Print this post Print this post

Forward — Into the Past!
Circling the Cosmos with Herr Prof. Dr. Ludwig Klages

klages_cosmo_margins6,352 words

Ludwig Klages
The Biocentric Worldview: Selected Essays and Poems of Ludwig Klages
Translated and introduced by Joseph Pryce
London: Arktos, 2013

Ludwig Klages
Cosmogonic Reflections: Selected Aphorisms from Ludwig Klages
Translated and introduced by Joseph Pryce
London: Arktos, 2015 

“My mystical side, the rotating swastika.”

— An “oracular allusion” of Ludwig Klages, according to the diary of his sometime galpal, Fanni[2]

“Klages wants to overpower me intellectually, because he can’t do it as a man. [He’s] just another guy with illusions of grandeur.”

— Countess Franziska Grafin zu Reventlow (“Fanni, the Queen of Bohemia”)[3]

Arktos has just released Cosmogonic Reflections, a volume, as it says, of Selected Aphorisms from Ludwig Klages, and at a Kindle price so low even a natural born cheapskate like myself had to buy it. This was a wise marketing move on their part, as I was so taken with these excerpts that I finally went ahead and picked up also not-entirely expensive volume of essays they released a couple years ago. And you should too.

Klages, I must admit, was only a name to me, usually a disparaged one, but I was keen to learn more about him, since he was part of not one but two “circles” in Munich’s notorious interwar Bohemian Schwabing: first the Stefan George circle, then, when that proved to be too patriarchal and logocentric (as we’ll see), forming the rival Cosmic Circle with his mentor, Alfred Schuler.[4]

This was a milieu familiar to me from its caricatured appearance in Mann’s Dr. Faustus, where the intellectual extremism and atavistic primitivism (as Mann sees it) that led to the rise of Hitler is explored through a series of grotesque figures in “the Kridwiss Circle,” such as the painter Baptist Spengler (Spengler having thought painting an impossible art under modern circumstances), Daniel zur Hohe (author of a single book, on “hand-made paper” ; a “lyrico-rhetorical outburst of voluptuous terrorism”; Stefan George?), and my own role model, the polymath “private scholar” Dr. Chaim Breisacher (a “corrosively ugly” Jewish Evola, sneering at the very idea of “progress” in a world declining since Solomon built his temple).[5]

Despite a long and Teutonically productive intellectual life, Klages’ worldview is surprisingly easy to summarize. Here’s Lucien Tudor’s account:[6]

Klages’s theory, named “Biocentrism,” posited a dichotomy between Seele (“Soul”) and Geist (“Spirit”); two forces in human life that were in a psychological battle with each other. Soul may be understood as pure Life, vital impulse, and feeling, while Spirit may be understood as abstract intellect, mechanical and conceptual thought, reason, and Will.

According to Biocentric theory, in primordial pre-historic times, man’s Soul and body were united and thus humans lived ecstatically in accordance to the principle of Life. Over time, human Life was interfered with by Spirit, which caused humans to use conceptual (as opposed to symbolic) thought and rational intellect, thus beginning the severing of body and Soul. In this theory, the more human history progresses, the more Life is limited and ruined by the Spirit in a long but ultimately unstoppable process which ends in completely mechanized, over-civilized, and soul-less people. “Already, the machine has liberated itself from man’s control,” wrote Klages, “it is no longer man’s servant: in reality, man himself is now being enslaved by the machine.”

This final stage is marked by such things as a complete disconnection from Nature, the destruction of the natural environment, massive race-mixing, and a lack of true Life, which is predicted to finally end in the death of mankind due to damage to the natural world. Klages declared, “. . . the ultimate destruction of all seems to be a foregone conclusion.”

thebiocentricworldview-productimageEveryone set with the premise?[7] So it’s Soul versus Spirit, battling within Man — for Klages, the Ego is a mere epiphenomenon of this struggle — the prize: Life itself! I like this kind of thing, what I call “typological thinking” (“stereotyping” isn’t quite right, and sounds too negative), perhaps because I’m partial to it myself.[8] And Klages’ version, Soul vs. Spirit, had a familiar ring. [9] In fact, I’ve been hearing it my whole adult life, and you probably have too.

It’s not surprising. Remember that bit about “Bohemian” above? An awful lot of what we think of as “beat” or “hippie” or “green” or “progressive” either has its roots in, or at least its parallels in early twentieth century Mittel Europa.[10] Free love, communal living,[11] clothing reform,” “psychedelic” art;[12] quite literally, European Man has been there and done that.

Reading Klages is like my own personal post-Alzheimer’s farewell tour! Alan Watts, of course, was wont to wax nostalgic about our pre-linguistic bliss, but was old enough to know better;[13] as was McLuhan, who seemed to welcome, or at least grudgingly accept, a post-literate “global village.”[14]

I was also very surprised to not find Pryce mentioning the connection to James Hillman’s “psychology of soul,”[15] and just as surprised to not find, so far as I can see, any reference vice versa. Hillman’s essay “Peaks and Vales” is a manifesto for the rights of the Soul to consideration against the Spirit, which my old classmate Thomas Moore popularized in his books on The Care of the Soul.[16] Indeed, Klages himself says:

Had the expression “care of the soul” not been tainted by a parsonic aftertaste, there would be no better phrase to apply to the work of the esoteric soul-guide. (Loc. 1072)

But perhaps the most direct ghost conjured up was that of the time in the late ’70s/early ’80s when my hometown’s venerable anarchist periodical, The Fifth Estate, having, like all Leftist communes, gone through the usual purges and enthusiasms — first Situationism, then Jean Baudrillard and his “simulacra” — suddenly veered into “deep ecology” and “anarcho-primitivism.”[17]

Thus I was one of those who sighed “been there, done that” when the Unabomber’s “Manifesto” appeared, and suddenly John Zerzan was “discovered” by the oh-so-hip lamestream media.[18]

But enough trip down Memory Lane. One or more of those links has no doubt caused the gorge to rise up your throat, so what about some critical evaluation of this Klages chap?

