The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewGuillaume Durocher Archive
Paul Valéry, Analyst of Western Decline
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Paul Valéry was a French poet and essayist, famous in the first half of the last century. Growing up in France, I knew Valéry chiefly because of a somewhat trite slogan attributed to him. He more recently came to my attention by the praise of the Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran.

Valéry is one of the most eminent figures in the French tradition of the moralistes – who are generally not, as the name might suggest, moralistic – those philosophers, going back to Montaigne and La Rochefoucauld and continuing right up to Cioran, known for their observations, more or less detached, good-natured, or biting, on social life and conventions.

Valéry had the distinction of living in perhaps the most decisive and consequential time in Western history, a time of catastrophic wars and political revolutions, culminating in the world we know today. He wrote a number of political essays commenting, more or less obliquely, on these developments, living through them as uncertain of the outcome as we are today.

Valéry dedicates Perspectives on Today’s World, his book of (mostly) political essays, to “those who have neither system nor party; who are thereby still free to doubt of what is dubious and to not reject what is not.”[1]Paul Valéry, “Avant-Propos” (1931), Regards sur le monde actuel et autres essais (Paris: Gallimard, 1945), p. 9.

The book includes Valéry’s deep and subtle meditations on a vast medley of topics: of European exceptionalism, disunity, and decline (the industrial rise of Asia and colonial blowback are already foreseen), the bankruptcy of history as a field (lack of method, an excessive focus on high politics rather than long-term trends, hindsight being 20/20), freedom of thought and the life of the mind, the miseries of politics (antithetical to the mind), modernity as a great technical and socio-cultural phenomenon, France and her culture, Paris (“which continuousy attracts the flower and the dregs of the race”[2]Valéry, “Fonction de Paris” (1927) in Regards, p. 124.), and much else.

On all these and more, Valéry commits to nothing, observing and analyzing with the philosophical detachment declared in his opening salvo. He is famously indifferent to the day-to-day flurry of events, “the froth of things,” being only interested in the deeper currents underlying human existence. Using this method, Valéry provides his reader with a continuous flow of thought, with often great insights and surprising parallels.

One is struck at how many of the problems Valéry raises are still with us. He speaks of the globalization of politics (distant powers responding to every local conflict, a new universal interdependence), the excessive stimulation and fads of modern media and culture, and the sheer speed of technological and social change, making it extremely difficult to base politics on sound predictions. From the vantage point of today, this almost seems quaint, given how much these trends have intensified in the age of borderlessness and social media.

The common thread running through many of Valéry’s quite diverse texts is the decline of Europe. Already at the end of nineteenth century, the first glimmers of Valéry’s European consciousness appeared with Japan’s war on China and the United States of America’s seizure of Spain’s colonial possessions, Valéry was troubled by these first (re)assertions of . . . non-Europe.

Valéry’s most famous saying is from the opening line of a 1919 essay, reflecting on European’s intellectual confusion in the wake of the First World War: “We civilizations know that we are mortal.”[3]Paul Valéry, “La crise de l’esprit” (1919) in Variété I et II (Paris: Gallimard, 1998), p. 13. He was distinctly aware of living at the high-water mark of European power, that just as that extraordinary tide had risen over the past four centuries, so that tide had begun receding . . . far more quickly than Europeans realized.

Before going into the causes and reaction to Europe’s decline, it is worth reflecting on the nature of her rise and what I do not hesitate to call her exceptionalism. Valéry is ready to concede the achievements of Hindu spirituality and Chinese technology and civilization. However, in terms of speed and explosive power, there is nothing to rival the Greek miracle of antiquity, especially in the fifth century before Christ, and European modernity since the 1400s.

The small European region has been at the top of the leagues, for several centuries. Despite her small size, even though the her soil is not markedly rich, she dominates the field. By what miracle? Certainly this miracle must lie in the quality of her population. This quality must compensate for the smallness of the population, the lack of square meters, the lack of minerals, which are assigned to Europe. Put on one scale the Empire of India and on the other the United Kingdom: the balance tips in favor of the smaller![4]Valéry, ibid., p. 25.
(Paul Valéry, “La crise de l’esprit” (1919) in Variété I et II (Paris: Gallimard, 1998), p. 13.)

The Western and Japanese empires in 1914.
The Western and Japanese empires in 1914.

Valéry identifies a number of factors behind the West’s rise. Concerning the ancient Mediterranean, he notes that this sea was small and clear enough to be navigable even with fairly primitive means, the climate was temperate and hospitable, and finally this body of water connected three continents with very diverse peoples and civilizations, thus enabling great exchange of wealth, ideas, technology and craft. Thus, the ancient Mediterranean was the perfect setting for civilizational achievement, especially when a gifted and spirited people like the Greeks burst upon the scene, rapidly taking on many Egyptian and Phoenician innovations, and then surpassing them entirely.

For modern times, Valéry is struck by the contrast in China between slow but steady technological innovation and social and scientific stagnation:

How can one invent the compass, asks the European, without pushing further one’s curiosity and attention up to the science of magnetism; and how, having invented it, could one not think of leading a fleet far away to discover and master the lands beyond the seas? The same who invented gunpowder do not advance in chemistry and do not make cannons: they dissipate it with fireworks and vain nighttime amusements.

The compass, gunpowder, and the printing press have changed the face of the world. The Chinese who discovered them did not realize that they had the means of forever disturbing the world’s peace.[5]Valéry, “Orient et Occident” (1928) in Regards, p. 148.

Chinese civilization is marked by accretions, Western civilization by explosions.

Valéry often identifies Western psychological traits as a critical factor:

I cannot analyze this [European] quality [enabling exceptionalism] in detail; but I find by a cursory examination that active greediness,[6]Avidité active. burning and disinterested curiosity, a fortuitous mix of imagination and logical rigor, a certain non-pessimistic skepticism, an unresigned mysticism . . . are the most specifically active traits of the European Psyche.[7]Valéry, “La crise de l’esprit” in Variété I, pp. 25-26.

He attributes a kind of restless nervousness and ambition to the White race, a great factor of instability and accomplishment:

For fear of nullity, contempt, or boredom, we compel ourselves to become always more advanced in the arts, in manners, in politics, and in ideas, and we have shaped ourselves so as to only value astonishment and the momentary effect of shock. Caesar who considered that nothing had been achieved, given how much remained to be done and Napoleon who wrote: “I live only for the next two years,”[8]Je ne vis jamais que dans deux ans. seem to have communicated this anxiousness, this intolerance towards everything that is, to almost the entire White race.[9]Valéry, “Orient et Occident” in Regards, p. 149.

Valéry seems to suggest European decline is an inevitable process, related to the spread of the scientific techniques she had innovated to the rest of the world and perhaps to the a very Tocquevillean decline in elevating cultural traditions. We, living a century later, of course can only be struck that only in East Asia have foreign nations been fully able to replicate Western technical, economic, and organizational prowess.

Europe’s decline was caused, or perhaps accelerated, by her division. Valéry has only the harshest words for the Petits-Européens who have constantly fought among themselves, our little nation-states engaging in recurring wars and having recourse to non-European powers and soldiers. Napoleon is cited as a rare example of a European statesman of genuinely continental vision.

One might dismiss Valéry as a décadent, and perhaps a slightly pretentious one at that. His writing style may seem a touch too refined and intricate, like women’s lace. His distaste for systems and his horrified aversion to politics, however justified, make him politically quite inert. This is a serious matter.

After all, there were politicians and poets who, in the 1920s and 30s, made vigorous assays against decadence. One wonders what Valéry made of D’Annunzio and Ezra Pound.

High-Europeans of Valéry’s ilk make me think of Tolkien’s Elves: beautiful, ethereal, not meant for the world, and doomed to fade away . . .

