This essay originally appeared in the Introduction to Magic, volume 3. This is the second of multiple parts. It was published under the name “Avro”, which I believe to be Julius Evola.
⇐ Part 1 Part 3 ⇒
Moving from primitive man to the anthropoid and the ape, and presuming the jumps are surmountable, which therefore must be made in order to reach the other animal forms according to transformist models, we can say the same thing: as far as being able to consider many animal species as degenerations or degradations of still older non-animal forms. Our point of view is exactly this: Man does not derive from the animal but, if ever, it is the various animal species that derive from man, in a sense that we now try to explain.
The principle difficulty that this point of view encounters lies in the fact that the traces of man end at a given geological period: while the traces of prehistoric animals continue up to a much older period. But this same fact is susceptible to different interpretations, for those who can consider the idea of transformations with sufficient breadth: that the mineral traces of man are more recent, could mean only that man was the last to come into that process, under a certain involutional aspect, through which it is precisely possible that they exist as fossils and therefore those traces are retrievable.
The misunderstanding about “cavemen” comes from not thinking that it is natural that certain very old traces are still found in the caves, because, for multiple factors, they have not been preserved elsewhere. The idea of the recent appearance of man on the earth is based on a lack of vision of the same type; I certainly am not asking anyone to admit the fall of man from the sky: it is enough to surpass the mineral, but not the material, concept of corporality; it suffices to think of the possibility of a body whose most physical element (which today is the skeletal system) was composed by a substance unsusceptible to self-conservation through the process of fossilization—to remain indifferent in the face of the fact of the lack of traces in the most remote geologic periods, and to be able to admit the existence of primordial human stocks (of which the anthropoids would be the first degenerating materializations) coexisting among more driven forms of the involutive process, which would be represented by the oldest animals of prehistory. This concept has nothing absurd in itself. Analogically, every manifestation has of necessity an inversive character: whatever stands more to the origin, more to the internal, more to the center, can only be the last to appear in the movement toward the external;. And at the center and at the origin, according to esoteric teaching, would exactly be Man.
NOTE: What happens to the rest in every finalistic process: the goal, the end precedes as idea all those conditions that are necessary to actualize it, and as reality it appears as the last, after them.
This Man naturally does not correspond to the man of today: but he corresponds to them – in the sense that man of today can be considered as the most approximate manifestation and the most direct lineage of primordial Man. As such, he represents the origin, the axis, while the other species represent lateral or divergent directions, if not to say, byproducts.
With an image previously used by “Ea”, I can perhaps indicate better what otherwise would require a long detour of concepts in order to be understood.
Let us imagine something like an assault, like an undertaking of conquest. A group of tightly unified forces confront the danger, they approach the goal. A battle is undertaken. On the defenseless front some begin to fall back, others advance. The resistance is met, the clash begins. The empire bends. Few succeed in maintaining the original direction – like the wake of a boat, they leave behind them, dispersed, stopped, sacrificed or beaten, the greater part of those, with whom they were together at the beginning of the undertaking. The group of survivors hold firm, advance again: always fighting, they succeeds in opening a way, they finally reach the position that it was the goal of the undertaking, they conquers it, they maintain it, they planted their own banner in it. In all the other directions, the aborted, frustrated, arrested attempts of the same will lag behind on the way without exit.
We mean now by “conquest”, the achievement of the physical state of existence in the conditions well-known to us today; we mean that those who have reached the end are men and others who were defeated or have deviated, are the various animal species. Man, as known today, expresses the form in which the stock of a primordial humanity is conserved and still standing in the conditions of materiality, in which various animal species were included in the beginning, certainly not in the forms that appear to us today, but rather in the principles of them, which have taken their origin biologically from a degenerative specialization, from a ramification of the original direction into divergent directions, each one expressing the exhaustion of an attempt, the arrest of a surge of assault from which those who have “broken down” are separated and that they left behind themselves.
It is interesting to notice that ideas of this type were also put forward at the fringes of modern culture, without a connection with traditional teaching. In the works of E. Dacqué [“Leben als Symbol”, “Urwelt, Sage und Menschheit”] I find, for example, a rather similar conception, and an illustration that makes very clear the concept discussed above.