Julius Evola's masterful overview of the political and social manifestations of our time, the "age of decline" known to the Hindus as the Kali Yuga.
• Reveals the occult war that underlies the crises that have become a prevailing feature of modern life.
• Includes H. T. Hansen's definitive essay on Evola's political life and theory.
Men Among the Ruins is Evola's frontal assault on the predominant materialism of our time and the mirage of progress. For Evola and other proponents of Traditionalism, we are now living in an age of increasing strife and chaos: the Kali Yuga of the Hindus or the Germanic Ragnarok. In such a time, social decadence is so widespread that it appears as a natural component of all political institutions. Evola argues that the crises that dominate the daily lives of our societies are part of a secret occult war to remove the support of spiritual and traditional values in order to turn man into a passive instrument of the powerful.
Evola is often regarded as the godfather of contemporary Italian fascism and right-wing radical politics, but attentive examination of the historical record--as provided by H. T. Hanson's definitive introduction--reveals Evola to be a much more complex figure. Though he held extreme right-wing views, he was a fearless critic of the Fascist regime and preferred a caste system based on spirituality and intellect to the biological racism championed by the Nazis. Ultimately, he viewed the forces of history as comprised by two factions: "history's demolition squad" enslaved by blind faith in the future and those individuals whose watchword is Tradition. These latter stand in this world of ruins at a higher level and are capable of letting go of what needs to be abandoned in order that what is truly essential not be compromised.
Men Among the Ruins Post-War Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist
From chapter 13, "The Occult War"
Various causes have been adduced to explain the crisis that has affected and still affects the life of modern peoples: historical, social, socioeconomic, political, moral, and cultural causes, according to different perspectives. The part played by each of these causes should not be denied. However, we need to ask a higher and essential question: are these always the first causes and do they have an inevitable character like those causes found in the material world? Do they supply an ultimate explanation or, in some cases, is it necessary to identify influences of a higher order, which may cause what has occurred in the West to appear very suspicious, and which, beyond the multiplicity of individual aspects, suggest that there is the same logic at work? The concept of occult war must be defined within the context of the dilemma. The occult war is a battle that is waged imperceptibly by the forces of global subversion, with means and in circumstances ignored by current historiography. The notion of occult war belongs to a three-dimensional view of history: this view does not regard as essential the two superficial dimensions of time and space (which include causes, facts, and visible leaders) but rather emphasizes the dimension of depth, or the "subterranean" dimension in which forces and influences often act in a decisive manner, and which, more often not than not, cannot be reduced to what is merely human, whether at an individual or a collective level. Having said that, it is necessary to specify the meaning of the term "subterranean." We should not think, in this regard, of a dark and irrational background which stands in relation to the known forces of history as the unconscious stands to consciousness, in the way the latter relationship is discussed in the recently developed "Depth Psychology." If anything, we can talk about the unconscious only in regard to those who, according to the three-dimensional view, appear to be history's objects rather than its subjects, since in their thoughts and conduct they are scarcely aware of the influences which they obey and the goals that they contribute toward achieving. In these people, the center falls more in the unconscious and the pre-conscious than in the clear reflected consciousness, no matter what they-who are often men of action and ideologues-believe. Considering this relation, we can say that the most decisive actions of the occult war take place in the human unconscious. However, if we consider the true agents of history in the special aspects we are now discussing, things are otherwise: here we cannot talk of the subconscious or the unconscious, since we are dealing with intelligent forces that know very well what they want and what are the means most suited to achieve their objectives. The third dimension of history should not be diluted in the fog of abstract philosophical or sociological concepts, but should rather be thought of as a "backstage" dimension where specific "intelligences" are at work. An investigation of the secret history that aspires to be positivist and scientific should not be too lofty or removed from reality. However, it is necessary to assume as the ultimate reference point a dualistic scheme not dissimilar from the one found in an older tradition. Catholic historiography used to regard history not only as a mechanism of natural, political, economic, and social causes, but also as the unfolding of divine Providence, to which hostile forces are opposed. These forces are sometimes referred to in a moralistic fashion as "forces of evil," or in a theological fashion as the "forces of the Anti-Christ." Such a view has a positive content, provided it is purified and emphasized by bringing it to a less religious and more metaphysical plane, as was done in Classical and Indo-European antiquity: forces of the cosmos against forces of chaos. To the former correspond everything that is form, order, law, spiritual hierarchy, and tradition in the higher sense of the word; to the latter correspond every influence that disintegrates, subverts, degrades, and promotes the predominance of the inferior over the superior, matter over spirit, quantity over quality. This is what can be said in regard to the ultimate reference points of the various influences that act upon the realm of tangible causes, behind known history. These must be taken into account, though with some prudence. Let me repeat: aside from this necessary metaphysical background, let us never lose sight of concrete history. Methodologically speaking, we need to be careful to prevent valid insights from degenerating into fantasies and superstition, and not develop the tendency to see an occult background everywhere and at all costs. In this regard, every assumption we make must have the character of what are called "working hypotheses" in scientific research: as when something is admitted provisionally, thus allowing the gathering and arranging of a group of apparently isolated facts, only to confer on them a character not of hypothesis but of truth when, at the end of a serious inductive work, the data converge in validating the original assumption. Every time an effect outlasts and transcends its tangible causes, a suspicion should arise, and a positive or negative influence behind the stages should be perceived. A problem is posited, but in analyzing it and seeking its solution, prudence must be exercised. The fact that those who have ventured in this direction have not restrained their wild imaginations has discredited what could have been a science, the results of which could hardly be overestimated. This too meets the expectations of the hidden enemy. After considering the state of society and modern civilization, one should ask if this is not a specific case that requires the application of this method; in other words, one should ask whether some situations of real crisis and radical subversion in the modern world can be satisfactorily explained through "natural" and spontaneous processes, or whether we need to refer to something that has been concerted…
A controversial philosopher and critic of modern Western civilization, Julius Evola (1898-1974) wrote widely on Eastern religions, alchemy, sexuality, politics, and mythology. Inner Traditions has published his Eros and the Mysteries of Love: The Metaphysics of Sex, The Yoga of Power, The Hermetic Tradition, Revolt Against the Modern World,The Mystery of the Grail and Ride The Tiger.
"Evola is one of the most interesting minds of the [world] war generation. He has a really astounding knowledge at his disposal."
– Mircea Eliade, author of The Sacred and the Profane
"Evola writes in lively prose with fascinating detail. . . . To read his description of higher spiritual states is like watching a champion mountain climber on a vertical glacier."
"Disgusted by the cruelty and artificiality of communism, scorning the dogmatic, self-centered fascism of his age, Evola looks beyond man-made systems to the eternal principles in creation and human society. The truth, as he sees it, is so totally at odds with the present way of thinking that it shocks the modern mind. Evola was no politician, trying to make the best of things, but an idealist, uncompromising in the pursuit of the Best itself."
– John Michell, The New View Over Atlantis
"Men among the Ruins is Julius Evola's most notorious work: an unsparing indictment of modern society and politics. Evola rises above the usual dichotomies of left and right, liberal and conservative, through a trenchant critique of the metaphysics that lies at the base of modern values, challenging us to reconnect our lives and our institutions to the timeless spiritual standard that guided our ancestors. Men among the Ruins is not a work for complacent, self-satisfied minds . . . it is a shocking and humbling text that will be either loved or hated. Evola's enemies cannot refute him; they can only ignore him. They do so at their peril."
– Glenn A. Magee, author of Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition
"Not for the feint of heart. His writing typically demands a concentration of focus and a strong level of comprehension."
– Robert James Buratti, New Dawn, July-August 2002
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