New Culture, New Right: The Wellspring of Being

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Utdrag från New Culture, New Right: Anti-Liberalism in Postmodern Europe, s. 117-126.

The Wellspring of Being

The first major thinker to inform the GRECE's philosophy of history -- and theoretically validate Europe's longest memory -- was Friedrich Nietzsche, for his rejection of modernist metaphysics and his embrace of the old Greek myths to counter the rationalism of the "dialecticians" (Christian or modernist) anticipated the New Right's identitarian project. Moreover, in appealing to "we good Europeans," his philosophical project addressed "historiological" issues pertinent to the problems of historical fatigue and cultural renewal. From these, there has emerged the most radical of his ideas -- the thought of Eternal Return -- which forms the core of the New Right's anti-liberal philosophy of history. [34]

As Giorgio Locchi first interpreted it, the Nietzschean notion of Eternal Return does not imply a literal repetition of the past. It is an axiological rather than a cosmological principle. As such, it represents a will for metamorphosis in a world that is itself in endless metamorphosis, serving as a principle of becoming that knows neither end nor beginning, but only the process of life perpetually returning to itself. It thus affirms man's "worldopen" nature, subject as he is to on-going transformations and transvaluations. [35] Against the determinism implicit in modernity's progressive narrative, Nietzsche's Eternal Return exalts the old noble virtues that forged life's ascending instincts into a heroically subjective culture. Homer's Greeks might thus be dead and gone, yet, whenever "the eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down," "opening" the future to the past, Nietzsche thought the epic spirit, as that which bears returning, might again be roused and lead to something analogous. [36] Life, he argued, is not a timeless essence inscribed with a predetermined telos. As being, it is becoming, and becoming is will to power. In this sense, Eternal Return represents the affirmation of man's original being, the assertion of his difference from others, and, in its infinite repertoire of exemplary past actions, the anticipation of whatever his future might hold. Its recurring past functions thus as a "selective thought," putting memory's endless assortment of experience in service to life. As Vattimo characterizes it, the past is "an always available reserve of future positions." [37] Man has only to envisage a future similar to some select facet of what has gone before to initiate its return. [38] The past exists, then, not as a momentary point on a line, a duration measurable in mechanical clock time, understandable as an onward succession of consecutive "nows." Rather, it recurs as a "genealogical" differential whose origin inheres in its wilful assertion. This makes it recoverable for futural re-enactments that endeavor to continue life's adventure. [39] Just as the pagan gods live forever and the end of one cycle commences another, the past of Nietzsche's Eternal Return recurs in every successive affirmation of will, in every conscious exertion of memory, in every instant when will and memory become interchangeable. It is consequently reversible, repeatable, and recoverable.

This past is also of a whole with other temporalities. I can never be younger, but as time advances, the future recedes. In the present, these temporalities meet. The human sense of time comes in this way to encompass an infinity of temporalities, as past, present, and future converge in each passing moment. Since this infinity is all of a piece, containing all the dimensions of time, as well as all the acts of man, affirmed in their entirety "whenever we affirm a single moment of it," the present functions as an intersection, not a division, between past and future. [40] Situated in this polychronous totality, man's will is free to access the infinite expanse of time, in which there is no prescribed end, only unlimited possibilities. As to historical teleology or finality, they are for Nietzsche mere derivatives of the Christian/modernist indifference to life's temporal play. In response to the prompting of his will, it is man's participation in the eternal recurrence of his original affirmation that imposes order on the world's underlying chaos and hence man alone who shapes the future -- not a supra-human force that goes by the name of God, Progress, or the laws of Historical Materialism. [41] In the spirit of the ancient Hellenes, who treated life's transience as the conjuncture of the actual and the eternal, of men and gods, Nietzsche's Eternal Return testifies to both the absence of a preordained historical meaning and the completeness of the present moment. [42]

Besides affirming willful action, Nietzsche's break with linear temporality infuses man with the idea that he always has the option of living the thought of Eternal Return. Just as every past was once a prefiguration of a sought-after future, every future arises from a past anticipation -- that can be anticipated again. "The impossible," as teleologically decreed, "is not possible." [43] Indeed, only in seeking to overcome that which resists is life's will to power manifested. His Übermensch, the antithesis of modern man, is consequently steeped in the longest memory not because he bears the accumulated wisdom of the past, but because he rejects the weariness of those governed by an imagined necessity and imposes his will, as an assertion of original being, upon the vagaries of time. [44] Memory here becomes synonymous with will. In this context, Mircea Eliade reminds us that in ancient Aryan myth, the gods fall from the heavens whenever their memories fail them. Those, however, who remember are immutable. [45] Likewise, in Greek legend, the goddess Mnemosyne, the personification of memory and the mother of the muses, is omniscient because she recalls everything. The poets the muses inspire draw on Mnemosyne's knowledge, returning to the font of being, to discover the primordial reality from which the cosmos issued. [46] Unlike the Christian/modernist approach to history, which sees the past as working out a divine or immanent logos, the Greek historians searched for the laws of becoming, the exemplary models, that would open man to primordial time -- where culture, cosmos, and myth arise. [47] As such, Eternal Return has nothing to do with repeating the same thing endlessly. Rather, its tireless conquest of the temporal enables man to create himself again and again, in a world where time -- and possibility -- are eternally open. In this way, it replicates the mythic process, reinvigorating the images that have the potential to save Western man from the nihilistic predicament into which he has fallen. [48]