Still, one would be foolish to dismiss Valéry’s philosophical method. The practice of detached, clinical, and unprejudiced – because lacking an a priori ideological system – analysis is a potent one. Its use leads Valéry to make some very nuanced, indeed exquisite, reflections on the the appeal, virtues, and limits of dictatorship.[10]For what it is worth, Valéry has a high opinion of the “wise” sayings of Salazar and the “depth” of Cromwell. The technique also leads him to a very Buddhistic denial of even an essential and continuous self.

Valéry’s method also leads him to understand, very early on, that politicians and citizens were working with words, a view of the world, which however solid they appeared, no longer corresponded to the realities of the world:

The political phenomena of our time are accompanied and complicated by an unparalleled change in the order of magnitude, or rather a change in the scheme of things. The world which we are beginning to be a part of, men and nations, has only a similar appearance to the world which is familiar to us.[11]Valéry, “De l’Histoire” (1931) in Regards, p. 35.

When I think of Hitler, Churchill, or De Gaulle, I see three skillful politicians, none of whom could sense that the very earth beneath them was about to give way.

World maps with territories proportional to population in 1900 and 2100 (forecast).
World maps with territories proportional to population in 1900 and 2100 (forecast).

These trends have only radicalized and accelerated since the 1930s. We are living in an epoch of rapid socio-cultural transformation: the diversification of Western nations, the population collapse of much of the developed world, the breakdown of the traditional family, the feminization of corporate and government life, the disintegration of each nation into a thousand online (often borderless) subcultures, the destruction of biological sex itself with the transsexual movement . . .

When we use the terms “Europe,” “the West,” “civilization,” “nation,” “race,” “religion,” “men,” “women,” we evoke connotations and associated symbols carried by past history and the myths and impressions we were brought up with. But can we face the new realities beneath words?

If I seem obscure, I can only say that we live in obscure times. We are on the cusp of further technological changes – virtual reality, genetic modification, mass human and/or female obsolescence – which will enable yet more socio-cultural change and, indeed, open up unimagined, and often disturbing, possibilities to change what it means to be human.

Anyway, the European is by all accounts a brilliant and flawed breed. We have known a good century of decline. Yet our critical and idealistic spirit, which has in many ways led to our current sad state of decomposition, may yet enable another unsuspected great enterprise of renewal. Valéry wrote in 1919:

[The European] is torn between marvelous memories and immoderate hopes, and if he sometimes slips into pessimism, he thinks despite himself that pessimism has produced some works of the first order. Instead of sinking into mental nothingness, he draws from this a song of his despair. He sometimes draws from this a hard and formidable will, a motivation for paradoxical actions founded on contempt for men and for life.[12]Valéry, “Crise” in Variété I, p. 41.

And a decade later:

The most pessimistic assessment of man, and things, of life and its value, accords itself wonderfully with action and the optimism it demands. – This is European.[13]Valéry, “Des partis” (1931) in Regards, p. 54. (p. 54)

Notes

[1] Paul Valéry, “Avant-Propos” (1931), Regards sur le monde actuel et autres essais (Paris: Gallimard, 1945), p. 9.

[2] Valéry, “Fonction de Paris” (1927) in Regards, p. 124.

[3] Paul Valéry, “La crise de l’esprit” (1919) in Variété I et II (Paris: Gallimard, 1998), p. 13.

[4] Valéry, ibid., p. 25.

[5] Valéry, “Orient et Occident” (1928) in Regards, p. 148.

[6] Avidité active.

[7] Valéry, “La crise de l’esprit” in Variété I, pp. 25-26.

[8] Je ne vis jamais que dans deux ans.

[9] Valéry, “Orient et Occident” in Regards, p. 149.

[10] For what it is worth, Valéry has a high opinion of the “wise” sayings of Salazar and the “depth” of Cromwell.

[11] Valéry, “De l’Histoire” (1931) in Regards, p. 35.

[12] Valéry, “Crise” in Variété I, p. 41.

[13] Valéry, “Des partis” (1931) in Regards, p. 54.

 
• Category: History • Tags: Europe, France, Globalism 
Hide 85 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. AaronB says:

    Excellent essay.

    For a while now, I have been explaining to the good commenters on Unz that European pessimism and decline was already in a highly advanced state among the intellectual elite in the 19th century. In their view, the West was as healthy, optimistic, and vibrant as ever until Jews suddenly appeared on the scene after 1950 and convinced the White intellectual elite to turn against Eutopean civilization.

    I agree with Valery that the defining trait of European man that has given him such an interesting history is his restlessness and discontent; in a word, his unhappiness.

    In my youth I admired European achievements and progress. But I now see it was all just a mask for a very deep unhappiness.

    These days I am more Taoistic and Buddhistic- all achievement and progress are inherently unsatisfying, and are masks for fear and unhappiness. The man of action is escaping from something. Happiness is not to be found in the relentless pursuit of ptogress – the worship of time, the worship of tomorrow. Happiness is in the now.

  2. Valéry composed some very fine poetry too. ‘Au platane’ (https://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/Au_platane) and ‘Ébauche d’un serpent’ (https://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/%C3%89bauche_d%E2%80%99un_serpent) are two of my own favourites.

    • Agree: Iris
  3. Meaningful detour to explain one´s own impressions of what Europe stands for. A visionary glance that soothes one´s own sensory of Euro history. Great dig of the author Durocher.

    • Replies: @Guillaume Durocher
  4. Stan says:
    @AaronB

    You were not the first to defecate in the comment section. Loser.

    • LOL: Amerimutt Golems
    • Troll: zimriel
  5. @AaronB

    Meaningful detour to explain one´s own impressions of what Europe stands for. A visionary glance that soothes one´s own sensory of Euro history. Great dig of the author Durocher.

  6. @AaronB

    These days I am more Taoistic and Buddhistic- all achievement and progress are inherently unsatisfying, and are masks for fear and unhappiness. The man of action is escaping from something. Happiness is not to be found in the relentless pursuit of p[r]ogress – the worship of time, the worship of tomorrow. Happiness is in the now.

    A lot of the anhedonia experienced by humans – especially Ango-Saxons – is because of the tension between different lengths of horizon.

    As the West has advanced and secularised, (some) people have started to acknowledge that actions on human timescales are meaningless on geological timescales – even when ‘human timescales‘ is taken to include the entire history of, and likely future of, homo sapiens sapiens. That is to say nothing of universal or cosmological timescales: even assuming that humanity continues its punctuated double-exponential growth, and eventually virtualises, that will only diminish our irrelevance as a species by a few orders of magnitude, and will barely change the irrelevance of our the most potent individuals in human history.

    Taken in a broader temporal context, Napoleon, Mao, Tamerlane, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot are just little knots of atoms whose signal will be zero in another 100 human generations (in the same way that Zeno and Chrisyppus have only vestigial signal 2500 years after their lives).

    So in the broad sweep of history their entire lives reduce to a blip: the Churchills, Wilsons, FDRs, Rockefellers, Herzls, ibn Sauds, and their ilk are even less of a blip, since their impact on human civilisation generally outlasts them by less than a century.

    So anyone who lives their lives as if ‘making their mark’ is a meaningful objective, is retarded. In the long run, not only are we all dead (to quote a 20th century paedophile who didn’t understand economics): the ‘mark’ we make is roughly as consequential as a cat pissing on a wall to mark its territory.

    That doesn’t mean the day to day requirement to obtain calories goes away; it doesn’t change the need to have shelter; it doesn’t undo the fact that modern conveniences are convenient. More comfort is better on timescales relevant to a single man, although pursuit of comfort for its own sake tends to be self-defeating.

    Investing emotional energy in race or culture is itself an enterprise that is entirely short-term in focus: in 5000 years it will not matter who won World War Hair (it won’t even matter if the US winds up majority-quadroon).

