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Counter Currents Staff
Cloverfield

[1]1,608 words

10 Cloverfield Lane is an interesting piece of work, and one relevant to the national question, for two related reasons. Firstly, there is the theme of alien invasion, familiar from the contemporary political situation with regard to immigration. Secondly, there is the character of Howard, a man quite dedicated to keeping himself and others safe from this invasion. This character is disquieting in several related ways which should be familiar to the alt right.

Howard, played by John Goodman, lives in an underground bunker after a devastating attack, one whose nature and source he is not sure of but which makes him unwilling to return to the surface. Contamination and aliens are included in his unclear explanation. He shares the bunker with a young woman named Michelle, who he has abducted after crashing into her car with his truck, and a young man who helped build the structure and claims to have forced his way in.

[2]

Howard charmingly introduces himself to Michelle.

Emmett, the young man in the bunker, comes across as not very bright and does not suspect Howard on his own. Michelle, though, is immediately suspicious. This is not only because she initially wakes up chained to a wall, but based on the old man’s strange mannerisms and outlandish talk about the attack. She eventually convinces Emmett that the two of them must escape.

Howard’s creepiness is a major theme of the movie, although the word is never used. The basic issue is that he seems to lack normal connections with others, and not only because most others are already dead. This isolation includes family; he says his wife has left him, but although he is old enough to have gray hair, it is not clear that he has ever had either a wife or children. A young woman he claims was his daughter “Megan” was in fact a former classmate of Emmett’s, a girl he abducted and killed in unclear circumstances.

[3]

Michelle finds evidence of what happened to “Megan.”

Howard’s alienation from others is not difficult to explain when we consider his personality. He shows no sign of being able to relate to Michelle or even wanting to relate to Emmett. He brags that he has saved Michelle’s life and repeatedly makes it clear that he expects gratitude, which in this context refers to romance. According to his formulaic way of thinking, providing someone with some benefit entitles you to a relationship with them. This of course does not work out as he hopes; he is an old man with a terrifying personality, so his feelings for Michelle are not reciprocated.

In one sense the old man’s attitude toward Michelle is similar to the way in which some racial egalitarians try to be benefactors to outgroups with whom there is little basis for a human connection. Westerners cannot have healthy relationships with starving children in Africa, regardless of how much contact they have with them, how much aid they give them, or even how many they adopt; they have too little in common. Obviously Howard’s intentions are different, but there is a strange disregard of one’s own limits here which some cucks share with Howard.

[4]

Howard confronts Michelle over her flirting with Emmett, calling her a traitor.

Howard sees Emmett resentfully as a competitor for Michelle’s affection. He shows a striking lack of sympathy for him and angrily discourages his attempts to engage in light-hearted conversation over dinner. When Michelle attempts to flirt with Emmett, Howard becomes enraged, accuses her of betraying him, and demands an apology and a promise to “behave.” It would not be out of character for him to be unable to recognize flirting, but he would also consider the two of them becoming romantically involved to be a betrayal in itself, as he hopes to make Michelle his wife.

Although his fears about aliens ultimately turn out to be well-founded, it is clear from the beginning that the man of the bunker is paranoid and controlling. He initially forbids Emmett to touch Michelle and does not trust the young woman to even use the bathroom alone or according to her own schedule.

[5]

Emmett learns the truth of what happened to “Megan.”

Outside of the human problem, Howard is prepared to maintain his own life to his own satisfaction for a long time. His bunker is well-stocked with food and entertainment, and he is perfectly safe from aliens or even desperate humans who might want to enter without his permission. On an emotional level, he is profoundly alienated even from Emmett and Megan, despite living with them. This may remind viewers of the insulated elites of Western nations who suffer little personal risk, physical or emotional, from the social degradation of their own societies, while the general population has quite a different experience.

Howard’s lack of awareness of normal human interactions is profound and dangerous. He does not understand that Michelle is bothered by his behavior, let alone why anyone would be; according to him he seems like “a reasonable guy.” Further, not only is he surprised and angered to not receive romantic interest from a woman he has abducted, but he never abandons the idea that he is obligated to protect her and takes extreme measures to do so, oblivious to what this means for her.

