Julius Evola on Drugs

Okategoriserade, Traditionalism

Dagens inlägg är ett utdrag ur Evolas apolitiska verk ”Ride the Tiger”, där han ger råd för hur ”differentierade” människor kan leva ett relativt Traditionellt liv i det moderna samhället, mitt i Kali Yugan. Bland annat diskuterar han hur en differentierad person kan utnyttja moderna fenomen i sin egen individueringsprocess, och ett av dessa fenomen är droger.

Evola beskriver i det följande stycket drogbrukets roll och natur i Traditionella samhällen, och hur det degenererat i det moderna samhället. Genom hela utdraget läser man tydligt mellan raderna att Evola är mycket tveksam till att man skulle kunna uppnå positiva effekter med droger i dagens samhälle, och detta blir sedan explicit i slutstycket.

En brasklapp kan vara på sin plats: Evola menar att det finns ett flertal olika människotyper, och psykonauti är inte något som passar ens de flesta av dessa. För de flesta av oss är drogmissbruk inget annat än just ett missbruk, och något som står i konflikt med vår personliga ekvation. Det är, för oss, ovärdigt och onyttigt. Men en traditionell grundinsikt är att människor är olika, och följande lilla utdrag är främst menat att få en och annan psykonaut att inse att det han/hon håller på med har indo-ariska rötter, men att det finns betydligt sundare metoder att uppnå samma mål. Hur som helst, här är Evola:

Going beyond music and dance, we are led to an even larger and more problematic realm, which embraces many other methods being increasingly used by the younger generation. The North American Beat Generation, in putting together alcohol, the sexual orgasm, and drugs as essential ingredients to give them a sense of life, radically associated techniques that in reality have a common background that I have alluded to earlier.

I need not dwell much on this realm. Apart from what will be said of sex in another chapter, I shall adress here only a few considerations on drugs, which are the means that, among all thos used in certain sectors of the contemporary world, most visibly have the goal of an ecstatic escape.

The increasing spread of drugs among today’s youth is a very significant phenomenon. A specialist, Dr. Laennec, writes: ”In our lands, the most widfespread category of drug addicts is represented by the neurotics and psychopaths for whom the drug is not a luxury but an essential food, the response to anguish… Toxicomania now appears as an additional symptom of the patient’s neurotic syndrome, one symptom among others, a last defense, soon becoming the one and only defense.” These considerations can be generalized, or rather extended, to an even larger circle of people who are not clinically neurotic: I am speaking above all about young people who have more or less distinctly perceived the emptiness and boredom of modern existence, and are seeking an escape from it. The impulse can be contagious: drug use extends to individuals who did not have this original impetus as a point of departure, and in such people it can only be regarded as an avoidable bad habit. Once starting on drugs to fit in or be in vogue, they succumb to the seduction of the states caused by the drug, which often wrecks their already weak personality.

With drugs we have a situation similar to that of syncopated music. Both were often transpositions onto the profane and ”physical” plane of means that were originally used to open one up to the suprasensible in initiation rites or similar experiences. Just as dances to modern syncopated music derive from ecstatic [Afrikansk] dance, the various drugs used today and created in laboratories correspond to drugs that were often used for ”sacred” ends in primitive populations, according to ancient traditions. This is even true for tobacco; strong extracts of tobacco were used to prepare young Native Americans in their withdrawal from profane life to obtain ”signs” and visions. A similar claim can be made for alcohol, within certain limits; we are aware of the tradition centered on ”sacred beverages”, as in the use of alcohol in Dionysian and similar rituals. For example, alcoholic beverages were not prohibited in ancient Taoism: on the contrary, they were considered ”life essences” inducing an intoxication that, like dance, could lead to a ”magical state of grace”, sought by the so-called real men. In addition, the extracts of coca, mescal, peyote, and other narcotics have been, and often still are, used in the rituals of secret societies of Central and South America.

No one has a clear or adequate idea about all this anymore, because there is not enough emphasis on the fact that the effects of these substances are quite different according to the constitution, the specific capacity for reaction, and – in these cases of nonprofane use – the spiritual preparation and intent of the user. Lewin has even spoken of a ”toxic equation” that is different in every individual, but this concept has not been given the necessary emphasis, given that the blocked existential situation of the great majority of our contemporaries considerably restrics the possible range of reactions to drugs.

However, the ”personal equation” and the specific zone on which drugs, here including alcohol, act, lead the individual toward alienation and a passive opening to states that give him the illusion of a higher freedom, an intoxication and an unfamiliar intensity of sensation, but that in reality have a character of dissolution that by no means ”takes him beyond”. In order to expect a different result from these experiences, he would have to have at his command an exceptional degree of spiritual activity, and his attitude would be the opposite of those who seek and need drugs to escape from tensions, traumatic events, neuroses, and feelings of emptiness and absurdity.