Nietzsche's identification of being with becoming should not, however, be taken to mean that the genealogical spirit of mythic origins -- the spirit of an eternally open and purposeless world subject solely to the active force of will -- gives man the liberty to do whatever he pleases. The limits he faces remain those posed by the conditions of his epoch and nature. In the language of social science, Nietzsche fully acknowledges the inescapable constraints of structures, systemic forces, or what Auguste Comte called "social statics." Yet, within these limits, all that is possible is possible, for man's activities are always prospectively open to the possibilities inherent in the moment, whenever these are appropriated according to his own determinations: that is, whenever man engages the ceaseless struggle which is his life. "Necessity," he argues, "is not a fact, but an interpretation." [49] History does not reflect the divine will or the market's logic, but the struggle between men over the historical images they choose for themselves. What ultimately conditions existence, then, is less what acts on man from the outside ("objectivity") than on what emanates from the inside (will), as he "evaluates" the forces affecting him. Nature, history, and the world may therefore affect the way man lives, but they do so not as "mechanical necessities."

Given this rejection of both immanent and transcendental determinisms, Nietzsche's concept of history is far from being a literal recapitulation of the primitive cyclical concept of time. According to Eliade, the Eternal Return of archaic societies implied an endless repetition of time, that is, another sort of "line" (a circle) seeking to escape history's inherent vicissitudes. [50] By contrast, Nietzsche eschews time's automatic repetition, seeing Eternal Return in non-cyclical, as well as non-linear terms. The eternity of the past and the eternity of the future, he posits, necessitate the eternity of the present and the eternity of the present cannot but mean that whatever has happened or will happen is always at hand in thought, ready to be potentialized. [51] Just as being is becoming, chance the verso of necessity, and will the force countering as well as partaking in the forces of chaos, the eternity of the Nietzschean past reverberates in the eternity of the future, doing so in a manner that opens the present to all its possibilities. [52] The past of Eternal Return is thus nostalgic not for the past, as it is with primitive man, but for the future. History, Locchi notes, only has meaning when one tries to surpass it. [53]

Neither linear nor cyclical, Nietzsche's concept of time is spherical. In the "eternally recurring noon-tide," the different temporal dimensions of man's mind form a "sphere" in which thoughts of past, present, and future revolve around one another, taking on new significance as each of their moments becomes a center in relation to the others. Within this polychronous swirl, the past does not occur but once and then freeze behind us, nor does the future follow according to determinants situated along a sequential succession of developments. Rather, past, present, and future inhere in every moment, never definitively superseded, never left entirely behind. [54] "O my soul," his Zarathustra exclaims, "I taught you to say 'today' as well as 'one day' and 'formerly' and to dance your dance over every Here and There and Over-There." [55] Existentially, the simultaneity of these tenses enables man to overcome all duration or succession. There is no finality, no obstacle to freedom. Whenever the Janus-headed present alters its view of the different temporalities situating it, its vision of past and future similarly changes. The way one stands in the present consequently determines how everything recurs. [56] And since every exemplary past was once the prefiguration of a sought-after future, these different temporalities have the potential of coming into new alignment, as they phenomenologically flow into one another.

Recollected from memory and anticipated in will, the past, like the future, is always at hand, ready to be actualized. [57] As this happens and a particular past is "redeemed" from the Heraclitean flux to forge a particular future, the "it was" becomes a "thus I willed it." [58] In this fashion, time functions like a sphere that rolls forward, toward a future anticipated in one's willful image of the past. [59] Existence, it follows, "begins in every instant; the ball There rolls around every Here. The middle [that is, the present] is everywhere. The path of eternity is crooked" [non-linear]. [60] This recurrence, moreover, goes beyond mere repetition, for the re-enactment of an archaic configuration is invariably transfigured by its altered context. The conventional opposition between past and future likewise gives way before it, as the past, conceived as a dimension of the polycentric present, becomes a harbinger of the future and the future a recurrence of the past. The present consequently ceases to be a point on a line and becomes a crossroad, where the totality of the past and the infinite potential of the future intersect. This means history has no direction, except that which man gives it. He alone is the master of his destiny. And this destiny, like history, bears a multitude of possible significations. As in pagan cosmology, the world is a polemos, a field of perpetual struggle, a chaos of unequal forces, where movement, submission, and domination rule. As such, it knows only particular finalities, but no universal goal. Becoming is eternal -- and the eternal contains all possibility. [61]

Whenever the man of Eternal Return rejects the resentment and bad conscience of the teleologists and steps fully into his moment, Nietzsche counsels: Werde das, was Du bist! [sv. Bli den, som du är!] [62] He does not advocate the Marxist-Hegelian Aufhebung, liberal progress, or Christian salvation, but a heroic assertion that imbues man with the archaic confidence to forge a future true to his higher, life-affirming self. Becoming what you are thus implies both a return and an overcoming. Through Eternal Return, man -- "whose horizon encompasses thousands of years past and future" -- returns to and hence transvalues the spirit of those foundational acts that marked his ancestors' triumph over the world's chaos. This first historical act, which myth attributes to the gods, involved choosing one's culture, one's second nature. All else follows on its basis -- not through reproduction, though, but through the making of new choices posed by the original act. There is, indeed, no authentic identity other than this perpetual process of self-realization. In shaping man's sense of history, Eternal Return cannot, then, but overcome the resentment that dissipates his will, the bad conscience that leaves him adrift in the random stream of becoming, the conformist pressures that subject him to the determinations of the modern narrative. Moreover, as will to power, it compels him to confront what he believes are the essential and eternal in life, and they, in turn, impart something of the essential and eternal to the "marvelous uncertainty" of his own finite existence, as he goes beyond himself in being himself. The wilful becoming of Eternal Return serves, thus, as a means of defining man's higher self, as the return of the essential and eternal reaffirms both his origins and the values -- the mode of existence -- he proposes for his future. And since such a disposition is framed in the genealogical context of a primordial origin, Eternal Return (pace Foucault and the postmodernists) fosters not an atomized, discontinuous duration in which becoming is out of joint with being, but a self-justifying coherence that unites individual fate and collective destiny in a higher creativity -- even if this "coherence" is premised on the belief that the world lacks an inherent significance or purpose. [63] Every individual act becomes in this way inseparable from its historical world, just as the historical world, product of multiple individual valuations, pervades each individual act. "Every great human being," Nietzsche writes, "exerts a retroactive force: for his sake all of history is placed in the balance again." [64] Whenever, then, the thought of Eternal Return puts the past and future in the balance, as the present casts its altering light on them, it re-establishes "the innocence of becoming," enabling the active man to decide his fate -- in contrast to the life-denigrating man of mechanical or teleological necessity, whose past is fixed and whose future is foreordained. [65]