Howard ultimately murders Emmett in front of Michelle. In an attempt to cover up the pair’s escape plans, the young man has confessed to a desire to steal his gun but left Michelle out of the story. Michelle is of course shocked and terrified, but Howard does not entirely understand her reaction, apparently believing that he has rightly protected the two of them from a violent threat.

[6]

After killing Emmett, Howard starts shaving to be more attractive to Michelle.

Instead, after an awkward attempt to comfort Michelle, Howard decides this is an appropriate time for romance. Breathing heavily, he says he wants the two of them to be a “happy family,” offering her a choice of a bowl or a cone for her ice cream, and acting as if the cause of her distress is the limited quality of life inside the shelter rather than the murder of her friend.

Near the end of the film, Michelle is attempting to escape the bunker through an air duct after a violent confrontation with Howard. He warns her that “you don’t know what’s out there” and “you can’t run from them,” as if still concerned for her safety even after plunges a knife into the duct.

One might hope that the situation with the alien invaders was intended as a commentary upon the Third World invasion of Europe. Given the social justice signaling in his previous films such as 2009’s Star Trek, enriched with interracial romance, and the feminist superhero film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, producer J. J. Abrams is not likely sympathetic to the nationalists who are most willing to recognize the invasion. He would likely see them as a great danger in themselves, and this view would be shared by the director and others involved in the project.

If we interpret Howard as a dangerous nationalist fanatic, then, the aliens outside represent the actual aliens flooding into the West from the Third World. This assumes that nationalists are essentially right about the seriousness of the conflict. After escaping the shelter, Michelle sees no sign that communication with the creatures is possible or even desirable. She is attacked by a monstrous lifeform on the ground as well as some kind of hungry machine in the air, and only survives through an unlikely set of lucky breaks. Minus the details of the monsters, this seems more like an invasion by ISIS.

Although the director or producer may not have intended it, a better analogy draws on Howard’s confused self-image, considering himself the great benefactor of another while showing wanton disregard for her well-being. Claims to be protecting Western nations and values by importing people quite hostile to these things are now made all over the West, namely by the political elites, as well as many in the population who sympathize with them. These claims resonate with people who are not murderers themselves but still have something critical in common with Howard.

From this point of view, the monsters outside are not alien in the sense of having allegiance to a foreign nation, let alone a distant planet. Instead they represent a culture which the elites see as equally alien, unthinking, and hostile, namely nationalism. As with Howard in his bunker, they do have a defensive edifice to keep it out, consisting of ideology and taboos. But it is still something they are desperate to protect people from, even at the cost of those people’s lives.

[7]

Michelle still does not love Howard, not even with a choice of dessert presentation.

Although there are of course other internal factors, the perpetuation of the current self-destructive paradigm in the West depends upon a million Howards. They are perfectly competent or even talented in some areas, such as bunker construction, but are at best oblivious to their actions’ impact on others. Their creepy disconnection from human realities, including their belief that nationalism is not natural but pathological, leads them to see themselves as heroes while behaving as the opposite. When faced with others’ perfectly natural suspicion of them, their reaction ranges from baffled to enraged.

Our nations will never entirely be free of Howard, but knowing what he is capable of, we cannot allow him to remain in charge of our governments or our culture. He may have built himself a fine bunker, but we cannot share it with him.

 

(Review Source)
Ica Reviews
10_cloverfield_lane

Nasty woman Mary Elizabeth Winstead wakes up chained to a cot in survivalist John Goodman’s basement in 10 Cloverfield Lane, a genre-bending experience in the tradition of Cabin in the Woods (2012) and The Signal (2014). Is Winstead, recalling Misery (1990), the prisoner of an obsessive loser who intends to possess her sexually – or is Goodman telling the truth when he claims that he only intends to keep her alive and that the world outside is uninhabitable, that everyone she knows and loves is dead, and that civilization has collapsed after a catastrophic apocalypse? Is it the Russians? The Martians? Or is it just a tall tale to dissuade his uncooperative guest from attempting to escape? Finding out is as frightening and fun as being held captive in John Goodman’s basement!

