Uncle Adolf’s table talk – 5

“I have dipped into Mein Kampf but never read it: it was written only partly by Hitler, and that is the problem. More important are… Hitler’s table talks: daily memoranda which first Heim (Bormann’s adjutant, whom I interviewed) and then Picker wrote down at his table side”. —David Irving


the-real-hitler
 
Night of 21-22 July 1941

[Gratitude to the Jesuits - Protestant fanaticism - Similarities between Germany and Italy - Dante and Luther - The Duce is one of the Caesars - The march on Rome - a turning-point in history - Delightful Italian towns - Rome and Paris.]
 

When all’s said, we should be grateful to the Jesuits. Who knows if, but for them, we might have abandoned Gothic architecture for the light, airy, bright architecture of the Counter-Reformation? In the face of Luther’s efforts to lead an upper clergy that had acquired profane habits back to mysticism, the Jesuits restored to the world the joy of the senses.

It’s certain that Luther had no desire to mould humanity to the letter of the Scriptures. He has a whole series of reflections in which he clearly sets himself against the Bible. He recognises that it contains a lot of bad things.

Fanaticism is a matter of climate—for Protestantism, too, has burnt its witches. Nothing of that sort in Italy. The Southerner has a lighter attitude towards matters of faith. The Frenchman has personally an easy way of behaving in his churches. With us, it’s enough not to kneel to attract attention.

But Luther had the merit of rising against the Pope and the organisation of the Church. It was the first of the great revolutions. And thanks to his translation of the Bible, Luther replaced our dialects by the great German language!

It’s remarkable to observe the resemblances between the evolution of Germany and that of Italy. The creators of the language, Dante and Luther, rose against the ecumenical desires of the papacy.

Each of the two nations was led to unity, against the dynastic interests, by one man. They achieved their unity against the will of the Pope.

I must say, I always enjoy meeting the Duce. He’s a great personality. It’s curious to think that, at the same period as myself, he was working in the building trade in Germany. Our programme was worked out in 1919, and at that time I knew nothing about him. Our doctrines are based on the foundations proper to each of them, but every man’s way of thinking is a result. Don’t suppose that events in Italy had no influence on us. The brown shirt would probably not have existed without the black shirt. The march on Rome, in 1922, was one of the turning-points of history. The mere fact that anything of the sort could be attempted, and could succeed, gave us an impetus. A few weeks after the march on Rome, I was received by the Minister Schweyer. That would never have happened otherwise.

If Mussolini had been outdistanced by Marxism, I don’t know whether we could have succeeded in holding out. At that period National Socialism was a very fragile growth.

If the Duce were to die, it would be a great misfortune for Italy. As I walked with him in the gardens of the Villa Borghese, I could easily compare his profile with that of the Roman busts, and I realised he was one of the Caesars. There’s no doubt at all that Mussolini is the heir of the great men of that period.

Despite their weaknesses, the Italians have so many qualities that make us like them.

Italy is the country where intelligence created the notion of the State. The Roman Empire is a great political creation, the greatest of all.

The Italian people’s musical sense, its liking for harmonious proportions, the beauty of its race! The Renaissance was the dawn of a new era, in which Aryan man found himself anew. There’s also our own past on Italian soil. A man who is indifferent to history is a man without hearing, without sight. Such a man can live, of course—but what a life?

The magic of Florence and Rome, of Ravenna, Siena, Perugia! Tuscany and Umbria, how lovely they are!

The smallest palazzo in Florence or Rome is worth more than all Windsor Castle. If the English destroy anything in Florence or Rome, it will be a crime. In Moscow, it wouldn’t do any great harm; nor in Berlin, unfortunately.

I’ve seen Rome and Paris, and I must say that Paris, with the exception of the Arc de Triomphe, has nothing on the scale of the Coliseum, or the Castle of San Angelo, or St. Peter’s. These monuments, which are the product of a collective effort, have ceased to be on the scale of the individual. There’s something queer about the Paris buildings, whether it’s those bull’s-eye windows, so badly proportioned, or those gables that obliterate whole façades. If I compare the Pantheon in Rome with the Pantheon in Paris, what a poor building—and what sculptures! What I saw in Paris has disappeared from my memory: Rome really seized hold of me.

When the Duce came to Berlin, we gave him a magnificent reception. But our journey in Italy, that was something else! The reception when we arrived, with all the ceremonial; the visit to the Quirinal.

Naples, apart from the castle, might be anywhere in South America. But there’s always the courtyard of the royal palace. What nobility of proportions!

My dearest wish would be to be able to wander about in Italy as an unknown painter.

Civilisation’s “Heroic Materialism”

Originally I posted this article on April 25, 2012. But now that I have been postulating that the One Ring of greed and power—that we might start calling “the Aryan Problem”—could be the main factor in the West’s darkest hour, I am moving it at the top of this blog.

Below, some excerpts of “Heroic Materialism,” the last chapter of Civilisation by Kenneth Clark. (For an introduction to these series, see here.) Ellipsis omitted between unquoted passages. Also, the headings don’t appear in the original text:

The westerners’ new god: Mammon

Imagine an immensely speeded up movie of Manhattan Island during the last hundred years. It would look less like a work of man than like some tremendous natural upheaval. It’s godless, it’s brutal, it’s violent—but one can’t laugh it off, because in the energy, strength of will and mental grasp that have gone to make New York, materialism has transcended itself. It took almost the same time to reach its present conditions as it did to complete the Gothic cathedrals. At which point a very obvious reflection crosses one’s mind: that the cathedrals were built to the glory of God, New York was built to the glory of mammon—money, gain, the new god of the nineteenth century. So many of the same human ingredients have gone into its construction that at a distance it does look rather like a celestial city. At a distance. Come closer and it’s not so good. Lots of squalor, and, in the luxury, something parasitical.


