[Editor's Note: This article was originally published at The Warden Post on September 15, 2020].
There is exists no struggle more important, no battle more worth fighting, no prize more glorious than that which comes from a people who, faced with the threat of occupation, enslavement and complete subjugation by an encroaching enemy, now rests confident, secure in its own existence, in having won a future for itself.
History is a humbling field of study, and the student of history would be wise to understand what separates history, as a mere preoccupation with the past, and History, in its higher sense, as the accumulation of all lived experience. This is because, for the lower realms of life—bacteria, plants, animals—life is experienced only as desire and thirst, lack and need, anxiety and satiation. It is only the human animal which possesses that spark which the theologians of the Medieval Era described as having a soul and which was understood by the Classical philosophers as having a nous. Both words, while radically different in their implications, mean, at least for our purposes, the same thing.
Animalistic existence is defined by the experience of life as one perpetual present, with no concept of the past or understanding of the future. Death is something that is vaguely hinted at and only in times of imminent danger, such as when being stalked by a predator or having been grievously injured during a competition against a belligerent for an available mate. Death, for the lower animals, is a shadow whose looming presence can only be felt during periods of impending crisis—not so for the human animal.
This is because humankind has been blessed, or alternatively cursed, with both the presence of memory and precognition. Even today the relics of long dead civilizations occupy our museums, their works of literature fill our libraries and the scattered remains of their once great triumphs litter the landscapes of every continent which human beings have inhabited. In their splendor, the great temples, plazas, forums, amphitheaters, pyramids and monuments that once represented the absolute pinnacle of human achievement within the life of each High Culture of the previous centuries, of Culture-man’s victory over savagery and barbarism, now serve no more purpose than as tourist attractions.
This work is meant to get the heart of certain things. It is meant to be foremost a brief analysis of History, again, in its higher sense, and secondarily an overview of what exactly this view of History entails. Make no mistake, for the human beings of the Paleolithic and Neolithic epochs, there was no history. This is because there was lacking among these human beings a historical feeling. Human life and lived experience occupied, as I’ve stated before, a mere zoological existence comparable, but not analogous with, animal existence.
While we can certainly speak of a Clovis, a Corded Ware or even a Yamnaya “culture”, we do so begrudgingly. Culture-life ultimately belongs to the men of High Cultures, and only then in a limited capacity. For the Classical and Indian Cultures there was no sense of being-in-History whereas for the Egyptian and our own Western Culture, these possessed within themselves; first, a conception of historical time, and later, attached a meaning to historical events.
What I am setting out to do is no small task, but it is one that I find to be of the utmost importance given that our own Culture finds itself well within pangs of its old age. Moreover, we are in the twilight phases of what has been termed by historians, sociologists and cultural critics as Late or Postmodernity. Going forward, we need to be clear about certain things, especially about the time, place and circumstances in which this essay is being written. This is because, contrary to the humanists and Postmodernists, there are no human beings in-of-themselves, rather, there are only men and women of a certain time, of a certain place and of a given social milieu or overarching Tradition.
This transition from Postmodernity into something new naturally implies a struggle, and the character of this struggle finds Time as its battlefield and the future as its prize. In a word—Futurekampf. This requires us to take on a more nuanced understanding of Time inasmuch as it requires us to treat History as a form ontology. What we are talking about are degrees of tension and how this tension acts as a fault line within the life of a Culture as it transitions into rationalism, urbanity, imperialism, or in another word—Civilization. The tensions between Will and power, between language and aesthetic, past and future, linear and cyclical time—all of this will be our course of study and I hope what is laid down here will be of use to those inheritors of the future, when Postmodernity has gone its way, and help those new pioneers chart a course into unknown cultural frontiers.
A Future after Postmodernism
The outgrowth of Modernity from the post-Westphalian order in European politics and the Enlightenment have had lasting consequences, not only on the West, but on the entire course of human events on this planet. While it is hard to put down an exact date for the origins of Modernity, some historiographers posit that Modernity has its beginnings as early as the Renaissance or the Reformation, while others posit a much later date at the start of the 19th Century or the transition of European societies from an agricultural way of life towards an industrialized one. Regardless of where you put down the exact period in which Modernity began, it goes without saying that the Modern experiment has had profound changes for the entire human species, some lamentable and others praiseworthy.