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

4.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that 10 Cloverfield Lane is:

4. Alt-media-ambivalent. Goodman is “like a black belt in conspiracy theory”, a mixed bag of a man simultaneously tuned-in and misled as to a number of topics. The fact that, in addition to aliens and Russkies, he is also concerned about “Al Qaeda” seems to suggest that the film is condescendingly and disingenuously conflating neoconservative outlets and various conspiracy-oriented media of varying quality.

3. Anti-redneck. Goodman’s character represents a typical cosmopolitan millennial’s idea of a conservative Republican: a slovenly gun nut, “authoritarian personality”, and “no touching” prude scared of Martians and the prospect of a real-life Red Dawn scenario. He is stuck in a vanished American past, as evidenced by his Frankie Avalon records and VHS collection. The fact that major elements of his assertions turn out to be correct prompts the deliciously implied question at the heart of the film. Which would be more horrifying for a millennial woman – the prospect of an alien invasion that razes everything and everyone she knows, or the possibility that, for all of these years, those hateful, judgmental, beer-bellied, rifle-toting, misogynistic deplorables were right?

2. Disaster-alarmist. Turning viewer expectations upside-down, Goodman’s conspiracy-theory-fueled survivalism comes in handy when the s**t really hits the fan. Rather than rejecting extreme preparedness outright, the movie suggests that liberals, rather than pointing and laughing at the conservatives, ought to appropriate such foresight and associated skill sets for themselves. The idea that fashion design could become a survival skill in a post-apocalyptic landscape is no doubt highly appealing to a number of young women and homosexuals with tacky, clashing heaps of student loan debt in the closet.

1. Feminist/anti-family. Goodman presents a negative patriarchal archetype (“I want us to be a happy family.”). Winstead also recounts a traumatic memory of seeing a man cruelly pulling his daughter by the arm and hitting her. Perhaps under the influence of such impressions of family life, she rejects the possibility of reuniting with her boyfriend in order to strike out on her own as a superheroine and save the planet – a choice about which the director, Dan Trachtenberg, expresses a cuckolded you-go-girl enthusiasm in his audio commentary.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

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Soiled Sinema



While it can certainly be argued that an immaculate exploitation film is an innately oxymoronic concept, some fucked flicks, not unlike porn sluts or fast food joints, are certainly better than others, even those produced by the fine kosher smut-peddlers of Cannon Films. Indeed, despite my increasingly disillusionment with the value of virtually all forms of trash cinema, I recently saw two exploitation films, Gary Sherman’s Vice Squad (1982) and J. Lee Thompson’s 10 to Midnight (1983), that reminded me that sometimes you need the cinematic equivalent of a big sloppy juicy back-alley blowjob from a cheap worthless w***e. While both films involve a deranged white villain that butchers wanton white bitches with a certain penetratingly uncanny tenacity, these sexually unsound murderers have quite different motivations and pathologies. Whereas Vice Squad features the grand delight of featuring Wings Hauser portraying a violently unhinged pimp that mutilates the genitals of mainly gutter-dwelling white whores (but also the occasional bumbling negro male), 10 to Midnight features a terminally pissed-off proto-incel of sorts that uses a knife as a sort of compensatory phallus against beauteous young babes that dared to make a mockery of his irreparably broken masculinity. Needless to say, the latter is easily the better of the two films, which largely has to do with Gene Davis’ performance as the killer and director J. Lee Thompson’s surprisingly competent directing abilities.

While surely a hack of sorts that was responsible for directing such lame franchise sequel films as Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), he also directed some quite notable cinematic works ranging from the WWII epic The Guns of Navarone (1961) to the campy Shirley MacLaine w***e show What a Way to Go! (1964). Certainly more importantly, Thompson has demonstrated a talent for horror and thriller cinema with an inordinate sort of pathos and perversity, including the original Cape Fear (1962) starring Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum, the spiritually incestuous The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975), and the slightly underrated canuck slasher flick Happy Birthday to Me (1981), among others. While I am not sure if I would cite 10 to Midnight as the director’s single greatest achievement, it is unequivocally his most tasteless and, in turn, wildly entertaining film and surely a notable accomplishment in that the filmmaker only agree to direct the film the night before shooting began after the original director was apparently let go (notably, Thompson previously worked with lead Bronson on films like St. Ives (1976) and The White Buffalo (1977)). A sort of super sod slasher on steroids that is big on the sensual and sensational in a largely unabashedly morally retarded fashion, the film oftentimes feels like it is set in the same sexually sociopathic universe as William Friedkin’s killer cocksucker classic Cruising (1980) as both are pleasantly politically incorrect flicks featuring gay serial killers that never defer to bourgeois b***h taste. Additionally, both films star Eugene M. Davis—the somewhat lesser known (and seemingly gayer) younger brother of actor turned AIDS victim Brad Davis (Midnight Express, Querelle)—and surely benefit from it (notably, lapsed teen idol Leif Garrett also auditioned for the role in 10 to Midnight and luckily he did not get it). 



