We mentioned, while considering the ideas of Duke di Cesarň, the “social” form characteristic of the primitive community. We also alluded in passing to a relation—which may appear paradoxical to many—between totemism and nationalism. It is necessary to clarify this point, by posing the problem of the relation between the concept of clan and the concept of Empire, between the concept of race and the concept of civilisation in the higher sense.
Against certain abstract and rationalistic forms of universalism, to recognize the right of blood, to require truths and values which return that vibrant expression of our very life, and which, therefore, are linked with blood and race, instead of being dull generalities “valid for all”: this is certainly a justified request. But, under this point of view, racial theory describes a generic premise, which needs to be further specified.
We must not forget that to speak of blood in the case of a man is not the same thing as to speak of it in the case of an animal. If, by blood, one means the biological heredity of a race, in the animal, race is everything, while, in man, it is only a part. The error of certain race fanatics, who think that the reintegration of a race in its ethnic unity signifies ipso facto the rebirth of a people, lies exactly here: they think of man as one might think of horses, cats, or dogs of a “pure breed”. The preservation or the reintegration of the purity of race, in the narrowest sense, can be everything in an animal, but not in man—the man of superior type: even for man, it can constitute a condition which, under certain aspects, though necessary, is not sufficient in any case, since the racial factor is not the only one which defines man.
To reach a higher level and to refute the accusation of biological materialism, it is still not sufficient to attribute to every race a mystical soul, its characteristic “spirit”. This, in fact, is already found, in the most meaningful way, in the primitive totemic type of society. As is well-known, in these forms of society, the totem is the mystical soul of the group, the clan or the race: the individual members feel themselves, in their blood and in their life, to be just so many incarnations of this collective spiritual force, by possessing in themselves almost no trace of personality.
If the totemic force remains at this diffuse and faceless level, so to speak, and if, consequently, there are neither leaders nor subjects, and the individual elements of the group are nothing but mixtures—then we find ourselves at the lowest level of human society, at the level which borders on the subhuman, that is to say, on the animal kingdom: something confirmed by the fact that the totems—the mystical souls of the clan—are often regarded at the same time as the “spirits” of particular animal species. In addition, it is most interesting that, even when the totem is of a masculine form, the composition of these societies reflects above all the telluric-matriarchal type, characteristic of the non-Aryan, and, especially, the southern races. The communistic principle plays a decisive role here. This type corresponds spiritually to the “way of the ancestors” —pitr-yâna—which the Indian traditions speak about, also called the way of the earth or of the mother, according to which the individuals dissolve entirely after their death into the original stocks or forces of the race and blood of the ancestors, to which true existence pertains to. However, opposed to this path (the path of the totem, called the path of the South), there is the solar path or path of the gods—deva-yâna—also called the Nordic path; a path which we can also call Olympian, travelled by those who make themselves immortal, who make themselves gods, who “emigrate not to return”.
This contrast constitutes the key to our problem. A civilisation, in the true and superior sense—with reference both to the individuals and to the peoples—arises only where the totemic level is surpassed, and where the racial element, even understood mystically, is not the last instance; where, beyond blood, a force of higher, meta-biological, spiritual, and “solar” type manifests itself, which does not lead outside of life, but determines life, transforming it, refining it, giving it a form which it initially not have, freeing it entirely from every mixture with animal life, and opening the various paths to accomplishment of the various types of personality. When this occurs, the ethnic tradition is not destroyed: it remains exclusively a base that has an inseparable spiritual tradition—and here, in the order of the relationship between the biological factor and the spiritual factor, it is the latter which should be used as support for the former, and not vice versa.
This is valid, as we have said, as much in reference to individuals as to peoples. As far as the first point is concerned, sociology shows us, already in the primitive forms of society, the frequent self-enuclearisation within groups characterised by initiation, which obey a law of their own and enjoy a higher authority; and the most noticeable characteristic of these groups is their purely virile nature, the principle of the exclusion of women. The situation is no different in the great traditional peoples: from China to Greece, from Rome to the primordial Nordic stocks, then up to the Aztecs and the Incas, nobility was not distinguished by the simple circumstance of having ancestors, but by the circumstance that the ancestors of the nobility were divine, as opposed to those of the plebeians—even though these latter could remain faithful, also through the integrity of blood (in the regime of castes, the principle of heredity was valid not only to the higher castes, but also to the lower ones). The nobles originated from “demigods”, that is to say, from beings who had actually followed a transcendent form of life, forming the origin of a tradition in the higher sense, transmitting to their lineage a blood made divine, and, along with it, rites, that is to say, specific operations, whose secret every noble family preserved, which allowed their posterity to resume the spiritual conquest at the point which it had previously attained, and to lead it gradually from the virtual to the actual.
Thus, from the traditional point of view, not-having-ancestors characterises the plebeian vis-ŕ-vis the patrician less than not-having-rites. In Aryan hierarchies, a single characteristic differentiated the higher castes from the lower ones: rebirth. The ârya, as opposed to the shűdra (the one who serves), was the dvîja, the reborn. The assertion of the Mânavadharmashâstra (II, 172), that the brahman himself, if he omitted initiation, would no longer be differentiated from the shűdra (the one who serves), is most indicative in this respect. Similarly, what characterised the three higher castes among the Iranians was that each of them corresponded to a specific celestial “fire”. The Nordic nobles were noble because, in their blood, they carried the blood of the Asen, the “celestial” forces in continuous struggle with the elemental beings. The nobility of the great medieval orders of chivalry—among which the most significant were the Templars—was also linked to initiation. One of the weakest points in Nietzsche's conception is precisely his biological naturalism, which, in most cases, diminishes and secularises its aristocratic original, reducing it to the level of the "blond beast".