Blake’s Satan

One sees why heroic materialism is still linked with an uneasy conscience. The first large iron foundries like the Carron Works or Coalbrookdale, date from about 1780. The only people who saw through industrialism in those early days were the poets. Blake, as everybody knows, thought that mills were the work of Satan. ‘Oh Satan, my youngest born… thy work is Eternal death with Mills and Ovens and Cauldrons.’

The [slave] trade was prohibited in 1807, and as Wilberforce lay dying in 1835, slavery itself was abolished. One must regard this as a step forward for the human race, and be proud, I think, that it happened in England. But not too proud. The Victorians were very smug about it, and chose to avert their eyes from something almost equally horrible that was happening to their own countrymen.

In its early stages the Industrial Revolution was also a part of the Romantic movement. And here I may digress to say that painters had for long used iron foundries to heighten the imaginative impact of their work with what we call a romantic effect; and that they had introduced them into pictures as symbolising the mouth of hell. However, the influence of the Industrial Revolution on Romantic painters is a side issue, almost an impertinence, when compared to its influence on human life. I needn’t remind you of how cruelly it degraded and exploited a mass of people for sixty or seventy years.

What was destructive was size. After about 1790 to 1800 there appeared the large foundries and mills which dehumanised life. Long before Carlyle and Karl Marx, Wordsworth had described the arrival of a night shift ‘that turns the multitude of dizzy wheels, Men, maidens, youths, Mothers and little children, boys and girls, Perpetual sacrifice.’

The terrible truth is that the rise in population did nearly ruin us. It struck a blow at civilisation such as it hadn’t received since the barbarian invasions. First it produced the horrors of urban poverty. It must have seemed—may still seem—insoluble; yet this doesn’t excuse the callousness with which prosperous people ignored the conditions of life among the poor on which to a large extent their prosperity depended, and this in spite of the many detailed and eloquent descriptions that were available to them. I need mention only two—Engels’s Conditions of the Working Classes in England, written in 1844, and the novels written by Dickens between 1840 and 1855. Everybody read Dickens. But his terrible descriptions of poverty had very little practical effect: partly because the problem was too big; partly because politicians were held in the intellectual prison of classical economics.

The images that fit Dickens are by the French illustrator Gustave Doré. He was originally a humorist; but the sight of London sobered him. His drawings were done in the 1870s, after Dickens’s death. But one can see that things hadn’t changed much. Perhaps it took an outsider to see London as it really was.


Degenerate architecture

At the beginning of this series I said that I thought one could tell more about a civilisation from its architecture that from anything else it leaves behind. Painting and literature depend largely on unpredictable individuals. But architecture is to some extent a communal art. However, I must admit that the public buildings on the nineteenth century are often lacking in style and conviction; and I believe that this is because the strongest creative impulse of the time didn’t go into the town halls or country houses, but into what was then thought of as engineering. In fact, all modern New York started with the Brooklyn Bridge.

In this series I have followed the ups and downs of civilisation historically, trying to discover results as well as causes; well, obviously I can’t do that any longer. We have no idea where we are going, and sweeping, confident articles of the future seem to me, intellectually, the most disreputable of all forms of utterance. The scientists who are best qualified to talk have kept their moths shut.

The incomprehensibility of our new cosmos seems to me, ultimately, to be the reason for the chaos of modern art. I know next to nothing about science, but I’ve spent my life trying to learn about art, and I am completely baffled by what is taking place today. I sometimes like what I see, but when I read modern critics I realise that my preferences are merely accidental.

Western civilisation has been a series of rebirths. Surely this should give us confidence in ourselves. I said at the beginning that it is lack of confidence, more than anything else, that kills a civilisation. We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs. Fifty years ago W.B. Yeats, who was more like a man of genius than anyone I have ever known, wrote a famous poem.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Sparta – XII

Translated from EVROPA SOBERANA

“And in Lacedaemon and Crete not only men but also women have a pride in their high cultivation. And hereby you may know that I am right in attributing to the Lacedaemonians [Lacedaemonia was the name borne by the city of Sparta from Late Antiquity to the 19th century] this excellence in philosophy and speculation: If a man converses with the most ordinary Lacedaemonian, he will find him seldom good for much in general conversation, but at any point in the discourse he will be darting out some notable saying, terse and full of meaning, with unerring aim; and the person with whom he is talking seems to be like a child in his hands.”

—Plato, Protagoras


sparta


On the pagan mentality, the Spartan religious feeling and the supremacy over Athens

Religion in Sparta played a major role, far above any other Greek state. Spartan supremacy was not only physical, but spiritual. This apparent contradiction is explained by the Hellenic religion, drinking directly from the original Indo-European religion: a religion of the strong—not a religion of self-pity and worship of the sick, the weak, the downtrodden and unhappy. In Sparta, also, that religion had been placed at the service of a shield specifically designed to withstand the rigors of the Iron Age.

Hellenic polytheism was something deeply natural and vital, and is inextricably woven to the memory of the blood, as “divinity consists precisely in that there are gods and not one god.” Our ancestors made of their gods spiritual monuments containing all those qualities peculiar to them that had made them thrive and succeed. They deposited in them higher feelings with which they gave way and perfected together a being who existed before in fuzzy and dormant state. The creation of gods is something capital when valuing a people, for the gods are the personification of the highest ideals and values of that people. One can say that the gods created the race, and the race their gods. Through the gods we can know the people who worshiped them, the same way that through the people—ourselves, our ancestors, our history and our brothers—we meet the gods.

The peoples had their gods and the gods had their villages. Sparta worshiped typical Hellenic deities, although two among them acquired singularly relevant and important roles and became the most worshiped deities, even by the time of the Dorian invasion: Apollo and Artemis. They were twin brothers, reconfirming the cult of “sacred twins.” Their father was Zeus, the heavenly father; and their mother was Leto, daughter of Titans, who to escape the jealousy of Hera (Zeus’ heavenly wife) had to become a she-wolf and run away to the country of the hyperboreans. Note here the presence of an important symbolic constant, the heavenly principle (Zeus, eagle, lightning) together with the earthly principle (Leto, wolf, titan).