Unfortunately, not only is it easy to summarize Klages’ doctrine, and find analogous bodies of thought, it’s also easy to dismiss out of hand.

Here’s Cologero, after quoting Tudor’s summary above:

Obviously, Biocentrism is absurd from a Traditional point of view, so, for Evola, it is not only false but dangerous. However, it is implicit in much of neo-pagan reconstructions, which seeks to live in immediacy with no sense of the truly transcendent.[19]

Indeed, Evola did not find much to praise in Klages. Here is the passage Cologero is annotating:

We must prevent an error, of which Klages and, in a certain measure, even Jung, can be considered the most significant proponents, which, by only recognizing the value of the symbol and myth as the object of a “deep science”, it sees in them only a type of projection of the soul of the race, conceived irrationally as an expression of simple “vital” forces: “Life” (with the capital L) or the “Collective Unconscious” would be manifested in symbol and myth. That is false. And it is dangerous because it implies a romantic-naturalistic and rather one-sided conception of what race is, and must mean, for us. When it is a question of superior races, we repeat that the notion of race must be strictly joined to that of tradition, and in tradition, in its turn, the presence and the efficiency of meta-biological, metaphysical, not sub-rational but super-rational, forces must actually be recognized, acting formatively on purely physical and “vital” evidence and constituting the mystery of everything that, through race, assumes a fixed, unmistakable nature. Symbol and myth are signs of such deep forces of race, of which we just spoke, not of a type of irrational, instinctive and unconscious substrate of the ethnic group conceived in itself, a substrate that would be really make us think of the “spirits” or the totems of primitive communities. In the face of confusions of this type, it is appropriate to recognize that some accusations against racial doctrine manifested as a type of new “totemism,” a return to the spirit of the primordial horde, harmful for every true value of the personality, have a certain degree of justification.[20]

And since Pryce asserts that Evola — along with Savitri Devi — is one of “two brilliant twentieth century philosophers of history (BW, loc. 446), what more can we say? Perhaps, we can say less: the ex-anarcho-primitivist David Watson gives a succinct critique:

Written under Watson’s pen name “George Bradford,” [“Confronting the Enemy: A Response on Time,” which is a long critique of Zerzan’s article “Beginning of Time, End of Time” (which was the first of his five “origins” essays)] summarizes what are the basic objections to Zerzan’s view from a sympathetic perspective: that the notion of purely unalienated being (and along with it, the abolition of agriculture) is a misguided – and impossible – approach to these issues. Paralleling many discussions within the Western Marxist and Existentialist milieu (especially regarding Georg Lukács’s early work on reification), Watson argues that separation is something intrinsic to human nature, and cannot be seen as ‘outside’ of our own human existence. To abolish separation is to return to the womb or ascend into heaven.[21]

Translated out of neo-Marxist jargon – “separation,” “alienation,” etc. — our ex-anarcho-primitivist sets the terms as well as any Traditionalist: we find ourselves always already involved with Reason and Civilization; the choice, as even this neo-Marxist sees, is either return to the womb or ascend into heaven. As I would say, the way out is up, not back.[22]

I confess that whenever I read this kind of thing I really feel like signing up, but then suddenly start thinking about whether the Primal Man, whether reasonably Adam-like or more jumped-up (or jumped-down) monkey, has a life that was all that “ecstatic.” I mean, think of the smell.

Outwardly opposed, I sense a similarity between the damn dirty hippie and the manly men of the man-o-sphere. Both seem to have trouble orienting themselves in the modern world. The one is haunted by the Metrosexual; do manicures make you a fag? If so, then what about washing your hands? Or bathing altogether — our proud Viking ancestors needed no such frivolity.[23] The hippie is equally haunted by The Man and his rules of conduct and etiquette, as offensive to him as the Metrosexual’s or the earlier Dandy’s.[24]

Which is not to say that a critique of Spirit, or Reason, is not needed, nor that things are just fine with industrial, and post-industrial, Progress; far from it.[25] But primitivism — going “back” — is an impossible and self-defeating goal. Watson again:

I admire so-called primitive or original and tribal societies and believe they offer profound answers to what it means to be human, particularly in the present crisis in world industrial capitalist civilization. They don’t have all the answers, and there is no way they can be fully reproduced, but we need to pay attention to all our ancestors, and to the great traditions – primitive, archaic, and modern – in our evolutionary experience.[26]

The way out is not back but up.[27] By contrast, some seem to prefer spinning in the old ruts:

Munich Cosmic Circle: An occult circle gravitating around Karl Wolfskehl, Alfred Schuler and Ludwig Klages developed a doctrine according to which the Occident was plagued by downfall and degeneration, caused by the rationalizing and demythologizing effects of Christianity, held to be responsible for the betrayal of life’s primary forces. A way out of this desolate state could, according to the “Cosmic” view, only be found by a return to the pagan origins. No exact common ground did however exist, as to what this “homecoming” would entail.[28]

Or as Pryce puts it himself:

Only infra-human nature . . . can furnish man with genuine values. (Pryce, BW, 225)[29]

So, no, I’m not buying Klages’ curiously Gnostic[30] primitivistic paradise. I’m not surrendering Reason to the Jews[31] and reveling in authentic Aryan cave-dwelling.[32]

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed acquainting myself with Klages’ biocentric worldview, and I think you owe it to yourself to do so as well.