 While I am not sure if Davis was also sexually abused by both of his parents like his brother Brad apparently was, he certainly does demonstrate a seemingly innate proficiency for portraying patently perverse characters (which probably explains his fairly uneven and rather limited acting career that includes roles ranging from a virtual man-w***e in Roger Vadim's obscure Night Games (1980) to Nicolas Winding Refn's somewhat underrated Fear X (2003)). Indeed, whereas Davis portrayed a bitchy leather-clad quasi-tranny hooker in Cruising that surely could never pass for a woman despite how unconventionally ‘pretty’ he is, he’s especially believable as an autistic psychopath that likes making dirty phone calls and killing bitchy cunts that won’t give up their c**t despite the fact that he seems about as straight as a circle. Made long before the LGBT monster shot its viral load on unholywood, the film features what might be described as an ‘ambiguously gay’ serial killer that not only leaves queer porno mags on his toilet but who was also clearly modeled after Richard Speck who infamously gleefully spent his prison years as the tranny w***e of a negro cocaine dealer (notably, this was not the first film inspired by the Speck murders as indicated by the curious exploitation flick Naked Massacre (1976) directed by Denis Héroux and starring German arthouse stars Mathieu Carrière and Eva Mattes).  Just like Speck, the killer targets a group of nubile nurses.  Unlike Speck, the killer receives quick and swift justice for his less than gentlemanly crimes.

Despite being a reasonably handsome guy with a muscular body and sculpted physique, the killer is a glaring creep that could not smash a gash if he had a hundred horny ovulating hos begging to be banged standing before him as he lacks a certain organic masculine heterosexual assertiveness, hence his compensatory need to penetrate women with sharp inanimate objects while in the nude. Rather curiously, aside from the female lead, most of the ill-fated chicks that the psychosexual killer kills with his virtual metal prick are hardly likeable ladies, thus adding to his incel cred. Not surprisingly, the film was supposed to feature more homoerotic content, including a scene where the killer is hit on by a flaming fagola and another where Bronson was supposed to wrestle a very naked Gene Davis (also, not surprisingly, Bronson was apparently not up for grappling with an unclad pretty boy). While the film is not quite as hyper homoerotic as A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985) as far as 1980s genre cinema goes, there is no doubt that the killer is an involuntary member of the pink team, hence his miserably misguided homo-cidal rage.


 Maybe it is simply because he has a less than aesthetically pleasing Asiatic appearance (he had Lipka Tatar roots), overall lack of martial charisma, and/or hardly intimidating stature/physique, but I have never been particularly fond of Charles Bronson, even if I can superficially appreciate the sentiments of a film like Death Wish (1974).  Since I can’t really back Bronson or the sort of philistine films he is best known for, I found it to the great benefit of 10 to Midnight that his shamelessly corrupt and callous cop character is fairly unlikable one. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the character is so intrinsically unlikable that, in the end, I found myself rooting for the psychotic serial killer in all of his ambiguously gay naked glory. In fact, it even somehow comes as a genuine great shock at the end of the film when Bronson gets so high on his own unhinged self-righteousness that he puts a bullet in the brain of the mad muscular twink when he is not threat after being apprehended shortly after he massacres some nurses à la Richard Speck. In short, 10 to Midnight is a surprisingly sick (not to mention simultaneously gritty yet aesthetically slick) flick that some lame spiritually castrated LGBT film theorist could fairly easily argue has an identifiable anti-sod subtext in a sort of subtly hysterical homo-hating fashion to the point where one might believe it inspired a brief trend of f*g-bashing in Kentucky.  As a film drenched in gratuitous violence and nudity—and, quite nicely, combines the two—it is also the sort of the movie that would entice Gaspar Noé, even if it does not go quite as far as Gerald Kargl’s endlessly entrancing serial killer fever dream Angst (1983) in terms of plunging the viewer's mind into the deep dark abyss that is the psyche of a raging renegade aberrosexual. 