The birth of Modernism brought with it a new kind of optimism for the West—belief in progress, in the innate goodness of the human condition, that the world and the universe could be understood rationally—and these ideas would go on to shape the thinking of European intellectuals and artists for centuries. No longer, it was assumed, would human reason be shackled by the chains of fear and mysticism. Rather, freed from ignorance and magical thinking, all of humanity could boldly march forward, arm in arm, towards the paradise which lay, hidden by time, somewhere in the not-too-distant future.
The reality, however, has been less than joyous than what the early Modernists had hoped for. After two World Wars and tens of millions left dead in the wake of violent revolutions and destructive political ideologies, it seems that the utopian dreams promised by the Modern project have been, if not completely dashed, at least put on ice.
Criticism of Modernity goes as far back as its elusive origins. Early socialist thinkers, as well as Christian thinkers such as G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, were quick to point to the excesses of capitalism and the increased growth of the State that had come to replace traditional ways of life since the advent of the Market Revolution. Likewise, Traditionalists such as Rene Guenon and Julius Evola insisted that Western civilization was in the early stages of the Kali Yuga, or the dark age of Hindu eschatology.
After 1945, thinkers in the post-War era began to seriously contemplate Modernism’s failures and, as a result, skepticism towards rationalism, belief in progress, and in meta-narratives—such as Christianity’s prediction of a future kingdom of Heaven on earth or in its Marxist equivalent of the final society of stateless communism—became the subject of intense scrutiny.
This critical stance towards Modernism soon came to be termed “Postmodernism,” a term first used within a philosophical context by the French sociologist Jean-Francois Lyotard. Postmodernist thinking also came to be expanded upon by the post-structuralists Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jean Baudrillard and the American political theorist Frederic Jameson, who can also be said to be its greatest critic.
Whatever one’s opinions on Postmodernism, its influence on contemporary Western academia cannot be understated. While not distinctly a part of Postmodernist thinking in of themselves, the fields of post-colonial, gender and feminist studies could certainly not have had the far-reaching impact that they’ve had on the Western university system without Postmodernist influence, especially Derrida’s own Deconstruction.
The question remains though, where do we go from here? Already Postmodernism has its critics from liberal intellectuals such as Jordan Peterson, Leftists such as Noam Chomsky and the aforementioned Frederic Jameson, as well figures from across the spectrum of religious and secular conservatism ranging from the late Christian evangelist Ravi Zacharias to the conservative thinker Roger Scruton. The problem with Postmodernism is that it’s a theory of critique rather than a cohesive philosophy of any kind. Postmodernism may have challenged the Modernist assumptions about belief in universals pertaining to truth and knowledge, in grand narratives, in cultural values and hierarchical institutions, but ultimately offered no solution or alternative to the things that it criticized.
In 2010, Dutch cultural theorists Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van der Akken released their Notes on Metamodernism which outlined a potential vision for a future view of the world, culture and life after Postmodernism. This theory has been expanded upon by writers such as Hanzi Freinacht, Morten Overgaard, the religious scholar Brendan Graham Dempsey and Irish video blogger Keith Woods. While still in its infancy, Metamodernism appears to be a promising alternative for a future of after Postmodernism. That being said, many on the Right, perhaps even most Rightists, want nothing whatsoever to do with Modernism. Period. To them, Modernism of any kind represents the antithesis of everything that Tradition stands for. But one most ultimately ask oneself: is a return to Tradition even possible at this point?
There are those on the Right who might dream of a majestic return to a far-gone era of warrior aristocracies and priesthoods or make appeals to a revived medievalism, Byzantinism or a resurgent neopaganism once the scourge of “Abrahamism” has been driven out of the minds of European descended peoples. However, all such things must be disregarded as mere fantasies and archaisms. The past is in the past.
However, this doesn’t mean that elements of sacred faith Traditions, whether they be Christian or Pagan, don’t have a place to play in a foreseeable future after Postmodernity. But the coming convergence of catastrophes—demographic displacement, rising racial tensions between Western and non-Western peoples, environmental collapse, and continued moral degradation—promises that the middle to latter part of this century, perhaps well into the one beyond, will be one of violence, blood, lead and tears. Faith has always had the power to move men’s hearts, but the simple religious moralism of Traditionalist Conservatives will not be enough to get us through the coming crisis.
