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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Michael Bell-Julius Evola's Concept of Race: A Racism of Three Degrees


Julius Evola's Concept of Race: A Racism of Three Degrees 

By Michael Bell 

Since the rise of physical anthropology, the definition of the term "race" has undergone several 
changes. In 1899, William Z. Ripley stated that, "Race, properly speaking, is responsible only for 
those peculiarities, mental or bodily, which are transmitted with constancy along the lines of 
direct physical descent." * In 1916, Madison Grant described it as the "immutability of 
somatological or bodily characters, with which is closely associated the immutability of physical 
predispositions and impulses." He was echoed a decade later by German anthropologist Hans 
F.K. Gunther, who in his Racial Elements of European History said, "A race shows itself in a 
human group which is marked off from every other human group through its own proper 
combination of bodily and mental characteristics, and in turn produces only its like." According 
to the English-born Canadian evolutionary psychologist J. Philippe Rushton: 

Each race (or variety) is characterized by a more or less distinct combination of inherited 
morphological, behavioral, physiological traits . . . Formation of a new race takes place 
when, over several generations, individuals in one group reproduce more frequently 
among themselves than they do with individuals in other groups. This process is most 
apparent when the individuals live in diverse geographic areas and therefore evolve 
unique, recognizable adaptations (such as skin color) that are advantageous in their 
specific environments. 4 

These examples indicate that, within the academic context (where those who still believe in 
"race" are fighting a losing battle with the hierophants of cultural anthropology), a race is simply 
a human group with distinct common physical and mental traits that are inherited. 

Among white racialists, where race has more than a merely scientific importance, a deeper 
dimension was added to the concept: that of the spirit. In The Decline of the West, Oswald 
Spengler set forth the idea of the Apollinian, Faustian, and Magian "soul forms," which can be 
understood as spiritual racial types. In this highly influential Spenglerian tome Imperium, 
Francis Parker Yockey elaborated this notion, asserting that while there are genetically related 
individuals within any particular human group, race itself is spiritual: it is a deeply felt sense of 
identity connected with a drive to perpetuate not just genes, but a whole way of life. "Race 
impels toward self-preservation, continuance of the cycle of generations, increase of power." 
Spiritual race is a drive toward a collective destiny. 

The spiritual side of race, however, was never systematically explained to the same extent as the 
physical. Its existence was, rather, merely suggested and taken for granted. It was only in the 
writings of the much overlooked Italian Radical Traditionalist and esotericist Julius Evola that 
the spiritual dimension was finally articulated in detail. One who has studied race from the 
biological, psychological, and social perspectives should turn to Evola's writings for a 
culminating lesson on the subject. Evola's writings provide a wealth of information that one 
cannot get elsewhere. Through a careful analysis of ancient literature and myths, along with 
anthropology, biology, history, and related subjects, Evola has pieced together a comprehensive 
explanation of the racial spirit. 

My purpose here is simply to outline Evola's doctrine of race. Since Evola's life and career have 
been thoroughly examined elsewhere, the only biographical fact relevant here is that Evola's 
thoughts on race were officially adopted as policy by Mussolini's Fascist Party in 1942. 

Body and Mind 

Evola's precise definition of "race" is similar to Yockey's: it is an inner essence that a person 
must "have"; this will be explained further below. In the meantime, a good starting point is 
Evola's understanding of distinct human groups. 
Evola agrees with the physical anthropologists that there are distinct groups with common 
physical traits produced by a common genotype: "the external form . . . which, from birth to 
birth, derives from the 'gene' ... is called phenotype." 9 He refers to these groups as "races of the 
body," and concurs with Gunther that suitable examples include the Nordic, Mediterranean, East 
Baltic, Orientalid, Negroid, and many others. 10 

Evola describes the "race of the soul" as the collective mental and behavioral traits of a human 
stock, and the outward "style" through which these are exhibited. Every race has essentially the 
same mental predispositions; all human peoples, for example, desire sexual satisfaction from a 
mate. However, each human stock manifests these inner instincts externally in a different way, 
and it is this "style," as Evola terms it, which is the key component of the "race of the soul." 
To illustrate this point, compare the Spartan strategos (Nordic soul) to the Carthaginian shofet 
(Levantine soul) 11 : the Spartan considers it heroic to fight hand-to-hand with shield and spear 
and cowardly to attack from a distance with projectiles, whereas the Carthaginian finds it natural 
to employ elephants and grand siege equipment to utterly shock and scatter his enemies for an 
expedient victory. 