 Warren Stacy (Gene Davis) is an undeniably handsome yet strikingly autistic young man that is an abject failure when it comes to the ladies and he knows it, but now he has decided to take revenge against the wanton whores, sidewalk slags, and conniving cum-dumps that will not even give him a meager crumb of pussy. Indeed, pathologically obsessed (as indicated by spastic fragmented flashbacks that are inter-spliced with shots of his very feminine grooming habits) with a bimbo b***h named Betty (June Gilbert) that dared to throw coffee in his face after some sort of failed romantic advance, wayward Warren carries out a revenge plan that involves murdering both the girl and her beau at a local park on a nice sunny day. In what is surely symbolic of his sexual perversion, Warren kills Betty while he is completely naked and—rather fittingly—she also happens to be completely unclad due to being interrupted while in the middle of fucking her boyfriend in a car.  Due to leaving behind no forensic evidence due to being naked (hence his reasoning behind his completely bare butchery) and creating the perfect alibi by talking to some bitchy babes at a movie theater, escaping throw a bathroom window unnoticed to carry out the murders, and then making his way back to the movie theater before the movie ends so the same bitchy babes can testify that he was there that evening, Warren is a fairly clever unhinged chap and that really pisses off hardened cynical cop Leo Kessler (Charles Bronson) who knows a guilty pervert when he sees one.  As a broody old bastard that is clearly approaching retirement, Kessler clearly has little time for bureaucratic b******t and a whiny weirdo like Warren proves to really get his goat, thus inevitably leading to an intense showdown between the two quite different (yet arguably equally, if dissimilarly, socially obnoxious) loner types.

Indeed, when Warren comes under his radar, Kessler immediately knows that the agile autist is unequivocally guilty but he has to struggle with the annoying complication of working with a young idealistic cop named Paul McAnn (Andrew Stevens)—a handsome yet hopelessly normal young stud—that sincerely believes in law and order and does everything completely by the book as if his life depended on it.  In fact, aside from catching bad dudes and bringing them to justice, Kessler doesn’t really seem to care about anything, including his own unconventionally beautiful student nurse daughter Laurie Kessler (Lisa Eilbacher) who, rather conveniently in terms of the film's plot, is acquainted with Warren’s victims. Needless to say, when his young partner Paul becomes romantically interested in his daughter Laurie, Kessler also does not seem to give a s**t about that, but luckily wacko Warren eventually develops an obsessive interest with the police detective’s daughter due to being constantly hounded by him to an almost fetishistic degree, as if the crusty old cop also has his own set of subconscious perversions that he is attempting to compensate for. Needless to say, the film concludes with Warren attempting to butcher Laurie while Kessler and Paul try to save her while simultaneously trying to bring down the ambiguously gay naked killer. Thankfully, despite its flaws, 10 to Midnight is not a film that pussies out in the end and instead closes on a shockingly politically incorrect note that reminds one that a single bullet can do so much more for humanity than a Talmudic Kafkaesque legal bureaucracy where a sort of neo-Sanhedrin reigns that caters to criminals and debases victims. 