Apollo_Artemis_Brygos_Louvre

Apollo and Artemis, ca. 470 BCE.


Apollo was the son of Zeus and brother of Artemis, god of beauty, of poetry (he was called “blond archpoet”), music, bow and arrow, youth, the sun, the day, of manhood, light and pride. He could predict the future and each year returned from Hyperborea in a chariot drawn by swans. (As Lohengrin, the king of the Grail, with his boat, and like other medieval myths about the “Swan Knight” as Helias—obviously a version of the Roman Helios in France.) Apollo presided over the chorus of the nine muses, deities that inspired artists, and lived on Mount Helicon. He was conceived as a young, blond and blue-eyed man, holding a lyre, harp or bow, and possessor of a manly, clean, youthful and pure beauty—“Apollonian” beauty. The mythology explained that in his childhood he killed the serpent Python (in other versions a dragon), setting in its place, with the help of the hyperboreans, the sanctuary of Delphi.

Heracles also killed a snake when he was a newborn. Such legends represent the struggle that initially led the Indo-European invaders against the telluric gods of the pre-Indo-European peoples. Apollo received several titles including Phoebus (“radiant”), Aegletes (“light of the sun”) and Lyceus (“born of wolf,” as in some way were Romulus and Remus). As equivalents gods of Apollo in other peoples we have Apollo Phoebus (Roman), Abellio or Belenus (Celtic ), Baldur (German), Byelobog (Slavs), Lucifer (medieval heretics), Baal (Phoenician), the Beelzebub demonized by the Church and Belial: another demon of Christianity.

Apollo was worshiped in the most important festival of Sparta, the Carnea. There they paid homage to the under-god in the figure of the ram. To carry out the rituals, the priests chose five unmarried men who for four years should continue a vow of chastity.

Artemis was the sister of Apollo, daughter of Zeus, goddess of night, moon, bow and arrow; of forests, hunting and virginity, but also of labor and male fertility. Artemis was usually depicted armed with bow and silver arrows, wearing a short and light tunic or skins of wild animals, carrying her hair up and accompanied by a pack of hunting dogs. Her car was pulled by deer, the animal most associated with her, and in fact she is sometimes depicted with horns of deer, reminiscent of the most primitive paganism. She was chaste and virgin in perpetuity, and virgin were her priestesses, Melissa (“bees,” another symbol of Artemis). She was harsh, stern, proud, sharp, wild, silent and cold: the result of a patriarchal work, the only model of female divinity able to command respect and devotion to such an ascetic and leathery virility as the Spartan.

The Dorian Artemis equaled the Celtic Artio, the Roman Diana, and the Slavic Dievana; but she had nothing to do with the Artemis worshiped by eunuch priests in the temple of Ephesus (Asia Minor, now modern Turkey): a goddess of “fertility” often depicted with black skin, multiple breasts, whimsical hairstyles, a body adornment and other oriental distortions. (Dievana was conceived by the ancient Slavs as a virgin goddess associated with hunting and the moon. For the Poles, she was a young virgin who hunted in the forests. South Slavs imagined her running through the forests of the Carpathians, and other Slavic peoples imagined her accompanied by bears or a pack of dogs. All these configurations correspond clearly to the Greek Artemis or Roman Diana.) In Greek mythology Artemis was a mentor to the young Atalanta, who became the best runner of Hellas, and no one, not even a god, was closer to conquer her than the mortal hero Orion. Apollo and Artemis were, finally, the sacred twin couple; day and night, sun and moon, gold and silver. They were the juvenile archetypes of Spartan masculinity and femininity, respectively.

On the other hand, Sparta venerated the heroes of the Iliad, especially Achilles, but also Menelaus and Helen, kings of Sparta in Homer’s mythology. Heracles was practically a Spartan national hero (remember that, according to tradition, he was the patriarch that founded the royal lineages of Sparta), and his figure was hugely popular among young men.

The city of Sparta had forty-three temples dedicated to various gods and twenty-two temples dedicated to the heroes (including those of the Iliad), whose deeds inspired the flourishing generations; more than fifteen statues of gods, four altars and numerous funerary tombs. There was also a temple dedicated to Lycurgus, worshiped as a god. In a city the size of Sparta, the number of religious buildings was very noticeable.

In religious ceremonies, men and women—particularly those in age of dating—attended, entirely naked as they did during the processions, the tournaments, the beauty contests and the dances. This already implies that the Spartans were not ashamed of their bodies, but that proudly displayed them whenever they could because they were robust, well-formed and harmonious. These events were festivals of beauty, Dionysian ceremonies in which the body was worshiped and beautified by effort and sacrifice. According to Plato, a beautiful body promises a beautiful soul and “beauty is the splendor of truth.”

The athletic custom of shaving the body hair and smear oneself with oil before a competition was of Spartan origin, although the Celts were given to body shave before battles. They sought thereby to extol the body; give relief, volume, detail, brightness and “life” to the muscles, therefore proudly displaying the result of years and years of grueling physical training and strenuous efforts, probably with the aim of finding the best partner and/or gaining prestige.

The guilt and sense of sin that Christianity tried to impose in the field of body pride made man feel ashamed of the very things he was proudest. Judeo-Christian morality, by condemning hygiene, care, training and the preparation of the body as “sinful”, “sensual” and “pagan” gradually achieved that the European population—converted into an amorphous herd whose attitude to any hint of divine perfection was met with resentment and mistrust—forgot that their bodies also were a creation and a gift from God.