Why read Klages? For the same reason one reads Nietzsche without believing in his Eternal Return, or even his Superman; or reads Schopenhauer without accepting the Will as the ultimate reality. For the same reason Walter Kaufmann gave for reading Nietzsche: not only is he a superb prose stylist, he also challenges the reader, not so much to agree or disagree, but to figure out ones own position.[33]

Here’s some of what you can find from the essays in The Biocentric Worldview:

Rilke’s imagination inhabits an innocent, or pagan, world, a realm that is utterly devoid of such “spiritual” baggage as “sin” and “guilt.” (loc. 387)

One does not even notice that no cosmogony ever devised by the mind of man possesses a fraction of the absurdity inherent in the Mosaic world-creation on demand! They have survived among us only because the inhabitants of Christendom have had these lunatic fables drummed into their heads since childhood; as a result, they can never escape from idiocies in comparison with which all of our extant ghost stories and fairy tales have the appearance of truth. (loc. 968, 972)

The essence of every commandment — and every categorical imperative — is to forbid something; that which is forbidden is, in every case, a natural or vital process. Therefore: the categorical imperative is the categorical annihilation of vitality. (loc. 1003)

Thus, there is only one genuine sin, the sin against the spirit! Now, as we have said, the spirit stands in opposition to life; therefore, what is considered to be sinful is life itself! (loc. 1015)

His mission is to poison his flock with the insane conviction of “sinfulness,” and in order to achieve this end he must stuff the heads of his sheep with threatening fairy tales in order to contaminate and confuse their instincts. (loc. 1020)

The priestly initiators may have been no more than a pack of ingenious con-men, but their followers are actually con-men who have managed to con themselves, con-men in all innocence, con-men with a good, even with the best — conscience. (loc. 1023)

So little substance, however, inheres in this conscience that is “common to all men,” that we can dismiss those who are most deeply scarred by its stigma as “slave-men,” which is precisely what Nietzsche calls them. (loc. 1043)

With [Socrates] there appears for the first time the unbounded self-mastery of a racially alien and, so to speak, international rationalism. (loc. 1155)

Socratism is founded upon a faith in the exclusive worthiness of conceptual thought (or consciousness). . . . The entire philosophy of the West has been encumbered ever since with this legacy. The sport of excelling by means of craft and the setting of snares (one side of which can be seen in the American mania for competitions) was first perfected by the Socrates who described himself as a philosophical “mid-wife.” loc. 1235, 1294).

As you can see, Klages excels at the pithy and challenging formulation, even in the relatively long-form essay context. Not surprisingly, Pryce is able to put together a collection of “aphorisms” from the whole of his collected works, which, like his master Nietzsche, are of varying lengths[34] but always thought-provoking. From Cosmogonic Reflections:

Every one of Nietzsche’s truths derives from the pagan side of his character; all of his errors reflect his Christian side. (loc. 2607).

Anticipating Evola’s remark that the achievements of Christian Europe arose from the Roman part of the “Roman Church.” And this reminds one of Watts:

It was Christianity’s great achievement to exhaust the soul by defaming sexual passion. (loc. 766)

Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about Stefan George, but this remarkable passage certainly seems like it would be the best possible description of his English contemporary, Fr. Rolfe (“Baron Corvo”):

His soul was essentially Empire; this fact accounts for the indirectness of his words, his “impuissance,” and his French rigidity; a latter day epigone of the 18th Century. His character was scheming, destitute, and treacherous: a blend of Catholicism and Renaissance. His character was the coffin that housed his soul. (loc. 2329)[35]

Like most since the 1860s, Klages thinks “homosexuality” is some kind of identity, rather than a group of actions any normal person might engage in, and hence there is no need to find its “essence” any more than that of “the walker” or “the sitter.” Nevertheless, “The Homosexual Character” does give an excellent account of what we can today recognize as the phony “gay” lifestyle imposed by the Left.

Favorite hobbies: boys and Platonism.[36]

Sensitivity, ability to scent a change in the weather, a taste for politics, a knowledge of the ways of men, and an inability to commune directly with nature; prefers aestheticism, culture, art, poetry, and philosophy.

He always stands on the outside, not in the sense of Judaism, but more in the manner of the paranoiac.

These compulsions once ruled the Rome of the Caesars as they still rule the Rome of the Popes.[37]

We recall the “manly loyalty” of the ancient Germans, we also summon to our mind’s eye the original “manly affection” of the ancient Greeks, which likewise had scarcely anything in common with contemporary “homosexuality.”

Restless, rambling, enthusiastic spirits invariably lack the slightest trace of a profound originality. Their speculations either degenerate into a hollow species of rationalism, or they lead to a superficial game of wits that is played out with phantoms in which even they do not seriously believe.