    The shift to agriculture resulted in adverse outcomes (worse health; higher levels of infant mortality; reduced adult healthy life expectancy; a surplus that led to the rise of a set of grifters) that lasted thousands of years; it took until the late 19th century until those outcomes surpassed the life experiences of pre-agriculture humans… and we still had the grifters, sucking at our surplus like ticks or leeches.

    Nothing really matters on long timescales.

    This ought to take the wind out of zealot’s sails, but zealots tend to think linearly. I am a self-acknowledged zealot about a single thing: negative liberty. No gods; no masters.

    Even so, I am fully aware that even a complete victory for negative liberty will not change the long run at all… but on local timescales the resultant system will be closer to Pareto-optimality and will therefore result in an expansion path that will be slightly higher in aggregate, and distributed less unjustly.

    Fewer cunts getting to throw their weight around using other’s productivity, would be a nice change after 6,000 years.

  7. Capt. Kirk questions his (non-European) guest…

    • Replies: @zimriel
  8. Mr. Durocher, another French intellectual who thought about these issues, as you certainly know, was Balzac. Let me quote from his book “Sur Catherine de Medicis”, where he develops an argument on the long term effects of the Reformation:
    “Les grands politiques qui Furent vaincus dans cette longue lutte (elle a dure cinq siecles) reconnaissaient à leurs sujets de grandes libertes; mais ils n’admettaient ni la liberte de Publier des pensees antisocial, ni la liberte infinie Du sujet. Pour eux, sujet et libre son en politique Deux termes qui se contredisaient, de meme que des citizens tous egaux constitue un nonsense Que la nature dement a toute heure. Reconnaitre la necessite d’une religion, la necessite du pouvoir, et laisser aux sujets le droit de Nier la religion, d’en ataquer le culte, de s’opposer à l’exercice du pouvoir par l’expression publique, communicable et communiquee de la pensee, est Une impossibilite que ne voulaient point les Catoliques du seizieme siecle.”
    Sorry for the typos but I couldn’t help making them.

    • Replies: @animalogic
  9. @Kratoklastes

    God did not create “blips” or carbon units. He created sons and daughters. Those who abide in God through Christ will live with Him forever. There is no “horizon,” but everlasting life.

  10. ariadna says:

    I wish I could believe that “our critical and idealistic spirit, which has in many ways led to our current sad state of decomposition, may yet enable another unsuspected great enterprise of renewal.”
    I don’t. I believe that men like you will be fewer and fewer as time goes by, and so effectively “canceled” that they will no longer be heard, not even in alt media venues like this one, also cancelled by then. To the future generations raised to be zombies, “European” will be a term often confused with “Etruscan” (no monuments left, only pottery shards).

    https://www.rt.com/op-ed/505089-lockdowns-masks-children-develop/

    I have no respect for Cioran as a man, once a professed admirer of NS and an ardent nationalist who repented vocally later, when convenient, and who vigorously tried “purging himself of the stigmata of his birthplace, including its language, which he rarely deigned to speak even when among Romanian expats. Cioran felt humiliated by the fact of being Romanian. In his early, notoriously fascistic book, The Transfiguration of Romania and in letters to his friends, he called for three quarters of the nation’s population to be exterminated.” The abomination of having been born had only one cure for him: suicide and he made a suicide pact with his companion but he did not keep his word. Perhaps because he was a gourmet and had an abiding attachment to a parfait well made.
    This however does not take anything away from the elegance and acuity of his aphorisms, veritable fleurs du mal he chiseled to perfection in a language not his own (and not even his first foreign language).
    The only solace I find in them about the darkness of today is this: “‘Nous somme tous au fond d’un enfer dont chaque instant est un miracle.’

  11. Seraphim says: • Website
    @ariadna

    Cioran made a pact with the devil in order not to be expelled from France, where he was a student, after the war. I want to believe that his ‘amertumes’ are an expression of the disgust for his cowardice (including ‘dobbing’ on his former friends which led to their arrest and ‘show trials’), but I wouldn’t bet on it. That he turned ‘anti-fascist’ may be understandable (even without the special conditions which obtained in the post-war era of the ‘purges’). Even his books published in Romania were not exactly in tune with what is purported to have been the ‘ideology of the Legionary Movement’ and have been criticized even in legionary papers.
    What is harder to understand was the unnecessary anti-Christian stand he took, playing the Nietzsches. He was the son of an Orthodox priest from a profoundly Orthodox region of Romania. His works have been banned in Communist Romania, but even after the fall of Communism, when he was published with much fanfare, he failed to attract any sympathy, precisely for his attacks on Orthodoxy.
    But trying to hard to imitate Nietzsche, he ended by losing his mind like his model. Karma is a bitch.

  12. Anonymous[453] • Disclaimer says:

    The *ONLY* salient fact of today’s political set up, in the western world, at least, is those who hold an absolute monopoly of power, both political and temporal, absolutely *HATE*, *HATE*, *HATE* white people, with an intensity that cannot be measured by rational men, and they dearly, dearly wish for white people to die, so that they can be replaced by the people they live, that is the darkies.

    This, dear reader is the only truth.
    Everything is just pure bullshit and not even worth your time trying to read.

    Anders Behring Breivik! Bless your soul.

  13. @Kratoklastes

    Great comment.
    We sometimes need to be reminded of our individual — tribal insignificance.
    Should I have loyalty to only my species? Why, over another species? Let’s say parrots — they’re smart & beautiful……
    Knowing the possibilities now likely inherent in our social trajectory — should I care less for humanity? Or is that a systemic treason?
    Never mind — as if my views, whatever amount to squat.
    Comment reminded me of something (somewhere) from James Joyce — be neither a master nor slave.

  14. @Maria Elisa

    A translation would be nice.

    • Replies: @Maria Elisa
  15. @AaronB

    For a while now, I have been explaining to the good commenters on Unz that European pessimism and decline was already in a highly advanced state among the intellectual elite in the 19th century. In their view, the West was as healthy, optimistic, and vibrant as ever until Jews suddenly appeared on the scene after 1950 and convinced the White intellectual elite to turn against Eutopean civilization.

    No sane person is denying this.

    Fabian Society members such as HG Wells were pushing for social change.

    Andrew Joyce has written about pro-black ‘Exeter Hall’ Christians in the UK who resembled modern woke idiots and SJW zealots. Back then Charles Dickens summed up Exeter Hall as follows.


    The Jamaica insurrection is another hopeful piece of business. That platform sympathy with the Black—or the Native, or the Devil—afar off, and that platform indifference to our own countrymen at enormous odds in the midst of bloodshed and savagery makes me stark wild.

    In the 20th century Jews accelerated things. This is well documented by authors like MacDonald, Jones and others. Richard McCulloch recently referenced Earl Raab who in 1993 was about talking demographic change in the U.S. to thwart a ‘Nazi-Aryan’ party from coming to power.

    The holocaust has also been a factor in guilt and censorship in the West. Anthony Lester who pushed through ‘hate speech’ laws in the UK cited the following as motivation.


    My involvement with the vexed problems of racial injustice, bigotry and intolerance began long before 1976. My involvement was shaped by my origins and experience: by the nightmares of a fortunate British Jew who escaped the Nazi Holocaust only by the accident of birth in Britain;

    BTW in 19th century the UK was once led by a Jew – Disraeli. It was also conducting wars against the Chinese (opium) and Boers (gold and diamonds) on behalf of Jewry much like America in the Middle East today.

    In my youth I admired European achievements and progress. But I now see itwas all just a mask for a very deep unhappiness.

    These days I am more Taoistic and Buddhistic- all achievement and progress are inherently unsatisfying, and are masks for fear and unhappiness.

    In other words you need a new host preferably from the East.

    Like you people such as Robert Downey Jr. and Goldie Hawn are already dabbling in Buddhism. Others like Zuckerberg are married to Orientals.