For young people of both sexes such festivals served to became familiar with each other, because we think that Sparta was a city with few inhabitants, where thanks to public ceremonies everyone knew everybody by sight and was integrated into the popular. It was at these events where you watched and chose your future spouse. The competition also served to establish hierarchies in beauty, courage, strength, agility, hardness, endurance, courage, skill, speed, etc., and the best men would join the best women, as might be the case for the coronation of a king and a queen in a contest, or a champion and a championess in a competition. In his Republic Plato said that it is necessary that the best men join the best women most of the time, and that the worst men join the worst women; and that you have to raise the children of the first, not those of the second. Thanks to this, and to the facilities and even obligations of marriage, the young Spartans married men and women between twenty and twenty-five years.

Le us imagine all those pagan cults of sacrifice, struggle, union and that glorification of the collective existence of a great people. That’s pride and socialist joy or nationalism, a cult for effort and struggle through which the Spartans themselves nourished themselves, as the warriors’ deeds made that the youngest would want to match them and beat them; they longed for their opportunity to demonstrate their flowering qualities. Moreover, knowledge of the deeds of the society helped Spartans to know themselves; to be proud of their homeland, and to become aware of its grandeur and superiority. Everything was wisely designed for the burning of Spartan pride to last.

What would ritualism in such a “socialist” country be? It was simple and austere, and the Spartans took it with fanatical solemnity, for all rituals were perfect and the result flawless. The rites had to be carried out at whatever cost. It is known that before the battles the Spartans celebrated a sacrifice, usually a male goat: a fertility sign, and under no circumstances they fought before the ritual was consummated. There is the story of how this was practiced to an extreme once the enemy appeared during the ritual. The Spartans did not move from their positions until the ending of the ceremonial, even when the first enemy arrows started the killing and wounding others. When the ritual ended they fought and won the battle. Such kind of feelings, orbiting around rites in which they reproduced symbolic events, kept them in contact with the beyond: where the force of the fallen and the ancient fathers dwelt.

All these elements contributed to form a highly spiritual feeling: the Spartan felt himself as the summit of creation, the favorite of the gods, a privileged, magnificent, splendid, arrogant and godlike creature; a member of a holy seed, a holy race and lucky “link in the eternal racial chain,” a protagonist of an unparalleled feat of an extremely profound mystical experience that he was convinced would end up leading him directly to the immortality of Olympus, as the semi-divine heroes he worshiped. He was proud of being a Spartiate because precisely the fact that to become one of them it was necessary to overcome the hardest ordeals made him feel a holder of a privilege.

Nietzsche said, “For a tree to reach Heaven with its branches, it must first touch Hell with its roots,” and it is said that Odin went down to the huts before ascending to the palaces. This implies that only after passing the most terrible tests the warrior has earned the right to access to higher states, on pain of suffering the degradation to which it leads the drunken arrogance of the one who has not hardened in suffering and is not able to take the pleasure, power and luxury with respect, care, gentleness, veneration, humility and an almost apprehensive appreciation. The Spartans had reached the bottom, sinking into the whole tragedy of their atrocious instruction, and also had passed through all the manly sensations of fullness, health, vigor, strength, power, force, dominion, glory, victory, joy, camaraderie, reward and triumph. Having covered the whole emotional range that goes from pain to pleasure made them to possess a wisdom only for the heroes and the fallen, and surely no one could appreciate more the significance and importance of pleasures than the Spartans.

It existed in Sparta, as in other places, an initiating circle of priests and priestesses. Little is known about them except that they were selected men and women, initiated at specific sites in secret ceremonies called “mysteries,” which made them the repositories of ancient wisdom and esoteric mystical orientation. In Greece, the mysteries represented what could not be explained rationally with words, but that was necessary to see and live it. The mysteries (of Delphi, Eleusis, Delos, Samothrace, Orpheus, etc.) became prestigious initiation schools, with important people attending from all Hellas with intent of awakening the spirit. Much of what we know of them is related to a decadent age which had betrayed the secret, so the ritual was monstrously disfigured and the true mysteries gone.

Mount Taygetos, symbol of pride and elitism of Sparta, was also called Mount Dionysius because it was there where the Spartans worshiped this god in a mystery of elaborate ritual ceremonies, the mysteries of Dionysus. Dionysus is a kind of Hellenic Shiva (in Hinduism, Shiva is said to meditate on the top of Mount Meru): a divine, destructive and dancing archetype. Much confusion has arisen around Dionysus, so we will try to clean up the image of this god.

The mythology explained that Dionysus was the son of Zeus (a masculine and heavenly principle) and of some earthly goddess (an earthly, feminine principle) that, according to some versions, is Demeter, Persephone and Semele. Dionysius had been torn (like the Egyptian Osiris and the Vedic Purusha) and eaten by the Titans (chthonic entities), but, as the Titans ended up breeding men, all men have within them a spark of Dionysus. Zeus could save the heart of Dionysus and, planting it in the womb of his mother (in other versions, in Zeus’ thigh), Dionysus was reborn and rose to the rank of “twice born.”

Dionysus was the god of the strong instincts, of the fullness of life, spiritual abundance, the joy of life, transparent pleasure, gratitude; the joyful and furious frenzy of happiness that, wanting earthly eternity, needs the children. It was par excellence the god of the healthy and strong: of that popular pagan joy that overflows and created in its abundant happiness—or destroys in its unbridled rage—; the god of the instincts that make one feel alive and rise the race above its materials limitations or from everyday pettiness.

Exekias_Dionysos_Staatliche_Antikensammlungen

Sixth century BC piece depicting Dionysus among sailors transformed to dolphins.