We need to start taking the historical reality of Postmodernity seriously, and not just continue to use it as a pejorative, or worse, as a kind of amorphous scapegoat for all the various forms of cultural and moral degeneration the West is experiencing. Like it or not, we are—and this means all of us—effectively Postmodernists ourselves. We are far closer to being men of Modernity than we are of Tradition, regardless of how we might ardently reject the presuppositions of Modernity. While orthodox Metamodernists are optimistic about the future of the Modern project, the fact of the matter remains that the legacy of the Enlightenment, the values of which Modernity itself was founded upon, is collapsing. Liberalism, rationalism, pluralism and democracy are, despite the longevity with which these ideas have endured, no longer seem to have a future in an increasingly polarizing world.
What then are we to do if a return to Tradition continues to be unlikely and the very values of Modernity itself seem to be imploding inward on themselves? What would a future Modernity even look like when its own founding principles have ceased to be relevant? Perhaps the illiberalism of the national-populist regimes in Orban’s Hungary, Putin’s Russia, Assad’s Syria and Erdogan’s Turkey offer a glimpse into what lies ahead. In that case, we can at least assume that the modern, post-Westphalian form of the nation-state has a future, as does representative democracy, although perhaps not exactly in a liberal or social democratic form.
All of this is of course speculation. And what exactly a post-Postmodern conception of the State would look like is far from anyone’s guess. However, this does incline us to take a much more realistic understanding of politics. This is because the problems of the future are going to be political problems not economic, ethical, aesthetic, legal, or religious ones. And because the problems of the coming decades, perhaps even of the coming centuries, are going to be political in nature, this of course means that they’ll be problems between factional entities separated by such a heightened degree of tension that they feel themselves to be either friend or enemy, not merely economic competitors or ideological opponents. The post-Postmodern, post-collapse order of the latter part of our own century, mandates a brief exhortation on the nature of politics, and the nature of power.
The Metapolitics of Power
All political activity is activity in relationship to power. The concept of power presupposes the reality of politics, or rather, the political. Power is, at its core, the essence and sole function of human society. A society is defined by the degrees in which it is stratified and the varying degrees of complexity within them serves as a benchmark for the degrees of potential political activity that they can exert, both within the society itself, and over other societies of a similar or lesser nature.
This is as true today in our own Western society as it was for a Sumerian laborer in 3553 BC. All pretensions about democracy, social justice, and equal “rights” are phantasms. The so-called “stateless society” is a fiction that not even the most ardent anarchist or modern-day communard believes in anymore. Postmodernists themselves spoke aloud this truth in the latter part of the last century. They understood, much like their post-structuralist forerunners, that all societies—indeed all human communities—are the result of a powerful elite who controls the superstructure.
It should come as no surprise that it was post-structuralism, an intellectual movement specializing in literary criticism, that Postmodernism found the tools in which the new suburban revolutionaries and neoliberal sycophants needed to exert control over the both the modes of higher education and then over the political institutions of the post-war West. This is because it is through language that we express a reality that is only at first sensed, then confirmed through mutual understanding. To control the language of a people is to not only control the way in which they talk, but the way the think as well. Orwell’s “Newspeak,” is by far the most well-known and widely cited example of such a phenomenon.
The Postmodernists, much like the classical Marxists of yesteryear, were right in their identification that higher institutions, cultural traditions and even the nuclear family were products of such a superstructure. To these they gave the names “the Patriarchy,” kyriarchy, “White Supremacy” and so forth; with the goal being the complete delegitimization of all cultural institutions of the West. However, Postmodernism, as well as Postmodernity, is on its way out the door. Everything it sought to do has been accomplished and, more than that, it has been reduced to a parody of everything it stood for. Hundreds of new identities, most of them a kind of gender affiliation or sexual orientation, have sprung up ex nihlo within this decade alone.
But, as it should be rightly noted, nobody takes any of this seriously anymore. Gender and sexual identity politics are the past time of a petit bourgeoisie who force their own little culture wars on the working and lower middle classes. Afro-liberation, Queer culture and the myriad other identity movements to have arisen out of the Postmodern paradigm only exist at the behest of neoliberal oligarchs who use them as a weapon to crush dissent. In fact, these fledgling identity movements, apart from those founded on race, fundamentally cannot exist without the support of neoliberal finance-capitalism. This is how the current superstructure maintains itself. Postmodernity, as much as the Postmodernists will deny it, is directly responsible for perpetuating the tyranny imposed, not just on the West, but on all peoples around the world at the hands of neoliberalism.