    • Replies: @Montefrío
  16. Isn’t reading Valery pointless now given the collapse has already occurred in France, Belgium and the UK? It would be better for Mr Durocher to provide areas of France where the natives can retreat and eke out a living away from the new ruling class. How feasible is each area? Can they be self sufficient in the provision of water , food and basic goods? Where can classic French books be stored safely for future generations? How will the native French still hear Berlioz or Debussy? Will the new ruling class allow relations with the outside world? These are the important questions now.

    • Replies: @Guillaume Durocher
  17. ariadna says:
    @Seraphim

    If he were alive today Cioran most likely would be among the most “woke” intellectuals advocating for the 10-year-old children’s sexual “freedom” to “love and be loved by adults”, as he in effect did on behalf of his close friend and open pedophile:

    https://www.revistaelestornudo.com/vanessa-gabriel-matzneff-pedofilia-abuso-menores-francia/

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  18. Anonymous[408] • Disclaimer says:

    Never Mind The Bollocks:

    Only two trends in this present century are worth a damn and any intelligent consideration. Everything else is just worthless, extraneous mental masturbation:

    1/. In north America, and in their ancestral homeland of western Europe, whites will leave the 21st century as a powerless, hated, despised and persecuted minority.
    2/. This present century will see complete, total, absolute full spectrum monetary, fiscal,
    financial, economic, political, military, cultural, military, technological, academic, technical, industrial, manufacturing etc etc dominance by one hegemon – namely China – the likes of which the earth in its thousands of years of recorded history has never seen the likes of which before. What’s more, this hegemony will persist forever.

    • Replies: @Svevlad
  19. Svevlad says:
    @Kratoklastes

    It’s just another form of their softness and crybaby nature. Overly rationalistic while at the same time being nice. Sorry boy, that gets you extinct. You don’t have the capriciousness and narcissism to not have the need to justify your own existence.

    So what if we’re insignificant and people’s actions fade away over time? They’re still in continuity important for the entire structure.

    Think of it as making a large piece of cloth. Each loop of a thread is one person. When the cloth is tiny, they seem massively important, yet the larger it grows, the smaller and more insignificant they are. But they only appear so. Destroy one and the thread is broken, endangering the entire structure. No matter how big the cloth gets – the planet, the solar system, the entire universe, that one loop looks smaller and more insignificant, but yet is still important.

    Wanting to have a mark upon the world isn’t bad, for even though perhaps in the most distant futures nobody will remember you and your actions, their existence would still be influenced. Butterfly effect.

    Southern Europeans don’t have this issue. We do things because we can and want to for no logical or explainable reason, and we don’t justify or explain ourselves to anyone. The imposition of this form of thinking on others means they’ll be automatically saved

    • Agree: Agathoklis, AceDeuce
  20. Svevlad says:
    @Anonymous

    Oh friend, “forever” is such a long time…

    To think history is linear is… pretty ballsy, to not use a harsher word

    • Agree: Montefrío
    • Replies: @Anonymous
  21. @Agathoklis

    I am skeptical of such projects. The White Nationalist website Démocratie Participative publicly promotes the plan of “Greater Burgundy” as a White racial enclave within France. Actually, their analysis of French demographics is both lucid and long-term: the cities are lost, nationalists are a minority within an ethnic population that is itself becoming a minority, and life will have to be rebuilt from the countryside, with control of food production playing a critical role.

    However, in the immediate, I am skeptical of any public plans for “nationalist communes.” If these things have any scale and organization, say beyond 20 people, it’s quite likely they will get found out by the security services. Total self-reliance is unrealistic given the standards of living people expect. People’s needs are more prosaic: Do you have a job that lets you support a family? Will this job be kept if you get found out as a 1488er? (Probably not.) So best be discrete.

    Longer term things can change of course as the demographic and subcultural situation further polarizes and radicalizes.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Agathoklis
  22. @AaronB

    Thank you for the kind words! Can we be personally happy and leave a healthy biological legacy? I should think so.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  23. @ariadna

    Where does Cioran call for extermination 3/4 Romanians? Cioran is a manic depressive, oscillating between a deathly lucidity and vitalist exhortations.. between Buddha and Führer..

    • Replies: @ariadna
  24. @Seraphim

    Cioran made a pact with the devil in order not to be expelled from France, where he was a student, after the war. I want to believe that his ‘amertumes’ are an expression of the disgust for his cowardice (including ‘dobbing’ on his former friends which led to their arrest and ‘show trials’), but I wouldn’t bet on it. That he turned ‘anti-fascist’ may be understandable (even without the special conditions which obtained in the post-war era of the ‘purges’). Even his books published in Romania were not exactly in tune with what is purported to have been the ‘ideology of the Legionary Movement’ and have been criticized even in legionary papers.

    Agreed.

    What is harder to understand was the unnecessary anti-Christian stand he took, playing the Nietzsches. He was the son of an Orthodox priest from a profoundly Orthodox region of Romania. His works have been banned in Communist Romania, but even after the fall of Communism, when he was published with much fanfare, he failed to attract any sympathy, precisely for his attacks on Orthodoxy.

    What is hard to understand? He did not believe in the existence of God and rejected the whole Christian world-view as false and sterile. He could be sincere.. and that point. Though one might say his bitter, disappointed ruminations resemble.. Job’s.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  25. Anonymous[153] • Disclaimer says:
    @Svevlad

    Put it this way:

    The Chinese have got the mix of ingredients to dominate the globe ‘just right’, so much so it’s very difficult to consider who could possibly even challenge them – and of course, by then, whitey will have gone – thanks, Economist.
    I can offer you know better supposition than this, but it’s one of the very very few things that I *just know*, in my bones, so to speak, is correct, and will come to pass.
    I have absolutely no claim to be a psychic, in fact I believe in nothing at all, apart from a good dose of Darwin and Nietzsche, but when I’m convinced, I’m convinced.

  26. Anonymous[153] • Disclaimer says:
    @Guillaume Durocher

    Honestly, we’ve been fucked over so well and truly by The Economist/political establishment, that we have to accept our fate and defeat – as hard as this sounds.

    Personally, I’m happy of the fact that I am childless and approaching the autumn of my life. Bringing my kin into this Economist run world is, to me, the ultimate act of evil.

    As I mentioned on another thread, the only hope, a forlorn one at that, of the white race is to form a respectful cohabitation with the Chinese masters of the future.

    Sorry to depress you all, but I really, truly, honestly can’t see another way out of this political/Economist created cataclysm.

  27. I appreciate the intellectual efforts of Mr. Durocher in lifting the average level of this publication. That said, there is a sentimental streak running through the entire article which does not comport with the facts.

    We are told we’re living in “decline” yet the imagined happy past was one of rife illiteracy, shorter life-spans, greater ignorance, far more substantial material poverty.

    It is also a manoid-centric world view, as most women in the world could not vote and even those who could had more rights on paper than in reality. I do not pine for a past that was never great. Nor do I seek to be lord over a trash heap, which is what the situation was in 1900.

    We should instead calmly and rationally observe that the period from 1750 until ~1950 was an abberation in world history. It would never last because it couldn’t last. I also do not see much point in trying to gin up fraudulent loyalty on the basis of race. World progress is driven by a small minority in each generation. It is better to unite this minority across time and space, rather than confine them to the dregs of their respective societies.

    • Disagree: zimriel
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Anonymous
  28. Anonymous[262] • Disclaimer says:
    @Thulean Friend

    Enfranchising women – short of importing darkies into white nations – was the biggest, most grievous, wickedest, calamitous act of sheer malice and stupidity that the white race, in its decadence, ever inflicted upon itself.
    A disaster from which it will *NEVER* recover.

    If I had the power, I would disenfranchise all women with immediate effect, not give a shit and never look back.

  29. Anonymous[343] • Disclaimer says:
    @Thulean Friend

    You’re a subcon, aren’t you?

    You are no friend of ours, and I’m no friend of yours.

