In this essay, Massimo Scaligero describes his first impressions on meeting Julius Evola. Although they went in different directions (Scaligero became an Anthroposophist), they remained good friends and collaborated for several years. Like Evola, Scaligero was interested in the Roman spirit in the context of spiritual races. Scaligero incisively notes the essential differences in their worldviews. Scaligero uses thinking and imagination to penetrate into reality, and ultimately to the Logos. Evola, on the contrary, insists on the primacy of will. Of course, Gornahoor readers will understand how to relate those two tendencies.
This is the first of two parts. The second part is here: Part 2 ⇒.
NOTE: Cologero asked me to help with the publication of translations that we have worked on. He convinced me that the quality of readers has improved since the last time I was active here. Besides more of Scaligero’s essays, I will be posting more chapters from Sintesi; soon to come is the chapter on the third migration, as well as the relation between sex and race. Cologero will probably create a new blog for me so that the primary message is not obscured. I told him not to hesitate to ask for help. With a little more than a year left before Gornahoor shuts down, he plans to bring several ideas to their conclusions.
BTW, I appreciate the offer of Frangelico, but I would prefer a case of Nero d’Avola.
I knew Evola at a time when almost everyone prudently distanced himself from him: he revealed himself, by means of the journal La Torre, to be the boldest protester of the culture of the Regime. Even though those around him created a type of vacuum for that reason, he carried on the attack unperturbed. That attracted my attention, even if I did not yet understand what he was really driving at. In those days, around the spring of 1930, I went to him despite being advised against it by well-meaning friends: I did not want others to decide for me. At that time telephones in the home were rare, so the appearance at someone’s home would not have been considered an indiscretion: in case of the absence of the person you wanted to visit, we used to leave a calling card with the concierge.
I was curious to know the person who showed so much courage and about whom Adriano Tilgher had spoken to me with admiration, albeit with reservations about the content of his doctrines. I remember he called him “the most powerful dialectician of Europe”. But that was not what impressed me. I had yet to understand that Tilgher was referring mainly to the dialectical battles at the Associazione per il Progresso Morale e Religioso (Association for Moral and Religious Progress), then directed by professor Giuseppe Puglisi, and headquartered in Piazza Nicosia (later, it was transferred to Piazza Campicelli under the direction the poet Raniero Nicolai) where, at the end of the conference, a debate took place in which the usual participants included Professor John Imperato, Professor Ernesto Quadrelli, Professor Giuseppe Palanga, sometimes Tilgher, and, finally, Evola, who regularly beat them all with compelling arguments and humorous barbs.
I knocked on the door of the next to top floor of Corso Vittorio 197 and a youthful, tall, rangy character, undoubtedly older than I, opened the door: his expression was between Buddhist and Olympic, his bearing quite calm. Having at once intuited the meaning of my visit, or rather, lack of one, Evola promptly met me with genuine affection and this affection was the strength of the connection, beyond dialectics and doctrine, that linked me to him for years.
As I wrote in my book From Yoga to the Rosicrucians, I didn’t know that Evola had followed an esoteric path for a time and directed a group of aspirants to Initiation, although his name was familiar to me from the journal Ignis.
I was already following my own very personal path since adolescence, which was between Yoga and the most unrestrained thought of the West—Nietzsche, Stirner, Bauer—but I did not like to talk about it with anyone.
I recall that at first Evola was surprised by the meaning of my visit, neither political, nor esoteric: as I said, at that time he was subject to continuous attacks and intimidations. I remember that the theme of mountains and the inner impressions of the climb, the silence and solitude of the peaks, united us right away. In a chapter devoted to Evola, in the book I mentioned, I outline the meaning of my relationship with him: the encounter with a world that gave me the perception of thought as a primordial force.
I loved Goethe and Nietzsche for that reason: not the Nietzsche of the exaltation phase, but rather that of The Birth of Tragedy and Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
At that time, I dramatically felt the state of death of the thinking of the whole culture, every expression of culture, whatever its subject, or its political complexion: I had the impression of moving in a vast cemetery: I came out of it every time thanks to energetic meditation, but it was important for me to encounter, through Evola, a kind of thinking that I secretly cultivated in myself: a thinking still capable of life and freedom. After several years, moreover, I had to believe that it was not so much the content of Evola’s writings which delighted my inner self, but also feeling that content as a very personal construction: a work of art: a work of brilliant, organic art, even when I felt the affects — to be clear — of Tantrism of the “left Hand”.
The harmony with Evola was essentially this: the contact with a world of forces. But this was possible because I myself carried in me this world of forces: the recognition of their origin, however, gradually brought about the orientation that was to carry me out of the path. But what is not in dispute: reality is one, truths are many.
The dialogue with Evola reinforced in me the need for a distinction of values and traditions: that was decisive for me with regard to issues such as karma and reincarnation, the essentially Christian character of Western alchemy, the mysteriously Christian character of the Grail, the fundamentality of the Logos as Christ-Principle. I understood Evola’s paganism, but I considered it only as a positive impulse of the quest for what really was the Logos beyond all worldly expressions and beyond what He had become in theological and ethical-political formalism.
Actually Evola is a strong medicine, a shock treatment, the application of force without mediation: as such, he acts in those who already have the power of mediation and just has the task of making it operative. But if he truly realized that, he already has the principle of the Force. Thanks to Evola, I encountered a decisive moment of my inner experience: the feeling of liberation, which gives the image rather than knowledge of liberation: the heroic, mythic image, not cognitive. I then had to discover that the cognitive way was necessary for me: Evola’s way had the cognitive appearance, but in essence it relied on the feeling of strength, not on its reality, penetrable and comprehensible by the power of the idea. To renounce this power of the idea, means to accept super-nature mystically, or by faith.
In other words, we do not enter into the magical by the feeling of magic or by the dialectic of magic, but only by virtue of its initial power in the soul, which is ideational or imaginative power. Evola, indeed, cannot hide a certain contempt for thinking, or for a “way of thinking”, believing thinking as the expression of a specific sentient nature and not of super-nature.
The ideal of the absolute individual was for him an expression of the will sufficient in oneself: thinking indeed has nothing to do with it, and he is right, but you cannot move away from it: nor can you willfully experiment with thinking, which ceases to be dialectical, but volitional. He pointed out that in yoga, essentially the strength of the will was awakened and recovered in its magical movement, and it becomes the flow of Kundalini.
The whole power of evolian “persuasion” is this immediacy of the possessed will. He refuses, as premise, thinking, the cognitive act, the mediation of the idea: Evola always speaks about an absolute act, a movement from which they come about, as it should be in itself magical.
It is in effect the raw material of the Work, which it is necessary to already have: Evola attributes it to a particular inner constitution, to belonging to a particular race of the Spirit. For me it was always clear that it is about the meeting of the free I with its own karma: This is the condition of the element with which a psychophysiological I covers itself.
Nevertheless, that persuasion, so decisively expressed by Evola, was a confirmation of my personal experience of the centrality and the invincibility of the I: which, brought to the depths, can encounter the Logos, His origin: Evola was not able to recognize that. I knew that the formulation of the centrality and asceticism of the I was correct: I appreciated Evola, because at that time I was convinced that he had never come to talk about it so explicitly and methodologically. Stirner’s and Nietzsche’s attempts were ultimately Hegelian-romantic: bold offshoots of the Hegelian left, but prisoners of dialectics.