This is because Postmodernism, as with all movements once they assume a political nature, are fundamentally about power. Moreover, Postmodernism, as with all Leftist currents, preaches absolute equality for the purpose of attaining power. But power is not about means, it is end. Just as it was in Goldstein’s The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, the Middle will always appeal to the Low in order to become the new High. The purpose of power is power.
Now, of all the terms to come out of the former Alternative Right, the phrase “Cultural Marxism” was, and is, by far the stupidest. Whatever influence either the Frankfurt School, poststructuralism or Postmodernism had on the contemporary Left, those in power—though they may present themselves as being die-hard anti-capitalists—still serve at the behest of the neoliberal capitalist system. They have no other choice in the matter, either consciously or unconsciously. What we are up against today cannot rightly be called either a resurgent form of Marxism under a reformist guise or pure neoliberal capitalism, merely. It is a perverted mixture between the two, the absolute worst of both worlds. One leads, the other follows; one commands, the other serves.
What then is to be done if the Western peoples are to survive the transition of Postmodernity into this new uncertain period in Late Modernity’s future? Having first acknowledged all the above, we need to return to topic of this conversation, that of power.
The thing about power is that it doesn’t exist on the top shelf of a mantelpiece somewhere, hidden away in some dusty vault waiting to be snatched by a sycophant or megalomaniac or redistributed by the binding agreement of a fictious social contract through limp wristed democrats and socialist party politicians. The existence of power presupposes the existence of a Will, and it is this Will to Power, so eloquently expanded upon by Nietzsche, which defines the basis of all naturalistic existence.
Power is the manifestation of the Will. Every living thing possesses a Will, as it is the unconscious motivator behind all forms action. However, power is something that belongs to the real beasts of prey—to real apex predators. There was never a single period in history where one people effectively ruled over another by means of their own power. Power has always been the domain of an elite and the story of every empire in World History has been the story of one elite attempting to gain the upper hand over the other; to displace the other by means of cunning or by the number of men it was able to muster and so utterly destroy or weaken the rival belligerent that it is no longer in any position to threaten its own power. That, if nothing else, is perhaps the true meaning of History.
To every other living organism Will is manifested only, as Schopenhauer so rightly saw, as a mere Will to Live or power to desire. As stated before, the Will is the unmoved motivator behind all organic life—bacteria, plant, animal—and is defined naturalistically as the desire to feed, reproduce, excrete waste and find shelter. As stated above, it is simple zoological existence, the kind of life worth only of a National Geographic documentary.
All living creatures, the human animal being no exception, are defined by that feeling which can only be described as “need” or “lack.” This feeling of lack is the source of the anxiety that comes from living as it bubbles its way up from the unconscious mind of the animal to forefront of its waking consciousness. It is only by the gaining control of one’s own desires, by taming them; by imposing one’s own personal Will on oneself does the human creature rise above the baseness of their own primal impulses towards something more excellent. It is this nobler kind of human material that has made the existence of High Cultures possible.
Will finds its genesis in the realm of the unconscious. The Will to Power of Nietzsche and the Will to Live of Schopenhauer both manifest themselves as the power to desire, as two arrows that run parallel with one another. Both have their origins in the primeval mind of the living organism but only the Will to Power, especially among that chief of all predators, Man, implies the ability to impose one’s own will onto another, to compel others to do your will against theirs—that is the meaning of power.
Power has its being in the totality of all possible futures. It represents the far-off hidden goal of all creatures who feel, instinctively by their nature, the impulse to command. Power, then, is the future. An elite of any kind is never self-generating, they do not suddenly pop into existence nor are organized societies and States created out of nothing. Everything has a past, but in the normal waking life of the individual, one finds oneself living in a perpetual present; the past being something confined to memory.
For the lower animals this is fact, for the human animal this is simply a series of events marked by the passage of time. All struggles are struggles for power, and therefore struggles for the future. Not just any future, however, but for all possible futures. It is the future where the sum of all potentialities derives their meaning with life itself being the actualization of the possible. This is the essence of Futurekampf.