    All I request from you and yours is that you stop trying to takeover our homelands.
    Apart from that, I couldn’t give a damn about the whole 2 billion of you. Whether you go up in smoke or you carry on your beggardly existence.

    • Replies: @utu
  30. Guillaume, thank you for this excellent piece. What is the somewhat trite quote from Valéry you are referring to in the introduction?

  31. @Anonymous

    Enfranchising women – short of importing darkies into white nations – was the biggest, most grievous, wickedest, calamitous act of sheer malice and stupidity that the white race, in its decadence, ever inflicted upon itself.
    A disaster from which it will *NEVER* recover.

    Perfect example of why I don’t share in the false nostalgia of the past. It is a reactionary longing for a poorer, more violent, more illiterate and more unequal past.

    Good riddance.

    • Replies: @Neuday
  32. Anonymous[262] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    One fact that gives me a great deal of wry satisfaction is this:

    In the UK, it was exclusively the Liberal and Labour Parties which foisted the anathema of female suffrage upon an unwilling and unsuspecting electorate.

    It is exceedingly doubtful whether the Conservative Party – if never prompted – would ever have acceded to this insanity. In those days it was run by real men.

    The Liberal Party went down the political toilet a long long time ago.

    However, in a delicious irony, it is a well known fact amongst those who study these things that if women had never been given the vote – the Labour Party more or less pushed every piece of pro woman rubbish into British law – then the Labour Party would have won *every* *single* UK General Election ever called since 1945 with big majorities. Doubtless, if this had happened, the UK would now be a full blown socialist state

    Ha ha ha.

  33. Anonymous[262] • Disclaimer says:

    Women, blacks and browns are the *natural born inferiors* of white men.

    This is the way ‘god’ ordained the world. We should not apologise for this OR feel any shame or built for this.
    It’s the way that it is. It is natural, therefore true and good.

    In the same way ‘god’ created lions and tigers – and also rats and mice to scurry about and hide from their predators.

    No one feels sorry for the poor rat in his natural born status to be the food of cats, hawks, snakes etc and to live a pitiable persecuted life – God made it that way.

    Likewise the ‘gods’ – white men – should feel no pity for women, blacks and browns.

    • Disagree: zimriel
  34. El Dato says:
    @AaronB

    But I now see it was all just a mask for a very deep unhappiness.

    Is this a Bad Thing?

    There is no spiritual being to please by achieving “happiness” (a subjective meaning at best, generally found in drug users). Various cults pretend this is so. Bullshit. “Happiness as a goal” is something that is being sold by the upper crust to peasants.

    Happiness is in the now.

    But no-one who wants to stay alive permanently lives in the “now”.

    Related: The Neurology of Flow States

    • Replies: @Bert
  35. Neuday says:
    @Thulean Friend

    “Reactionary”, “fake . . . past”, “more unequal”. You do have the Socialist terms down.

    Female suffrage has been an unmitigated disaster for national well-being and the happiness of women. Being involved in politics has ruined women and made politics vastly more sentimental and irrational, with results in plain view.

    • Agree: ariadna
    • Replies: @zimriel
  36. Neuday says:
    @Anonymous

    Agreed. It was sheer hubris and folly, against all honest experience with women, to allow women the vote. It’s almost as if a certain group of people knew that women could be easily manipulated by their emotions and vote according to their desire to conform to popular opinions, as transmitted through the media and the approved authority figures. Woodrow Wilson was a tool of those people.

    • Agree: ariadna
  37. @animalogic

    The great politicians who were defeated during this long fight (it lasted five centuries) granted their subjects great liberties; but they did not allow either the liberty of publishing antisocial thoughts or the indefinite freedom of subjects. For them, subject and free are political terms that Contradict one another, in the same way that citizens all equal is a nonsensical concept that nature denies all the time. To recognize the need for religion, the need for power, and to allow citizens the right to deny religion, to attack religious practice, to oppose the exercise of power through public expression that is both communicated and communicable, is an impossibility that Catholics in the sixteenth century did not want at all.

    • Thanks: SeekerofthePresence
  38. zimriel says:
    @SeekerofthePresence

    Aryan, though . . . [yes yes I know Montalban was a poor choice to play an apostate Sikh, but he was the closest they had in the 1960s]
    That’s a good point though: the postIslamic Silk Road raised up some great mathematicians and chemists. Beckwith and Starr wrote some good books on this. When this civilisation had the Med, explorers from ‘Lishbuna’ got past the Azores into the Sargasso.
    So close . . .

    • Thanks: SeekerofthePresence
  39. zimriel says:
    @Neuday

    One salubrious effect of bringing [single] women into politics is that medicine has been brought into politics. On average men don’t care about infectious disease as women do; as a result women are more sensible about Covid than are men.

  40. AaronB says:
    @Kratoklastes

    Yes, this is basically the Buddhist insight, that basically we are insignificant. This doesn’t have to be depressing; it can be exhilirating and liberating. To “see through” life and the world – to see its emptiness – is basically the Awakening Buddhism talks about. Nothing more fancy than that.

    But people are afraid to accept this. They think they are anhedonic because their life is meaningless; they don’t realize they are anhedonic because they attach too much significance to themselves, to life, and the world. They think they have to “be something”, or “get somewhere”, and so they cannot appreciate life as it is right now in all its weirdness, mystery, and beauty. Zen tries very hard to oppose this tendency.

    Of course, Buddhism became just another program for “self-improvement” for the masses, and started teaching people to strive for some “higher state”, but the original message survives in remarkable purity in countless Buddhist texts.

    This ought to take the wind out of zealot’s sails, but zealots tend to think linearly. I am a self-acknowledged zealot about a single thing: negative liberty. No gods; no masters

    Have you read Norman O Brown Life Againdt Death? He has a remarkably bold thesis. His starting point is Freuds observation that civilization involves suppression of the instincts, which leads to neuroticism. Freud of course concluded that this is a necessary compromise, and that chronic anhedonia is the price man for getting the benefits of civilization, like security etc.

    Brown reverses all this and suggests that if suppression of the instincs is the cause of mental illness as Freud says, then perhaps all civilizations have been simply experiments in neuroticism, and a truly human history hasn’t event begun. He says primitive societies are no different. If nothing else, its a very erudite book with fascinating discussions of primitive societies as well as the world’s great civilizations.

    Humans need the freedom to be themselves to be happy – but so many people, in the name of God, society, or some master, try aand suppress us and tell us we must conform to some rigid idea they have. And that too comes from fear and insecurity – they try and “fix” a fluid world.

    • Replies: @James O'Meara
    , @Bert
  41. AaronB says:
    @Guillaume Durocher

    Yes, I definitely think we can be happy, if we accept life as it is and stop trying to be other than we are, and dont take ourselves or the world too seriously!

    But this seems to be so far at least, a hard task for humanity. Probably, only individuals at any given time can really do this, although I think some societies can be more influenced by this attitude than others, and more conducive to happiness.

    Please continue with your excellent series on the French moralistes. This “skeptical” philosophic tradition is to my mind the most profound in Europe – Neitzsche thought likewise. It attempts to “see through” life, while the Germans, even pessimists like Schopenhauer, are really at bottom superficially optimistic. And forget about the Anglos….

  42. “Your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time”

  43. Seraphim says:
    @ariadna

    I would like to hear ‘Séraphin c’est la fin’ [de ce genre de miserable ‘Pensées’], but, again, I don’t bet on it. I stick with Pascal’s wager.

  44. Yes, this is basically the Buddhist insight, that basically we are insignificant.

    David on the God-visited insignificance of man, Psalm 8…

    1 O Lord, our Lord,
    How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
    Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

    [MORE]

    2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
    You have ordained strength,
    Because of Your enemies,
    That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

    3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
    The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
    4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
    And the son of man that You visit him?
    5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
    And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

    6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
    You have put all things under his feet,
    7 All sheep and oxen—
    Even the beasts of the field,
    8 The birds of the air,
    And the fish of the sea
    That pass through the paths of the seas.