The names of these races of the soul correspond to those of the body, hence a Nordic soul, a 
Mediterranean soul, Levantine soul, etc. Evola devotes an entire chapter in Men Among the 
Ruins to comparing the "Nordic" or "Aryo-Roman" soul to the "Mediterranean." The Nordic 
soul is that of '"the race of active man,' of the man who feels that the world is presented to him 
as material for possession and attack." It is the character of the quintessential "strong and silent 
type": 
Among them we should include self-control, an enlightened boldness, a concise speech 
and determined and coherent conduct, and a cold dominating attitude, exempt from 
personalism and vanity . . . The same style is characterized by deliberate actions, without 
grand gestures; a realism that is not materialism, but rather love for the essential . . . the 
readiness to unite, as free human beings and without losing one's identity, in view of a 
higher goal or for an idea. 

Evola also quotes Helmuth Graf von Moltke (the Elder) on the Nordic ethos: "Talk little, do 
much, and be more than you appear to be." 14 

The Mediterranean soul is the antithesis of the Nordic. This sort of person is a vain, noisy show- 
off who does things just to be noticed. Such a person might even do great deeds sometimes, but 
they are not done primarily for their positive value, but merely to draw attention. In addition, the 
Mediterranean makes sexuality the focal point of his existence. 15 The resemblance of this picture 
to the average narcissistic, sex- and celebrity-obsessed American of today - whether genetically 
Nordic or Mediterranean - is striking. One need only watch American Idol or browse through the 
profiles of Myspace.com to see this. 

Race of the Spirit 

The deepest and therefore most complicated aspect of race for Evola is that of the "spirit." He 
defines it as a human stock's "varying attitude towards the spiritual, supra-human, and divine 
world, as expressed in the form of speculative systems, myths, and symbols, and the diversity of 
religious experience itself." 16 In other words, it is the manner in which different peoples interact 
with the gods as conveyed through their cultures; a "culture" would include rituals, temple 
architecture, the role of a priesthood (or complete lack thereof), social hierarchy, the status of 
women, religious symbolism, sexuality, art, etc. This culture, or worldview, is not simply the 
product of sociological causes, however. It is the product of something innate within a stock, a 
"meta-biological force, which conditions both the physical and the psychical structures" of its 
individual members. 
The "meta-biological force" in question has two different forms. The first corresponds to an id or 
a collective unconscious, a son of group mind-spirit that splinters off into individual spirits and 
enters a group member's body upon birth. Evola describes it as "subpersonal" and belonging "to 
nature and the infernal world." Most ancient peoples, as he explains, depicted this force 
symbolically in their myths and sagas; examples would include the animal totems of American 
aborigines, the ka of the Pharaonic Egyptians, or the lares of the Latin peoples. The "infernal" 
nature of the latter example was emphasized by the fact that the lares were believed to be ruled 
over by the underground deity named Mania. 19 When a person died, this metaphysical element 
would be absorbed back into the collective from whence it came, only to be recycled into another 
body, but devoid of a recollection of its former life. 

The second form, superior to the first, is one that does not exist in every stock naturally, or in 
every member of a given stock; it is an otherworldly force that must be drawn into the blood of a 
people through the practice of certain rites. This action corresponds to the Hindu notion of 
"realizing the Self," or experiencing a oneness with the divine source of all existence and order 
(Brahman). Such a task can only be accomplished by a gifted few, who by making this divine 
connection undergo an inner transformation. They became aware of immutable principles, in the 
name of which they go on to forge their ethnic kin into holistic States - microcosmic versions of 
the transcendental principle of Order itself. Thus, the Brahmins and Kshatriyas of India, the 
patricians of Rome, and the samurai of Japan had a "race of the spirit," which is essential to 
"having race" itself. Others may have the races of body and soul, but race of the spirit is race par 
excellence. 