For far too long neoliberalism has had a stranglehold on all possible futures. Unable to construct a vision for the post-Cold War world in the wake of Communism’s defeat, it has continually recycled the forms and past images of the last three decades and has had the audacity to call it the “end of history.” Now, like Oz hiding behind the curtain, we know that we have been presented with an illusion. We have mistaken the flickering forms of shadows and specters of the previous century as real figures, now realizing them to be mere apparitions.
Any future elite, either political or cultural, that wishes to create a real alternative to the crisis of Postmodernity must understand that attaining power and being able to decide the future are the same thing. Whoever controls the reins of power controls the future, and this can only be done by an act of Will, by seizing upon the present, either by one World-changing figure such as an Alexander or a Lenin, or by a Culture-bearing strata that feels itself to be the commanders of the entire destiny of a people.
Power is the way the future reveals itself to us, and the coming conflicts of the late 21st and early 22nd centuries will be between peoples—some perhaps not even in possession of a name for themselves let alone a State—who will carve out an identity due to the circumstances of their time and place, out of the regions, climes and territories they call home; out of a shared connection between land and blood, much in the same way that the Palestinian, Rhodesian, or even the short-lived Novorossiyan nations felt themselves to be a unified people containing a real living cultural idea, spurred on by the pulse of History.
This discourse would not be complete without an overview of what we’ve called (capital H) ‘History’, as the sum of all lived experienced, contrasted with ‘history’, or the cataloguing of mere events. This requires us to take on a new understanding of the historical experience, treating History more as a science to explain the human situation as it manifests itself on the level of Culture and not, as we’ve stated before, naturalistic or zoological existence. Moreover, this requires developing a new kind of historicism, a difficult task in the Postmodern era which has lost faith in all “grand narratives.” However, as much as an idea of a return to an idealized past or a utopian future might strike both the Postmodern and conservative mind as fantastical, reactionary or even downright absurd is beside the point.
The point is, though, that the possibility of a new conception of the future, of a return to a belief in grand narratives is what sets the post-Postmodern or Metamodern outlook apart from contemporary ways of thinking about the world. Freed from the cultural domination that it has been imposed on us by Late Capitalism, or indeed, by Capital itself, we can at least imagine, albeit dimly, a new future; a future pregnant with meaning that is now, at the very least, within the domain of the possible.
First, this demands that we let go of certain assumptions about Time, History and our Being-in-it. We can no longer in good conscience accept a simple linear view of History, viz., a view that regards History as an arrow-straight line, shooting onward towards the dawning of a chiliastic “end” of history. Neither can we accept a cyclical view of History, so beloved by the Traditionalists, in which Time, the cosmos and human events all find their genesis and completion in the ever-turning wheel of Samsara.
What is needed then is a more radical and much more dynamic conception of the historical—a view of History that is neither linear or cyclical, but fractal—a conception of historical time in which all the great people—artists, writers, musicians, generals, admirals, merchants, scientists, engineers, prophets—all the battles, great works of art, religions, scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs—take on a renewed and deeper historical significance. The view of History which we seek to promote is one where historical time is neither a line nor a flat circle—neither marching forever onward nor eternally turning inward on itself—but an interweaving web of nations, estates, styles of architecture, crafts, rules of courtship, laws, customs and languages all spreading forth as branches and each with their own respective leaves.
Moreover, we assert that Culture, or the High Cultures, born out of their respective landscapes, carry with them the epigenetic, or rather, epi-cultural, memories of their previous incarnations. Civilizations, we posit, undergo an anamnesis as they decline into a fellaheen mode of existence with their icons and symbols, the remnants of their cultural achievements and shared myths, gradually being taken up by the primitive peoples who build upon their ruins. In this manner, it would not be ridiculous to say that our own Occidental civilization is a single genealogy which stretches back to Minoa and Mycenae and finds its contemporary incarnation in the Faustian West which had as its cradle the snaky peninsulas of Western Europe.
This is precisely because the icons of a Culture, in the context of its genealogical history, are imperishable, enduring and subject to interpretation and reinterpretation without fundamentally losing their meaning. For example, while the concept of Logos may have meant something different to an ancient Greek living in the 2nd Century BC than it would to an early Christian in the 1st Century Church, both would have understood the meaning behind such a symbol as the creative force that both permeates and fundamentally established the universe; whether this force had as its origin the Neoplatonic Monad or in the pre-incarnate hypostasis of God the Word is only a difference of Time, and therefore opinion. This is, far from Baudrillard’s profanation of the term, the essence of the hyperreal.