This would be the essential issue. Turning from castes to races, we must consequently say that the true difference between race and race is not something naturalistic and biologically conditioned, but something much deeper, which exists among the races preserving in the depth of their blood the heritage and the presence of a principle instilled by the action of the dominating and “solar” elites, which transcends blood; and the other races, which have nothing of this, and in which something promiscuous and tied to the forces of the earth, of animality, and of biological collective heredity, prevails. In these latter races, totemism dominates, and there is neither true difference nor true personality; worship turns into an ecstatic-pantheistic longing or, at most, into a “religiosity” in the lunar and communistic sense.
For us, there is no other difference between the noble races of the north and those of the south: and more than a difference between race and race, there is a difference between race and super-race. However scandalous this may appear to the profane and plebeian mentality of today, we firmly hold to the divine character—in the literal sense of the word—which some races can have in comparison to others, in which the heritage of a supra-biological and, we can say, supra-human factor is not transmitted with the blood.
Thus, in our opinion, there is a glimmer of truth in the doctrine of Comte de Gobineau, but not more. The decay of the qualities and factors which constitute the greatness of a race is not—as he believed—the effect of mixing between this race and others, nor the effect of its ethnic, biological, and demographic decay: the truth is instead that a race decays when its spirit decays, when that inner tension, to which it owed its original form and its spiritual type, fails. Then a race mutates, or is corrupted, because it is damaged in its deepest root; then it loses that invisible, indomitable, and transforming virtue, at whose contact, other races, far from contaminating it, take on little by little the form of its civilisation, and are pulled by it as if by a vaster current.
This is the reason why the return to race cannot mean for us only a return to blood—especially in these crepuscular times, in which almost irreparable mixings have occurred. It must mean a return to the spirit of race, not in the totemic sense, but in the aristocratic sense, that is to say, in connection with the original source of our “form”, of our civilisation.
If we therefore claim the return to race and the return to tradition, at the centre of this idea , there is however the idea of the Leader. In their solar individuality, the Leaders for us represent the concrete and active expressions of spirit as race and of race as spirit; they are reanimations of the same formative primordial idea, sleeping in the depths of blood as the foundations of “form”, victorious over chaos and animality, and carried, consciously or not, in potency or in act, by all the non-degenerate members of a group. The Leaders re-establish that inner tension; they reawaken the “divine” elements of a transformed blood. Hence the magic of an authority about which there is nothing violent and tyrannical, but rather something regal; the magic of an action “through presence”, of an indomitable “acting-without-acting”—according to the expression of the Far East (wei wu wei). Here is the path toward rebirth. The multiple forces of a lineage, which are fatally launched towards deterioration and disintegration when they are deprived of this inner support and abandoned to the ensemble of material, ethnic, and even political conditions in the narrow sense, then find again a steady and living point of unity, and participate in a higher reality: in the same way as an animal body if the power of a soul is infused into it.
Every defence of race and blood that leaves this higher aspect out of consideration, and, through the symbols of the “nation”, the “people”, or the “collective”, evokes in any way the mixture, the pure law of blood and soil, signifies nothing but a return to totemism and an inclination to fall back into the social forms typical of a lower humanity. Basically, the yearning of the socialist, democratic, and communist ideologies leads toward no other condition—and the phenomenon of the Soviets illustrates exactly the effect of this ideology, which, following a Jew (Marx), has revived the old, barbaric, Slavic collectivism, bringing it to a new, rationalised, form, and created an ominous breeding ground of contagion for the remainder of a traditional Europe.
Far from being a direction towards the future, all this is—from an ideal point of view—nothing but a direction towards the past, towards what was surpassed at the time of the formation of every true traditional civilisation and every Empire. Though the “socialist” and democratic-nationalist ideal may still be surrounded with a halo, the fact still remains that—mutatis mutandis—it finds its perfect reflection in the social forms of a lower, anti-Aryan, and anti-Nordic type; and if the currents which aim at these ideals demand the subordination of the individual, and of every higher spiritual possibility, to the claim of blood and soil, they basically teach a “morality” which is no different from what an animal breed, if it became conscious, could claim for itself.
Opposed to our truth—let us repeat it yet again—similar tendencies express the direction of involution and abdication vis-ŕ-vis true achievement. It is that which is awakened in moments of exhaustion and weakness, moments in which the chaos hidden in the cosmos increases; it is a phenomenon that appears when an epoch is no longer able to produce superior beings in whom the entire tension and tradition of a superior race is individualised, concentrated, and liberated in transcendent and solar forms.
The aristocratic idea of a tradition of Leaders—not the democratic or “nationalist” idea, which depends upon the mere community of blood, soil, and birth—must be the foundation and axis of every doctrine of race rightly understood—of our restoration.