 While crazed closet-case Warren Stacy is indubitably a bad dude that indeed deserves the bullet that ruptures his gray matter, I find it hard to not be at least superficially sympathetic to the savagely psychotic little sod as he is not totally delusional as clearly depicted in the film, he lives in a deplorable dystopian world of intrinsically irrational gynocentric terror where any dumb c**t with a room temperature IQ feels free to shame and debase any unfortunate male that does something she might find even the slightest bit unfavorable.  In that sense, the film is strangely prophetic for what amounts to a seemingly immaculately polished piece of celluloid trash.  In fact, Warren is certainly more sympathetic than, say, hopelessly hapless hapa incel messiah Elliot Rodger—a spoiled yet seriously self-loathing victim of miscegenation that, on top of being autistic, resented the fact his mom was Asian—who, unlike the film’s protagonist, did not have enough testicular fortitude to even try ask a girl out yet felt he was somehow entitled to premium grade Europid pussy because his white daddy bought him a fancy Bimmer. Undoubtedly, if Warren simply started hanging out at the sort of savage gay clubs featured in Cruising, Jacques Scandelari's New York City Inferno (1978), or Fred Halsted's A Night at Halsted's (1982), all of his problems would be solved as he would have an outlet for his sadistic sexual violence and he would not even have to really deal with dreaded women again outside the dreary dames from his lame office job. In short, Warren is, not unlike many gay serial killers that include John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer, among countless others, a pathetic victim of his own self-denial and self-deceptions. Despite being handsome and in good physical shape, Warren inspires horripilant in women because of his intrinsically repugnant personality traits and complete and utter lack of instinctual male heterosexual qualities. Of course, the irony of 10 to Midnight is that, despite the filmmaker’s best intent, Warren is no less repugnant than some of the women he kills, thus underscoring the all-around decidedly dysfunctional nature of the sexes in the post-sexual liberation America where many misguided young people feel completely obligated to embody some shallow (and oftentimes soul-destroying, especially for women) sexual (pseudo)ideal as if pornography and MTV are virtual guides to healthy living. After all, a fiercely fucked freak like Warren would probably feel less inclined to act homicidally as a closeted homo had he grown up in a pre-counterculture environment where there was less pressure on a man to prove his sexual prowess and penetrate as many worthless thots as possible, but I digress. 



 Undoubtedly, one of the most potent aspects of 10 to Midnight is the fact that the killer dispatches his victims whilst completely au naturel, which certainly has a particularly primal quality that transcends the sheer banality of serial killer genre convention. As to why unclad killing is interesting, degenerate Nietzschean anarchist Georges Bataille made the interesting argument in his text Erotism: Death and Sensuality (1957) that, “Stripping naked is the decisive action. Nakedness offers a contrast to self-possession, to discontinuous existence, in other words. It is a state of communication revealing a quest for a possible continuance of being beyond the confines of the self. Bodies open out to a state of continuity through secret channels that give us a feeling of obscenity. Obscenity is our name for the uneasiness which upsets the physical state associated with self-possession, with the possession of a recognized and stable individuality. Through the activity of organs in a flow of coalescence and renewal, like the ebb and flow of waves surging into one another, the self is dispossessed, and so completely that most creatures in a state of nakedness, for nakedness is symbolic of this dispossession and heralds it, will hide; particularly if the erotic art follows, consummating it. Stripping naked is seen in civilizations where the act has full significance if not as a simulacrum of the act of killing, at least as an equivalent shorn of gravity. In antiquity the destitution (or destruction) fundamental to eroticism was felt strongly and justified linking the act of love with sacrifice […] I must emphasize that the female partner in eroticism was seen as the victim, the male as the sacrifice, both during the consummation losing themselves in the continuity established by the first destructive act.” Undoubtedly, the way Bataille describes simple nakedness also makes it seem strangely comparable to the art of bullfighting which, rather fittingly, is an obsession of whacked-out Warren’s to the point where he has learned Spanish in tribute to his (assumedly second) favorite form of ritual slaughter. Indeed, Warren is the sort of guy that would probably jerk-off to Francesco Rosi’s artful documentary The Moment of Truth (1965).  Bullfighting aside, Warren's acts of unclad killing certainly have a ritualistic quality and ultimately betray his reputation as an insufferably uptight autist, as if stark-naked slaughters act as the sole relief he has from a loser life of involuntary celibacy and latent homosexuality.  Needless to say, such a fucked fellow would never stop killing, hence why he grisly end almost seems mandatory, if not overkill.