Transcendence is experienced differently by different ethnic groups. As a result, different 
understandings of the immutable arise across the world; from these differences emerge several 
"races of the spirit." Evola focuses on two in particular. The first is the "telluric spirit" 
characterized by a deep "connection to the soul." This race worships the Earth in its various 
cultural manifestations (Cybele, Gaia, Magna Mater, Ishtar, Inanna, etc.) and a consort of 
"demons." Their view of the afterlife is fatalistic: the individual spirit is spawned from the Earth 
and the returns to the Earth, or to the infernal realm of Mania, upon death, with no possibility. 
Their society is matriarchal, with men often taking the last names of their mothers and familial 
descent being traced through the mother. In addition, women often serve as high priestesses. The 
priesthood, in fact, is given preeminence, whereas the aristocratic warrior element is 
subordinated, if it exists at all. 

This race has had representatives in all the lands of Europe, Asia, and Africa that were first 
populated by pre-Aryans: the Iberians, Etruscans, Pelasgic-Minoans, Phoenicians, the Indus 
Valley peoples, and all others of Mediterranean, Oriental, and Negroid origin. The invasions of 
Aryan stock would introduce to these peoples a diametrically opposed racial spirit: the "Solar" or 
"Olympian" race. 

The latter race worships the heavenly god of Order, manifested as Brahman, Ahura-Mazda, 
Tuisto (the antecedent of Odin), Chronos, Saturn, and the various sun deities from America to 
Japan. Its method of worship is not the self-prostration and humility practiced by Semites, or the 
ecstatic orgies of Mediterraneans, but heroic action (for the warriors) and meditative 
contemplation (for the priests), both of which establish a direct link with the divine. Olympian 
societies are hierarchical, with a priestly caste at the top, followed by a warrior caste, then a caste 
of tradesmen, and finally a laboring caste. The ruler himself assumes the dual role of priest and 
warrior, which demonstrates that the priesthood did not occupy the helm of society as they did 
among telluric peoples. Finally, the afterlife was not seen as an inescapable dissolution into 
nothingness, but as one of two potential conclusions of a test. Those who live according to the 
principles of their caste, without straying totally from the path, and who come to "realize the 
Self," experience a oneness with God and enter a heavenly realm that is beyond death. Those 
who live a worthless, restless existence that places all emphasis on material and physical things, 
without ever realizing the presence of the divine Self within all life,, undergoes the "second 
death," or the return to the collective racial mind-spirit mentioned earlier. 

The Olympian race has appeared throughout history in the following forms: in America as the 
Incas; in Europe and Asia as the Indo-European speaking peoples; in Africa as the Egyptians, 
and in the Far East as the Japanese. Generally, this race of the spirit has been carried by waves of 
phenotypically Nordic peoples, which will be explained further below. 

Racial Genesis 

Of considerable importance to Evola's racial worldview is his explanation of human history. 
Contrary to the views of most physical anthropologists and archaeologists, and even many 
intellectual white racialists, humanity did not evolve from a primitive, simian ancestor, and then 
branch off into different genetic populations. Evolution itself is a fallacy to Evola, who believed 
it to be rooted in the equally false ideology of progressivism: "We do not believe that man is 
derived from the ape by evolution. We belive that the ape is derived from man by involution. We 
agree with De Maistre that savage peoples are not primitive peoples, but rather the degenerating 
remnants of more ancient races that have disappeared. 

Evola argues in many of his works, like Bal Ganghadar Tilak and Rene Guenon before him, that 
the Aryan peoples of the world descend from a race that once inhabited the Arctic. In "distant 
prehistory" this land was the seat of a super-civilization - "super" not for its material 
attainments, but for its connection to the gods - that has been remembered by various peoples as 
Hyperborea, Airyana-Vaego, Mount Meru, Tullan, Eden, and other labels; Evola uses the 
Hellenic rendition "Hyperborea" more than the rest, probably to remain consistent and avoid 
confusion among his readers. The Hyperboreans themselves, as he explains, were the original 
bearers of the Olympian racial spirit. 

