ and of ‘fortune’ ; when a sort of ‘sacred war’ lived in any war, something universal, something overwhelming, which addressed and organised everything with the purity and inevitability of the great of forces of nature.

Will those who still can or still want to put up a resistance understand this? Will they understand that there is no other alternative? That there is no other spirit which, be it in other forms and in other figures, must be re-awakened? That this is the only condition through which their ‘revolution’ can be anything more than a trivial contingent event in a single nation, can become a universal concept, a first ray of light in the thick fog of the ‘dark age’ – of the Western kali-yuga, and the principle of the true restoration, of the only possible recovery?

Julius EVOLA

(*) Undoubtedly, the word ‘Imperialism’ today makes us think of a policy of extending one’s rule over foreign countries in an aggressive and cruel manner, essentially in the name of economic interests, and, indeed, this is the basis for any modern imperialism, from that of Catholic Spain to that of Reformed Britain. The building of the latter, as shown by Evola and others, is largely due to the decision of Judaism to use Great Britain, at some point of history, to achieve its ultimate goal as set out by IHVH. The devotees of this deity seem to have found in the last few decades, across the Atlantic, a new organism on which to live parasitically and to instrumentalise to this end : « All the wealth of the world must belong to you » – « They (all the peoples) must serve you » – « You will devour all the peoples that IHVH, your God, will deliver to you ».

Now, to mix up this demonic parody of empire with the Imperium is a great mistake, made, as a matter of fact, by most people nowadays, and plays perfectly into the hands of the forces of subversion. To show what differentiates the Imperium from its modern parody would not be difficult. There are plenty of historical examples, some very concrete, which demonstrate that the latter, in which everything is drowned in a Machiavellian manner in the pseudo-principle of egalitarianism, is only the shadow of the Imperium, which asserts the sacrality of the hierarchical and aristocratic principle. Here, however, our point is simply to draw the reader’s attention to the advantage of using the word ‘Imperiality’ instead of ‘Imperialism’ – which, by the way, the impostors we have just referred to never use in relation to themselves and the monstrous creation they are hired to maintain and to develop – to distinguish the one from the other and thus to win a battle in the war of words which rages today on the cultural and political planes. The word Imperialità (‘Imperiality’) was removed from the Italian dictionary in 1965.

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