In the 21st Century, perhaps no other writer on the Right has written more about a future after Postmodernity than the Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin. In his magnum opus The Fourth Political Theory, Dugin wrote that “History is the awareness of the presence of the past in the present,” foreshadowing a new view of History that sees Cultures undergoing a birth, maturation, decline and rebirth through a process that he likewise compared to the Platonic concept of anamnesis (Dugin 157).
A Postmodern Traditionalist if there ever was one, Dugin was among the very few Rightist thinkers in the contemporary era to have imagined a future after Postmodernism that didn’t involve a hackneyed “return to Tradition” by retreating into accelerationist hopes of an anarcho-primitivist or medievalist post-collapse fantasy.
Dugin may be most well-known for his idea of a multipolar world that arises out of Liberalism’s collapse after the downfall of American hegemony, but he has also written on the ontology of time, unsurprising as Dugin himself is a faithful student of the existentialist Martin Heidegger. Building upon the philosophy of time as outlined by Edmund Husserl, Dugin writes:
“Now let us change perspective and consider time phenomenologically. Husserl proposed to study time through the use of music. The consciousness of hearing music is not based on the strict identification of notes sounding in a concrete, discrete moment. Hearing music is something different than hearing an individual note that sounds now, in the present. The consciousness of music occurs by hearing an individual note that sounds now, in the present, as well as recalling past notes that are dissolving little by little into nothingness. However, their resonance persists in the consciousness and gives music its aesthetic sense. Husserl calls it ‘the continuous instance.’ The past is present in the present. The present thus becomes continuous and includes the past as a vanishing presence.” (157)
The past, or rather, traces of it, being present in the present isn’t by itself a radical statement. But the analogy of time as music or a song is interesting precisely because of its implications. If time is like a song, it has an identifiable beginning, middle and end. The end, then, is a forgone conclusion, but it is something that can be anticipated by the listener; there can be found within the song traces of the future just as the present is fading away into the past. We can still recall the notes, lyrics, and instruments as they are disappearing into the background, being replaced by new lyrics and changes in tempo. The present becomes a vanishing point as the future becomes the past, just as it is normally conceived as the point of departure for when the present launches itself into the future. Both views are technically right, but the difference in perspective that our view implies is far more radical.
This is because the struggle for the future is the struggle for power and whatever elite, in any time or place, who controls the mechanisms of power, literally and figuratively controls the future as well. As we have said, to be in control of the future means to have control over all possible futures. Continuing to use music as our analogy, any elite that exercises power effectively becomes the grand conductor of the symphony that is Time. Elaborating further on these ideas, Dugin continues. Writing that,
“The future should, therefore, be understood in this context. The future is a continuous present. Not the moment of novum, but the process of the fading away of the present into the past. The future is the tail-end of the present, its resonance. We live the future just now, and already now, when we play the note of the melody of life. The future is the process of the death of the present, attention to the dissolution of the melody into the totality of harmony. The novum appears in the future only when the harmony is lost, when our attention falls asleep, and then suddenly we awaken and cannot identify the sounds we hear. Momentarily, they simply make no sense. That is the novum: spontaneous incomprehension of what is going on in the ecstasy of time. It is the nature of discreet, discontinuous events. It is the suspended moment of being without history, and hence without a sense of awareness and consciousness.” (158)
Dugin goes to say that “Time constitutes consciousness running away from the unbearable confrontation with itself” (159). This is why the illusion of a perpetual present continues to haunt us as a specter, barring our path toward any new accessible futures that open themselves up to us. This continuous haunting of the present is exactly what is called hypermodernity, or the intensification of the Modern condition that neoliberal capitalism has imposed upon us.
To reiterate, Dugin has confirmed exactly what I have stressed at the beginning of this work, viz., that those creatures who do not possess within themselves a feeling of Time, a feeling of History, belong to that category which I have designated a mere zoological existence. The human creature too was subject to such a state of timelessness, of a lack of sense of History, far in the primordial reaches of humankind’s early days. That is why we cannot rightly speak of primitive “cultures” only primitive ways of being and different ways of perceiving Time. Culture-life belongs to the realm of that mode of existence that gives meaning to human events, that sees temporality as the cosmic stage in which the mythical and the divine assert and reassert themselves in the liturgical drama of human affairs.