Due to a horrific cataclysm, the primordial seat was destroyed, and the Hyperboreans were 
forced to migrate. A heavy concentration of refugees ended up at a now lost continent 
somewhere in the Atlantic, where they established a new civilization that corresponded to the 
"Atlantis" of Plato and the "Western land" of the Celts and other peoples. History repeated itself, 
and ultimately this seat was also destroyed, sending forth and Eastward-Westward wave of 
migrants. As Evola notes, this particular wave "[corresponded[ to Cro-Magnon man, who made 
his appearance toward the end of the glacial age in the Western part of Europe," thus leading 
some historical evidence to his account. This "pure Aryan" stock would ultimately become the 
proto-Nordic race of Europe, which would then locally evolve into the multitude of Nordic 
stocks who traveled across the world and founded the grandest civilizations, from Incan Peru to 
Shintoist Japan. 

Evola spends less time tracing the genesis of nonwhite peoples, which he consistently refers to as 
"autochthonous," "bestial," and "Southern" races." In his seminal work Revolt Against the 
Modern World, he says that the "proto-Mongoloid and Negroid races ... probably represented the 
last residues of the inhabitants of a second prehistoric continent, now lost, which was located in 
the South, and which some designated as Lemuria." 24 In contrast to the superior Nordic- 
Olympians, these stocks were telluric worshippers of the Earth and its elemental demons. 
Semites and other mixed races, Evola asserts, are the products of miscegenation between 
Atlantean settlers and these Lemurian races. Civilizations such as those of the pre-Hellenes, 
Mohenjo-Daro, pre-dynastic Egyptians, and Phoenicians, among countless others, were founded 
by mixed peoples. 

Racialism in Practice 

Racialist movements from National Socialist Germany to contemporary America have tended to 
emphasize preserving physical racial types. While phenotypes were important to Evola, his 
foremost goal for racialism was to safeguard the Olympian racial spirit of European man. It was 
from this spirit that the greatest Indo-European civilizations received the source of their 
leadership, the principles around which they centered their lives, and thus the wellspring of their 
vitality. While de Gobineau, Grant, and Hitler argued that blood purity was the determining 
factor in the life of a civilization, Evola contended that "Only when a civilization's 'spiritual race' 
is worn out or broken does its decline set in." Any people who manages to maintain a physical 
racial ideal with no inner spiritual substance is a race of "very beautiful animals destined to 
work," 26 but not destined to produce a higher civilization. 

The importance of phenotypes is described thusly: "The physical from is the instrument, 
expression, and symbol of the psychic form." Evola felt that it would only be possible to 
discover the desired spiritual type (Olympian) through a systematic examination of physical 
types. Even to Evola, a Sicilian born, the best place to look in this regard was the "Aryan or 
Nordic-Aryan body"; as he mentions on several occasions, it was, after all, this race that carried 
the Olympian Tradition across the world. He called this process of physical selection "racism of 
the first degree," which was the first of three stages. 

Once the proper Nordic phenotype was identified, various "appropriate" tests comprising racism 
of the second and third degrees would be implemented to determine a person's racial soul and 
no spirit. Evola never laid out a specific program for this, but makes allusions in his works to 
assessments in which a person's political and racial opinions would be taken into account. In his 
Elements of Racial Education, he asserts that "The one who says yes to racism is one in which 
race still lives," and that one who has race is intrinsically against democratic ideals. He also 
likens true racism to the "classical spirit," which is rooted in "exaltation of everything which has 
form, face, and individuation, as opposed to what is formless, vague, and undifferentiated." 29 
Keep in mind that for Evola, "having race" is synonymous with having the "Olympian race" of 
the spirit. Upon discovering a mentality that fits the criteria for soul and spirit, a subsequent 
education of "appropriate disciplines" would be carried out to ensure that the racial spirit within 
this person is "maintained and developed." Through such trials, conducted on a wide scale, a 
nation can determine those people within it who embody the racial ideal and the capacity for 
leadership. 

Protecting and developing the Nordic-Olympians was primary for Evola, but his racialism had 
other goals. He sought to produce the "unified type," or a person in whom the races of body, 
soul, and spirit matched one another and worked together harmoniously. For example: "A soul 
which experiences the world as something before which it takes a stand actively, which regards 
the world as an object of attack and conquest, should have a face which reflects by determined 
and daring features this inner experience, a slim, tall, nervous, straight body - an Aryan or 
Nordic- Aryan body." 