The last recalls our remarks on how, under PC-style “liberation,” wit has curdled into “camp.”[38] Oddly, or perhaps typically, Klages never seemed to notice that Alfred Schuler, his mentor, [39] was a flaming ’mo.[40]

As an enemy of Freud, Klages shared with Hans Bluher a rather more enlightened, or Aryan, attitude to sex in general – its meaning derived from culture, not gross animal reproduction, as the Judaic, from Philo to Freud to (Pope) Francis, thinks — which the Right would do well to adopt:

It is a fundamental and willful falsification to call the sexual drive a drive to reproduction. Reproduction is only a potential outcome of sexual intercourse, but it is certainly not included in the actual experience of sexual excitement. The animal knows nothing of it; only man knows. (loc. 713)

And although we’ve contrasted Traditionalist transcendence to Klages’ retrograde primitivism, he does seem to recognize the figure at the center of the spiral, the Chakravartin,[41] which he characterizes in Evolian terms:

The master has the power; he doesn’t have to seek it out. (loc. 2169)

Here are some more remarks worth pondering:

The noble man attaches himself completely to the historical fortunes of his tribe. He will never repudiate his youth; he will never abandon his home. (loc. 734)

Rome perished because Roman politics, like the politics of our own age, finally succumbed to the contagion of Judea. And Judea’s politics is now the politics of the whole world. (loc. 2175)

In brief, the same series of phantoms arrives on cue, and is repeated, over and over again, always in strictest obedience to the scriptural authorities established by the church. (loc. 2223)

These “saints” will to resemble their savior as closely as possible, just as they wish to enjoy all of his sufferings. (loc. 2227)

To employ the language of myth, Nietzsche was simply the field of battle whereon Dionysus and Yahweh waged their war. (loc. 2707)

Ancient Christianity was, in reality, a sect devoted to the appalling god Moloch, whose worshippers have maintained, through uninterrupted millennia, the practice of cultic cannibalism. (loc. 2742)

The astonishing trick of raising to the position of personal “lord” of the whole world,” purely and simply their own boundless hatred towards the true divinity of this world. (loc. 2914)

Had the petit bourgeois Luther possessed even a fraction of the radiant understanding of the mystic Meister Eckhart, his “Protestantism” would have been less completely enslaved by the “letter of the law.” (loc. 2956)

Joseph Pryce certainly deserves our gratitude for selecting, translating, and introducing this material. As for the introductions themselves, they are attractively written but like many such attempts to champion a relatively obscure figure, they somewhat oversell the commodity.[42] In fact, at times they seem to be transmissions from some alternate, admittedly more interesting, universe.

For example, and most frustrating, Pryce has a tendency to merely refer to supposedly “definitive” demolitions of various major figures, without giving more than a hint of how it was done.

Kant, for example, was, we are told, was subjected to a “definitive savaging” back in 1811, by one Gottlob Schulze, which Klages accepted and reiterated; but I for one never heard of Schulze any more than of Klages, and all we are told is that it showed that Kant identified concepts and actuality. When Pryce throws in Klages’ citation of Nietzsche — Kant tried to ground epistemology in “a faculty of a faculty” (CR loc. 325ff.) — it may be another one of those thought-provoking aphorisms, but hardly a “savaging” refutation. It’s rather like when one of those internet liberals refutes racial realism by saying “I know a lot of black engineers.” Gosh, really! Why didn’t I ever notice that? Why thank you so much for waking me from my dogmatic slumbers!

Again, we are told that one Melchior Palagyi, philosopher and physicist, whose “critical powers enabled him to craft a definitive and withering refutation of Husserl’s pseudo phenomenology.” Again, as Dr. Evil would say, “need the information,” but alas, it remains in “the oblivion to which the disciples of Husserl have consigned” it (BW, loc. 105), thus paving the way for Heidegger to “achieve wide renown in spite of having nothing significant to say” except to “furnish mountains of grist for the philosophic proles who edit and annotate and comment and publish and — prosper” (loc. 111). [43]

And poor old Bergson! As if Guenon hadn’t treated him so badly, we learn that Klages himself committed a “demolition” which is “definitive and shattering, and his insistence that such an entity is a mere pseudo-explanation is irrefutable” (CR, loc. 347).

Pryce, poet though he is, seems to have forgotten his thesaurus along the way, as “withering” seems to have become his idée fixe, occurring no less than three times in the course of his BW introduction, which gives us a “withering refutation,” a “withering onslaught,” and then, the inevitable “withering critical onslaught.” Alright, I get it, Klages omnia vincit, or should I say über Alles?

It seems that George Washington Carver had nothing on Klages, who also invented the “Id,”[44] and more modestly, only re-discovered the unconscious, through his championing of the forgotten Carl Gustave Carus.

And Klages could also claim to be the father — or perhaps he’d prefer to say mother — of the “deep ecology” movement; no surprise, given the ties between the more radical ecologists and the primitivists on the Left. Klages’ 1913 essay “Man and Earth” (reprinted in BW) even gained a new lease on life when reprinted as part of the founding documents of the German Green Party, rather like the antics of the Unabomber brought Zerzan’s rather obscure writings to the attention of readers of the “Paper of Record.”