Over time, however, and as Hellas was losing its purity, the cult of Dionysus was easily perverted (being a god of bodily, material and “dark” impulses) and became a fat god of orgies: a noisy god of amusements, alcohol, promiscuity and insane hysteria. The Romans adopted this deformed god as Bacchus, and his followers (mostly cowardly, decadent, perverted, morbid and boring women of good families) made the cult degenerate into orgiastic “orgies,” including blood sacrifices, promiscuous sex and alcohol poisoning. It was such a scandal that was formed around the Bacchanalia that the senate of Rome in 186 BCE and forbade it and exterminated its followers in a great slaughter.

At this point, we must address the issue that will certainly be around the heads of many readers: the comparison Sparta-Athens. What city was “better”?

Often we are told that Athens represented the artistic and spiritual summit of Greece and Sparta the physical and warrior evolution. It’s not as easy as that. We must start from the basis that it is a great mistake to judge the development of a society for its commercial or material advancement. This would lead us to conclude that the illiterate Charlemagne was lower than anybody else present, or Dubai the home of the world’s most exalted civilization.

It is necessary to better assess the spirituality, health, individual quality and the genetic background of which a society is depository. This could ground us in unusual lands, for instance, that the Cro-Magnon culture was highest that has stepped on the planet. As already mentioned, not without reason it has been said that the whole Spartan state was an order, a union of warrior-monks, as the Spartans zealously cultivated a discipline and ancient wisdom that most Greek states had lost. Many have noticed that the harsh Spartan discipline practices have a distinctively touch of a warrior yoga, meaning that any ascetic yoga practice would help the physical, mental and spiritual improvement. In Sparta everything worked within the mystique and the uttermost devotion of the people of Greece, and it is a huge mistake to believe that the only polished Spartan instruction was the body.

Thus we come to the important subject of art and that it usually happens that it is a common argument to vilify Sparta. The Spartans used to say that they carved monuments in the flesh, which implied that their art was a living one: literally them, and the individuals that composed their homeland. But Sparta also had conventional art as understood in the present. It was famous throughout Greece for its music and dance (of which nothing has survived), as well as its highly-prized poetry that has come to us fragmented. Its architects and sculptors were employed in such prestigious places as Delphi and Olympia, and imposed a stamp of straight simplicity and crystal clarity in their works. The best example of this is the sober Doric style, direct heritage of Sparta that became a model not only for countless temples throughout Greece, as the Parthenon in Athens itself, but also for the classic taste of later Europe that has endeavored to continue the legacy of Greece and Rome.

DoricParthenon

Example of Doric architectural style, considered the paradigm of the classic in the West.


The Greeks, and particularly the Spartans, studied “physiognomy” to interpret the character, personality, and ultimately the soul of an individual based on physical features, especially of the face: to the point that ugliness in certain Greek states was practically a curse. It was also believed that beauty and a willingness of the features should be an expression of noble qualities necessary for a beautiful body bearer, if only dormant. The creators of the Greek statues made them with that knowledge of the human face and of the perfect proportions in mind, and therefore represented not only a beautiful body but also a beautiful body carrying a beautiful soul. The blind rage with which the Christians destroyed most Greek statues indicates that they greatly feared what they represented, because in them the Hellenes fixed and settled, once and for all, as a goal and template and ideal: the human type that Christianity would never be able to produce.

Many other states, on the other hand, suffered from a taste for the exotic and the cosmopolitan in which all empires fall when they neglect their attention, authenticity and identity. Gobineau called Athens the most Phoenician of the Greek cities (Essay on the Inequality of Human Races, Book IV, Chapter IV). Athens, with the plutocracy of Piraeus; with its mob of merchants, charlatans, noisy slaves, acrobats, pseudo-intellectuals, pundits, soothsayers and false Egyptian magicians; with their sumptuous clothes, rich food, spices, incense, colors, flavors, perfumes, obscene riches, deformed mystery cults, orgiastic ceremonies, prostitution, alcoholism, dirt, disease, and finally rampant decay in demagoguery including cosmopolitanism, hedonism, homosexuality, multiculturalism and miscegenation, was farther from the European ideal than Sparta: which ever embraced this filth; only when it was not Sparta anymore. Meanwhile, they remained essentially rustic, rough and authentic.

In Athens there emerged countless philosophical schools (some of them, as the sophists and cynics, reflecting a clearly decadent spirit) which attests to the chaos and contradictions within the Athenian citizens and of the Athenian national body itself. Demagoguery and the sagacity of the slave, the shopkeeper, the merchant, the Phoenician dealer, and the nomad of the desert began to leave a mark. And this is acclaimed by historians of philosophy that teach today (Julius Evola pointed out the pleasure with which modern civilization sees in Athens the origin of democracy). In Sparta people did not ramble or speculated because its inhabitants knew the laws of the land, the sky and the species; and lived in agreement with them with no hustle, speculation, or absurd discussions.

The Athenians despised them because they considered the Spartans brutal and simple. The Spartans despised Athenians because they considered them soft and effeminate even though the Athenians, as Greeks, were also great athletes—though never to the level of the Spartans. It is said that a Spartan who contemplated a painting depicting victorious Athenians was asked “Are those Athenians brave?” He replied “ Yes, in painting.”

There was a latent rivalry between the Ionian people of an Athens influenced by Asia Minor, and the Dorian people of Sparta directly influenced by their own Nordic heritage, who never stopped being governed by anything but their ancestral tradition and their own popular consciousness. With the exception of Athens, which saw herself as the best, all other Hellenic states reserved their admiration for Sparta, seeing it as a shrine of wisdom and justice: the true repository of primitive Hellenic tradition. Sparta was always the most famous and respected city among the Greeks. They always resorted to it to arbitrate interstate disputes, and most of the times they not even had to resort to force: Sparta sent an ambassador to which everyone would voluntarily submit, like a divine envoy.

Why whites cannot reassert themselves?

In a recent discussion thread I said:

The Imperial Church started to destroy entire libraries and invaluable monuments of the classical world that represented the very soul of our Indo-European heritage and ancient wisdom.

