Classical and Romantic Ethics

Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations. ~ Jeremiah 1:5

In the chapter Classical and Romantic Ethics from Sintesi di dottrina della razza, Julius Evola recapitulates the traditional doctrine of preexistence. This was one of the acceptable opinions for the origin of the soul along with traducianism and creationism. The latter developed in opposition of the former, but has nothing to say against preexistence, properly understood (i.e., not in a crude, “materialistic” sense). Every possibility of manifestation “exists” in the mind of God. If you want to restrict the word “exist” to manifested being, then that possibility does not “exist” as an actuality. Moreover, if by “preexistence” is meant a prior existence as another human being, then that use of the word is false. In a planned post on the metaphysics of Vladimir Solovyov, we will defend the use of the neoplatonic and other traditional sources cited by Evola.

Evola himself refers to the Catholic teaching on the creation of the soul from nothing, with the same semantic confusion about “preexistence” mentioned above. This chapter cannot be understood in the conventional scientific, empirical, or material sense, but requires a full understanding of the metaphysical principles underlying it. Thus “race” in his view is not at all a biological quality that can be determined genetically, but a spiritual attitude. Otherwise the decline of the modern world would be incomprehensible. It results from a spiritual decline, regardless of biological facts.

These are questions that are ignored by theologians today. The idea that archangels are assigned to different peoples and nations is no longer taken seriously, never mind that they participate in their creation. The quote from Plotinus on inequality used to be known and was held to be due to God’s Providence, predestination, and predilection. Of course, our intent is not to open a debate on these topics, but rather to observe their effects. All things, including men, have their origin in the mind of God as possibilities. If a man has a destiny, he must actively actualize it and not wait passively for it to happen. In Rene Guenon‘s words, that refers to the actualization of the possibilities open to him. That is, he must become who he is.

4 thoughts on “Classical and Romantic Ethics

  1. Matt, I took the liberty of bringing out Evola’s real meaning while putting it into a larger context. As a literal event, Evola’s notion of a soul choosing its incarnation does not make much sense. Nevertheless, his rethought notions of karma and dharma are powerful. So we can understand the created soul as having qualities; this is also consistent with predilection. Moreover, the categories of being, at least at the moment of conception, are not simply “accidents”, but are essential to the soul’s being.

  2. It’s certainly a different view of pre-existence when compared to what others have written on the subject, with the exception being Guenon, I guess.

    From my readings of Evola on the subject of pre-existence, I always got the impression that his view of the pre-existence of the particular subject was the same as that of a Origen, or a Saint-Martin (Martin’s being more along the lines of the Kabbalah’s Adam-Kadmon) . That the soul/person pre-exists embodiment as a manifested pure spirit, not just as a possibility of manifestation in the Divine Mind.

    More material to contemplate on.

  3. Agreed, Mr Citadel. This doctrine is stronger and, to my mind, preferable to the “creationist” account which seems rather arbitrary and ad hoc.

  4. Man’s pre-existence in the mind of God as a possibility (with this constituting a true existence) would seem to rule out all arguments for abortion, and then some. Those not yet born are most certainly the same as those whom they will become, with their passage of birth being a mere semantic.

    The Christian view of abortion is affirmed entirely here.

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