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Men Among the Ruins: Post-War Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist Paperback – January 1, 2002
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"Men among the Ruins is Julius Evola's most notorious work: an unsparing indictment of modern society and politics. Evola rises above the usual dichotomies of left and right, liberal and conservative, through a trenchant critique of the metaphysics that lies at the base of modern values, challenging us to reconnect our lives and our institutions to the timeless spiritual standard that guided our ancestors. Men among the Ruins is not a work for complacent, self-satisfied minds . . . it is a shocking and humbling text that will be either loved or hated. Evola's enemies cannot refute him; they can only ignore him. They do so at their peril." (Glenn A. Magee, author of Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition)
"Not for the feint of heart. His writing typically demands a concentration of focus and a strong level of comprehension." (Robert James Buratti, New Dawn, July-August 2002)
"Evola is one of the most interesting minds of the [world] war generation. He has a really astounding knowledge at his disposal." (Mircea Eliade, author of The Sacred and the Profane)
"Evola writes in lively prose with fascinating detail. . . . To read his description of higher spiritual states is like watching a champion mountain climber on a vertical glacier." (Gnosis)
"Disgusted by the cruelty and artificiality of communism, scorning the dogmatic, self-centered fascism of his age, Evola looks beyond man-made systems to the eternal principles in creation and human society. The truth, as he sees it, is so totally at odds with the present way of thinking that it shocks the modern mind. Evola was no politician, trying to make the best of things, but an idealist, uncompromising in the pursuit of the Best itself." (John Michell, The New View Over Atlantis)
About the Author
Julius Evola (1898-1974) was one of the leading authorities on the world's esoteric traditions and wrote Revolt Against the Modern World, Introduction to Magic, The Mystery of the Grail, The Hermetic Tradition, The Yoga of Power, Meditations on the Peaks, The Doctrine of Awakening, and Eros and the Mysteries of Love.
Top customer reviews
Don't read if your feelings are prone to being hurt or you require trigger warnings. There are no 'safe spaces' here.
_Men Among the Ruins_ has been called a "dangerous book" and Evola has been called a fascist; however, if we are unable to read these "dangerous books" and decide for ourselves what they have to say then we will never be able to learn anything from outside of the dull conformist mainstream. The introduction to this book explains much of Evola's thought and life, while at the same time explaining the particularly tricky issues of his involvement with fascism, his lectures in Germany, his racist theories (unlike the crass biological racism of certain components of the National Socialist regime, Evola advocates a spiritual notion of race), and his relationship with antiSemitism (including mention of the notorious forgery "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion").
_Men Among the Ruins_ advocates a return to Tradition and a rejection of modern day liberalism, Bolshevism, individualism, collectivism, and the ideals of the revolution. Against this, Evola proposes a return to an underlying Indo-European substratum, authority, and a re-recognition of the necessity for transcendence. The book includes discussions of various aspects of the State, hierarchy, work and the economy, the Roman Imperium, corporativism (which Evola will somewhat reject along with socialism), militarism, and the role of war. Evola also tackles the issues of the "occult war" (including many of the rumors about the Jews - Evola rejects the more virulent forms of antiSemitism), the "problem of births", and Roman Catholicism as a component of that Tradition. I disagree somewhat with Evola's rejection of Catholicism, although it is unclear to me how much of this aspect of the Tradition is retainable (this would include recognition of the changes in the Church post-Vatican II, as well as the need to address the problem Evola brings up of the world's other religious traditions within the framework of Catholicism). Evola concludes with a discussion of the united Europe and a call for a new European Order. Evola writes specifically about the kind of men that are needed to compose this new Order, including old European families and military leaders. He concludes, "It remains to be seen which and how many men, in spite of it all, still stand upright among so many ruins, in order that they may make this task their own." The book concludes with Evola's defense before the Italian court and his rejection of his specific "glorification of Fascism" charge. This defense is one of the best clarifications of Evola's personal idiosyncratic thought that I have encountered.
In order to read this work, it is probably necessary to first complete Evola's more famous _Revolt Against the Modern World_. Most of Evola's other works that have been translated have a more esoteric bent to them and are less outrightly political. In the end however, Evola advocates a form of apoleteia, a phenomenon he will refer to as "riding the tiger", and a rejection of all party politics. In fact, Evola never participated in outright politics nor ever voted in his entire life. The book goes beyond the familiar schema of Right and Left political thinking and is certainly not to be recommended to any person completely absorbed in either mainstream or modernist ideologies and modes of thinking.
A particular area where Evola differs from most right-wingers is his outlook towards birth control. The problem of the "bestial fecundity" of the proletariat (the word proletarian itself derived from an old Latin word meaning to reproduce like beasts) should be something that is taken into account in social policy. The government should try to improve the racial character of its people, and give a certain amount of reproductive freedom to the more capable people in the populace. Evola, at the same time, recognizes the legitimacy of the celibate traditions in the world's faiths that disavow marriage, having children and the use of women. He criticizes the Catholic stance on birth control, as the _Humanae Vitae_ encyclical itself states that birth control is desirable, but only the unreliable "rhythm method" is morally permissible. Evola will jar a fair amount of sensibilities when he exposes the "bourgeoisie cult of children and having children" as an illusion, when he points out that most couples get married for personal happiness rather than having children, and many get married without the intent of having any. Evola's entire take on the domain of marriage, children and celibacy is the most coherent that I have ever read. The "men among the ruins" that the book takes its title from are those scattered, isolated individuals around the world who see the modern world for the sham that it is, and maintain a vision of a Europe in spiritual unity with the divine. There is something in here to offend everybody, no matter his or her political or religious orientation. Also recommended: _Revolt Against the Modern World_.