Mister Deutsch, a commenter, responded:

Amen. And that’s why whites cannot reassert themselves; their foundations were destroyed and replaced with a Semitic god.

The core problem is a confused spiritual identity; all of the other issues, be it miscegenation, liberalism, capitalism, Marxism, scientism, the cult of the bourgeois consumer, etc., are all the by-product of de-Aryanization via Christianity.

See the posts of Manu Rodríguez that I have translated from Spanish to delve deeper into this subject.

Below, the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina: a partial ruin that was turned into a church, but you can still make out the impressive front steps and portico today. At one time, it looked like the model below. It was built in 141 by the Emperor Antoninus and dedicated to his wife Faustina, who had died.

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina

In the Middle Ages the temple ruin was converted to the Church of San Lorenzo. Today, it is one of the strangest churches anywhere. On the forum side, the steps and columns are still visible, as is the inscription to Antoninus and Faustina, with a church roof and entry on the opposite side. During the Middle Ages the forum was all under 10-20 feet of earth, so today with the ground excavated you can see the church and what remains of the original structure.

The Course of Empire

The Course of Empire is a five-part series of paintings created by Thomas Cole in 1833-1836. It reflected popular American sentiments of the times when many saw pastoralism as the ideal phase of human civilization, fearing that empire would lead to gluttony and inevitable decay.

The_Savage_State

The Savage State ~ 1834
New York Historical Society



The_Arcadian_or_Pastoral_State

The Arcadian or Pastoral State ~ 1834
New York Historical Society


The Consummation of Empire

The Consummation of Empire ~ 1835-1836
New York Historical Society


Destruction

Destruction ~ 1835-1836
New York Historical Society


Empire_Desolation

Desolation ~ 1836
New York Historical Society

Published in: on March 27, 2013 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Architect’s dream

Cole_Thomas_The_Architect-s_Dream_1840

Painting of the day:

Thomas Cole
The Architect’s dream ~ 1840
Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio

Published in: on March 18, 2013 at 12:07 pm  Comments (3)  

On Kenneth Clark’s “Civilisation”

Kenneth Clark may have been clueless about the fact that race matters. Yet, that our rot goes much deeper than what white nationalists realize is all too obvious once we leave, for a while, the ghetto of nationalism and take a look at the classics, just as Clark showed us through his 1969 TV series Civilisation.

Compared to the other famous series, Clark’s was unsurpassed in the sense that, as I have implied elsewhere, only genuine art—not science—has a chance to fulfill David Lane’s fourteen words.

By “art” I mean an evolved sense of beauty which is almost completely absent in today’s nationalists. Most of them are quite a product of Jewish modernity whether with their music, lifestyles or Hollywood tastes, to a much greater degree than what they think. For nationalism to succeed an evolved sense of female beauty has to be the starting point to see the divine nature of the white race. In Clark’s own words, “For all these reasons I think it is permissible to associate the cult of ideal love with the ravishing beauty and delicacy that one finds in the madonnas of the thirteenth century. Were there ever more delicate creatures than the ladies on Gothic ivories? How gross, compared to them, are the great beauties of other woman-worshiping epochs.”

Below, links to excerpts of most of the chapters of the 1969 series, where Clark followed the ups and downs of our civilisation historically:

“The Skin of our Teeth”

“The Great Thaw”

“Romance and Reality”

“Man—the Measure of all Things”

“The Hero as Artist”

“Protest and Communication”

“Grandeur and Obedience”

“The Light of Experience”

“Heroic Materialism”

Civilisation’s “The Light of Experience”

For an introduction to these series, see here.

Below, some excerpts of “The Light of Experience,” the eight chapter of Civilisation by Kenneth Clark.

Ellipsis omitted between unquoted passages:


I am in Holland not only because Dutch painting is a visible expression of this change of mind [the revolution that replaced divine authority by experience, experiment and observation], but because Holland—economically and intellectually—was the first country to profit from the change. When one begins to ask the question, ‘does it work?’ instead of ‘is it God’s will?’ one gets a new set of answers, and one of the first of them is this: that to try to suppress opinions which one doesn’t share is much less profitable than to tolerate them.

Nearly all the great books which revolutionised thought were first printed in Holland. What sort of society was it that allowed these intellectual time-bombs to be set off in its midst? Inside the old almshouse of Haarlem, which is now a picture gallery, there is plenty of evidence. We know more about what the seventeenth-century Dutch looked like than we do about any other society, except perhaps the first-century Romans. Each individual wanted posterity to know exactly what he was like.

One can’t imagine groups like this [Rembrandt’s Syndics] being produced in Spain or seventeenth-century Italy, even in Venice. They are the first visual evidence of bourgeois democracy. Dreadful words—so debased by propaganda that I hesitate to use them. Yet in the context of civilisation they really have a meaning. They mean that a group of individuals can come together and take corporate responsibility; that they can afford to do so because they have some leisure; and that they have some leisure because they have money in the bank.

Amsterdam was the first centre of bourgeois capitalism, the chief banking centre of Europe. I don’t say much about economics in this book chiefly because I don’t understand them—and perhaps for that reason believe that their importance has been overrated by post-Marxist historians. But, of course, there is no doubt that at a certain stage in social development fluid capital is one of the chief causes of civilisation because it ensures three essential ingredients: leisure, movement and independence.

In studying the history of civilisation one must try to keep a balance between individual genius and the moral or spiritual condition of a society. However irrational it may seem, I believe in genius. I believe that almost everything of value which has happened in the world has been due to individuals.

Nevertheless, one can’t help feeling that the supremely great figures in history—Dante, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Newton, Goethe—must be to some extent a kind of summation of their times. They are too large, too all-embracing, to have developed in isolation.

