Wednesday, December 18, 2019

A "must-read." Excerpts included.

Great review of Ernst Junger's The Forest Passage. It's become the bible I live by. Excerpts and link below. The review, itself, is a "must-read."
We live in turbulent times that are sometimes hard to grasp. The vast amounts of stupidity and the further stupid reactions to this stupidity have created a terrifyingly negative situation we all have to face. Over-consumption, over-population, massive collectivism (including its most brutal and stupid form: monotheism) and an angst-ridden denial through petty consumerist compensations… What a mess!
"Man has immersed himself too deeply in the constructions, he has devalued himself and lost contact with the ground. This brings him close to catastrophe, to great danger, and to pain. They drive him into untried territory, lead him toward destruction. How strange that it is just there – ostracized, condemned, fleeing – that he encounters himself anew, in his undivided and indestructible substance. With this, he passes through the mirror images and recognizes himself in all his might.” 
At the core of the conflict lie not only its effects (pollution, depletion, poverty, pandemic potential) but also the philosophical dilemma for the thinking man and woman: how to deal with this world gone bananas? Each of us have to deal with the same question(s) but it seems that for most people the process becomes too painful and the perspectives too staggering. If we initially see ourselves as a contributing part of a whole (collective), it still won’t be long before the feeling of loneliness appears again. If survival on the individual level becomes too complicated, then of course people look for collective/tribal solutions. That’s just human nature. But what if the collective has gone bananas too and won’t realize it? A total Verfremdung then sets in, and the routes of life are now basically two: succumb/suffer or resist. 
Ernst Jünger’s figure/type of The Forest Rebel (Der Waldgänger) is not someone who physically roams through nature as some kind of escapist response to the madness of post-civilization. The Forest Rebel is rather someone who even within the restrictions of a human society finds freedom in the mere awareness of resistance. In this, the type is strongly related but not identical to another Jünger type, the Anarch. This should not to be confused with ”Anarchist”, who is always someone who needs the host body it claims to revolt against in a misdirected, epiphytic and masochistic love-relationship. The Anarch is as free as can be by claiming no allegiances and no ties on any level. Indifference is perhaps the wrong word here, but Jünger’s key term Désinvolture describes the attitude better. Being aloof, distanced, untainted by the madness and mass psychosis. Non-allegiance is central to this attitude. 
So, what’s the solution to the problem? Well, Jünger states very well what the problem is. But there are no set solutions, simply because this has to do with the Individual turning into a Forest Rebel or possibly an Anarch. 
Realizations about the state of the world, inner and outer, must come from the individual him/herself. The act of formulation itself is a move of powerful resistance. Then action must be taken, even if it only amounts to very subtle forms. There are no requirements, nothing to join, no set programs and no way back once the realization is there.
The unique sources of myth, creativity and imagination play important roles though, albeit individually expressed. ”Any power struggle is preceded by a verification of images and an iconoclasm. This is why we need poets – they initiate the overthrow, even that of titans. Imagination, and with it song, belong to the forest passage."  
A reconnection with the mythic world is essential to this existential adventure. It transcends narrow-minded and (weak) ego-driven pettiness, which, in collective forms, always manifests disaster. Every kind of collectivism is a denial and negation of individual potential. Striving for a glimpse of the eternal, mythic and divine (non-denominational!) in contrast to the dull dross of mechanized contemporary culture elevates the human mind to insights that can be utterly life-changing. When those insights arrive, you’re in the middle of the forest for sure. Free as a human being can be.
Link HERE.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

quote of the day

"The soul is, therefore, not the principle of a person's individuality, but that through which one is raised above all selfhood, whereby one becomes capable of self-sacrifice, of selfless love, and of what is highest, the contemplation and knowledge of the nature of things, and with all of that: art."

- F.W.J. Schelling, "On the Relation of the Fine Arts to Nature"

"Dionysus is a magical god...moderating all things...the one who dampens and controls ferocious fire."
 F.W.J. Schelling, On the Divinities of Samothrace

Monday, December 9, 2019

quote of the day

HERVIER: If I focus on the two utopias of your great novels Heliopolis and Eumeswil- 1949 and 1977 respectively-it seems that your view of the world has definitely grown more somber.

JÜNGER: Yes, but I would like to say that I do not want this to be interpreted as a prophecy about the future. At the moment, there is a portion that involves everything that Nietzsche says about his last man. For me, the last man is, above all, a phantom: man living amid comfort, as depicted in Nietzsche's Zarathustra, is only the before- last, and another will soon emerge. This is the kind of thought that comes to mind at twilight, and that is then pondered. But Eumeswil does not boil down to that. As for the period of "Passage of the Line," [translated as "Across the Line", AF] which, Heidegger says, should have posted the problems differently, I was playing an optimistic game. This doesn't mean that I'm contradicting myself, I am simply revealing facts that contradict one another. This an entirely different matter

- The Details of Time: Conversations with Ernst Junger

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

quote of the day

Ernst Junger (1895-1998)
HERVIER: The image of democracy proposed by Eumeswil is hardly flattering.

JÜNGER: Just what is democracy? People claim to have democracy everywhere, even in countries where it is absolutely non-existent in practice. It's somewhat the same with Truth. Truth is highly praised everywhere: but where do we really encounter it?

- The Details of Time: Conversations with Ernst Junger

Monday, December 2, 2019

Conversations with Ernst Junger: The Details of Time

Junger continues to be of huge importance for me as I finish up current reading projects and move on to new ones.  I've spent quite a bit of time with Hegel and Schelling this past year, branching out into Hegel's Philosophy of Right - and thus political philosophy has yet again entered into the margins of me developing a perspective that would inform my upcoming writing projects.

 I've never been much interested in the political until I began to realize how the political (as such) and ontologies of power are one and the same (this realization thanks not only to Hegel, but also to Nietzsche, Foucault, and Junger). 

I have argued in the past that it is incredibly profitable to triangulate reading of Nietzsche-Foucault-Junger when it comes to ontologies of power and ascertainment of political perspective. Many would assume Deleuze instead of Junger perhaps, which does work albeit from a different perspective. I think Junger works abit better over Deleuze simply because he is more "flexible" or "adaptable" in terms of optical assessment and practice.  With Junger apoliteia is quite valuable in terms of one determining what is what, without being locked into a particular political schism or schema.

As my upcoming reading project takes shape I most likely will post a reading list, but what I have so far is more topical than specifically author-based.  This all also fits with my currently developing YouTube channel (I have 110 +/- subscribers!) where I post both short ten to fifteen-minute-ish videos as well as broadcast lengthier live-streams (an hour plus) covering political philosophy, aesthetics, or sometimes less academic-natured things such as music or chatting with viewers.

That all said, here is a link to a nice little over-view of Ernst Junger's thinking. Hopefully you can see why I think he is so valuable and how he is such a brilliant and fascinating mind.

The Details of Time: Conversations with Ernst Junger (.pdf download, 3MB, HERE).