This was because "it is not impossible that physical appearances peculiar to a given race may be 
accompanied by the psychic traits of a different race." To Evola, if people chose mates on the 
basis of physical features alone, there is a good chance that various mental and spiritual elements 
would become intermingled and generate a dangerous confusion; there would be Nordics with 
Semitic mental characteristics and Asiatic spiritual predispositions, Alpines with Nordic 
proclivities and fatalistic religious attitudes, and so on. Such a mixture was what Evola 
considered to be a mongrel type, in whom "cosmopolitan myths of equality" become manifested 
mentally, thus paving the way for the beasts of democracy and communism to permeate the 
nation and take hold. 

Evola cared more about the aristocratic racial type, but he did not want the populace to become a 
bastardized mass: "We must commit ourselves to the task of applying to the nation as a whole 
the criteria of coherence and unity, of correspondence between outer and inner elements." If the 
aristocracy had as its subjects a blob of spiritless, internally broken people, the nation would 
have no hope. For the Fascist state, he promoted an educational campaign to ensure that the 
peoples of Italy selected their mates appropriately, looking for both appearances and behavior; 
non-Europeans would of course be excluded entirely. The school system would play its role, as 
would popular literature and films. 33 

Another way to develop the "inner race" is through combat. Not combat in the modern sense of 
pressing a button and instantly obliterating a hundred people, but combat as it unfolds in the 
trenches and on the battlefield, when it is man against man, as well as man against his inner 
demons. Evola writes, "the experience of war, and the instincts and currents of deep forces which 
emerge through such an experience, give the racial sense a right, fecund direction." 34 Meanwhile, 
the comfortable bourgeois lifestyle and its pacifist worldview lead to the crippling of the inner 
race, which will ultimately become extinguished if external damage is thenceforth inflicted (via 
intermixing with inferior elements). 

Conclusion 

American racialists have much to gain from an introduction to Evola's thoughts on race. In the 
American context, racialism is virtually devoid of any higher, spiritual element; many racialists 
even take pride in this. There are, without a doubt, many racialists who consider themselves 
devout Catholics or Protestants, and they may even be so. However, the reality of race as a 
spiritual phenomenon is given little attention, if any at all. For whatever reason, American 
racialists are convinced that the greatness of Western civilization, evinced by its literature, 
architecture, discoveries, inventions, conquests, empires, political treatises, economic 
achievements, and the like, like solely in the mental characteristics of its people. For instance, 
the Romans erected the coliseum, the English invented capitalism, and the Greeks developed the 
Pythagorean theorem simply because they all had high IQs. When one compares the 
achievements of different Western peoples, and those of the West to the East, however, this 
explanation appears inadequate. 

Intelligence alone cannot explain the different styles that are conveyed through the culture forms 
of different peoples; the Greeks' Corinthian order on the one hand, and the Arabs' mosques and 
minarets on the other, are not results of mere intellect. Sociological explanations do not work 
either; the Egyptians and Mayans lived in vastly different environments, yet both evoked their 
style through pyramids and hieroglyphs. The only explanation of these phenomena is that there is 
something deeper within a folk, something deeper and more powerful than bodily structures and 
mental predispositions. As Evola elucidates through his multitude of works - themselves the 
result of intense study of ancient and modern texts from every discipline imaginable - race has a 
"super-biological" aspect: a spiritual force. Ancient peoples understood this reality and conveyed 
it through their myths: the Romans used the lares; the Mayans used totemic animal symbols; the 
Persians used the fravashi, which were synonymous with the Nordic valkyries; the Egyptians 
used the ka; and the Hindus in the Bhagavad-Gita used Lord Krishna. 

To better understand the spiritual side of race, the best place to look is Julius Evola. Through his 
works, which have greatly influenced the European New Right, Evola dissects and examines the 
concept of the Volksgeist, or racial spirit. It is the supernatural force that animates the bodies of a 
given race and stimulates the wiring in their brains. It is the substance from which cultures arise, 
and from which an aristocracy materializes to raise those cultures to higher civilizations. Without 
it, a race is simply a tribe of automatons that feed and copulate. 

