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New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Thursday, August 14

implausible deniability

"...while my guitar gently weeps..."
george harrison ~ beatles

The process is one of fits and starts, of rooting almost aimlessly about in out-of-print texts and just-released glosses, in dusty old libraries and shiny new search engines. Every once in a while, something stops you. Wait... was that an echo?

Apparently, Tupak Okra terms it (click for details)...

But screw Chop-Chop and his Avaricious Ayurvedic Avoidance Syndrome. I think of it more as an obsessive attunement to the ubiquitous duplicity of the Mystic Bourgeoisie. Call it the LyingMotherfuckalia Perennis. Call it whatever you will, I stumbled onto yet another instance today.

Exhibit A is from Mircea Eliade's Autobiography, Volume 2: 1937-1960, Exile's Odyssey, p. 152. The book is copyright 1988, and nota bene: dates are important here. The meeting with Julius Evola being described here took place in 1950 or 1951; it's a bit unclear from the text. However, Eliade wrote this much later, between 1984 and 1986, the year he died.

I had read books by Evola as early as my student days, but I had met him for the first and only other time in the spring of 1937 at a luncheon given by Nae Ionescu. I admired his intelligence and, even more, the density and clarity of his prose. Like René Guénon, Evola presumed a "primordial tradition," in the existence of which I could not believe; I was suspicious of its artificial, ahistorical character.

Exhibit B is from The International Eliade, p. 102. This one was published in 2007, but the passage below concerns an unfinished novel Eliade was working on in 1940-41. The character "Tuliu" is suggestive of Julius Evola, says Liviu Bordas, the author of this chapter of the book, which is titled "The Secret of Dr. Eliade."

The key to the autobiographical reading of the character is given by a notation Eliade made, for 27 July 1941, in the journal of the novel:
I absolutely must return to Tuliu in a special chapter in which I explain his philosophy, lest the reader believe that he is a case of a simple scatter-brained "occultist." Actually, his theories are not completely foreign to mine. Tuliu will say, for various reasons about which there is not room to dwell here, things I have never had the courage to confess publicly. Only occasionally have I admitted to a few friends my "traditionalist" beliefs (to use René Guénon's term).
When I read that this morning, the echo was to the clip in Exhibit A, which I'd saved off as a screen-shot JPG just last week. I think Eliade's cowardice and intellectual dishonesty require no further comment from me.

But in case you want more from someone else, here's something else I found earlier today. It's from a NY Times review of Mark Sedgwick's book, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the 20th Century. The review is titled, Those Who Were Inspired To Hate the Modern World.

In a less blunt way, such [terrorist] tendencies were even evident in the early work of the Romanian scholar of religion, Mircea Eliade, who was influenced by both Evola and Guénon in the 1920's and 30's. He later developed what Mr. Sedgwick calls a ''soft traditionalism,'' devoting his career to studying archaic religions and their views, an interest that influenced the course of academic religious studies in the United States. But in his earlier traditionalist days, when he hailed ''a nationalist Romania, frenzied and chauvinistic,'' Eliade was lured by the attractions of Romanian Fascism and the Iron Guards [sic], a past that came to light only after his death in 1986, leaving an indelible blot on his reputation.
Here's a link for more on the Iron Guard and the Legion of the Archangel Michael.



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