The final, and today most important, component of the GRECE's historical philosophy comes from Martin Heidegger, whose anti-modernist thought began to influence its metapolitical project, and supplant that of Nietzsche, in the early 1980s. [66] Like the author of Zarathustra, Heidegger rejects Christian/modernist metaphysics, viewing man and history, being and becoming, as inseparable and incomplete. The past, he argues, may have passed, but its significance is neither left behind nor ever permanently fixed. When experienced as authentic historicity, it "is anything but what is past. It is something to which I can return again and again." [67] Thus, while the past belongs "irretrievably to an earlier time," Heidegger believes it continues to exist in the form of a heritage or an identity that is able to "determine 'a future' 'in the present'." [68] In this spirit, he claims "the original essence of being is time." [69]

Unlike other species of sentient life, Heideggerian man (like Nietzschean and Gehlenian man) has no pre-determined ontological foundation: he alone is responsible for his being. Indeed, he is that being whose "being is itself an issue," for his existence is never fixed or complete, but open and transient. [70] It is he who leads his life and is, ipso facto, what he becomes. Man is thus compelled to "make something of himself" and this entails that he "care" about his Dasein (existence) [sv. tillvaro, bokstavligt "där-varo"]. As being-in-the-world -- that is, as something specific to and inseparable from its historical-cultural context -- Dasein is experienced as an on-going possibility (inner rather than contingent) that projects itself towards a future that is "not yet actual." Relatedly, the possibility man seeks in the world into which he is "thrown" is conditioned by temporality, for time is not only the horizon against which he is thrown, it is the ground on which he realizes himself. Given, then, that time "draws everything into its motion," the possibility man seeks in the future (his project) is conditioned by the present situating him and the past affecting his sense of possibility. Possibility is thus not any imagined possibility (as postmodernists are wont to believe), but a historically specific option that is both inherited and chosen. Dasein's projection cannot, as a consequence, but come "towards itself in such a way that it comes back," anticipating its possibility as something that "has been" and is still present at hand. [71] The three temporal dimensions (or ecstases) of man's consciousness are for this reason elicited whenever some latent potential is pursued. [72] Birth and death, along with everything in between, inhere in all his moments, for Dasein equally possesses and equally temporalizes past, present, and future, conceived not as fleeting, sequentially-ordered now-points, but as simultaneous dimensions of mindful existence. [73] Therefore, even though it occurs "in time," Dasein's experience of time -- temporality -- is incomparable with ordinary clock or calendar time, which moves progressively from past to present to future, as the flow of "nows" arrive and disappear. Instead, its temporality proceeds from the anticipated future (whose ultimate possibility is death), through the inheritance of the past, to the lived present. Dasein's time is hence not durational, in the quantitative, uniform way it is for natural science or "common sense," but existential, ecstatically experienced as the present thought of an anticipated future is "recollected" and made meaningful in terms of past references.

In this sense, history never ends. It has multiple subjective dimensions that cannot be objectified in the way science objectifies nature. It is constantly in play. As Benoist writes, the historical "past" is a dimension, a perspective, implicit in every given moment. [74] Each present contains it. The Battle of Tours is long over, but its meaning never dies and always changes -- as long as there are Europeans who remember it. The past, thus, remains latent in existence and can always be revived. Because the "what has been, what is about to be, and the presence" (the "ecstatical unity of temporality") reach out to one another in every conscious moment and influence the way man lives his life, Dasein exists in all time's different dimensions. Its history, though, has little to do with the sum of momentary actualities which historians fabricate into their flattened narratives. Rather, it is "an acting and being acted upon which pass through the present, which are determined from out of the future, and which take over the past." [75] When man chooses a possibility, he makes present, then, what he will be through a resolute appropriation of what he has been. [76] There is, moreover, nothing arbitrary in this appropriation, for it arises from the very process that allows him to open himself to and "belong to the truth of being," as that truth is revealed in its ecstatical unity. For the same reason, the present and future are not "dominated" by the past, for its appropriation is made to free thought -- and life -- from the inertia of what has already been thought and lived. This makes history both subversive and creative, as it ceaselessly metamorphizes the sense of things. [77]

