Monday, November 30, 2020

quote of the day

Countercultural community was more explicitly thematized in Jünger’s dystopian novel Eumeswil. The title names a petty state in a decadent, post-apocalyptic future, an “epigonic world of languishing empires and degenerate city-states” where history has ground to a halt. In Eumeswil, Jünger writes, “values keep growing more and more shallow,” while the “great ideas for which millions got themselves killed” are no longer thought worthy of sacrifice. The distinctions that once divided populations by race, creed, and class have also “largely vanished.” Eumeswil, we are told, is an “atomized society,” in which only “the gross pleasures” and “the demands of everyday life” are taken seriously. This philistinism is abetted by thinking’s reduction to “purely quantitative terms” and the “decay of language” into vulgarity and slang. Despite its futuristic setting, it gradually becomes clear that Eumeswil is in fact a thinly veiled portrait of what Jünger believed was his own nihilistic, post-historical present.  


The creation of private or semi-private spaces proved appealing to many German writers and intellectuals after 1945 [...]counterspheres were likewise crucial to the search for interlocutors and influence. A good example is the network of relationships that grew up around the disgraced jurist Carl Schmitt. Institutionally ostracized after 1945, Schmitt was nonetheless widely consulted through informal channels—including invited lectures, countless epistolary exchanges, and long conversations at Schmitt’s home in Plettenberg. Counterspheres were also deemed necessary as a means of resistance to “Americanization” by those who, like Schmitt and Jünger, refused to submit to denazification or openly recant their earlier works. Media censorship in the occupation zones—what Schmitt damned as the “licensed public sphere”—fanned resentments about the imposition of liberalism and other supposedly foreign values. In response, Constantin Goschler observed, “radical conservatives developed an alternative to the liberal public sphere, primarily in the form of a retreat into the private sphere, where one could cultivate an arcanum amongst like-minded buddies. This practice contributed heavily to a sharp division between public and non-public or semi-public discourses that emerged in Germany shortly after the war and constituted an important element of West German political culture for some time after.

Monday, November 9, 2020

quote of the day


'We comes to terms with the fact that mankind has led the earth into a new age by intervening in nature, thereby threatening its own survival. The “apocalyptic mood,” according to Jünger, is “a sign that we have reached a stage where the fate of the earth as such is in doubt.”'
- Ernst Junger, Gerhard Loose