Spengler and Yockey designated this stage of historical affairs as “Culture,” which belonged to those nations, peoples, estates, guilds, warrior nobilities and priesthoods that found themselves caught up within the life of a spiritual organism much larger than the sum of their mere parts. Julius Evola described this way of existence as the World of Tradition, which itself belonged to a previous, quasi-mythical time in primeval antiquity.
This is contrasted with the view of Eliade, who brilliantly pointed out that among the tribal peoples who continue to eek out a Stone Age way of life on the absolute fringes of the Postmodern world, base their conception of Time on the return to the exact moment of creation, when the gods and culture-heroes first gave the secrets of hunting, fishing, boat building and ritual to the very first ancestors.
It should be noted that Time and History are not the same thing. Time naturally precedes History, but a sense of History gives birth to sense of historical time in which the affairs of human beings are given, as it was in the Traditional world, a sacred meaning. Or, in profane logic, this sense of importance is that which constitutes what the Postmodernists and Metamodernists would identify as grand narratives. The very idea of a “the grand narrative,” of the Hegelian struggle of History to complete itself as a metaphysical and ontological project, was the result of the Modern inversion of sacred religious myths into secular political ideologies. This inversion, of the theological into the political, has if nothing else been the sole defining feature of Modernity.
But Time, much like History, is a social experience. For the lower forms of life—for bacteria, plants and animals—do not possess a conception of time and therefore, no conception of the future. However, the higher forms of life—Man and High Cultures—do possess within themselves a sense of the future. Again, Dugin writes,
“Moving from man to society, and from anthropology to sociology, we can affirm the future as something absolutely subjective in nature, and so, in this context, it is something social. The future is social because it is a historical feature and not immanent to an object’s nature. The object has no future. The Earth, animals, stones, machines—all have no future. Only that which is included in the human social context can take part in the future, and then only indirectly. Without self-referential consciousness, there can be no time. Time is that which is inside us, and what makes us what who we are. Time is man’s ultimate destiny.”
Time is man’s ultimate destiny—if only because control of the future means control of a given superstructure or social order. One cannot escape from the tyranny of Time anymore than they can escape the force of History; one may only feel an absence of its presence. As Dugin writes,
“Time, being historical, is predefined precisely by its historical content. The subject is not free from its structure, and more than this, it is absolutely enslaved by it. Time needs the future as a void for the continuous fading of the present and, partially, of the past. Without the future, the subject will not have the space necessary to evade, running from the impossible encounter with itself, from the short circuit mentioned above. The frozen moment of the present without the future is that of death.” (160)
Death. That is, the personal death of the subject. But in a sociological context, the present without a future is exactly what we’re experiencing as hyperreality under the yoke of Postmodernity. A society stuck in a perpetual present means the death of all possible futures. But life is the actualization of the possible, and where there is life, anything is possible.
Dugin writes that “History is not only the memory of the past. It is the explication of the present and the experience of the future” (160). This is because the past, it could be said, possesses a kind of precognition of itself and our projections upon the future, through our power to desire, it can be expressed by our pre-consciousness of the past. Our longing to impose our ideals, hopes, and expectations upon the future represent, in some way, the past’s nostalgia for itself. In this sense, Futurekampf is also the struggle of History to convert linguistic sense into aesthetic desire. Such a belief can be considered the basis of what we are attempting to outline for a potential ontology of history.
Who then gets to participate in this future? We are not merely talking about the future as an ecstasy of time that will eventually happen once a given number of years or decades pass. What we are talking about is a projection of conscious Will onto a phase of Western history that has not yet happened. And make no mistake, we are speaking solely in terms of a future for our people, viz., for the Western peoples.
The peoples of other Cultures and civilizations have futures of their own, but ones that are separate and closed off from us and from our state of experience and Being. While the diaspora populations of Latin America, Africa, the Far East and the Muslim ummah may indeed have a strong presence in certain territorial pockets inside the West, the fact remains they represent their own distinct entities, being the members of different and culturally alien civilizations that have no role to play in the future of the West, save for one of tragedy and antagonism.