Man's project consequently has little to do with causal factors acting on his existence from the "outside" (what in conventional history writing is the purely factual or "scientific" account of past events) and everything to do with the complex ecstatical consciousness shaping his view of possibility (that is, with the ontological basis of human temporality, which "stretches" Dasein through the past, present, and future, as Dasein is "constituted in advance"). [78] Because this ecstatical consciousness allows man to anticipate his future, Dasein is constantly in play, never frozen in an world of archetypes or bound to the linearity of subject-object relations. As such, the events historically situating it do not happen "just once for all nor are they something universal," but represent past possibilities which are potentially recuperable for futural endeavors. To Heidegger, the notion of an irretrievable past makes no sense, for it is always at hand. Its thought and reality are therefore linked, for its meaning is inseparable from man, part of his world, and invariably changes as his project and hence his perspective changes. The past, then, cannot be seen in the way a scientist observes his data. It is not something independent of belief or perspective that can be grasped wie es eigentlich gewesen [sv. som det egentligen varit]. Its significance (even its "factual" depiction) is mediated and undergoes ceaseless revision as man lives and reflects on his lived condition. [79] This frames historical understanding in existential terms, with the "facts" of past events becoming meaningful to the degree they belong to his "story" -- that is to say, to the degree that what "has been" is still "is" and "can be." In Heidegger's language, "projection" is premised on "thrownness." And while such an anti-substantialist understanding of history -- which sees the past achieving meaning only in relationship to the present -- is likely to appear fictitious to those viewing it from the outside, "objectively," without participating in the subjective possibilities undergirding it, Heidegger argues that all history is experienced in this way, for what "has been" can be meaningful only when it is recuperable for the future. As long, therefore, as the promise of the past remains something still living, still to come, it is not a disinterested aspect of something no longer present. Neither is it mere prologue, a path leading the way to a more rational future. It is, rather, something with which we have to identify if we are to resolve the challenges posed by our project -- for only knowledge of who we have been enables us to realize the possibility of who we are. [80] Indeed, it is precisely modern man's refusal to realize his inner possibility and use those freedoms that "could ensure him a supra-natural value" that accounts for his "revolutionary, individualistic, and humanistic destruction of Tradition." [81]

Like Nietzsche, Heidegger believes that whenever Dasein "runs ahead towards the past," the "not yet actual" opens to the inexhaustible possibilities of what "has been" and what "can be." Based on this notion of temporality, both Heidegger and Nietzsche reject the abstract universalism of teleological becoming (suitable for measuring matter in motion or the Spirit's progression towards the Absolute), just as they dismiss all decontextualized concepts of being (whether they take the form of the Christian soul, the Cartesian cogito, or liberalism's disembodied individual). Heidegger, however, differs from Nietzsche in making being, not will, the key to temporality. Nietzsche, he claims, neither fully rejected the metaphysical tradition he opposed nor saw beyond beings to being. [82] Thus, while Nietzsche rejected modernity's faith in progress and perpetual overcoming (the Aufhebung which implies not only transcendence but a leaving behind), his "will to power" allegedly perpetuated modernity's transcendental impulse by positing a subjectivity that is not "enowned" by being. As a possible corrective to this assumed failing, Heidegger privileges notions of Andenken (the recollection which recovers and renews tradition) and Verwindung (which is a going beyond that, unlike Aufhebung, is also an acceptance and a deepening) -- notions implying not simply the inseparability of being and becoming, but becoming's role in the unfolding, rather than the transcendence, of being. [83]

Despite these not insignificant differences, the anti-modernist aims Nietzsche and Heidegger share allies each of them to the GRECE's philosophical project. This is especially evident in the importance they both attribute to becoming and to origins. Heidegger, for example, argues that whenever being is separated from becoming and deprived of temporality, as it is in the Christian/modern logos, then being -- in this case, abstract being rather than being-in-the-world -- is identified with the present, a now-point, subject to the determinisms governing Descartes' world of material substances. [84] This causes the prevailing philosophical tradition to "forget" that being exists in time, as well as space. [85] By rethinking being temporally and restoring it to becoming, Heidegger, like Nietzsche, makes time the horizon of all existence -- freeing it from the quantitative causal properties of space and matter.

Because it is inseparable from becoming and because becoming occurs in a world-with-others, being is always embedded in a "context of significance" saturated with history and tradition. For as man pursues his project in terms of the worldly concerns affecting him, both his project and his world are informed by interpretations stemming from a longer history of interpretation. His future-directed project, in fact, is conceivable solely in terms of the world into which he is thrown. Thus, while he alone makes his history, he does so as a "bearer of meaning," whose convictions, beliefs, and representations have been bestowed by a collective past. [86] Being, as such, is never a matter of mere facticity, but specific to the heritage (context) situating it. (Hence, the inescapable link between ontology and hermeneutics). It is, moreover, this meaning-laden context that constitutes the "t/here" [da] in Dasein, without which being (qua being-in-the-world) is inconceivable. [87] And because there can be no Sein without a da, no existence without a specific framework of meaning and purpose, man, in his ownmost nature as being, is inseparable from the context that "makes possible what has been projected." [88] Being, in a word, is possible only in "the enowning of the grounding of the t/here." [89]

Unlike Cartesian reason, with its unfiltered perception of objective reality, Heidegger sees all thought as self-referential, informed by historical antecedents that are inescapable because they inhere in the only world Dasein knows. This leads him to deny rationalism's natural, timeless, ahistorical truths. Like being, truth is necessarily historical. Heidegger consequently rejects modernity's Cartesian metaphysics, which posits the existence of a rational order outside history. By reconnecting subject and object in their inherent temporality, he seeks to deconstruct modernity's allegedly objective cognitive order. "Every age," as R. G. Collingwood contends, "must write its own history afresh," just as every man is compelled to engage his existence in light of what has been handed down to him. [90]