As the opponent of both “logocentricsm” (he coined the term, apparently)[45] and “patriarchy,”[46] Klages might even be considered the “father” of today’s academic PC feminism, a somewhat ironic fate, although one can imagine Jonah Goldberg’s delight in discovering more “Nazi” roots of Liberalism.[47]

But it would be mean-spirited to harp on such issues of emphasis and detail, or to end on such a note; these are mere caveats, or calls for further research. Let me reiterate that we owe a debt to Mr. Pryce for the immense labor of selecting, translating, and presenting this collection of works both historical and still relevant today. Arktos has done its usual fine job of presentation. It appears that this is only “the latest” in their Klages publications, so we can hope to see more to come. In the meantime, any Constant Reader of Counter-Currents will want to add these to their library as soon as possible.


[1] “Forward IntoThe Past is a 1976 compilation album by The Firesign Theatre. It presents the ‘Greatest Hits’ from their nine Columbia albums and includes two tracks that were previously released only on a single.” — Wkipedia.

[2] Quoted by Pryce, The Biocentric Worldview (BW), loc. 148.

[3] David Clay Large, Where Ghosts Walked: Munich’s Road to the Third Reich (New York: W.W. Norton, 1997), p.27.

[4] Here’s a handy Chart of the Cosmic Circle.

[5] I was therefore disappointed to find Pryce making no mention of the novel, although I was glad to learn of Klages’ caricature in Musil’s The Man Without Qualities. On the other hand, his characterization of Musil’s response to Klages as a “dreary and philistine insistence that the Klagesian rapture must, at all costs, be constrained by Geist” is a pretty good summary of Mann’s own views on the advisability of responding to a cultural crisis by jumping feet-first into some kind of primitivistic “rapture.”

[6] “The German Conservative Revolution and its Legacy,” here.

[7] MST3k, Episode 612, “The Starfighters.”

[8] See my remarks comparing the thought of Alfred Rosenberg and my own The Homo and the Negro (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2012) in my review of Rosenberg’s memoirs, here. As we will see, Rosenberg himself will correctly perceive that, in my terms, despite Klages’ own self-image as the savior of the Aryan, his primitivism is more likely to promote the Negro, and thus is itself an agent of decline. Evola, I’m glad to say, agrees: “In Germany, we could mention Klages and Bergmann, thinkers who, though Aryan, still proclaim in a strikingly extreme way gynaecocratic and ‘telluric’ conceptions of life.”

[9] “You’ve seen these photos, haven’t you, my man?” — Will Graham, Manhunter (Michael Mann, 1986). So many Man[n]s circling around! See my remarks on Manhunter and breaking out of the circle of Karma here. See my “Thanks for Watching: Awakening Through Repetition in Groundhog Day, Point of Terror, and Manhunter, Part 1” and “Phil & Will: Awakening Through Repetition in Groundhog Day, Point of Terror, and Manhunter, Part 2.”

[10] See, for example, “The Hidden Origins of the Hippie Movement” by “A. V. ,” Gnostic Liberation Front, here.

[11] Klages’ sometime lover Fanni was an enthusiastic promoter of the first – or perhaps just a prostitute – and ultimately would end up with Rilke, Hesse, Lawrence, and the rest at the proto-commune in Ascona, Switzerland. See “A.V.,” op. cit.

[12] Back in the 60s, I recall Walter Kaufmann — whose popularized Nietzsche would have appalled Klages — sneering at hippie art as an unconscious rip-off of Art Nouveau.

[13] See my “There and Then: Personal and Memorial Reflections on Alan Watts (1915-1973),” here.

[14] McLuhan was wont to step away from criticism by insisting he was only issuing “probes,” a method I’ve adopted myself, suggesting before that my own work be seen, like McLuhan’s, less as dogmatic theses to be defended or refuted but rather as a series of probes for revealing new contexts for old ideas; see Greg Johnson’s “Interview with James J. O’Meara,” in The Homo and the Negro, op. cit. as well as my earlier meditation on McLuhan, “You Mean My Whole Fallacy Is Wrong!” here.

[15] Perhaps a clue comes from Pryce’s sneering reference to “the Jung cult.”

[16] “Peaks and Vales” reprinted in Puer Papers, edited by J. Hillman (Dallas: Spring Publications, 1979). Thomas Moore, The Care of the Soul (New York: HarperCollins, 1988). For the influence of Moore, see Greg Johnson: “Interview with James J. O’Meara,” in The Homo and the Negro, op. cit.

[17] “RADICAL ARCHIVES is happy to finally present our ‘Origins of Primitivism’ set. [here] It consists of 16 documents related to the development of contemporary primitivist thought, which were first printed in Fifth Estate between 1977 and 1988. All of these documents (listed at bottom) are available online for the first time. Additionally, David Watson has contributed a short introduction and reflection on these texts for the occasion of putting them online; it is available here. The most important of these texts is David Watson’s ‘Against the Megamachine’ (originally published in 1981), which outlines his distinct version of primitivism. Watson renounced ideological primitivism with 1997’s ‘Swamp Fever, Primitivism and the “Ideological Vortex”: Farewell to All That’, two years before the demonstrations in Seattle against the WTO. Partly because of Watson’s exit from the discourse, Zerzan’s version (which actually had been developed later) became synonymous with the concept ‘anarcho-primitivism’.”

[18] Unabomber manifesto here. “Kaczynski, for instance, forces the open-minded person to critically examine whether technological progress is necessarily a good thing in his manifesto.” Matt Parrott, “Ship of Fools,” here.

[19] “Evola: The Eternal Race,” Gornahoor, 2015-05-24, here.

[20] “The Eternal Race,” here.