I have already pointed out the African polyrythmic technique: one energy is locked into continous stasis in order to unleash an energy of a different order. In the inmferior ecstatism of primitive peoples this opens the way for possession by dark powers. I have said that in our case, this different energy should be produced by the response of the ”being” (the Self) to the stimulus. The situation created by the reaction to drugs and even alcohol is no different. But this kind of reaction almost never occurs; the reaction to the substance is too strong, rapid, unexpected, and external to be simply experienced, and thus the process cannot involve the ”being”. It is as if a powerful current penetrated the consciousness without requiring assent, leaving the person to merely notice the change of state; he is submerged in this new state, and ”acted on” by it. Thus the true effect, even if not noticed, is a collapse, a lesion of the Self, for all his sense of an exalted life or of a transcendental beautitude or sensuality.

For the process to proceed differently, it would go schematically as follows: at the point in which the drug frees energy x in an exterior way, an act of the Self, of ”being”, brings its own double energy, x + x, into the current and maintains it up to the end. Similarly, a wave, even if unexpected, serves a skilled swimmer with whom it collides by propelling him beyond it. Thus, there would be no collapse, the negative would be transformed into positive, no condition of passivity would be formed with respect to the drug, the experience in acertain way would be deconditioned, and, as aresult, one would not undergo an ecstatic dissolution, devoid of any true opening beyond the individual and only substantiated by sensations. Instead, in certain cases there would be the possibility of coming into contact with a superior dimension of reality, which was the intention of ancient, nonprofane drug use. To acertain degree, the harmful effect of drugs would be eliminated.

At this point it will be helpful to add some details. In general, drugs can be divided into four categories: stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, and narcotics. The first two categories do not concern us: for example the use of tobacco and alcohol is irrelevelant unless it becomes a vice, ie. leads to addiction.

The third category includes drugs that bring on states in which one experiences various visions and seemingly other worlds of the senses and spirit. On account of these effects, they have also been called ”psychedelics”, under the assumption that the visions project and reveal the hidden contents of the depths of one’s own psyche, but are not recognized as such. As a result, physicians have even tried to use drugs like mescaline for a psychic exploration analogous to psychoanalysis. However, when all is reduced to to the projection of a psychic substratum, not even experiences of this kind can interest the differentiated man. Leaving aside the perilous contents of the sensations and their artificial paradise, these illusory phantasmagoria do not take one beyond, even if one cannot exclude the possibility that what is acting may not be merely the contents of one’s own subconsious, but dark influences that, finding the door open, manifest themselves in these visions. We might even say that those influences, and not the simple substratum repressed by the individual psyche, are responsible for certain impulses that can burst out in these states, even driving some compulsively to commit criminal acts.

An effective use of these drugs would presuppose a preliminary ”catharsis”, that is, the proper neutralization of the individual unconscious substratum that is activated; then the images and senses could refer to a spiritual reality of a higher order, rather than being reduced to a subjective, visionary orgy. One should emphasize that the instances of this higher use of drugs were preceeded not only by periods of preparation and purification of the subject, but also that the process was properly guided through the contemplation of certain symbols. Sometimes ”consecrations” were also prescribed for protective purposes. There are accounts of certain indigenous communities in Central and South America whose members, only under the influence of peyote, hear the sculpted figures on ancient temple ruins ”speak”, revealing their meaning in terms of spiritual enlightenment. The importance of the individuals attitude clearly appears from the completely different effects of mescaline on two contemporary writers who have experimented with drugs, Aldous Huxley and RH Zaehner. And it is a fact in the case of hallucinogens like opium and in part, haschisch, this active assumption of the experience that is essential from our point of view is generally excluded.

There remains the category of narcotics and of substances that are also used for total anaesthesia, whose normal effect is the complete suspension of consciousness. This corresponds to a detachment that would exclude all intermediate ”psychedelic” forms and the insidious, ecstatic, and sensual contents, leaving a void. However, if consciousness were maintained, with the pure I at the center, it could facilitate the opening to a higher reality. But the advantages would be outweighed by the extreme difficulty of any training capable of maintaing detached consciousness.

In general, one must keep in mind that drug use even for a spiritual end, that is, to catch glimpses of transcendence, has its price. How drugs produce certain psychic effects has not yet been determined by modern science. It is said that some, like LSD, destroy certain brain cells. One point is certain: Habitual use of drugs brings a certain psychic disorganization: one should substitute for them the power of attaining analogous states through one’s own means. Therefore, when one has chosen a path based on the maximum unification of all one’s psychic faculties, these drawbacks must be kept firmly in mind.

The common reader probably finds these ideas tedious, and lacking in personal points of reference to give him bearings. But, again, it is the development of our argument that has required even this brief excursus. In fact, only be dwelling in these possibilities, as unusual as they are, can one adequately identify the necessary antithesis. This shows us the blockage that prevents any positive value in the evocation of the elemenmtal in todays world, leaving only those purely dissolutive and regressive processes that prevail increasingly in the younger generations.

Ride the Tiger, s. 166-170