In contrast to inauthentic Dasein -- that "temporalizes itself in the mode of a making-present which does not await but forgets," accepting what is as an existentialist imperative (but which, situated as it is in "now time," is usually a corrupted or sclerotic transmission confusing the present's self-absorption with the primordial sources of life) -- authentic Dasein "dredges" its heritage in order to "remember" or retrieve the truth of its possibility and "make it productively its own." [91] The more authentically the potential of this "inexhaustible wellspring" is brought to light, the more profoundly man becomes "what he is." [92] In this sense, authentic historicity "understands history as the 'recurrence' of the possible." [93] And here the "possible" is "what does not pass," what remains, what lasts, what is deeply rooted in oneself, one's people, one's world -- in sum, it is the heritage of historical meaning that preserves what has been posited in the beginning and what will be true in the future. [94]

"I know," Heidegger said in 1966, "that everything essential and everything great originated from the fact that man . . . was rooted in a tradition." [95] In disclosing what has been handed down as a historically determined project, tradition discloses what is possible and what is innermost to man's being. The beginning of a heritage is thus never "behind us as something long past, but stands before us . . . as the distant decree that orders us to recapture its greatness." [96] The archaic force of origins, where being exists in its unconcealed fullness, is present, though, only when Dasein resolutely chooses the historically-specific possibility inherent in the heritage it inherits. In Benoist's formulation, "in matters of historical becoming, there are no established metaphysical truths. That which is true is that which is disposed to exist and endure." [97] This notion of historicity highlights not merely the openness of past and future, but the inevitable circularity of their representations.

The Christian/modernist concept of linear history, in deriving the sense of things from the future, inevitably deprives the detemporalized man of liberal thought of the means of rising above his necessarily impoverished because isolated self, cutting him off from the creative force of his original being and whatever "greatness" -- truth -- it portends. By contrast, whenever Heideggerian man is "great" and rises to the possibilities latent in his existence, he invariably returns to his autochthonous source, resuming there a heritage that is not to be confused with the causal properties of his thrown condition, but with a being whose authenticity is manifested in becoming what it is. "Being," in other words, "proclaims destiny, and hence control of tradition." [98] Again concurring with Nietzsche, Heidegger links man's existence with the "essential swaying of meaning" that occurred ab origine, when his forefathers created the possibilities that remain open for him to realize. From this original being, in which "quality, spirituality, living tradition, and race prevail" (Evola), man is existentially sustained and authenticated -- just as a tree thrives when rooted in its native soil. [99] As Raymond Ruyer writes, "one defends the future only by defending the past," for it is in the past that we discover new possibilities in ourselves. [100]

Although a self-conscious appropriation of origins does not resolve the problems posed by the human condition, it does free man from present-minded fixations with the inauthentic. [101] His "first beginning" also brings other beginnings into play -- for it is the ground of all subsequent groundings. [102] Without a "reconquest" of Dasein's original commencement (impossible in the linear conception, with its irreversible and deracinating progressions), Heidegger argues that there can never be another commencement. [103] Only in reappropriating the monumental impetus of a heritage, whose beginning is already a completion, does man come back to himself, achieve authenticity, and inscribe himself in the world of his own time. Indeed, only from the store of possibility intrinsic to his originary genesis, never from the empty abstractions postulated by a universal reason transcending historicity, does he learn the finite, historically-situated tasks "demanded" of him and open himself to the possibility of his world. Commencement, accordingly, lies in front of, not behind, him, for the initial revelation of being is necessarily anticipated in each new beginning, as each new beginning draws on its source, accessing there what has been preserved for posterity. Because the "truth of being" found in origins informs Dasein's project and causes it to "come back to itself," what is prior invariably prefigures what is posterior. The past in this sense is future, for it functions as a return backwards, to foundations, where the possibility for future being is ripest.

This makes origins -- "the breakout of being" -- all important. They are never mere antecedent or causa prima, as modernity's inorganic logic holds, but "that from which and by which something is what it is and as it is. . . . [They are] the source of its essence" [that is, its ownmost particularity] and the way truth "comes into being . . . [and] becomes historical." [104] As Benoist puts it, the "original" (unlike modernity's novum) is not that which comes once and for all, but that which comes and is repeated every time being unfolds in its authenticity. [105] In this sense, Heideggerian origins represent the primordial unity of existence and essence that myth affirms, for its memorialization of the primordial act suggests the gestures that can be repeated. Therefore, whenever this occurs -- whenever myth's "horizon of expectation" is brought into view -- concrete time is transformed into a sacred time, in which the determinants of the mundane world are suspended and man is free to imitate his gods. [106] Given, moreover, that origins, as "enowned" being, denote possibility, not the purely "factual" or "momentary" environment affecting its framework, human Dasein achieves self-constancy (authenticity) only when projected on the basis of its original inheritance -- for Dasein is able to "come towards itself" only in anticipating its end as an extension of its beginning. [107] Origins, thus, designate identity and destiny, not causation (the "wherein," not the "wherefrom"). Likewise, they are not "out there," but part of us and who we are, preserving what "has been" and providing the basis for what "continues to be." This makes them the ground of all existence, "gathering into the present what is always essential." [108]

The original repose of being that rescues authentic man from the "bustle of mere events and machinations" is not, however, easily accessed. To return Dasein to its ground and "recapture the beginning of historical-spiritual existence in order to transform it into a new beginning" is possible only through "an anticipatory resoluteness" that turns against the present's mindless routines. [109] Such an engagement -- and here Heidegger's "revolutionary conservative" opposition to the established philosophical tradition is categorical -- entails a fundamental questioning of the "rootless and self-seeking freedoms" concealing the truth of being: a questioning that draws "its necessity from the deepest history of man." [110] For this reason, Heidegger (like New Rightists) sees history as a "choice for heros," demanding the firmest resolve and the greatest risk, as man, in anxious confrontation with the heritage given him because of his origins, seeks to realize an indwelling possibility in face of an amnesic or obscurant conventionality. [111] This heroic choice (constituting the only authentic choice possible for man) ought not, however, to be confused with the subjectivist propensities of liberal individualism. A heroic conception of history demands action based on what is "original" and renewing in tradition, not on what is arbitrary or wilful. Similarly, this conception is anything but reactionary, for its appropriation of origins "does not abandon itself to that which is past," but privileges the most radical opening of being. [112]