[21] From Radical Archives, loc. cit.

[22] Ken Wilber — another blast from the past! — came to a similar realization, rejecting the implicitly primitivist framework of his early work, such as Up From Eden, with the realization that the soul would not, and could not, evolve if it had not in the first place in-volved. See my review of his Sex, Ecology and Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution (Boston: Shambhala, 1995) in David Fideler, ed., Alexandria 4 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Phanes Press, 1997).

[23] “Way out here they’ve got a name/For stinky, hairy White guys”. . . “Our proud Viking heritage.” A sampling of comments on the horrifying White trash inhabiting Bill Rebane’s The Giant Spider Invasion. (MST3k, Episode 810)

[24] For the former, see The Metrosexual Guide to Style: A Handbook for the Modern Man by Michael Flocker (New York: Da Capo, 2003, whose rather anodyne recommendations first suggested to me that manly men seemed to fear water. For the latter, Baudelaire is the locus classicus, but see first “Reflections on the Aesthetic and Literary Figure of the Dandy” by Robert Steuckers (three parts, beginning here), who ropes in Jünger along with Guénon, Schuon, and Evola; the latter’s habitual formal costume inspired by his first master, the Dadist Tristan Tzara — surely his ubiquitous passport photo suggests a dandy or even a “metrosexual” rather than a thuggish denizen of the man-o-sphere.

[25] Science, above all, must be put in its place, relativized, the scientific geek returned to his proper place as our slave (as Feyerabend would say): “The alleged lack of bias in those who ‘search for truth’ is a pious deception concocted by a superficial mentality that is overawed by the mere title of ‘science.’” (loc. 2467).

[26] Bradford, op. cit., at Radical Archives, here.

[27] And so, as I have been saying over and over, the circle is the symbolic expression of false teaching (from reincarnation to equal temperament) while the spiral is the true symbol of spiritual progression – up and out! Steiner, to the extent that I understand him, seems to have had something of the same notion – the development of rationality in the West has brought benefits, but led to an atrophy of spiritual powers, which is to be dealt with not by abandoning reason or turning to the East, but by developing a characteristically Western “spiritual science.” His obsession with reincarnation, however, suggests Steiner too is stuck in a rut.

[28] Wikipedia, “Alfred Schuler,” here.

[29] “But there exists, in opposition to the spirit’s mode of evaluation, a value system which regards man from the standpoint of life” (BW, loc. 1053).

[30] “Klages’ intuitive powers have vouchsafed the revelation to him that spirit, in some unexplained fashion, constitutes an intrusion into the life process, arresting and frequently destroying the latter. (Klages does not explain clearly how this intrusion was able to take place.) The metaphysical dissonance thus ensuing between the body-soul unity on the one hand and the rational functions on the other lays the foundation for the elaborate philosophical and psychological structure which, unlike other vitalistic conclusions, terminates in a profound pessimism.” “The Literary Criticism of Ludwig Klages and the Klages School: An Introduction to Biocentric Thought” by Lydia Baer, The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan., 1941), pp. 91-138; online here. The Alien God bit, of course, but making Spirit or Mind the bad guy is a nice touch, illustrating the unavoidable paradox of the saving message being anti-intellectual. There were, of course, Gnostic sects, such as the Adamites, who did preach a return to paradisiacal nudity and illiteracy.

[31] “And we cannot agree with Klages when he simply equates the God Jahweh of the Old Testament with the ‘logocentric’ principle. On the contrary, Jahweh is to us the very incarnation of the savage fanaticism that has its origins in the deserts of Syria.” See Pryce’s translation of “Rosenberg contra Klages” (excerpts from Gestalt und Leben, Reichsleiter Dr. Alfred Rosenberg’s Address, delivered on April 27, 1938, inaugurating the University of Halle’s Summer Semester), here.

[32] Though, as we’ll see, a hard-core and rather amusing anti-Semite, the National Socialists didn’t warm to him at all. Herr Prof. Dr. Reichsleiter Alfred “No Fun Allowed” Rosenberg even banned his “hedonistic” books. Hitler, ever the modernist and even pragmatist, had little patience with Himmler’s constant attempts to dig up the German past — “The Greeks were building temples when our people lived in caves, and now he wants to dig the whole thing up again to embarrass us!” Unconsciously echoing Disraeli: “When [the Anglo-Saxons] combed their hair with bear grease, my people were priests of Yahweh.” Klages thinks he’s being anti-Semitic by mocking Spirit and Reason, but he’s actually just surrendering the field — exactly what they want us to do.

[33] “Introduction” to The Portable Nietzsche (New York: Viking, 1953). As Proust suggested, we like books that formulate our own thoughts better than we have ourselves, and we begin to write our own books when we can’t find the perfect one already.

[34] Fortunately, these aphorisms are unlike those, “set down in the course of his fifty years,” of his guru Schuler, which “remain, for the most part, almost incomprehensible.” (CR, loc. 2301)

[35] On Corvo, see my review “E-Caviar for the Masses: Olde Books for the Downwardly Mobile Elite, here. Although adopting the heraldic symbol of the raven (“Corvo”) Rolfe most frequently compared himself to the crab, armored and clawed, but all sweet and soft within. See, e.g., the roman a clef Nicholas Crabbe, or the one and the many: a romance, with an introduction by Cecil Woolf (Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1958).

[36] Again, how perfectly Corvine!

