00:39:50 – 00:51:44
On Men amid the Ruins, Ride the Tiger and Metaphysics of Sex
Interviewer: In Men amid the Ruins you present a doctrine that can be summarised as follows: Act in such way that if you do not have the power, you still do not allow power to control you, and also ride the tiger. Could you explain us this doctrine?
Julius Evola: Well, I must say that in that there is a little confusion since here we are dealing with two different books; one is called Men amid the Ruins, this is those men who are amid a world characterised by the spiritual and material decay of the Last Age; the other is called Ride the Tiger. The first book is, to some extent, positive as I intend to expose the elements of a doctrine of the state, of a vision on life on specific ethics, a critique of economy thus overcoming the capitalist/socialist dichotomy, the issues regarding the arising of the “occult war,” et cetera, until we get to the final chapter which is called “Europe: Its Unity and Conditions,” where I intend to solve the problem from a Traditional viewpoint. This was firstly edited in Italy and also a couple of years ago, where the aim is constructed from a starting point for a group of Italian Right-wing men. It is needless to recall that whenever I refer to “Right” I definitely do not refer to the economic classes which for me would seem as subversive as Marxism. I refer to a “Right” conceived in political and aristocratic sense, as in the case of types of men as Metternich or Bismarck, if you wish, or even Borras in a certain sense. Therefore, it serves as a starting point of action for this human group, as an ideological foundation. And after the War, such a book was the first to expose systematically an antidemocratic doctrine, and also an antisocialist one, et cetera. I also wanted to publish it in France and thus I tried because I thought it would be positive since there were groups there requiring a precise orientation.
I: What about Ride the Tiger?
JE: While the first book has a positive orientation and consists in a starting point for reconstruction, even though hypothetical and utopian, the second book has a negative orientation/presupposition. That is to say, it affirms that we are living in an age of complete dissolution in which there are processes taking place that have arrived to a phase where nobody can stop them. And in no case one must be directly in opposition to such processes or phenomena or one will be risking to be overthrown by them, and yet there still remains an alternative, not that of acceptance but rather the “driving” towards a different direction, and this is the “ride the tiger” formula. The tiger is running amok, to “ride” means to dominate from above until the animal gets finally tired, exhausted and obeys commands. And there is also another factor, it is actually a Tantric formula: “Transform the poison into a medicine.” So in this book I consider a set of domains: religion, morals, science, arts, politics, worldviews, society, family, the sexes, et cetera, and I examine the dissolutive elements that convulse these domains and then I indicate in which way this dissolution can be positively used, in order to not have negative results like those suffered by the vast majority of the individuals, but only designed for a man I call the “Differentiated Man,” aiming to attain a superior liberation by introducing also those forms that do not belong to the Traditional world but to that of the bourgeois civilisation, so that a superior form of freedom can be attained — this is definitely the main subject of this book.
I: You dealt a lot with the topic of sex, and mostly of the metaphysics of sex in your work, which appeared in France and was well received there. Could you talk to us about it?
JE: I dealt with the topic of sex quite recently. This book takes as a starting point another work quoted by me several times, the book of Otto Weininger: Sex and Character. I then realised that the subject could be developed by compiling other texts and sources, so then I wrote the book and one could say, using these words, that such a book is the “anti-Freud,” [or] the “anti-standpoint” of Freud. One could affirm that while Freud had discovered the transcendent and even demonic, subpersonal, dimension of sex, I attempted to re-encounter in the sexual experience a transcendent dimension in a superior sense that flows upward, “anagogically” so to speak, in opposition to the “catagogic” tendency to flow downwards. Thus there is there an examination not only of the profane forms of love and sexual love such as everybody knows them. In order to discover their deeper experiences which even those who are interested in this book cannot even perceive, that being however, the most important dimension: that of the sexual orgasm. In such a book are described, from a viewpoint I would call phenomenological, such aspects of the sexual experience, taking into consideration aspects that are in total opposition. I verified how in all civilisations such a dimension has always been acknowledged, known as the “sacrum sexuale” that is, a sacred character of sex that constitutes the foundation not only of the rites spread around the world but also of very specific practices in order to impel the sexual experience to provoke magical or ecstatic, mystical phenomena. There I accomplish a compiling of traditions of all sorts, as I am accustomed to doing, starting from the Far East, Taoism, Tantrism, the Arabic countries up to the demonology of the Middle Ages, et cetera. Therefore, to some extent, by being founded in Freudian premises, I however aimed to point out a dimension of sex that is supra-rational, supra-personal, deep as that which Freud was obsessed about, but here, contrarily, the deepest and most transcendent aspect is taken and I have to add that to me the key of the whole interpretation is the myth of the androgyny, as it can be found and known in Europe, in Plato’s Symposiumwhich provides the key of the interpretation of sex as a confused drive (impulsion), which is also irresistible, and that tends to restore the primordial unity.
I: Therefore, do you consider that sex can constitute an element of reconstruction?
JE: Not that of reconstruction. It can be used in a purely individual domain, that is to say it can be used to deepen the experience in order to detect and assimilate such a transcendent domain. It is obvious that a clear opposition exists between today’s sexual freedom and such a doctrine, since we are living in times of a sort of sexual “demonism,” a sort of tendency that goes parallel to drug consumption; having the need to evade and escape from existential forms of anxiety and therefore it all ends in feelings that are more or less spasmodic or chaotic, that in no case constitute the solution of the problem. This aspect is also exposed by me in another of my books, in French called L’Arc et la massus[The Bow and the Mace].
I: You never married. Why was that?
JE: Because this way I had my absolute freedom available. By taking this decision, I did not even get to acknowledge my family, that is, it exists, but I rather acted independently and absolutely in an antibourgeois way. I never had an occupation in an office, et cetera. I preferred to have less possibilities and full freedom. Plus, from a sexual point of view, I am not into monogamy.