This existential reaching forward that, at the same time, reaches back affirms the significance of what Heidegger calls "fate." [113] Like Nietzsche's amor fati, fate in his definition is not submission to the inevitable, but the "enowning" embrace of the heritage of culture and history into which man is thrown at birth. In embracing this heritage -- in taking over the unchosen circumstances of his community and generation -- man identifies with the collective destiny of his people, as he grounds his Dasein in the truth of his "ownmost particular historical facticity." [114] Truth, in this sense, reflects not an objective reflection of reality, but a forthright response to destiny -- to "the unfolding of a knowledge in which existence is already thrown" (Vattimo). The "I" of Dasein becomes thus the "we" of a destining project. Against the detemporalized, deracinated individual of liberal thought, "liberated" from organic ties and conceived as a phenomenological "inside" separated from an illusive "outside," Heideggerian man achieves authenticity through a resolute appropriation of the multi-temporal, interdependent ties he shares with his people. In affirming these ties, Heidegger simultaneously affirms man's mindful involvement in the time and space of his own destined existence. Indeed, Heideggerian man cannot but cherish, for himself and his people, the opportunity to do battle with the forces of fortuna, for in doing so he realizes the only possibility available to him, becoming in the process the master of his "thrownness" -- of his historical specificity. The community of one's people, "being-with-others" (Mitsein), serves, then, as "the in which, out of which, and for which history happens." [115] Dasein's pursuit of possibility is hence necessarily a "cohistorizing" with a community, a co-historizing that converts the communal legacy of the far-distant past into the basis of a meaningful future. [116] Indeed, history for Heidegger is possible only because Dasein's individual fate -- its inner "necessity" -- connects with a larger sociocultural "necessity," as a people struggles against the perennial forces of decay and dissolution in order "to take history back unto itself." [117]

34.Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, tr. by W. Kaufmann (New York: Vintage, 1966), §56; Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, tr. by W. Kaufmann (New York: Vintage, 1974), §285 and §341; Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, op. cit., "The Vision and the Riddle" and "The Convalescent." Also Philippe Granarolo, L'individu éternal: L'expérience nietzschéenne de l'éternité (Paris: Vrin, 1993), p. 37. Cf. M. C. Sterling, "Recent Discussions of Eternal Recurrence: Some Critical Comments," in Nietzsche Studien 6 (1977).

35. Eugene Fink, Nietzsches Philosophie (Stuttgard: Kohlhammer, 1960), p. 91.

36. Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human, op. cit., §24; Benoist, Les idées à l'endroit, op. cit., p. 74; Armin Mohler, "Devant l'histoire," in Nouvelle Ecole 27-28 (Winter 1974-1975).

37. Gianni Vattimo, The End of Modernity: Nihilism and Hermeneutics in Postmodern Culture, tr. by J.R. Snyder (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985), p. 82.

38. Paul Chassard, Nietzsche: Finalisme et histoire (Paris: Copernic, 1977), p. 174; Clément Rosset, La force majeure (Paris: Minuit, 1983), pp. 87-89; Jean-Pierre Martin, "Myth et cosmologie," in Krisis 6 (October 1990).

39. Granarolo, L'individu éternal, op. cit., pp. 34-52.

40. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, tr. by W. Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale (New York: Vintage, 1967), §1032.

41. Nietzsche, The Will to Power, op. cit., §706; Chassard, La philosophie de l'histoire dans la philosophie de Nietzsche, op. cit., pp. 114-18.

42. Fink, Nietzsche's Philosophie, op. cit., pp. 75-92.

43. Nietzsche, The Will to Power, op. cit., §639.

44. Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, op. cit., "Of the Vision and the Riddle." "Origins" for Nietzsche do not bear the timeless essence of things, but rather the unencumbered expression of their original being, the Herkunft that serves as Erbschaft. See Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals, Essay II, §12; The Gay Science, op. cit., §83. Cf. Michel Foucault, "Nietzsche, Genealogy, History," in Language, Counter-memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews, tr. by D. F. Boucard and S. Simon (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977).

45. Eliade, Myth and Reality, op. cit., pp. 115-20.

46. J. P. Vernant, "Aspects mythiques de la mémoire en Gréce," in Journal de Psychologie (1959).

47. Eliade, Myth and Reality, op. cit., pp. 134-38.

48. Granarolo, L'individu éternal, op. cit., pp. 47-52.

49. Nietzsche, Will to Power, op. cit., §552, also §70; Giorgio Locchi, "Ethologie et sciences sociales," in Nouvelle Ecole 33 (Summer 1979).

50. Mircea Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return or, Cosmos and History, tr. by W. Trask (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965), pp. 36, 85-86, 117; also Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion, tr. by W. Trask (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1959), pp. 108-10.

51. Chassard, La philosophie de l'histoire dans la philosophie de Nietzsche, op. cit., pp. 121-22.

52. Nietzsche, The Gay Science, op. cit., §109.

53. Giorgio Locchi, "L'histoire," in Nouvelle Ecole 27-28 (January 1976).

54. Benoist, Vu de droite, op. cit., pp. 298-99.

55. Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, op. cit., "Of the Great Longing." [Translation modified].