Rembrandt is a crucial instance of this conundrum. It is very easy—indeed rather more convenient for the historian—to imagine Dutch art without him; and there was no one else in Holland remotely comparable to him—nothing like the group of poets and dramatists who preceded and accompanied Shakespeare. Yet the very fact that Rembrandt was so immediately and overwhelmingly successful, and went on being successful—his etchings and drawings never went out of fashion—and that for twenty years almost every Dutch painter was his pupil, shows that the spiritual life of Holland needed him and so had, to some extent, created him.

However, any attempt to relate art to society gets one into a false position. The greatest of all pictures based on the facts of vision wasn’t painted in the scientific atmosphere of Holland, but in the superstitious, convention-ridden court of Philip IV of Spain: Las Meninas, ‘The Ladies in Waiting’, which was painted by Velasquez about five years before Vermeer’s finest interiors.

The enlightened tidiness of Hooch and Vermeer and the rich imaginative experience of Rembrandt reached their zenith about 1660. During that decade the leadership of intellectual life passed from Holland to England. Towering above all these remarkable scientists [Boyle, Hooke, Halley, Wren] was Newton, one of the three or four Englishmen whose fame has transcended all national boundaries. I can’t pretend that I have read the Principia, and if I did I wouldn’t understand it any more that Samuel Pepys did when, as President of The Royal Society, it was handed to him for his approval. One must take on trust that it gave a mathematical account of the structure of the universe which for three hundred years seemed irrefutable. It was both the climax of the age of observation and the sacred book of the next century.

What is civilisation? A state of mind where it is thought desirable for a naval hospital to look like this and for the inmates to dine in a splendid decorated hall.

Painted Hall
Royal Hospital
Greenwich, London

The strange thing is that none of the nineteenth-century writers (except Carlyle and Ruskin) seemed to notice that the triumph of rational philosophy had resulted in a new form of barbarism. If, from the balcony of the Greenwich Observatory, I look beyond the order of Wren’s hospital I see, stretching as far as the eye can reach, the squalid disorder of industrial society. It has grown up as a result of the same conditions that allowed the Dutch to build their beautiful towns and support their painters and print their works of philosophers: fluid capital, a free economy, a flow of exports and imports, a dislike of interference.

Every civilisation seems to have its nemesis, not only because the first bright impulses become tarnished by greed and laziness, but because of unpredictables—and in this case the unpredictable was the growth of population.

Civilisation’s “Man—the Measure of all Things”

For an introduction to these series, see here.

Below, some indented excerpts of “Man—the Measure of all Things,” the fourth chapter of Civilisation by Kenneth Clark, after which I offer my comments.

Ellipsis omitted between unquoted passages:

The Pazzi Chapel, built by the great Florentine Brunellesco in about 1430, is in a style that has been called the architecture of humanism. His friend and fellow-architect, Leon Battista Alberti, addressed man in these words: ‘To you is given a body more graceful than other animals.’

There is no better instance of how a burst of civilisation depends on confidence than the Florentine state of mind in the early fifteenth century. For fifty years the fortunes of the republic, which in a material sense had declined, were directed by a group of the most intelligent individuals who have ever been elected to power by a democratic government. From Salutati onwards the Florentine chancellors were scholars, believers in the studia humanitatis, in which learning could be used to achieve a happy life.

In Florence the first thirty years of the fifteenth century were the heroic age of scholarship when new texts were discovered and old texts edited. It was to house these precious texts, any one of which might contain some new revelation that might alter the course of human thought, that Cosimo de Medici built the library of San Marco. It looks to us peaceful and remote—but the first studies that took place there were not remote from life at all. It was the humanist equivalent of the Cavendish Laboratory. The manuscripts unpacked and studied under these harmonious vaults could alter the course of history with an explosion, not of matter, but of mind.

The discipline of trade and banking, in its most austere form, was beginning to be relaxed, and life—a full use of the human faculties—became more important than making money.

The dignity of man. Today these words die on our lips. But in the fifteenth century Florence their meaning was still a fresh and invigorating belief. Gianozzo Manetti, a humanist man of affection, who had seen the seamy side of politics, nevertheless wrote a book entitled On the Dignity and Excellence of Man. And this is the concept that Brunellesco’s friends were making visible.

Gravitas, the heavy tread of moral earnestness, becomes a bore if it is not accompanied by the light step of intelligence. Next to the Pazzi Chapel are the cloisters of Santa Croce, also built by Brunellesco. I said that the Gothic cathedrals were hymns to the divine light. These cloisters happily celebrate the light of human intelligence, and sitting in them I find it quite easy to believe in man. They have the qualities that give distinction to a mathematical theorem: clarity, economy, elegance.

Alberti, in his great book on building, describes the necessity of a public square ‘where young men may be diverted from the mischievousness and folly natural to their age.’ The early Florentine Renaissance was an urban culture, bourgeois properly so-called. Men spent their time in the streets and squares, and in the shops.

Elsewhere I’ve talked about how the modern world of money is inimical to racial interests. As to date, no white nationalist that I know has criticized the barbarous architecture, symptomatic in the worshiping of the new god of capitalism, so well epitomized in both London and New York: the subject of the last episode of Civilisation.

Together with the degenerate music, TV and Hollywood tastes and sexual lifestyles of some nationalists, architecture is another facet where the uncorrupted individual can read the signs of a decadent society; and why he cannot blame non-gentiles for all our problems when even the nationalists themselves are part of this problem.

Remember Clark’s words in the first episode? “If I had to say which was telling the truth about society, a speech by a Minister of Housing or the actual buildings put up in his time, I should believe the buildings.” One only has to contrast the completely soulless edifices we see everyday going to work with Raphael’s town square and see how extremely degraded, Mammonesque in fact our large cities have become.

