by Julius Evola
(from “Men Among the Ruins”)
Various causes have been adduced to explain the crisis that has affected and still affects the life of modern peoples: historical, social, socioeconomic, political, moral, and cultural causes, according to different perspectives. The part played by each of these causes should not be denied. However, we need to ask a higher and essential question: are these always the first causes and do they have an inevitable character like those causes found in the material world? Do they supply an ultimate explanation or, in some cases, is it necessary to identify influences of a higher order, which may cause what has occurred in the West to appear very suspicious, and which, beyond the multiplicity of individual aspects, suggest that there is the same logic at work?
The concept of occult war must be defined within the context of the dilemma. The occult war is a battle that is waged imperceptibly by the forces of global subversion, with means and in circumstances ignored by current historiography. The notion of occult war belongs to a three-dimensional view of history: this view does not regard as essential the two superficial dimensions of time and space (which include causes, facts, and visible leaders) but rather emphasizes the dimension of depth, or the “subterranean” dimension in which forces and influences often act in a decisive manner, and which, more often than not, cannot be reduced to what is merely human, whether at an individual or a collective level.
Having said that, it is necessary to specify the meaning of the term subterranean. We should not think, in this regard, of a dark and irrational background which stands in relation to the known forces of history as the unconscious stands to consciousness, in the way the latter relationship is discussed in the recently developed “Depth Psychology.” If anything, we can talk about the unconscious only in regard to those who, according to the three-dimensional view, appear to be history’s objects rather than its subjects, since in their thoughts and conduct they are scarcely aware of the influences which they obey and the goals that they contribute toward achieving. In these people, the center falls more in the unconscious and the pre-conscious than in the clear reflected consciousness, no matter what they – who are often men of action and ideologues – believe. Considering this relation, we can say that the most decisive actions of the occult war take place in the human unconscious. However, if we consider the true agents of history in the special aspects we are now discussing, things are otherwise: here we cannot talk of the subconscious or the unconscious, since we are dealing with intelligent forces that know very well what they want and what are the means most suited to achieve their objectives.
The third dimension of history should not be diluted in the fog of abstract philosophical or sociological concepts, but should rather be thought of as a “backstage” dimension where specific “intelligences” are at work.
An investigation of the secret history that aspires to be positivist and scientific should not be too lofty or removed from reality. However, it is necessary to assume as the ultimate reference point a dualistic scheme not dissimilar from the one found in an older tradition. Catholic historiography used to regard history not only as a mechanism of natural, political, economic, and social causes, but also as the unfolding of divine Providence, to which hostile forces are opposed. These forces are sometimes referred to in a moralistic fashion as “forces of evil,” or in a theological fashion as the “forces of the Anti-Christ.” Such a view has a positive content, provided it is purified and emphasized by bringing it to a less religious and more metaphysical plane, as was done in Classical and Indo-European antiquity: forces of the cosmos against forces of chaos. To the former correspond everything that is form, order, law, spiritual hierarchy, and tradition in the higher sense of the word; to the latter correspond every influence that disintegrates, subverts, degrades, and promotes the predominance of the inferior over the superior, matter over spirit, quantity over quality. This is what can be said in regard to the ultimate reference points of the various influences that act upon the realm of tangible causes, behind known history. These must be taken into account, though with some prudence. Let me repeat: aside from this necessary metaphysical background, let us never lose sight of concrete history.
When measured against that of their disguised opponents, the mentality of the great majority of modern men of action appears to be quite primitive. The latter concentrate their energies on what is tangible and “concrete”, and are unable to perceive the interplay of concordant actions and reactions, causes and effects, beyond a very limited and almost always coarsely materialistic horizon.
The deeper causes of history – here we can refer to both those that act in a negative sense and those that may act in an equilibrating and positive sense – operate prevalently through what can be called “imponderable factors,” to use an image borrowed from natural science. These causes are responsible for almost undetectable ideological, social and political changes, which eventually produce remarkable effects: they are like the first cracks in a layer of snow that eventually produce an avalanche. These causes almost never act in a direct manner, but instead bestow to some existing processes an adequate direction that leads to the designated goal. Thus, men and groups who believe they are pursuing something willed by themselves become the means through which something different is realized and made possible: it is precisely in this that a super-ordained influence and meaning are revealed. This was noticed by Wundt, who talked about the “heterogeneity of the effects”, and by Hegel as well, who introduced the notion of the List der Vernunft (cunning of reason) in his philosophy of history; however, neither of these thinkers was able to fruitfully develop his intuitions. Unlike what happens in the domain of physical phenomena, an insightful historian encounters several instances where the “causal” explanation (in the deterministic, physical sense) is unsatisfactory, because things do not add up and the total does not equal the sum of the apparent historical factors – almost as if someone adding five, three, and two ended up not with ten, but with fifteen or seven. This differential, especially when it appears as a differential between what is willed and what has really happened, or between ideas, principles, and programs on the one hand and their effective consequences in history on the other, offers the most valuable material for the investigation of the secret causes of history.
Methodologically speaking, we must be careful to prevent valid insights from degenerating into fantasies and superstition, and not develop the tendency to see an occult background everywhere and at all costs. In this regard, every assumption we make must have the character of what are called “working hypotheses” in scientific research – as when something is admitted provisionally, thus allowing the gathering and arranging of a group of apparently isolated facts, only to confer on them a character not of hypothesis but of truth when, at the end of a serious inductive effort, the data converge in validating the original assumption. Every time an effect outlasts and transcends its tangible causes, a suspicion should arise, and a positive or negative influence behind the stages should be perceived. A problem is posited, but in analyzing it and seeking its solution, prudence must be exercised. The fact that those who have ventured in this direction have not restrained their wild imaginations has discredited what could have been a science, the results of which could hardly be overestimated. This too meets the expectations of the hidden enemy.
This is all I have to say concerning the general premises proper to a new three-dimensional study of history. Now let us return to what I said earlier on. After considering the state of society and modern civilization, one should ask if this is not a specific case that requires the application of this method; in other words, one should ask whether some situations of real crisis and radical subversion in the modern world can be satisfactorily explained through “natural” and spontaneous processes, or whether we need to refer to something that has been concerted, namely a still unfolding plan, devised by forces hiding in the shadows.
In this particular domain, many red flags have gone up: too many elements have concurred to alarm the less superficial observers. In the middle of the past century, Disraeli wrote these significant and often quoted words: “The world is governed by people entirely different from the ones imagined by those who are unable to see behind the scenes.” Malinsky and De Poncins, when considering the phenomenon of revolution, have remarked that in our age, where it is commonly acknowledged that every disease of the individual organism is caused by bacteria, people pretended that the diseases of the social body – revolutions and disorder – are spontaneous, self-generated phenomena rather than the effect of invisible agents, acting in society the way bacteria and pathogenic germs act in the organism of the individual