[37] When someone pointed out to Schuler than Rome was hardly “matriarchal,” Schuler replied that his Rome of that of the Etruscans. Evola would not be pleased.

[38] See my “Sour Cream: Michael Nelson’s A Room in Chelsea Square,” here.

[39] “From him, and from him alone, did I receive the decisive impetus that determined forever the direction that I would follow in my metaphysical speculations” (CR, loc. 2296).

[40] Schuler seems in fact to be an example, somewhat deviated, of the culture-creating Aryan homosexual elite, as we have delineated it many times: “Alfred Schuler (* 22 November 1865 in Mainz; † 8 April 1923 in Munich) was a religious founder, a gnostic, a mystic and a visionary. Franz Wegener has called Schuler the last of the German Cathars. Schuler saw himself as a reborn Roman of the late imperial era. Also a neopagan, he was the spiritual focus of the ‘Munich Cosmic Circle,’ and made a broad impact without ever publishing a book during his lifetime. Stefan George and Ludwig Klages were, amongst others, significantly influenced by him. Schuler studied Archaeology (and Law) in Munich but came to see archaeologists as ‘desecrators of graves ripping out of the earth what has been sanctified by the rite of burial, and confining to the unwholesome air of museums the lustrous force rightly working its mighty influence under the cover of darkness.’ After his studies Schuler made his living as an ‘independent scholar’ in Munich. He held his own ‘rebirth into an unpleasant epoch’ to be the responsibility of an evil demon.” Wikipedia, here. Needless to say, he was anti-Judaic, and also was among the first proponents of the Swastika symbol. Definitely the sort of filthy, hedonistic degenerate that our movement can do without!

[41] See, for example, “Mad Men Jumps the Gefilte Fish,” reprinted in The End of An Era: Mad Men and the Ordeal of Civility, forthcoming from Counter-Currents.

[42] Not that he’s the only one. “All other anti-rational premises pale into insignificance before the sweeping condemnation of the intellect by Klages. His indictment is so comprehensive that in the end not a shred of what we are accustomed to regard as intellectual achievement remains” (Lydia Baer, op. cit.).

[43] For example, I suppose, What is a Rune? by Dr. Collin Cleary (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2015).

[44] Although Watts and Lawrence Durrell claimed it was George Groddeck; see his The Book of the It (London: Vision Press, 1979).

[45] According to Metapedia, “He also coined the term logocentrism in the 1920s.” “These phrases are merely fronts behind which spirit, the eternal adversary of life, conducts her nefarious operations” (Pryce, BW, loc. 231). But, “her”?

[46] Schuler “was already becoming impatient with the rigidly masculinist, ‘patriarchalist’ spirit that seemed to rule [Stefan George] and his minions.” He and Schuler, “already . . . under the influence of the ‘matriachalist’ anthropology of the late Johann Jakob Bachofen, soon expressed their mounting discontent with George and his ‘patriarchal’ spirit. BW, loc. 134-36. Many, many years ago, I was sternly instructed to stop referring to a manager’s staff as “his minions,” as this had the implication of “catamite.” I disagreed at the time, and current family films would bear me out, but I think Pryce may intend just that, following Klages himself. In CR, Klages says that George “conferred the title of ‘Master’ upon himself and the tittle ‘young men’ upon his acolytes. . . . But I must insist, in the most decisive terms, that I was the last person in the world to submit to such a ‘Master’” (2289). In “The Problem of Socrates” we have this: “From the time of Socrates, instead of the older lover, we have now the ‘master’ and critic, and instead of the younger beloved, we have now the ‘student’ and learner” (BW, 1202).

[47] See, if you must, his Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, or just the Wikipedia article thereon.


If you enjoyed this piece, and wish to encourage more like it, give a tip through Paypal. You can earmark your tip directly to the author or translator, or you can put it in a general fund. (Be sure to specify which in the "Add special instructions to seller" box at Paypal.)


  1. Aleksandar Gueric
    Posted September 30, 2015 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this review. Haven’t read it yet, saving it for tonight but wanted to say how lately I discovered so many great articles on this site, it’s like a treasurebox. This is probably the best site on the internet.

    I found out about Klages through one esoteric northern order and ever since then enjoy reading him. He is one of the authors that simply click ”something” within me and it feels like reading what I have already known. It never occured to me that Biocentrism is not compatible with Traditionalism and that Evola would find it dangerous. Never I even thought in that direction. Then again, my understanding of Biocentrism is very shallow and reading Klages is just so much fun. I have yet to research Evola’s and Guenon’s critique of Jung as well.

  2. Lucian Tudor
    Posted July 23, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    While James O’Meara’s reviews of these books is rather good, I would like to take a moment here to make some remarks (albeit late ones by now) on Ludwig Klages’s philosophy, and hopefully to contribute even more to a better understanding of what makes this philosophy important from a Right-wing perspective. In the first place, I must say that (without meaning to offend him) Cologero is like many Evolian/Guenonian Traditionalists, being too arrogent and quick to judge when it comes to philosophies that seem to contradict his form of Traditionalism.

