In this article from the January 1938 issue of La Vita Italiana, Julius Evola describes his understanding of the occult war and its tactics. This should clear up two widely spread misconceptions.
- The first misconception is that the occult war has something to do with so-called occult or magical practices. To the contrary, it is not a question of men employing higher, or transhuman, forces to achieve their aim, but rather of those forces using men, with or against their will, whether they are conscious of it or not, to achieve aims apart from the desires of men.
- The second misconception is that Evola is an adherent of conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories restrict themselves to a two dimensional understanding of history, where some small group of men control events for their own ends. Evola is referring to something much deeper.
The rest of the article speaks for itself and it is surprising how, today, such a view is barely comprehensible. This is despite the work of Wilhelm Wundt, who made a similar point from a purely secular point of view. Yet the rapidity of the way public opinion can be swayed ought to give one pause.
As Evola said, whatever he says about the occult war can only be understood keeping in mind Guenon’s writings of the anti-tradition, counter-tradition, and related topics. It may be surprising to some that Evola mentioned the Catholics as holding a similar understanding to his. That is understandable to those who only know the Vatican II church. But older writings do indeed describe an occult or spiritual war; the older Church and Evola even agree on the specific historical organizations or agents of the anti-tradition. We will, at some future date, reproduce some of those writings.
The occult war is when the forces of worldwide subversion lead from behind the scenes, adopting means that almost always elude ordinary methods of investigation. The notion of an occult war belongs to a tridimensional vision of history, to a history considered not according to the two dimensional surface of apparent causes, events, and leaders, but otherwise, depending on the third dimension of depth, the subterranean direction, that retrieves the decisive forces and influences which are often not even ascribable to the simple human element, whether individual or collective.
Having used the adjective “subterranean”, it is necessary to make precise it importance, indicating that it is not a question of an obscure and irrational substrate of scientific history, of something that could stand in the known part of it, but in the same relationship by which, in the individual, the subconscious stands to the consciousness of waking. This analogy is certainly exact, if consider it from the point of view of those who, in this tridimensional view of events, appear not as the subjects, but rather of the objects of history: in their acting and thinking, they do not take into account the true influences which they obey and the true ends that are accomplished through them. They have their true center more in the subconscious and unconscious, than in their waking consciousness, yet, in this respect, we can certainly say that it is in the subconscious that the most decisive movements of the occult war develop.
But from the point of view of the true subjects of history, things are quite different, and we can speak, in this regard, neither of the subconscious, nor the unconscious, but we must think of more than intelligent forces, forces that know perfectly what they want and the most appropriate means to realize what they want. To suppose that this substrate of history is accounted for by the “irrational”, by “life”, by “becoming”, or by whatever else of those confused entities invented by modern historicism in the moment in which they thought they went beyond so-called scientific historiography, is among the most dangerous errors. We believe, on the contrary, that we see in that one of the suggestions prudently spread in certain circles typical of the aims of certain movements of the occult war in modern times.
We will explain ourselves more clearly in what follows. For now, it is enough to establish this point: we must not allow the third dimension of history to vanish in the fog of abstract and philosophical views, but we must consider it inhabited and occupied by quite precise “intelligences”, whose expression and closest mouthpieces were almost always certain secret societies or organizations, but which must not at all exhaust, have their beginning and end, in them.
Examining the various conceptions of history widespread in the West, perhaps it is the Catholic conception, out of all of them, that can claim views of the same type. It is typical of such conceptions, in fact, to see history not as a mechanism of natural, political, economic, or social causes, but as the unfolding of a type of plan (the “providential” plan) opposed by adverse forces and their historical emissaries, forces that assume either the moralistic designations of the “forces of evil” or the religious one of anti-Christian forces or forces of the Antichrist. One such conception can already furnish a foundation when it is transposed from the teleological plan to a practical plan and if it makes its general principle through an interpretation deepened by events; in the second place, when it is generalized, establishing its susceptibility to still be of value in non-Christian civilizations, for which it will be well, in this regard, and with reference to human institutions, to speak generically of forces of tradition and forces of the anti-Tradition, the forces of the spiritual hierarchy and the revolutionary subversions, the forces of the cosmos and of chaos. In this particular case, the anti-Traditional forces will also appear naturally as anti-Catholic forces, insofar as, in the Catholic tradition, they are intended to combat the Traditional spirit in general, to destroy the basis of every hierarchy and to ruin their historical representatives.
We will never be able to insist enough, today, on the necessity of penetrating a view of the type that must not be considered as one among the many possible “speculations” of philosophy, but rather as an indispensable organ for true action. We are pleased to reproduce here a passage of the famous Protocols, to which we had already called attention.
The purely brute mind of the gentiles is incapable of use for analysis and observation, and still more for the foreseeing whither a certain manner of setting a question may tend. In this difference in capacity for thought between the gentiles and ourselves may be clearly discerned the seal of our position as the Chosen People and of our higher quality of humanness, in contradistinction to the brute mind of the gentiles. Their eyes are open, but see nothing before them and do not invent (unless perhaps, material things).
It is a truthfully alarming thing to think in how many cases such a judgment about the gentiles—who would be, this this special reference which makes Israel the principle agent of worldwide subversion, the non-Hebrews, but who can also be considered, in general, as those who we already called the “objects of history”—has still today a profound content of truth. The point of view of the greater part of the so-called “men of action”, compared to those of the hidden adversaries, can certainly be said to be babies: they concentrate all of the strength on what is directly graspable with the hands, and are incapable of establishing the relationships of cause and effect beyond the range of an extremely limited zone and of a nature almost always grossly material. Moreover, there is a fundamental lack of principles, since they almost always believe that the point of view of action cannot be “dogmatically” subordinated to principles, but must be related to the “unavoidable necessities of the moment”.
Unfortunately, this is still the level typical of most counter-revolutionary forces. It is a situation that can be compared to that of someone who finds himself perfectly equipped for the high mountain, with boots, sack, cord, and pick and then finds himself, after happily passing many tests, facing an expanse of water, at a lake or a sea, throws himself into it enthusiastically, believing that his equipment will still help him and lead him forward. Instead, it will only be of use to make him sink more rapidly to the bottom.
The occult war is exercised on that which, with an image drawn from positive science, we will call the “imponderables”, or imponderable quantities. It is adopted fairly often to produce almost insensible changes, from which sizable effects will proceed slowly but fatally. It almost never acts with forces opposed to other forces, but rather through an opportune direction of it, so as to lead to the desired effects. What Wundt called the heterogony of ends, plays a fundamental part in it: it is precisely about acting, while some forces or men believe they are willing and producing a given effect, and it alone, in actuality, they will produce or prepare something else quite different from it, thus uncovering an influence and an intelligence that transcends them. It is for this reason that, on another occasion [in La Vita Italiana], we said that the examination of the “differential” existing between the will and the event, between the principles or programs and the true consequences of it in history, offers the most valuable material for whoever truly wants to account for the true forces which history itself has obeyed.
But in this article we want to move beyond the general, and speak of a few of the most frequently used means, in our time, of the hidden powers of worldwide subversion to cover their action, to prevent that of their adversaries and to continue to exercise their influence.
It is incumbent to point out that the idea here was often given by observations scattered in the various works of Rene Guenon. Guenon, in our opinion, is, in a similar type of problems, of a competence nearly unique in all contemporary Western literature.
Part II of the Occult War ⇒
These tools were summarized a few months ago in Tactics of the Occult War.