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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Arturo Reghini and Roman Traditionalism

Two resources for those interested in Arturo Reghini (photo below), Roman Traditionalism, and Julius Evola, both maintained by Christian Giudice, a PhD candidate at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden:
 For those who do not know Reghini, Evola wrote:
It is thanks to my encounter with Reghini (and Guenon, who Reghini first mentioned to me) that I decidedly broke with what “occultist” or Theosophical tendencies I still possessed, and came to acknowledge the complete separateness and transcendence of initiatory wisdom with respect to all profane culture, and particularly modern.
(quotation taken from Giudice's blog).

You can also read about how Evola slapped a German soldier in Capri, and of course about Reghini himself. The Facebook page carries periodic announcements that may be of interest to readers of this blog, for example of a paper Giudice is due to deliver on April 23, 2014, at Ben Gurion University, on "‘Why is the last mile the hardest mile?’: Mountaineering as an metaphor for spiritual advancement in Julius Evola and Aleister Crowley."

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Traditionalism and Natural Science

Stefano Bigliardi has just published Islam and the Quest for Modern Science. Conversations with Adnan Oktar, Mehdi Golshani, Mohammed Basil Altaie, Zaghloul El-Naggar, Bruno Guiderdoni and Nidhal Guessoum (Istanbul: Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul).

Guiderdoni is a scientist--an astrophysicist, director of the Lyon Center for Astrophysics Research, well known for his 1998 paper on "Semi-analytic modelling of galaxy evolution in the IR/submm range"--and a Traditionalist Sufi, following Shaykh Abd Al Wahid Pallavicini of Milan. He is less famous than, for example, Adnan Oktar, also known as Harun Yahya, the Islamic creationist whose very heavy Atlas of Creation was given away across the world in 2007. But his views are rather more sophisticated.

Those interested may watch Guiderdoni lecture in English (University of St Andrews, 2008) or lecture in French (c. 2013), or can read Bigliardi's book.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Foreign Affairs identifies Dugin as "Putin's brain"

Alexander Dugin has been becoming more famous in the West since the Russian re-conquest of the Ukraine, as the Western media searches for ideological explanations for Russian actions.

Now Dugin has been identified as "Putin's brain" by Anton Barbashin and Hannah Thoburn, writing in the very influential US journal Foreign Affairs.

In "Putin's Brain: Alexander Dugin and the Philosophy Behind Putin's Invasion of Crimea," Barbashin and Thoburn write about Russia's post-Soviet need for a new strategy, about the history of Eurasianism, and about neo-Eurasianism and Dugin's career and views. They conclude:
Dugin’s ideology has influenced a whole generation of conservative and radical activists and politicians, who, if given the chance, would fight to adapt its core principles as state policy. Considering the shabby state of Russian democracy, and the country’s continued move away from Western ideas and ideals, one might argue that the chances of seeing neo-Eurasianism conquer new ground are increasing. Although Dugin’s form of it is highly theoretical and deeply mystical, it is proving to be a strong contender for the role of Russia’s chief ideology. Whether Putin can control it as he has controlled so many others is a question that may determine his longevity.
I am not so sure. Yes, post-Soviet Russia did need a new narrative, and yes, today's Russia has found a new narrative, and yes, Dugin's geopolitical views and neo-Eurasianism coincide with that narrative. But I am not convinced that philosophy produces invasions. Vladimir Putin has a brain of his own, and Russia has interests of her own, and geography has a logic of its own. Catherine the Great did not need neo-Eurasianism to conquer the Crimea in 1774. As a historian, I generally find that ideology contributes to events of this kind, but does not drive them.

Against the Modern World in Russian

My book Against the Modern World has just come out in Russian translation, as Наперекор современному миру: Традиционализм и тайная интеллектуальная история ХХ века, published by NLO (New Literary Observer) in Moscow.

The cover is amazing--see image to the right--and the book also contains some new material not included in the original English edition, mostly dealing with Traditionalism in Russia.

So far, the glossy lifestyle magazine Собака/Sobaka has voted it one of the five most interesting non-fiction books of the season, while the rightist-nationalist newspaper Завтра/Zavtra (discussed in the book) has concluded that it is not worth getting out from under the blanket for it. The Zavtra review is very extremely hostile and rather funny.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mamleev's Shatuny in English

The work of Yuriy Mamleyev, the underground author from the circle of alternative intellectuals that Alexander Dugin joined, has until recently not been available in English, though some short stories were translated in 1980 and published as The Sky Above Hell and Other Stories.

Now, however, Mamleyev's seminal novel Шатуны (Shatuny), written between 1966 and 1968 and first published in samizdat, is available in English as The Sublimes from Haute Culture Books in Sweden, either in printed and hand-bound form for €2,000 (!) or (rather more usefully) as a free pdf download.

The publisher's blurb says:
In its search for the Absolute and with all its insanity, Mamleyev’s world reminds us of that of Dostoyevsky, but his characters go beyond ethical problems – they look into the abyss, they recoil and admit the existence of superior powers. Mamleyev goes one step further in trying to comprehend evil and metaphysical planes of consciousness. In The Sublimes, Mamleyev’s figures are mystics, perverse occultists, philosophical fanatics in search of immortality, of their own “eternal ego” and of the great Absolute. They sometimes seek evidential proof of the presence of God and the continuation of life in order to find an answer to the most terrifying question: What will they meet with on the other side of death?