German translation here
On November 14th, the day after the deadly attacks in Paris by Muslim terrorists, pianist Davide Martello set up his portable grand piano close to the Bataclan Theatre where 89 of the victims were murdered. In front of the assembled media he then played an instrumental version of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
“I just knew I had to do something,” Martello said. “I wanted to be there to try and comfort and offer a sign of hope. I can’t bring people back but I can inspire them with music and when people are inspired they can do anything. That’s why I played ‘Imagine.’”
It would be easy to mock the naivety and impotent sentimentalism of such effusions, but the remarkable thing is how widespread this mentality actually is. In fact, “Imagine” is probably something of an atheist hymn, signalling the utopia to come if only we can all just hope hard enough. “Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try.” Certainly it’s easy for the deracinated citizens of European countries slouching towards oblivion to imagine that heaven doesn’t exist. The default setting for any young, intelligent European is secularism, diversity, and consumerism. In fact, pretty much the values of the French Republic.
This presumably goes some way towards explaining why the response to this atrocity consists largely of people declaring that they will continue with their way of life/values as an act of defiance against the killers. The hope being that shopping and consuming junk culture will somehow magic away the enmity of the invaders. Or at least it might stop us from having to think about it.
“Imagine” is also a hymn to globalization, homogenization, and the erasure of identity: “Imagine there’s no countries. It isn’t hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion too.” For those citizen consumers who are deeply mired in notions of universalist, pacific fraternity, who implicitly believe in the end of history narrative whereby American style “freedom” and democracy will triumph over all preceding forms of statehood, it really is difficult to understand why we can’t just lose all borders and live as world citizens. After all, the jihadists are motivated by belonging to the caliphate, a religiously constituted state. Clearly, identity and religion are the cause of the problems, so we should eschew these things in order to provide a solution. More secularism, more migration, and more equality. More poison labelled as medicine.
Such wishful thinking is always appealing because nice fantasies are inherently more attractive than harsh realities. And the (rather obvious) reality is that an aggressive enemy will not be intimidated by pacifism. No matter how many “if onlys” we whisper to the sky the reality remains that Europe has invited within its borders a very large number of people who have every intention of carrying out further atrocities, and decadent whining only serves to strengthen their purpose. Because their purpose is transcendent, it is to do the will of God and they are entirely willing to die in this purpose.
Now, this is not really a reason to admire them; they should be rightly condemned as the callous killers that they are. But what we need to set in opposition to them is not a further erosion of our already crumbling sacred traditions, but a redoubling of our efforts to resanctify our own dormant traditions and, perhaps even more urgently, to create new ones. Only in this way will we be able to remember a sense of the transcendent that belongs to us. Only then will we begin to manifest the inner will that is required to halt our own decline and to regain our lands. Because the present generation of Europeans are in danger of becoming as much strangers to Europe as the Islamic newcomers.
But why is a sense of the transcendent necessary? Isn’t that just wishing for a utopia in the same way that those who revere John Lennon’s lyrics wish for their egalitarian utopia? Well, in fact, they are entirely distinct processes. The need to seek out that which is sacred to Europeans and to manifest a transcendent collective will is a movement above the level of the individual. The sort of secularism and egalitarianism that is increasingly held up as an ideal is a descent below the level of the individual to that of the mass entity. The need for a transcendent purpose is not at all the same thing as a need to escape the real world as it is actually constituted, it is instead a channelling of the highest impulses in man towards the creation of something better.
At his trial in 1951, Julius Evola said, “My principles are only those that, before the French Revolution, every well-born person considered sane and normal.” Indeed, the beginning of the present malaise might plausibly be dated to the revolution of 1789 and the establishment of the French republic. The ideals of the republic have left us where we are now, with the assumption that anyone at all from anywhere in the world can in principle become a citizen of any European country they choose. Each individual is entirely interchangeable. But, of course, the recent arrivals to Europe are happy to claim citizenship without leaving behind their pre-French revolution beliefs. And, as Kipling wrote many years ago, we have no way of telling, “when the Gods of his far-off land / Shall repossess his blood.”
The reinstatement of these higher principles will be the great challenge for our generation. But it is important to note that in seeking the sacred and in re-embracing Traditional values we are not seeking to turn the clock back. Evola was clear about this: “For the authentic revolutionary conservative, what really counts is to be faithful not to past forms and institutions, but rather to principles of which such forms and institutions have been particular expressions, adequate for a specific period of time and in a specific geographical area.”
Our traditions are varied and diverse but they all are expressive of a deeper principle that stands as the highest ideal of European man. This principle seeks to organise our societies and to orientate them towards an eternal truth. This truth exists whether or not we choose to acknowledge it. The particular forms of its expression will vary from country to country but the important thing is that it is manifested throughout the European continent.
Ironically, it is the pursuit of secularism that is the superstitious distraction of the present age, not the pursuit of the sacred. It is superstitious because it believes that the current global conflict can be resolved through appeals to the ever shifting sands of rationality. It believes that ultimately the soldiers of Islam will come to share in the revelation of Enlightenment thinking and lay down with the lambs of the West. Rationality is a precision tool that will be of great benefit to us after the crisis has been averted. For now we must put aside the longing for a silly utopia of coexistence and peaceful shopping. At the close of the 21st century, Europe will be dominated by a particular religious world view. Which is it to be?
1. Julius Evola, Men among the Ruins: Post-war Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist (Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions, 2002), 294.
2. Ibid., 115.