On this point, we disagree with the orthodox Metamodernists who, much like their socialist and left-libertarian colleagues, insist upon a future for all humanity. The term “humanity” is a sociological construct. It has no basis in lived reality or experience. While they might protest that the borders between nations are mere “lines on a map,” the real fault lines between civilizations are rooted in the separation of languages, religions, biological continuities that go back millennia and, moreover, a shared sense of history and identity. As Dugin notes,
“To speak of the future for humanity is quite senseless because it completely lacks semantic value, as well as the sense of these different societal constructions of history and time. Every society is a separate act of consciousness, expanded in the rational and temporal horizons. All are unique and open. But before coming to an understanding of the history of a given society, we should immerse in the depths of its identity. The fact that every people, every culture, every society has its own history, makes time a local phenomenon, grounded in geography. Every society possesses its own temporality. For a given society, all the moments of time are different—past, present, and future. Societies can cross and interact, cross-pollinate and interact. Their sense of history, however, cannot. History is local. A shared sense of history is possible only on the basis of the domination of one society over another, an imposing its own history and, thus, its identity on the enslaved one.” (162)
What concerns us living in the tail-end of the Postmodern era is what kind of future the Western peoples, not only in Europe, but in their outposts in North America, Australasia and the Southern Cone want for themselves once the contradictions of neoliberal Postmodernity become unsustainable and collapse on themselves. What kind of future is possible with the prospect of global catastrophe looming overhead? Modern and Postmodern assumptions about our shared cultural values, ethics, views on politics and the role of the State, the experience of Time and History no longer appear to have the same impact or meaning that they did in previous stages of Modernity.
Creating a future after Postmodernity is the task that has been left to us, and the stakes could not possibly be higher. With the prospect of becoming a minority in their own homelands, of sudden and drastic shifts in the earth’s climate and the failure of democracy and capitalism to respond adequately to any of these most pressing of issues, the future does indeed look bleak for the peoples of the West. However, all is not yet lost. But this requires us to understand how dire the situation is. A short overview of everything we have laid out thus far will provide the conclusion for this treatise.
Conclusion: The Struggle for the Future
For far too long Modern man has been under the delusion of a linear, arrow-straight view of historical time as progress. The vulgar belief in the iPhone mentality, that everything keeps “getting better,” that all of history is destined to move ever onward, with incremental improvements in moral, social, political and technological advancements, finally culminating with the ushering in of a utopia, of a secular New Jerusalem, is a fantasy.
These feelings originate from the Faustian urge towards infinity and boundless space. They could not have originated anywhere else other than Europe. No other people was ever capable, let alone seriously believes in, the perfection of human beings through moral improvement, political involvement and equality of outcome. Modernity, as far as we understand it, could only have been a project of the Western mind, a dark reflection of its longing for perpetual motion and universal truth.
Western Culture’s boundless optimism has its origin in Christianity. The progression of time towards a final, perfect heaven on earth, was rationalized, secularized and profaned by the Enlightenment project. The faith that tolerance, democracy and science will produce a final society characterized by absolute and total equality, the abolition of gender, racial, and ethnic identity as well as permanent material comfort and security are the infantile dreams conjured up by stunted minds.
Pacifism, tolerance, love, equality, science, capitalism, socialism—all these things will not “save” humankind from itself. The human condition is far too tragic. Nature has proven that any attempts to build utopia on earth have resulted in the unspeakable misery. The events of the last century alone have proven that much. How many would-be World-emperors, sitting atop their mighty thrones, thought they had built a kingdom to stand the test of time? Now, like Ozymandias, the scattered remnants of their long dead monuments and palaces lay buried beneath sand and earth or remain standing as a testament to the hubris of human beings.
Utopian ideals are perfect and static, the state of nature is change. Entropy crushes everything beneath its treads. The error of the Modernist, Postmodernist and even Metamodernist projects has been to hold fast to these long disproved ideals which have been contradicted, time and time again, by the uncaring nature of the universe towards human hopes and aspirations. What is needed now is a new project for Modernity, a new Dark Enlightenment that doesn’t suffer from the post-libertarian illogicalities of its first incarnation. But we must acknowledge, more than anything else, that the future, and future alone, is the only thing that matters. Only the future. A people can survive unbearable tyranny, it can survive centuries of cultural, political, economic and social instability, oppression and collapse, but it cannot survive its own displacement.
Some day the last word of the American Constitution will dry up and fade into obscurity; the oils of the Mona Lisa will eventually warp and crack rendering the masterpiece by da Vinci unrecognizable, but the people who produced these great works can still endure, but only if they insist upon a future for themselves. A people must insist upon its own existence. Nobody else will.