October 21, 2009

Cain, Tubalcain and the Anarch


China's 60th Anniversary national day

What would an anarch have to say to the above spectacle? Here's what the Ur-Anarch Ernst Jünger wrote in "Glass Bees":

When new models were displayed to the masses at the great parades in the Red Square or elsewhere, the crowds stood in reverent silence and then broke into jubilant shouts of triumph. What was the meaning of this thunderous roar, when on the ground turtles of steel and serpents of iron rolled past, when in the sky triangles, arrows, and rockets shaped like fish, arranged themselves with lightening rapidity into ever-changing formations? Though the display was continual, in this silence and these shouts something evil, old as time, manifested itself in man, who is an outsmarter and setter of traps. Invisible, Cain and Tubulcain marched past in the parade of phantoms.

October 10, 2009

The anarch - a wolf, a master spy?

It occurs to me that one could explain and differentiate the Anarch and the Waldgänger with at least a couple of analogies ....

One could bring the old English expression "a wolf in sheep's clothing" to bear on the Anarch, who appears to be like the masses around him but underneath is not at all. He can be social but he is not socialized. Unlike the socialized beings around him, he remains fundamentally a free loner, even with his sheep's clothing on. He has strong, sharp teeth, which he hides, so they are not pulled "for the common good of the herd" - he may need them in an emergency.

But the analogy only goes so far and the differences are equally revealing. The anarch's relationship to the sheep around him is not predatory - this wolf's enemy is the shepherd and his dogs, not the sheep. When he is smelled out, he is forced to throw off his disguise, run for the cover of the woods, use his teeth if necessary in defense - in short, become a Waldgänger.

Another analogy - this time not mine but Jünger's - is the master spy, who disguises his true nature and loyalties and lives smoothly integrated into a world that is essentially foreign to him. Like the Anarch, his true mission remains his secret and it is entirely different from those around him. Like the Anarch, he puts on a false mask, a foreign uniform and he must resist identifying with those around him and their causes - when the mission is a very long one, this difficulty is not to be taken for granted - spies are turned, as free souls are lost to the world. Lastly, the ordinary people around the spy are not his enemies but rather their master and his watchdogs. An Anarch with philanthropic tendencies, may even, like certain spies, come to empathize with the ordinary innocents around him, secretly feel that in his small way he may be helping to free them from a bad master.

As with the wolf analogy, the differences are also important to note here. The master spy knows from the start who he is and what his mission is; the Anarch has first to lose himself to society and then laboriously to rediscover his true identity, his true heimat, his mission in life. The Anarch has no aspirations to contribute, however indirectly, to the defeat of the society he is embedded in - he is not an anarchist. Though he may go to great lengths to serve an external cause, if his own integrity or the challenge appeals to him, he will not ultimately martyr himself to it. And finally, the Anarch works for no other master, he is his own.

Anarch and Waldgänger (1)

Comments I made on differences and commonalities in Ernst Jünger´s figures of the Anarch and the Waldgänger (the Forest Goer) went over well on a Jünger mailing list (http://de.groups.yahoo.com/group/juenger_org/ ), so I have reworked and copied them below.

(For clarification, the Waldgänger was first developed in Jünger´s study "Der Waldgang" (The Forest Flight). Although it precedes "Eumeswil" and the Anarch chronologically (1951 vs 1977), in metaphysical terms much in the concept of the Anarch is already contained in that of the Waldgänger. The two do not exclude each other, but rather the former further develops the latter. In terms of level of being, they are more or less identical - differences only concern existential situations and the specific strategies that result.

Thus, although Jünger had not yet coined the word Anarch when writing "Der Waldgang", he said then that one could be a Waldgänger in the heart of the city, a clear foreshadowing of an Anarch. Later, when he explicitly refined the Waldgänger into an Anarch in "Eumeswil", he specified that the Anarch is the free man living in private autonomy within society; he becomes a Waldgänger when he is uncovered as a spiritual outsider and forced to flee society to preserve this autonomy. An Anarch thus comprehends a Waldgänger as a weaker form to be resorted to in an emergency. Just as an undiscovered Waldgänger living peacefully in the city was already in essence an Anarch. But on to the copied discussion ...)

From "Der Waldgang":

Man sleeps in the forest. When he awakens and realizes his power, then order is reconstituted.
Man does not become a Waldgänger (and by extension an Anarch) only then when he enters or flees to the literal forest: at the deepest level of being, each single man is already in the forest, is already a forest-goer, the forest being the original untamed core of his being. But in his sleep he has lost sight of this, forgotten where he is, hypnotized by dreams which are not even his. In sleep, he dreams the dreams that society has implanted in him and he is controlled by them, their slave, without having the slightest sensation of the chains. He (merely!) needs to awaken from the illusion to see that he (and not the protagonist of his dreams) is really in his own forest, and he has always been there. With this awakening, the Anarch/Waldgänger discovers the metaphysical separation of that forest from the tamed world, its absolute autonomy from civilization that wants to trap him, hypnotize him, seduce him, control him in its various ways for its own selfish purposes. Now he can make a realistic attempt to become his own master, to restore his own order to his life. Whatever it may have promised, in the dream there was never a real possibility of that, it was always another´s order.

If existential difficulties require it, the Anarch is forced to flee to the literal forest and transform into the Waldgänger form. But in his inner wilderness nothing changes - there he remains master where ever external life may take him.