    9 O Lord, our Lord,
    How excellent is Your name in all the earth!

    NKJV

  45. @Kratoklastes

    Blasphemy! Only a return to pre-Vatican II Roman Catholicism (actually, pre-Reformation Roman Catholicism) will save the West! All else is crypto-Judeo-Masonic Illuminatism leading directly to Pizzagate!

  46. @AaronB

    “They think they are anhedonic because their life is meaningless; they don’t realize they are anhedonic because they attach too much significance to themselves, to life, and the world. They think they have to “be something”, or “get somewhere”, and so they cannot appreciate life as it is right now in all its weirdness, mystery, and beauty. Zen tries very hard to oppose this tendency.”

    Alan Watts tried to make people understand this.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  47. @AaronB

    “This “skeptical” philosophic tradition is to my mind the most profound in Europe – Neitzsche thought likewise. And forget about the Anglos….”

    What Nietzsche thought to be “the most profound”:

    “Nietzsche has little unqualified good to say about individual modern philosophers—save one: Ralph Waldo Emerson. Nietzsche loved Emerson from first to last. Nietzsche’s interest in and admiration of Emerson began when he was still a schoolboy and continued throughout his productive life. He studiously annotated and copied whole passages from German translations of Emerson’s essays. In 1884, Nietzsche described Emerson as, “a glorious, great nature, rich in soul and spirit” and pronounced Emerson to be, “the author who has been the richest in ideas in this century.”And commenting on a collection of Emerson’s essays, Nietzsche wrote: “Never have I felt so at home in a book, and in my home, as—I may not praise it, it is too close to me.”

    https://merionwest.com/2019/05/21/nietzsches-first-man-ralph-waldo-emerson/

    • Replies: @SeekerofthePresence
  48. utu says:
    @Anonymous

    AaronB the Jew, Hindoo Dindoo Thulean Friend and Maori cannibal Kratoklastes, they do not like Europe. They do not like Greco-Roman-Christian civilization.

    • Agree: Bert
    • Replies: @Seraphim
    , @Anon
  49. @AaronB

    Cheers! I am afraid I can’t even begin to paraphrase Montaigne and La Rochefoucauld, both excellent, but the latter in particular is underrated, very important.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  50. @James O'Meara

    Nietzsche and Emerson point to something, or someone, higher; but both fall short. The mark, the measure of all truth and good, is Christ.

  51. Seraphim says:
    @Guillaume Durocher

    As I mentioned, his books were banned in Communist Romania for their alleged ‘anti-Communist’ and ‘mistico-fascist’ content. Now, you know that Communism was equated (officially) with atheism. Reality is that atheism failed in Romania, due of course, to the ‘backwardness’ of the people and partly to the half-hearted application by the Party of the Soviet modes of ‘convincing’ people to abandon their deep seated ‘obscurantist’ modes of thinking (people viewed atheism and communism as an imposition by the Soviet occupants). In short, people remained Orthodox and Orthodoxy’s outlook is completely alien to the kind of ‘Job’s’ ruminations to which the ‘West’ is so adept to, believing that is proof of the heroic courage of man to ‘think with his own head’. It actually perceive them as a symptom of the decadence and putrefaction of the ‘West’ which lost its faith. Orthodoxy takes for granted the answer for Job’s ruminations.
    But, misinformed about the real exploits of Cioran, they believed the propaganda that he was a ‘mistic-obscurantist’ (which was in the Party’s parlance the essence of Orthodoxy) of the kind that filled to the brim the islands of the Romanian GULAG, to be ‘re-educated’ in atheism.
    The disappointment came when they realized that the ‘anti-communist’, ‘mistic’ was speaking the same language as the ‘re-educators’ (actually that he spoke it always: “I agree with many of the things I’ve seen here, and I am persuaded that our native good-for-nothingness could be stifled, if not eradicated, by a dictatorial regime. In Romania, only terror, brutality and infinite anxiety could still lead to some change. All Romanians should be arrested and beaten to a pulp; only after such a beating could a superficial people make history” -1933!). That he was not what he was made to be.
    It was hard to understand how and why the son of a priest, born and brought up in a region were Orthodoxy was welded with Romanian nationalism, were Orthodoxy was the source of strength, hope and optimism in the future of the nation which just completed its state unity (Romania Mare), for long believed to be a ‘fighter’ from the ‘Free World’ for the liberation from the yoke of the atheist communists (scores of people crammed the jails only for suspicion that they had contacts with him) got the burning complex of inferiority that tortured him all his life. Romanians may be a small and insignificant nation, with a small and insignificant culture in the eyes of the West, but they are not in their own eyes and although they are not indifferent when they are treated with the contempt that the West reserves for the ‘orientals’, ‘balkaniks’, they don’t lose much sleep about it. As a famous French (Raymond Poincaré) who happened to have an experience of Romania before WW1 put it: “”Que voulez-vous, nous sommes ici aux portes de l’Orient, où tout est pris à la légère”.

    • Agree: ariadna
  52. Bert says:
    @AaronB

    A Jew pathologicizing European creativity by deriving it from “unhappiness.” That is the expected gambit.

  53. Bert says:
    @AaronB

    Next gambit: sell them Buddhist spaced-out contentment, so they won’t wake up and do something about Jewish control of their society. And Mr. “No Gods. No Masters.” falls for it. ….LOL.

  54. Bert says:
    @El Dato

    I and the other creative individuals whom I know are happiest when riding the waves of agony and fulfillment that precede attaining Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow State. What made Europeans great is enjoyment of struggle. The Flow State is useful for any difficult activity, e.g. music, trading intra-day, performing surgery, but happiest is he who lives in a state of creative struggle, not to be confused with a hopeless struggle imposed from without.

  55. BB753 says:

    I used to be quite fond of Valery myself in my youth. Good essay! But I’m surprised you didn’t mention his philosophical “petit roman”, “Monsieur Teste”.
    As for Valéry’s insights, it didn’t take a genius to realize that Europe had commited suicide in 1914-1918. Of course, most people only have rear-vision. Even today, Europeans (and Americans) delude themselves into thinking they still a bright future ahead. We are not only screwed but dead, or terminally ill if you prefer, living on borrowed time.

  56. @Seraphim

    Poor noxious West got stuck in its head.
    ‘Teach us atheism!” they cried out in their schools.
    State and society sank like lead.
    All that was left—burning buildings and dead pools.
    Easterners with heart held fast their hidden jewels.

  57. Seraphim says:
    @utu

    They hate Greco-Roman-Christian civilization because they hate the Christ and the Holy Spirit:

    “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. 23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. 26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:18-27).

  58. @Seraphim

    That’s quite fine. Cioran was obviously a bloodthirsty bookworm, apparently compensating personal feebleness by scribbling dark dreams of NazBol tyranny. Though he proved wiser when rubber hit the road (i.e. when communism actually approached Romania). He was idiosyncratic and tortured by excess.. objectivity. He hated cope.

    Also, calling to bludgeon a nation into shape is not exactly extermination. Though I’m personally wary of such methods. Actually, Ceaușesquism can be considered an actuation of some of the youthful Cioran’s inane fantasies… But I can understand what he meant. None of the measures typically discussed will turn Romania into a noteworthy or even particularly functional nation. One likely needs a century of good breeding.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  59. @Amerimutt Golems

    Your conclusion that an interest in Taoism and/or Buddhism leads one to “need a new host preferably from the East” seems a bit extreme. I took an interest in them at age 16, now nearly 60 years ago, an interest strong enough to have led me to decide to major in Asian Studies at the Ivy League university (they were still serious study centers back then) from which I graduated. I’ve been a Zen practitioner (it’s a metaphysical practice, not a religion) for more than 50 years. Never once did I consider moving to Asia.

