In this second of three parts, Guido De Giorgio expands on the role of the Leader in a traditional society. It is instructive to compare De Giorgio’s point of view with Evola’s idea of the state; De Giorgio includes the spiritual or contemplative aspect which brings in some subtle changes. Nevertheless, Di Giorgio also recognizes that the active life can also be a path to realization.
The emphasis on the law is also important, such Guenon pointed out that the western medieval tradition did not have a sacred law. There was, and is, canon law, but that is at a lesser level. What De Giorgio is describing is more akin to sharia law in Islam, or the complex rituals and requirements required of Hindu castes, and even the ancient Romans whose daily lives were regulated by rites and taboos. Abandoning such laws, in his view, does not lead to more freedom, but rather to is opposite: it leads to servitude to one’s passions and lower nature.
On the other hand, by not knowing himself man does not know God because only the knowledge of his illusory existence permits him to realize the essential truth of God in a process that moves from negation to affirmation, from human nothingness to divine wholeness, not from a fragment to a totality, but from a non-totality to totality, from illusory human unity to real divine unity, not from duality to unity, but from non-duality to unity. This knowledge entails an effective realization that in its turn annuls the earthly sphere, the environment in which man lives, putting all its elements on a plane of absolute equivalence, i.e., neutralizing, dissipating the sense of otherness that derives from the possessive conceit concluding in the ontological absurdity “I am I”.
The process of realization instead denies the first person, affirms the second, unifies the first and third, and definitively puts itself beyond this union, in what we could call the Fourth Sublime, the Fourth Absolute.
This is the ideal plan of transhumanization presented as a fieri while it is an esse, and it is the decisive model of everything in principle and therefore also and above all of the Leader who is not such if he does not take on the experience of his subjects in the purity of the distributive standard and in the unification of sovereign power. Therefore his function is, so to say, the restoration of hierarchy, the consecration of the human body whose members are the subjects while he is the vivifying center that accomodates the innumerable expressions of the active life, purifies them in the renovating power of traditional principles whose deposit the Priests hold and returns them almost equipped with a more intense rhythm and clad with the united seal.
In this sense he the first and the last of his subjects because his subordination to divine principles is dependent on his capacity to centralize the forms of active life while expending his personality in a decisive totalization. The relationship between the Leader and his subjects consists in this, that he is in all and all are in him with an absolute reciprocity that makes of the entire active life a veritable sacrifice, i.e., an imperfection made sacred through the gift that is made of it to God in the person of the Leader. He accepts and gives, and what he offers is always himself: he is responsible for how much his subjects accomplish because in him everything merges in order to receive the supreme consecration. The asceticism of the Leader is in a sense superior to that of the Warriors because it is vaster and more integral, accomodating in himself all the developments of the active life in order to maintain them within the traditional ambit with the spiritual authority of the Priests and the power of the Warriors, from the former, the conscience, and from the latter, the personality so that ascetically the last in front of God is the first in front of men. His activity, obeying the law of justice, is thus purged of any personal motives whatsoever because, by becoming Leader, he consecrated himself to the coming of peace on earth and governs in order to make it respected and he provides the harmony of traditional society with a constant effort of rectification. As God is the ruler of all the worlds, he is the ruler of the earth and of the men who inhabit it, the supreme regulator of their activity without passing beyond his domain which is that of the active life, without which he could be in open conflict with his function and purpose as temporal leader occupying the contemplative sphere that is to the Priests reserved. Harmony must precisely consist in the separation of the two powers that, on earth, and on earth alone, where activity is in force, conserving two distinct spheres while it no longer exists in an ultra-worldly stage that is the starting point for the integral realization of the divine.
The subjects owe the Leader obedience and respect; obedience because he directs human affairs, analogously with God who rules the creative universality, and respect because his function is the application of justice, i.e., the rectification of the disparities produced by the multiformity of men’s actions and protects them and guides them to the realization of happiness in whose terminal and plenary stage is Edenic perfection.
Human activity when brought back to the purpose of rite is purified from every contaminating egoism and the man who has fulfilled his temporal stage in prefect adherence to the norm of justice, regains the absolute preeminence over the other beings of whom he becomes again lord and he enjoys the Great Peace in the exercise of his liberty released from every abuse. It is the Leader’s precise function to tend to this reintegration of the divine state, directing all the forms of earthly activity toward a progressive purgation and acting so that man can fulfill what is granted to him on earth without actions limiting and precluding contemplation but, regulated and ordered, more than a snag and a chain, is itself a mode of liberation. And he can become it only if conducted according to justice which is the greatest of the virtues, especially for the Leader who must prefer it more than any other virtue because his action neutralizes the will leading every form of activity back into its channel, preventing abuses of power and giving true liberty to the subjects, i.e., the spiritual practice that is gained with obedience to the law.
Here man is liberated by obeying and not otherwise: whoever does not understand that will always be subjugated. In fact, in order to obey it is necessary to understand the value of the law that is placed to redeem men from the appetites that enslave and to make him able to exercise his freedom effectively. The Leader must be vigilant in respect to the law in order to facilitate the gaining of freedom and he himself will be liberated to the extent he maintains the limits of his temporal function without ever passing beyond them. The law in itself does not know how to nor can it make itself respected, but it needs whoever establishes it, and since it is a pure norm higher than men, it must be imposed: in this sense strength accompanies justice, nor can it be separated and the Leader must make the law respected with strength. But from submission to the law, freedom is born that, being purely of the spiritual order and belonging to the contemplative life, arises only from the perfection of this, like a crowning achievement, an apical stage that is the triumph of man over himself.
Man calls himself free only when he again becomes the son of truth and does not recognize subjection other than this to the point of confusing himself, identifying with a further state which will be that of pure unity. But in the domain of the active life, it is not possible to be liberated other than by obeying the law personified in the Leader who must make it respected with strength, not through an affirmation of supremacy— which is to be excluded in a traditional society—but to prevent the subjects from falling into servitude by breaking the law. The temporal power is inclined to the achievement of freedom and is established for this, so that, by imposing the law, the immoderate will is avoid, the bestial part in man is restrained, and it is started precisely to be free. To regulate the active life can signify nothing other that is positively fertile than to permit contemplative practice in the measure conceded to each one by his spirit. In civil life, freedom is therefore obedience and in the contemplative life it is liberation: up to this point it is understood that man is not so much born free as he becomes free, and better said, born free, he can maintain his freedom or fall into servitude: most men, by forgetting freedom, which is a divine gift, prefer servitude to their passions, and this they call freedom and are opposed to the monarchical regime because they see in the Leader a man like them and not a model who, in order to make himself respected, must necessarily personify himself: one is not liberated, but becomes liberated, and naturally he becomes it because he is it, but ignorance prevents him from knowing why man is born free: only for the fulfillment of his earthly experience and not for the exaltation of that which is least human in him. He was free at his birth as the son of God, but, straying in order to follow his impulse, which he fallaciously calls freedom, he has become again a slave: in order to become free again, i.e., a son of God, he must put himself under the regulative norm of the active life and to regain the freedom of the contemplative life.