56. Nietzsche, The Gay Science, op. cit., §233; Martin Heidegger, Nietzsche: The Eternal Recurrence of the Same, tr. by D. F. Krell (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1984), p. 245; Benoist, Les idées à l'endroit, op. cit., pp. 38-40.

57. Alain de Benoist, "Fondements nominalistes d'une attitude devant la vie," in Nouvelle Ecole 33 (June 1979); "Itinéraire," in Nouvelle Ecole 24 (Winter 1973-1974).

58. Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, op. cit., "Of Redemption."

59. Giorgio Locchi, "L'histoire," in Nouvelle Ecole 27-28 (January 1976); and, from the same author, Nietzsche, Wagner e il mito sovrumanista (Rome: Akropolis, 1982).

60. Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, op. cit., "The Convalescent."

61. Jacques Marlaud, Le renouveau païen dans la pensée française (Paris: Le Labyrinthe, 1986), p. 25; Chassard, La philosophie de l'histoire dans la philosophie de Nietzsche, op. cit., pp. 112-15; Benoist, Vu de Droite, op. cit., pp. 85-87.

62. Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, op. cit., "The Honey Offering." The admonition -- "Become that which you are" -- is native to all traditional cultures. See Heinrich Jordis von Lohausen, Denken in Völkern: Die Kraft von Sprache und Raum in der Kultur- und Weltgeschichte (Graz: Stocker, 2001), pp. 12-15.

63. In passing, it might be noted that postmodernists reject the linear concept for a flattened history which turns the past into a palimpsest whose significance is capricious and best left forgotten. Cf. Susan D. Ermarth, Sequel to History: Postmodernism and the Crisis of Representational Time (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992); Keith Jenkins, Why History? Ethics and Postmodernity (London: Routledge, 1999).

64. Nietzsche, The Gay Science, op. cit., §34.

65. Granarolo, L'individu éternal, op. cit., pp. 133-44; "Itinéraire," in Nouvelle Ecole 15 (March- April 1971).

66. "Lectures de Heidegger," in Nouvelle Ecole 37 (April 1982).

67. Martin Heidegger, The Concept of Time, tr. by W. McNeill (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992), p. 19.

68. Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, tr. by J. Macquarrie and E. Robinson (New York: Harper and Row, 1962), §79.

69. Heidegger, Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, op. cit., §13b.

70. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §79; Benoist, "Un mot en quatre lettres," op. cit.

71. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §65.

72. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §69 and §72; Benoist, Comment peut-on être païen?, op. cit., p. 26.

73. Martin Heidegger, On Time and Being, tr. by J. Stambaugh (New York: Harper and Row, 1972), pp. 11-15; Alain de Benoist, "La religion de l'Europe," in Eléments 36 (Fall 1980).

74. Benoist, "Le religion de l'Europe," op. cit.

75. Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics, op. cit., p. 44.

76. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §65.

77. This, incidently, is why most present history-writing is so ahistorical -- for it examines the past only to celebrate or criticize the present, treating it as a stepping stone, a determinant, perhaps a "place" to visit, but not as a lived dimension of the present and rarely as a herald of what is possible.

78. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §72, §76, and §79. The distinction between the "selective" character of memory, in its function as a people's cult of remembrance, and the scientific impulse of history, as it breaks with moral or ideological judgements, is emphasized in Alain de Benoist's Communisme et nazisme: 25 réflexions sur le totalitarisme au XXe siècle (Paris: Le Labyrinthe, 1998), pp. 9-13. In pointing out that memory demands affiliation and history distance, Benoist sides with "history" whenever the argument turns on the "facts" -- the "objective truth" -- of an issue. This, however, is a point whose problematic relation to an identitarian philosophy of history Grécistes have failed to clarify. As Heidegger argues, the "objective truth" of the professional historian is usually an evasion of historical understanding insofar as truth based on scientific methods and rules of procedures is mainly an expression of modernity's calculative logic: the factual explanation of "what is" being not necessarily the same as a knowing understanding. Although Heidegger's distinction between correctness (in the sense of correspondence) and truth (as enowning being) is relatively unambivalent (see Contributions to Philosophy, op. cit., §76), Benoist often marshals the "facts" against the selective memory of those with whom he polemicizes, assuming that memory based on distortion, ignorance, or repression is, ipso facto, at odds with history, and that "facts" and "history" ought to be understood in the conventional, i.e., epistemological, sense. While this suggest that the GRECE's historical philosophy is not to be confused with an identitarian solipsism, it still leaves unanswered the question of how "truth" relates to fact. Heidegger, for example, holds that truth, expressing being which is neither subjective nor objective but a "happening unfolding" in the world, alone orders "fact." Benoist, though, seems to hedge his argument here, conflating fact and truth in ways that would be unacceptable to Heidegger. This is especially evident in the articles devoted to "Mémoire et histoire" in L'écume et les galet: 10 ans d'actualité vue d'ailleurs (Paris: Le Labyrinthe, 2000); also Alain de Benoist, Dernière année: Notes pour conclure le siècle (Lausanne: L'Age d'Homme, 2001), pp. 127-28. For an identitarian effort to resolve this problem, see Dominique Venner, Histoire et tradition des européens: 30,000 ans d'identité (Paris: Rocher, 2002), pp. 264-65.

79. Robert Steuckers, "Conception de l'homme et Révolution conservatrice: Heidegger et son temps," in Nouvelle Ecole 37 (April 1982); Charles Champetier, Homo Consumans: Archéologie du don et de la dépense (Paris: Le Labyrinthe, 1994), p. 98.