 Being what is essentially a glorified exploitation film on sleekly stylized sleaze steroids, 10 to Midnight does suffer from its fair share of problems, namely its tasteless tacked-on ‘good guy badge/bad ass vigilante’ ending where Bronson pulls-off a degenerate Death Wish-esque dispatching of the villain so that the audience can feel self-satisfied that the closeted cocksucker killer is as dead as Jeffrey Epstein's infamous libido. Indeed, in the end, deranged broken boy killer Warren—naked and pulsating like a thoroughly aroused c**k that is about to blow a load that is so massive that it would impregnate the entire world with visceral hatred for vaginas—goes on a bitchy mocking rant to Bronson boy about how he is going to evade justice by using his mental illness as an excuse, thereupon inspiring the already-quite-infuriated no-b******t cop to unload copper in his brain. Seeing as that, by the end of the film, Warren has completely transformed into a virtual modern-day Berserker—high on his own visceral hatred and seemingly immune to all attacks via his unclad body—and lost all contact with rationality and reality, it would seem more likely that he would fight to the death instead of allowing himself to be apprehended by his arch-nemesis. After all, his freedom and, in turn, life is over and such an inherently insane and individualistic individual would not fare too well inside any sort of government institution—be it a prison, mental institution, or otherwise. After all, as Bronze Age Pervert—a curiously shadowy and ambiguously gay individual that loves buff unclad bros—wrote in his manifesto Bronze Age Mindset (2018), “A beautiful death at the right time is the only key to understanding a life, its only hidden ‘meaning.’ It is a beautiful death to die after accomplishing a great feat for the glory of one’s city, family and for the gods, but it’s greater still to die in one’s prime, at the height of your powers and at the acme of their discharge. A beautiful death in youth is a great thing, to leave behind a beautiful body, and the best study of this pursuit you find in the novels of Mishima, a real connoisseur.” In short, Warren could have gone out like a sort of crazed killer cracker Mishima but instead he dies pathetically like a low-level negro gang-banger, but of course not many films tend to glorify the deaths of gay serial killers. 



 Notably, the life and death of the film’s first murder victim, Betty (June Gilbert), somewhat parallels that of failed tragic actress Christa Helm who, not unlike the fictional character, left behind a detailed personal love diary of sorts regarding her personal sexual and romantic consequences, hence why some believe she was murdered to cover up certain unsavory facts about sleazy bigwig Hollywood types. Despite dating powerful men like Joe Namath and Warren Beatty, Helm suffered a rather brief and forgettable acting career that included a small debut role in successful porn auteur Gerard Damiano’s non-porn horror turd Legacy of Satan (1974) and tiny cameos on tiresome hit TV shows like Starsky and Hutch and Wonder Woman. Immersed in the darker side of Hollywood, Helm also lived with porn auteur Jonas Middleton (Through the Looking Glass) and even apparently co-wrote the script for his second f**k flick Illusions of a Lady (1974), but quit the production when the filmmaker opted to make it a full-on hardcore film. While all this might seem like barely-related frivolous trivia in relation to 10 to Midnight, it all ultimately adds further context to film’s overall malefic mystique and exceedingly evil essence, as if this virtual glorified exploitation film is really much more as a semi-esoteric expression of the post-counterculture zeitgeist and superlatively sick collective unconscious of Hollywood during that time. Of course, this explains the popularity of actors like Charles Bronson—a symbol of atavistic vengeance against such degeneracy—even if he physically resembled a sort of half-bourgeois Charles Manson. The fact that lead Gene Davis’ brother previously starred in Fassbinder’s S&M sod swansong Querelle (1982)—a film that, despite its certain camp qualities, is imbued with a sort of sexually apocalyptic essence that was clearly influenced by the Todestrieb-inclined spirit of its forsaken auteur—only a year before further confirms the hopelessly collectively necrotizing state of the Occident at that time.


Dubious ancestry aside, Bronson is ultimately a sad symbol of reactionary boomer impotence and nothing more, hence how Hollywood went from churning out films like Cruising and 10 to Midnight to Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Call Me by Your Name (2017) in a mere couple decades as homo-hating is no longer vogue and homos have been homogenized enough to make for sound subject matter in mid-brow films for sentimental grandmothers. In a dying civilization where even a fictional Warren Stacy seems more sympathetic to a real-life Elliot Rodger or Alek Minassian—two misbegotten creatures that, unlike the film character, did not even exhibit a warped masculinity as they are both devoid of masculine qualities altogether—and their impotent perennially blue-balled “Beta Uprising” campaigns, the film is ultimately a delightfully dejecting reminder that things can always get worse and that—no matter the circumstances—there’s few things more patently loathsome than a man that cannot procure pussy of some sort. After all, Warren Stacy might have been a raging closest queen with insane standards, but there are always fat chicks with fat asses! 