    The explanation Cologero cited is not identical to the one I wrote in my first essay on the Conservative Revolution; rather it is an updated one written in a book compiling my essays titled “From the German Conservative Revolution to the New Right” (published by Círculo de Investigaciones PanCriollistas see their website: Cologero actually left out an important statement I made there which would have been complicated for his position: “It can be noted here, however, that the Christian radical traditionalist Edgar Julius Jung, has shown appreciation for Klages’s critique of rigid rationalism, his attack against ‘the mechanical soul-deprivation of life,’ and his philosophy of Eros, pointing towards a possible reconciliation of Christianity with the Lebensphilosophie of Nietzsche and Klages.” What I hadn’t mentioned there, but which is also significant, is that the Catholic Conservative philosopher Gerd-Klaus Kaltenbrunner also believed that Ludwig Klages was a valuable Conservative philosopher (indeed, that is, “hard Conservative”, as opposed to being Liberal or Leftist), an opinion which I am informed that he expressed in a German work titled “Der schwierige Konservatismus”.

    Now, my references to Edgar Jung and Kaltenbrunner are hinting that it is possible to reconcile Klages’s Biocentrism with Traditionalism, something which may seem impossible at first sight (Cologero obviously dismissed it as impossible, for example), but it is in fact very possible. Klages’s philosophy has obvious Conservative elements, such as opposition to race-mixing, ethno-cultural conservatism, value of heroism, value of parenthood, etc. However, that is not the fundamental matter: rather, it is balancing Klages’s seemingly extreme concept of “Life” with Traditionalist spiritual ideas. The mere suggestion alone should open up a new pattern of thought, but this doesn’t happen with many people, so I will point out the place to start.

    Joseph Pryce, in his essay on Klages, referenced the idea that “the spirit once existed in a temporary and uneasy symbiosis with the soul.” This statement is the key, but one needs to be critical to see exactly how it is the key. Klages believes that the symbiosis of “Seele” and “Geist” can only be temporary, and therefore also said that “an equilibrium between soul and spirit can never be reached” (aphorism 371). However, let us contradict him: why must a balance between Soul and Spirit always be either transient or illusory? Paganism, for example, in its more preferable forms, is based upon a balance of the temporal and the transcendent, a balance of the natural and the supernatural, and thus also a balance of Life with the Spiritual. If we realize that it is possible to create this condition with the dominance of a certain worldview and a certain form of spirituality, we realize that it is possible to have stable civilizations and ways of life where there is a balance between Life and “Geist”.

    Such thoughts would never occur to anyone who is determined to simply dismiss Klages. My opinion is that while Klages’s philosophy cannot be accepted as a whole, it is very useful for understanding the nature of Life, and that is why we must study it and balance it with other philosophies.

    • rhondda
      Posted July 24, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for this. I have learned that whenever someone dismisses something without a reason, that is probably where the truth lies. Is it authority as truth or truth as authority?

  3. rhondda
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    This is your best yet, well at least for me. When I first read Klages what he said seemed awfully familiar. Indeed it is the current leftist environmentalists. They are very emotional and irrational and so it is impossible to discuss anything with them. The question that was not asked locally was: Are you willing to destroy a lake for 20 years of jobs? So it was framed jobs versus the environment. No real rational discussion. Those who needed jobs versus the environmental/native Indian concerns. Is 20 years really a long range plan? For the politicians, yes. They will be long gone and the next generation will have to deal with it.

    Kindle Subscription
  • EXSURGO Apparel

    Our Titles

    Confessions of a Reluctant Hater (2nd ed.)

    The Hypocrisies of Heaven

    Waking Up from the American Dream

    Green Nazis in Space!

    Truth, Justice, and a Nice White Country

    Heidegger in Chicago

    The End of an Era

    Sexual Utopia in Power

    What is a Rune? & Other Essays

    Son of Trevor Lynch's White Nationalist Guide to the Movies

    The Lightning & the Sun

    The Eldritch Evola

    Western Civilization Bites Back

    New Right vs. Old Right

    Lost Violent Souls

    Journey Late at Night: Poems and Translations

    The Non-Hindu Indians & Indian Unity

    Baader Meinhof ceramic pistol, Charles Kraaft 2013

    Jonathan Bowden as Dirty Harry

    The Lost Philosopher, Second Expanded Edition

    Trevor Lynch's A White Nationalist Guide to the Movies

    And Time Rolls On

    The Homo & the Negro

    Artists of the Right

    North American New Right, Vol. 1

    Forever and Ever

    Some Thoughts on Hitler

    Tikkun Olam and Other Poems

    Under the Nihil

    Summoning the Gods

    Hold Back This Day

    The Columbine Pilgrim

    Confessions of a Reluctant Hater

    Taking Our Own Side

    Toward the White Republic

    Distributed Titles

    Tyr, Vol. 4


    The Node


    Carl Schmitt Today

    A Sky Without Eagles

    The Way of Men

    Generation Identity

    Nietzsche's Coming God

    The Conservative

    The New Austerities

    Convergence of Catastrophes


    Proofs of a Conspiracy

    Fascism viewed from the Right

    Notes on the Third Reich

    Morning Crafts

    New Culture, New Right

    The Fourth Political Theory

    Can Life Prevail?

    The Metaphysics of War

    Fighting for the Essence

    The Arctic Home in the Vedas

    Asatru: A Native European Spirituality

    The Shock of History

    The Prison Notes

    Sex and Deviance


    On the Brink of the Abyss

    Beyond Human Rights

    A Handbook of Traditional Living

    Why We Fight

    The Problem of Democracy


    The Path of Cinnabar


    The Lost Philosopher

    Impeachment of Man

    Gold in the Furnace


    The Passing of a Profit & Other Forgotten Stories

    Revolution from Above