80. Benoist, Comment peut-on être païen?, op. cit., pp. 26-27.

81. Julius Evola, "Uber das Geheimnis des Verfalls," in Deutsches Volkstum 14 (1938).

82. Martin Heidegger, "The Word of Nietzsche," in The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, tr. by W. Lovitt (New York: Harper and Row, 1977).

83. Vattimo, The End of Modernity, op. cit., pp. 51-64.

84. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §5; David L. Miller, The New Polytheism: Rebirth of the Gods and Goddesses (New York: Harper and Row, 1974), p. 48.

85. Heidegger, The Concept of Time, op. cit., pp. 12-13; Guillaume Faye and Patrick Rizzi, "Pour en finir avec le nihilisme," in Nouvelle Ecole 37 (Spring 1982).

86. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §5.

87. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §29; Heidegger, Contributions to Philosophy, op. cit., §120 and §255. To see Dasein as pure existence, "stripped of all security and standing," causes many commentators to misread Heidegger. For example, Karl Löwith, "The Political Implications of Heidegger's Existentialism" (1946), in New German Critique 45 (Fall 1988).

88. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §65.

89. Heidegger, Contributions to Philosophy, op. cit., §92.

90. R. G. Collingwood, "The Philosophy of History" (1930), in W. Debbins, ed., Essays in the Philosophy of History (New York: Garland, 1985), p. 138. Heidegger, though, goes a step further than Collingwood: each generation must not only confront the heritage of its past, but appropriate what it finds "essential" in it in order to establish the "upon which" it projects its being. See Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §65.

91. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §6 and §79.

92. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §74; "Itinéraire," in Nouvelle Ecole 17 (March-April 1972).

93. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §75.

94. "What 'is' is not current events and neither is it what is present right now. What 'is' is what approaches from what has-been and, as this, is what approaches." Heidegger's claims that the inability to discern this difference between "now' and "what is" stems from the present era's "flight from history." See Martin Heidegger, The Principle of Reason, tr. by R. Lilly (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991), pp. 80-81. Relatedly, the development of modern historical studies, which has immensely expanded our knowledge of the past, occurs in a period that has almost entirely divested the past of "real" meaning and made a hedonistic cult out of the moment. Because the past is dead to our age, the great contemporary works of historical scholarship bear a greater resemblance to archeological studies than to "history" in the classic sense. In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, "The Home- Coming," Nietzsche appropriately calls the modern historian a "gravedigger."

95. "'Only a God Can Save Us': Der Spiegel Interview with Martin Heidegger" (1966), in R. Wolin, ed., The Heidegger Controversy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p. 106; also Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §74. Cf. Benoist, Vu de Droite, op. cit., p. 37.

96. Martin Heidegger, "The Self-Assertion of the German University," in Richard Wolin, ed., The Heidegger Controversy (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1993).

97. Benoist, Vu de Droite, op. cit., p. 23.

98. Martin Heidegger, "The Onto-theo-logical Nature of Metaphysics" (1957), in Essays in Metaphysics, tr. by K. F. Leidecker (New York: Philosophical Library, 1960), p. 44; Heidegger, Contributions to Philosophy, op. cit., § 91.

99. Eliade, Myth and Reality, op. cit., p. 92.

100. Raymond Ruyer, Les cents prochains siècles: Le destin historique de l'homme selon la Nouvelle Gnose américaine (Paris: Fayard, 1977), p. 323.

101. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §76.

102. Heidegger, Contributions to Philosophy, op. cit., §3 and §20.

103. Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics, op. cit., p. 191; Benoist, Comment peut-on être païen?, op. cit., p. 28.

104. Martin Heidegger, "The Origin of the Work of Art" (1935), in D. F. Krell, ed., Basic Writings (New York: Harper and Row, 1977), pp. 149 and 187; Molnar and Benoist, L'éclipse du sacré, op. cit., p. 215. In Helmut Diwald's epic history of the German nation, the "narrative" begins with the Yalta Conference of 1945, which sealed the fate of the Third Reich, and "runs backwards" to the founding of the first Reich, in what is undoubtedly the most extraordinary historiographical illustration of this key Heideggerian idea. See his Geschichte der Deutschen (Frankfurt/M: Ullstein, 1978).

105. Benoist, L'empire intérieur, op. cit., p. 18.

106. Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return, op. cit., pp. 28-36.

107. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §65; Benoist, L'empire intérieur, op. cit., p. 17.

108. Martin Heidegger, "The Anaximander Fragment" (1946), in Early Greek Thinking, tr. by D. F. Krell and F. A. Capuzzi (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1984), p. 18; Benoist, "La religion de l'Europe," op. cit.

109. Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics, op. cit., p. 39; Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane, op. cit., pp. 31 and 95; Benoist, "La religion de l'Europe," op. cit.

110. Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics, op. cit., p. 6; Heidegger, Contributions to Philosophy, op. cit., §117 and §184.

111. Faye, Les nouveaux enjeax idéologiques, op. cit., pp. 68 and 78; Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §74; Vial, "Servir la cause des peuples," op. cit.

112. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §74.

113. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §74.

114. Heidegger, Contributions to Philosophy, op. cit., §11.

115. Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics, op. cit., p. 152.

116. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §74.

117. Heidegger, Being and Time, op. cit., §74; Benoist, L'empire intérieur, op. cit., pp. 23-26; Steuckers, "Conception de l'homme et Révolution conservatrice," op. cit. It might be noted that this merger of individual fate and collective destiny intends not the sublation of ego, but its enrootment and growth.

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