When the super biological element that is the center and the measure of true virility is 
lost, people can call themselves men, but in reality they are just eunuchs and their 
paternity simply reflects the quality of animals who, blinded by instinct, procreate 
randomly other animals, who in turn are mere vestiges of existence. 

Nowhere would Evola's racial ideas be more valuable than in the United States, a land in which 
the idea of transcendent realities is mocked, if not violently attacked. Even American racialists, 
who nostalgically look back to "better" times when people were more "traditional," are 
completely unaware of how the Aryan Tradition, in its purest form, understand the concept of 
race. Many of these people claim to be "Aryan" while simultaneously calling themselves 
"atheist" or "agnostic," although in ancient societies, one needed to practice the necessary 
religious rites and undergo certain trials before having the right to style oneself an Aryan. Hence 
the need for these "atheist Aryans" to become more familiar with Julius Evola. 

Michael Bell writes about race and popular culture from a Radical Traditionalist point of view. 

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[I] William Z. Ripley, The Races of Europe: A Sociological Study (New York: D. Appleton and 
Co., 1899), 1. 

[2] Madison Grant, The Passing of the Great Race (North Stratford, NHL Ayer Company 
Publishers, Inc., 2000), xix. 

[3] H.F.K. Gunther, The Racial Elements of European History, trans. G.C. Wheeler (Uckfield, 

Sussex, UK: Historical Review Press, 2007), 9. 

[4] Philippe Rushton, "Statement on Race as a Biological Concept," November 4, 1996, 
http://www.nationalistlibrary.com/index2.php?option=com content&do pdf=l&id=1354 . 

[5] Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, 2 vols, trans. Charles Francis Atkinson (New 

York: Knopf, 1926 & 1928), vol. 1, chs. 6 and 9; cf. vol. 2, ch. 5, "Cities and Peoples. (B) 

Peoples, races, Tongues." 

[6] Francis Parker Yockey, Imperium (Newport Beach, Cal.: Noontide Press, 2000), 293. 

[7] See the Introduction to Julius Evola, Men Among the Ruins, trans. Guido Stucco, (Rochester, 
Vt.: Inner Traditions International, 2002). 

[8] Evola, Men Among the Ruins, 48. 

[9] Julius Evola, The Elements of Racial Education, trans. Thompkins and Cariou (Thompkins & 

Cariou, 2005), 11. 

[10] Evola, Elements of a Racial Education, 34-35. 

[11] For more on the Levantine "race of the soul" see Elements of Racial Education, 35.

[12] Evola, Elements of Racial Education, 35. 

[13] Evola, Men Among the Ruins, 259. 

[14] Evola, Men Among the Ruins, 262. 

[15] Evola, Men Among the Ruins, 260. Evola's descriptions of Nordic and Mediterranean 
proclivities show the strong influence of Gunthers's The Racial Elements of European History. 

[16] Evola, Elements of Racial Education, 29. 

[17] Julius Evola, Metaphysics of War: Battle, Victory, & Death in the World of Tradition, ed. 

John Morgan and Patrick Boch (Aarhus, Denmark: Integral Tradition Publishing, 2007), 63. 

[18] Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, trans. Guido Stucco (Rochester, Vt.: Inner 

Traditions International, 1995), 48. 

[19] Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, 48. 

[20] Evola, Elements of Racial Education, 40. 

[21] Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, 48. 

[22] Julius Evola, Eros and the Mysteries of Love, trans, anonymous (Rochester, Vt.: Inner 
Traditions International, 1991, 9. 

[23] Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, 195. 

[24] Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, 197. 

[25] Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, 58. 

[26] Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, 170. 

[27] Evola, Elements of Racial Education, 30. 

[28] Julius Evola, "Race as a Builder of Leaders," trans. Thompkins and Cariou, 

http://thompkins_cariou.tripod.com/id7.html . 

[29] Evola, The Elements of Racial Education, 14, 15. 

[30] Evola, The Elements of Racial Education, 31. 

[31] Evola, "Race as a Builder of Leaders." 

[32] Evola, Elements of Racial Education, 33. 

[33] Evola, Elements of Racial Education, 25. 

[34] Evola, Metaphysics of War, 69 

[35] Evola, Metaphysics of War, 34. 

[36] Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, 170. 

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