In the popular imagination, the extreme examples of this degeneracy are the Foundation novels of Asimov and the latest Star Wars films, where a whole planet has become metropolis: the exact opposite of the most humane sci-fi novels by Arthur C. Clarke where, like the Florentines, the white people lived in small Elysian towns. Architecture today is so degenerate that even Roger Scruton in Why Beauty Matters—a 2009 BBC documentary that, unlike Clark’s Civilisation, is marred by the constant presence of non-whites—pays special attention to the sterile architectural forms of today’s world.

I wish young nationalists became believers in the studia humanitatis and familiarise themselves with those intellectuals in the movement that (like Clark) have a much broader sense of European culture than the common white nationalist blogger. I refer to people like Tom Sunic in Europe and Michael O’Meara in America. Both could help us to leave behind the provincial scene so common in the nationalist sphere as well as the simplistic single-cause hypothesis.

It is true that, unlike the Athenians, fifteenth century Florentines were chiefly interested, like contemporary western man, in making money. But like the Athenians the Florentines… loved beauty. Of the landscapes whose beauty mostly caught my attention during a trip through Europe by train, I still remember the Italian, about which Clark said:

Looking at the Tuscan landscape with its terraces of vines and olives and the dark vertical accents of the cypresses, one has the impression of timeless order. There must have been a time when it was all forest and swamp—shapeless, formless; and to bring order out of chaos is a process of civilisation.

Then, in the first years of the sixteenth century, the Venetian painter Giorgione transformed this happy contact with nature into something openly sensual. The ladies who, in the Gothic gardens, had been protected by voluminous draperies, are now naked; and, as a result, his Fête Champêtre opens a new chapter in European art. Giorgione was, indeed, one of the inspired, unpredictable innovators who disturb the course of history; and in this picture he has illustrated one of the comforting illusions of civilised man, the myth of Arcadia, which had been popularised some twenty years earlier by the poet Sannazaro. Of course, it is only a myth. Country life isn’t at all like this, and even on a picnic ants attack the sandwiches and wasps buzz round the wine glasses. But the pastoral fallacy had inspired Theocritus and Virgil, and had not been unknown in the Middle Ages. Giorgione has seen how fundamentally pagan it is.

True, but I don’t believe that the pastoral fallacy is childish. Pace Arthur Clarke, achieving Arcadia is an essentially psychogenic endeavour rather than a technological one. And I sincerely believe that utopia is feasible: only human primitivism, and especially the “monsters from the Id” currently affecting the white peoples, prevent it.

It has long seemed to me wise thinking about an ideal to direct our efforts toward it. It doesn’t matter if the ideal encounters numerous pitfalls: our will should incessantly be directional toward the worlds of the Florentine Fête. If the will of a sufficiently massive amount of white people is noble, the outside world can and will only represent the nobility of that will. Clark said:

With Giorgione’s picnic the balance and enjoyment of our human faculties seems to achieve perfection. But in history all points of supposed perfection have a hint of menace; and Giorgione himself discovers it in that mysterious picture known as the Tempesta.

What on earth is going on? What is the meaning of this half-naked woman suckling a baby, this flash of lightening, this broken column? Nobody knows; nobody has ever known.

To me the meaning is obvious. Even since the Renaissance artists started to see that the cities, more inclined to Mammon than to Raphael’s square, were places of tribulation in contrast to the madonna and her child with the man standing in contrapposto. Broken pillars often symbolize death (that bucolic world was about to die), and the painting’s storm in the background could be interpreted to symbolize urban turmoil.

In the last entry both Clark and I discussed Francis of Assisi: a saint who in Spanish language we call San Francisco. Colonists from Spain, who established a fort at the Golden Gate, named the Californian city after St Francis in 1776. Like London and New York, the modern city of San Francisco is a good paradigm to illustrate my interpretation of the Tempesta.

It should be a no brainer—and I am astounded that recently my frankness caused much offence in a well-known nationalist who lives in the Sin City—that white people of sound mind find it rather awkward to reproduce in such a town. I will repeat here my diatribes already written in the threads even if, by doing it, I completely part ways from the candid gentleness of the hero of this series, Kenneth Clark.

In the 1980s I lived in the Bay Area and noticed the cultural gulf between the inhabitants of the city of San Francisco and the family-oriented town of Novato in Marin County at the other side of the Golden Gate, where I lived. I felt the difference between the Sin City and Novato as conspicuous as the two sides of the border with my native Mexico. No hyperbole: that’s what I felt.

How could millions of healthy white families possibly thrive in Sodom, or in Gomorrah? The mere sight of the pink and blue sodomites inhibits altogether our wish to have lots of kids. The visual experience of constantly watching on the streets such rape—that is the exact word—of the beautiful San Francisco of yore inhibits the Aryan soul from founding large families. This is exactly the same psychological phenomenon of watching swarms of Mexican browns and even yellows throughout California.

A few months ago I rewatched Hitchcock’s Vertigo after decades of not seeing it. The movie made me feel extremely dismayed, and therefore my hatred skyrocketed toward the cultural rapists that turned such a beautiful city into Gomorrah. It doesn’t matter that, as an ultraliberal German blogger told me, “these gay demonstrations are neither frequent nor ubiquitous.” The general rape, not only by homos, of the old city is so ubiquitous that, if I had real political power, I’d send the cultural rapists straight to my trains with a one-way ticket you know where.

One of the reasons why I believe that American-style “white nationalism” is phony is precisely because the whole movement is, at least partially, dissociated. With the exception of Harold Covington the movement smells to ink, not gunpowder. Shouldn’t it be more than obvious that, for a nationalist of truly sound mind, the Gomorrahites that brought toddlers to a Sadomasochist Fair in San Fran would have to wear Rosa Winkel camp badges, and subsequently sent to Auschwitz II?

The only way that my passion would be misallocated is that the aggressiveness of the “gay movement” in San Francisco be perfectly compatible with Norman Rockwell’s America. But truly honest nation-builder nationalists know all too well in their hearts that pink and blue wild men (see link above) are inconceivable in the Rockwell world, don’t you?

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