    “You people”? I and many other Westerners who find value in the teachings have precious little in common with likely poseurs such as those named. I suspect you haven’t delved much into the literature, never mind exploring for yourself what these very old metaphysical teaching might have to offer on a practical level. More’s the pity. I value my NW-European heritage, but not to the exclusiion of all else. No one, repeat no one, myself included, nor any ethnic group for that matter, has all the answers.

  60. Anon[449] • Disclaimer says:
    @utu

    Slightly OT: Someone predicted on another thread, without a crystal ball, that “senator jilljoe will come down hard”. So JPMorgan has a “Trump basket” that has lost 16% over the last three months. One could hypothetically do a call on that. Thanks for all the useful links & best wishes.

  61. AaronB says:
    @James O'Meara

    Alan Watts was one of the great unappreciated geniuses of the last century. I avoided him for a long time because of his reputation for being a superficial pop culture philosopher, but when I finally read him I was astonished at how lucid and subtle he was, a first rate intellect.

    He used to say he was revealing traditions that had been esoteric and kept secret for centuries, but it wouldn’t really make a difference because the serious people of the world would just declare him superficial and so no one serious would read him, so they would remain in a sense secret. And that’s what happened. While countless individuals have had their lives transformed by Watts, his impact on the larger culture has been minimal.

    The so called secret doctrines of Buddhism aren’t secret really, its just that most people can’t really “hear” them. Its remarkable how many people in Asia and the West could not “hear” the simple and lucid message of the Buddha, and twisted his words into a religion of ego-building striving, and a philosophy of no-self into a vision of human grandiosity, a philosophy of no-ego and no separate selves becoming about humans developing into supermem like Arhats snd Boddhissatvas.

  62. AaronB says:
    @Guillaume Durocher

    Agree about La Rochefoucauld. One cannot have illusions about human progress after reading him, a seminal writer in the education of every Buddhist and cheerful nihilist.

    British philosopher John Gray manages to combine La Rochefoucauld with a kind of mystic Taoism and is a modern exemplar of the school of cheerful disillusion.

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
  63. @AaronB

    I would also highly recommend Rivarol, Chamfort, Gracian, Gomez Davila and Laskaratos as great aphorists with a similar outlook on human nature as La Rochefoucauld.

    All this talk of Taoism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Jainism etc is a dead end for European Man.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  64. @Guillaume Durocher

    Guillaume, I am actually thinking of the Druze in Syria/Lebanon, the Alawites in Syria, the Zoroastrians in Yazd or Yezidi in Nineveh. Over the centuries, the authorities seemed to have tolerated them as long as they stayed in their mountain refuges or isolated desert communities. Of course, there was the occasional massacre or mass rape by an over-zealous Caliph or Pasha but generally they were left alone. Granted, this perhaps not feasible in the modern age.

  65. AaronB says:
    @Agathoklis

    Thanks. I know some of those names.

    Montaigne is a Western Taoist, and Proust is considered to have a very Buddhist sensibility.

    The basics of the Eastern tradition exist in the West. We don’t need to import Taoism or Buddhism but develop that tradition within the West.

  66. It is very unlikely Montaigne had any exposure to nonsense like Taoism. Any similarities; however, distant, between his thought and Taoism were purely accidental. Montaigne was a product of the Renaissance; and therefore, his influences were the Greek and Latin classics. Obviously, the skeptical Greek tradition was important to him but he also read Plutarch, the Roman historians and the Epicureans. Similarly for Proust.

    Your attempt to see Asian philosophy everywhere is just a feeble attempt to justify ex post your silly dalliance with Far Eastern infantile attempts at philosophy. This is a typical approach of bored Westerners and faux Westerners who feel the need to skip around to every new idea peddled by snake oil salesmen rather really deeply immersing themselves in their own intellectual tradition. Even certain schools of Islamic thought are better than Asian religious and philosophical traditions as they had the good fortune to initially translate some of the Greek and Roman works and sometimes even expanded on these gems; although, it did not do much for them them on the long run.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  67. AaronB says:
    @Agathoklis

    Obviously Montaigne was not influenced by Taoism!

    I am not trying to establish that Asians alone developed this philosophy and influenced others – I am not trying to establish Asian “superiority”.

    This approach to life was independently discovered all over the world wherever sensitive and intelligent men grappled with the problems of life. The Greek Pyrhhonnian skeptics were a major source for this in the West.

    A book like the Chuang Tzu is a delight to read and I am not sure why you’d want to deny yourself this pleasure merely because he wasn’t inspired by ancient Greece, but you can get basically the same message in Montaigne.

    The omly difference is this approach was more influential in Asia, and I’d like to see that happen in the West, and I think it is.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  68. I probably only have 40-50 years left of life. There is only so much reading time left over after going to work, raising children, making love, drinking wine, barbecuing meat, playing music, singing songs, going to the theatre, keeping fit, tending to my fruit trees, hiking in the islands, sailing and looking after ageing parents. The European tradition (not only the Greek classics) is so vast, one would need several lifetimes to get a good handle on it. If we include poetry and other forms of literature then there is even less time. I have read a selection of Asian so called philosophy and it just reads like advice dispensed by a trusted old and regular friend i.e. rather useful but lacking profundity, originality and humour.

  69. Seraphim says:
    @Guillaume Durocher

    Actually the methods we talk about were applied in the first decades of Communism in Romania when Ceausescu was a second plan figure in the Party, by the ‘internationalist-anti-fascist’ (Comintern) flotsam that occupied key positions in the Party and State and filled the ranks of the Securitate, in majority non-ethnic Romanians (Hungarian Jews, Russian Jews), with grudges against the ethnic Romanians and who were still adepts of the Comintern’s plans to partition Romania among its ‘worthy’ neighbors.
    Ceausescu, with all his faults was a peasant, instinctively nationalist and patriot (anathema for the ‘globalists’ of the ‘International Community’). He got rid of many of the internationalists and turned to a ‘nationalistic’ line which upset the ‘anti-fascists’ who reverted illico presto to accusations of ‘anti-semitism’, ‘xenophobia’, ‘persecution of minorities’ (the ‘West’ was incensed by the ‘treatment of Hungarian minority’), sentiments deep-seated into the psyche of an unworthy and dysfunctional nation (actually the ‘West’ has difficulties to recognize that Romanians are a nation) because of the nefarious influence of the Orthodox Church.
    Cioran certainly did not advocate the ‘extermination’ of Romanians. Anyhow, it would be hard to make sense of Cioran not having an inkling about the ‘cafe culture’ that Cioran frequented assiduously in the inter-war Bucharest: “In Bucharest I met lots of people, many interesting people, especially losers, who would show up at the cafe, talking endlessly and doing nothing. I have to say that, for me, these were the most interesting people there. People who did nothing all their lives, but who otherwise were brilliant”.
    What is curious (and not so) is that he was assiduously promoted in post-communist Romania by the intellectual mercenaries of the Soros gang.

  70. AaronB says:
    @Agathoklis

    I hear that. There is really no need to read Asian books. Just read Montaigne:)

    I don’t know what you read, but if there is one Asian book worth reading in a good translation, its the Chuqng Tzu. Just a really fun and subversive book. Nothing you won’t find in the west, but interesting how another culture said these things.

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
  71. @Agathoklis

    Pindar anyone?

    profundity, originality and humour

    Lao-tze was a theological genius, and many of his ideas and sentiments in sympathy with St. John the Apostle, writer of the fourth Gospel. He and his disciple Chuang-tze (something like a Chinese Plato) possess the three cited virtues in abundance.

    Nevertheless, the greatest flowering of Greek brilliance, and all world literature, is to be found in the New Testament, especially the sayings of Christ and the revelations of John, Paul, and Peter. So transcendent is that humble volume, it is not literature at all, but Revelation.

