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Men Among the Ruins - Julius Evola [pdf]

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  • Men Among the Ruins - Julius Evola [pdf]

    Prince J. Valerio Borghese

    In the face of the growing crisis in higher moral and political values that the world is currently undergoing, with this book Julius Evola raises a cry of pro-test of exceptional frankness and courage, seeking at the same time to indicate the bases for the radical reconstruction of a civic reality that has been shattered by a precise, destructive will and by the corrosive action of materialism of every type and color.

    Even if certain historical judgments cannot be wholly shared, even if certain points of view can be justified only from very particular perspectives, the spirit that animates this courageous statement, and which addresses primarily men—in their virility, in their personal and civic dignity, in a word, in the higher aspect of their being—will find a broad consensus among all of those who, like ourselves, believe that man lives not by bread alone; that the development and affirmation of the human personality is possible only through a heroic vision of life; that the economic factor is important but not supreme and much less the exclusive factor in true history; and that the value of a State and a people rests not on their standard of living and level of economic production, but instead on their civic and political greatness.

    One should see on this topic the insightful pages that the author dedicates to the "demonic nature of the economy," where a trenchant criticism lays bare the common myth that keeps today's world in slavery, according to which the sole purpose of life is comfort: a fetish to which must be sacrificed serenity, the inner life, a truly free way of life, and every fertile, noble, and serious aspiration, so that men are trapped as slaves of the mechanism of production, which would fall into crisis if the illusion of this myth were dispelled.

    In a certain sense, the author stands outside the disputes and divergences of commonplace politics—between fascism and antifascism, liberalism and communism, capitalism and socialism—because he refuses to let the discussion unfold on the essentially materialistic plane chosen by our adversaries. By the latter are understood those who put self-interest above duty, duplicity above loyalty; who consider wealth to be the basis of civilization and resignation, cowardice, and egoism to be virtues, but heroism, ardor, and courage to be shortcomings; who substitute permissiveness for order, and give more weight to undifferentiated democratic numbers than to the aristocracy of values; all who support quantity against quality, matter against spirit.

    Avoiding certain extreme or partial positions, Men among the Ruins defends the organic character of the State, which is also transcendent and "anagogical." It is a sense that is lost today, caught as we are in a dilemma: on the one hand, the overvaluation of the individual as such and the corrupt parliamentary systems; on the other hand, the formless pressure of a bureaucratic and totalitarian machine of the Soviet type. He reclaims the value of auctoritas and of hierarchy, the primary conditions of any true justice and, note well, of any true liberty, against the democratic idol of equality that is unrealistic and unjust at the same time; the value of Tradition, understood as the supreme civic patrimony of eternally valid principles, as against the historicist myth that holds that not only the particular institutions but also their very raison d'etre must perish, and hence that revolution infallibly furthers progress. He asserts, at the basis of the rise and dividing of peoples and nations, the value of the political idea, of the vision of the world, of a center of authority, of the religious sentiment of social life, above and beyond their own ethnic characters. The author does not fear to be called a reactionary—that is, a man of the Right—when he warns that revolution makes sense only when it is reconstructive, being the violent removal of an unjust condition and perturbation of the civic and political order, whereas revolution is purely negative when it destroys for the sake of destruction and negates the higher moral validity of Tradition. This view suggests to him, among other things, some original thoughts about what has been called the "fascist parenthesis."

    Notwithstanding its philosophical tone, sometimes animated by an energetic polemical spirit, the book speaks also of our passion for our country, and one feels the scarcely repressed emotion when it mentions "liberated Italy—`liberated' from the difficult task of forming itself on the inspiration of its highest traditions."

    But the central ideas of this work, which perhaps could be developed differently in many aspects, but only with difficulty on any other basis, are the superiority of the imperium and of the State to individual interests and the exaltation of aristocratic heroism. The first idea affirms with great clarity a solar reality, albeit denied and violated today on every side, namely that "the State, incarnation of an idea and a power, is a higher reality with respect to the world of the economy" and that "political necessity always takes precedence over economic necessity," the economic order being an order of means of existence that ought never to become ends in themselves.
    The second idea encourages our higher hopes, for it is not a matter of morals or civilization, where the heroic and hence aristocratic sense of life is wanting. The author does well to warn us that when he speaks of aristocracy, he is referring to a certain vision of the world: an aristocracy of character, not economic nor even intellectual, for intellectuality "exists in a sphere separated from the living wholeness of the individual, and above all from everything that is character, spiritual courage, and inner decision."

    It is precisely this aristocracy of character that the best Italians desire and must constitute, beyond the ruins that surround us.

    Note : The actual text starts at page 121 in the pdf