Sunday, 29 September 2013

Traditionalism and the concept of race

Traditional societies have most often sorted the concept of race into three categories, three sides. Race of body, race of soul and race of spirit. This is linked to the view of how man is structured. That is to say, we have a body, a personality and something which is higher than the personality (there are in reality several more elements, but these are the three most important). Every element corresponds to a form of race.

I will go through all three of them in this post, and see how they can form a synthesis.

Biological race - race of body

Modern racism usually only operates with one concept of race; the biological one. This is because we live in a materialistic age, where one wants to reduce everything to physics and biology. This includes that one studies things like the links between physical racial type and the genes that determine e.g. intelligence and aggression. As a Traditionalist, one is aware of the correctness of many of the conclusions that are drawn. For example there are some European Traditionalists who have developed an interest in physical anthropology.

But the biological racism is in the end a very modern phenomenon, which also tends to make it rather primitive and bulky. If one only works to improve the biological quality of a population, one ignores its culture and spirituality, which are equally valuable characteristics of the higher human type that one wants to create.

Biological racism also has an unpleasant tendency to result in ideas that different "races" are of different value, and in extreme cases that one can improve humanity by exterminating certain ones. From a purely biological perspective there is nothing to object against that, but when one completes it with a spiritual aspect it becomes clear that no "man of Race" would engage in such sick acts or fantasies. Such primitive racism is luckily a rare phenomenon today, and usually just a phase on the road to more mature identitarian views.

The "anti-racist" position that there is no such thing as biological human races on the other hand, is so absurd that we don't even really need to comment on it. Their problem is that they have swallowed the arguments of primitive biologism whole, and think that if there are different human races one of them must be better than the others. Ergo, "there is no such thing as race"

Cultural race - race of soul

Race of soul expresses itself through the character, lifestyle and emotional attitude of an environment and a society. From lack of a better term I call this "cultural race", but that is in the Spengleran sense of the word Culture.
Spiritual race - race of spirit

What's most interesting to a Traditionalist is of course the spiritual type, race of spirit. How does a person get in touch with the supernatural, the non-human? Does he have a masochistic spirituality, where he kneels and prays to a cosmic tyrant? Is he spiritual at all, or is he a hedonist? Is he strictly controlled by infernal impulses? How does he, on a higher level, experience the world, life, himself, the supernatural? Does he for example have an Indo-European race of spirit (it is primarily this aspect that Evola examines in his writings)?

Many traditions valued race of spirit so highly that a person, no matter how nice his/her lineage was, was not counted as an ariya before he/she had undergone inauguration. This was for example the case with the Indian Aryans. One was not an ariya until one had undergone inauguration, and ones behaviour decided if one was worthy of being called a "nobility". 

This relates to Evola's words about "men of Race": 

"To "have race" in its perfect and higher meaning is a characteristic that towers above both intellectual values and so-called "natural" talents. In normal linguistic usage, the expression "a man of race" has been around for a long time. In general, this was an aristocratic concept. Out of the mass of common and mediocre beings rise men "of race" in the sense of higher, "noble" beings. Of course, this nobility did not necessarily have a heraldic sense to it: characters from the countryside or originating in a true and healthy people could evoke this impression of "race" to the same extent as the honorable representatives of a true aristocracy." 
Men Among the Ruins, pages 69-70

Human beings who "have Race" in this sense of the word, often recognise this quality in each other regardless of differences in race of body and soul. Not to say that they for this reason chose to mix their bodies and their cultures (in contrast to modern society, which seems to think that as soon as you don't hate or loathe someone you have no choice but to mix with them), but at least they were able to respect each other even in conflicts. A certain tolerance of marriages across biological and cultural borders also seems to have existed in noble circles historically. 

Different syntheses

These three elements of course leave room for unusual combinations. A human being can have a race of body, and a different race of spirit (Evola especially mentions Jews with an "Aryan" race of spirit, something which appears to not have been completely unusual in neither the days of Weininger nor of early Fascism). This can of course be a theoretical problem. 

Different thinkers from different syntheses have reached different solutions to this problem. One of these is that "a man belongs to the race that he feels himself part of". This would mean that biological race is of lesser importance as individuals can be assimilated into high cultures, and get a race of soul that is in accordance with e.g. the European Civilisation. A concrete example of this attitude from today's Europe would perhaps be how certain nationalist parties view adopted individuals as "adequate" European citizens.

One can of course also favor a more "strict" solution, and demand that race of body, soul and spirit must be 100% in accordance with each other. It is however uncertain if there have existed traditional civilisations that have been this strict; this is probably more of a modern phenomenon. At the same time it is also possible to find support for the view that race of body should be in accordance with race of soul and spirit. The following quote from Cicero shines light on this: "It is of great consequence in what bodies souls are placed, for many things spring from the body that sharpen the mind, and many that blunt and dull it." The Hindu caste system is also an attempt to gain harmony between the three forms.

Overall, it is hard to find a clear traditional stance on this issue. It has in short varied, and it is an issue where each and everyone must reach their own conclusions, in accordance with their personal equation. It thus becomes an act of Will, a political act.

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