    Recommended for lovers of Greek literature, “Paideia” and “Paideia and Early Christianity,” both by Werner Jaeger.

    • Agree: Seraphim
    • Replies: @Agathoklis
  72. Seraphim says:
    @AaronB

    The West has lost its moorings. What about the Ecclesiastes/Qōheleṯ/ Ἐκκλησιαστής ? It is a canonical book of the Christian Tradition.
    “Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity”.
    “I beheld all the works that were wrought under the sun; and, beheld, all were vanity and waywardness of spirit”.
    But also: “Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher; all is vanity. 9 And because the Preacher was wise above [others, so it was] that he taught man excellent knowledge, and the ear will trace out the parables. 10 The Preacher sought diligently to find out acceptable words, and a correct writing, [even] words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails firmly fastened, which have been given from one shepherd by agreement. 12 And moreover, my son, guard thyself by means of them: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. 13 Hear the end of the matter, the sun: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole man. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, with everything that has been overlooked, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  73. @AaronB

    “Just a really fun and subversive book” Aren’t we tired of this Western party trick? Why is a work of literature or art worthy of attention when it is subversive or risque or titillating? Why don’t our intellectual elites value works that are fulfilling, life affirming, inspiring. Works that buttress the family and ethnos.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  74. @SeekerofthePresence

    As a Greek speaker and able reader of Koine Greek, I can tell you the New Testament is not great literature. It is written in quite poor Greek; especially Mark, but there are exceptions such as certain passages of Paul. They simply do not compare in style with near contemporaries like Dio Chrysostom, Plutarch and Aelius Aristidis. The message and sentiments of the New Testament are obviously noble.

    The books you cite by Werner Jaeger are tremendous. Highly recommend all four volumes.

  75. AaronB says:
    @Agathoklis

    Well, subversive of what?

    My starting assumption – and that of the Greek philosophers as well, else why philosophize? – is that many of our common sense notions and perceptions are errors that are holding us in bondage.

    So to question them is life affirming. Greek philosophy is a massive effort to liberate us from the baondage of our unquestioned assumptions. Likewise Taoism and Buddhism.

    Montaigne is massively subversive of the common sense notions that enslave us to our own detriment. Likewise the Pyrrhonian Greeks.

    The social order we grow up in implants in us all sorts of ideas that are not to our benefit, but to the benefit of those in power. (Ultimately not even to their benefit). It is vital we question this. This is subversive, but life affirming and healthy.

    For me, questioning the socially inculcated notion that my worth is defined by what I “achieve” – that I am merely a machine who produces output – has been incredibly liberating. But it could not have been done without all the subversive thinkers down the generations.

  76. AaronB says:
    @Seraphim

    Yes, the wisdom books of the OT are fantastically liberating literature in the tradition I am discussing here.

    Vanity of vanities – a bracing reminder. And to me, joyous.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  77. Europe’s decline was caused, or perhaps accelerated, by her division.

    Meh.

    Europe spent the whole of post-Roman history as a bunch of tiny city states at constant (mostly ineffective, low level) war with their neighbors, and it produced that European explosion of advancement.

    Then they started consolidating into giant multi-ethnic empires around the same time they began to stagnate (and utterly annihilated each other in the world wars). Now they want to consolidate into one mega-state covering the whole continent where the most important issue will be how to pay for the healthcare and welfare so they can decline comfortably.

    Anyone chalking up the decline of Europe to it’s division is being completely ahistorical on that note. Everything it ever achieved it achieved divided.

    Hell, even the Roman empire produced most of it’s growth and advancement prior to most of it’s conquest, and mainly stagnated and declined after it had unified 2/3rds or so of Europe.

    • Replies: @Guillaume Durocher
  78. Seraphim says:
    @AaronB

    I am certain that you know (or you should know) the “story of Rabbi Eisik, son of Rabbi Yekel in Cracow. After many years of great poverty which had never shaken his faith in God, he dreamed someone bade him look for a treasure in Prague, under the bridge which leads to the king’s palace. When the dream recurred a third time, Rabbi Eisik prepared for the journey and set out for Prague. But the bridge was guarded day and night and he did not dare to start digging. Nevertheless he went to the bridge every morning and kept walking around it until evening.
    Finally the captain of the guards, who had been watching him, asked in a kindly way whether he was looking for something or waiting for somebody. Rabbi Eisik told him of the dream which had brought him here from a faraway country. The captain laughed: “And so to please the dream, you poor fellow wore out your shoes to come here! As for having faith in dreams, if I had had it, I should have had to get going when a dream once told me to go to Cracow and dig for treasure under the stove in the room of a Jew—Eisik, son of Yekel, that was the name! Eisik, son of Yekel! I can just imagine what it would be like, how I should have to try every house over there, where one half of the Jews are named Eisik,and the other Yekel!” And he laughed again. Rabbi Eisik bowed, traveled home, dug up the treasure from under the stove, and built the House of Prayer which is called “Reb Eisik’s Shul.” (story of Rabbi Eisik, son of Rabbi Yekel in Cracow. After many years of great poverty which had never shaken his faith in God, he dreamed someone bade him look for a treasure in Prague, under the bridge which leads to the king’s palace. When the dream recurred a third time, Rabbi Eisik prepared for the journey and set out for Prague. But the bridge was guarded day and night and he did not dare to start digging. Nevertheless he went to the bridge every morning and kept walking around it until evening.
    Finally the captain of the guards, who had been watching him, asked in a kindly way whether he was looking for something or waiting for somebody. Rabbi Eisik told him of the dream which had brought him here from a faraway country. The captain laughed: “And so to please the dream, you poor fellow wore out your shoes to come here! As for having faith in dreams, if I had had it, I should have had to get going when a dream once told me to go to Cracow and dig for treasure under the stove in the room of a Jew—Eisik, son of Yekel, that was the name! Eisik, son of Yekel! I can just imagine what it would be like, how I should have to try every house over there, where one half of the Jews are named Eisik,and the other Yekel!” And he laughed again. Rabbi Eisik bowed, traveled home, dug up the treasure from under the stove, and built the House of Prayer which is called “Reb Eisik’s Shul.” (“The Treasure.” Buber, Martin. Tales of the Hasidism: The Later Masters. New York: Schocken Books, ©1948, 1975. pp. 245-246).

    Indeed the West threw out of the window its own Tradition because its God was too demanding and then started looking for it far away. But it is still there ‘at hand’, next door, in every little church that keep the Scriptures. Just “knock and the door will be opened to you”, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find”.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  79. Seraphim says:

    @The Chinese who discovered them did not realize that they had the means of forever disturbing the world’s peace

    Or, on the contrary they realized that those means could disturb the world’s peace and harmony and its peace of mind, soiling its beauty forever, and deliberately stopped ‘chasing after the wind’. Can one find fault with the Chinese that they invented a way to put the dangerous gunpowder to a good use (as they could not ‘dis-invent’ it) instead of making cannons and ‘super duper rockets’ to blast their fellows to smithereens, just to show them who is the ‘tough one’? And can one praise as a laudable endeavor and sign of creativity, the invention of more and more destructive weapons?

  80. Anon[292] • Disclaimer says:

    I only want to save you even against your own will

  81. AaronB says:
    @Seraphim

    Its a good story with a good moral.

    The study of other cultures makes you see your own culture more clearly. It lets you question things that you might have taken for granted and held as an unquestioned assumption about the way things must be.

    But that doesn’t mean you have to adopt other cultures. You can borrow some stuff but you always have to adapt it and change it to your different situation. And you can rediscover parts of your own culture you maybe didn’t realize were important.

    The Asian Ways Of Liberation are great to study, but the real point is to rediscover our own ways of liberation that are more adapted to our Western situation and mentalities.

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Guillaume Durocher Comments via RSS
PastClassics
How America was neoconned into World War IV
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.