-Ty E
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Counter Currents Staff

[1]3,545 words

Hungarian translation here [2]; Czech translation here [3]


Audio version: To listen in a player, use the one above or click here [4]. To download the mp3, right-click here [4] and choose “save link as” or “save target as.” To subscribe to the CC podcast RSS feed, click here [5].

If I could choose to be anyone from the twentieth century, I would not hesitate for a moment to pick Ernst Jünger. The man did just about everything it was possible to do in his time, and stretched the limits of what one individual can accomplish in a lifetime to their breaking point. His incredible lifespan alone (he died a month shy of his 103rd birthday) spanned the Kaiserreich, the German Revolution, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the Federal Republic of Germany, and finally, reunited Germany in his final decade – and was active in all of them. As such, his life itself can be seen as a symbol of Germany in the twentieth century, albeit he remained unconventional throughout all of its phases.

Although Jünger is commonly perceived as having been something of a Prussian aristocrat, he was in fact born into a middle-class family in Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg. Jünger was quite physically active as a youth, and developed a passion for reading and writing early on. In 1913 he ran away from home in order to join the French Foreign Legion and made it to Algeria, but was dismissed from the service after only six weeks after the German Foreign Office (acting on behalf of his father) informed the Legionary authorities that Jünger was underage.

Jünger did not have to wait long to realize his dream of becoming a soldier, however, with the outbreak of the First World War the following summer. On August 1, 1914, the day Germany declared war, Jünger volunteered for the 73rd Infantry Regiment of the Hannoverian 19th Division. After receiving his training, he was sent to the front in France in December. Jünger saw combat throughout the remainder of the war, being wounded fourteen times, and he was decorated with the Iron Cross First Class as well as the Prussian Pour le Mérite. After the war, he wrote a series of books based on his experiences, most famously Storm of Steel [6], the book for which he is still best-known in the Anglophone world, and which was closely based on the diaries he had kept during the conflict.

Jünger’s take on war was unconventional in that, unlike other writers of the war, he rejected pacifism, emphasizing the life-affirming, adventurous, and almost mystical qualities of the experience of industrialized trench warfare. This is not to say that he celebrated war, as he certainly did not eschew the unpleasant or ugly aspects of combat, but Jünger adopted a Nietzschean, amoral approach which viewed modern warfare as an opportunity for personal growth and transcendence. Also missing from Storm of Steel was any biographical or political approach; one would learn very little about the politics or strategies of the war from reading it, and even less about Jünger’s life prior to the war. The early drafts of the book contained a number of passages celebrating German nationalism, but Jünger, who revised the book many times in later years, would soon come to remove them from future editions, keeping the focus solely on the experience of the war as seen by the front-line soldier.

Jünger’s war books became bestsellers during the Weimar period and especially later, during the Third Reich. In the 1920s they secured his veneration by German nationalist circles, including the fledgling National Socialist Party. Jünger remained as an officer (Lieutenant) in the German Army until 1923, however, and as such refrained from participating in politics, and later recorded how during this period he struggled with drug addiction as a result of the physical and psychic wounds he had suffered in the war (a problem he soon overcame). Upon leaving the Army, he briefly participated in the nationalist Freikorps, but left quite soon, by his own account because he found the people in it to be of generally low character, who frequently asked to borrow money from him.

Jünger wrote a great deal during the Weimar period, and was also a student of biology, zoology, and botany, and he became a noted entomologist, a field with which he was to continue to be preoccupied throughout his life (indeed, one species of beetle even bears his name). He also became an accomplished photographer. He wrote many essays for a number of nationalist publications – were Counter-Currents to have existed at the time, Jünger surely would have been contributing to it – in which he made his disdain for the values of democracy well-known. He never joined any party, however, and while he maintained contact with the National Socialists as well as with other parties, he refused to participate in any direct way. Indeed, he was twice offered a seat in the Reichstag by the Nazis – on the first occasion, in 1927, he turned it down with the quip, “It is much more honorable to write one good line than to represent sixty thousand idiots in parliament.”

It was to the circle known as the “Conservative Revolutionaries” that Jünger was most closely associated, however: those thinkers who were not merely engaged in the polemical struggles of the day, but who were reevaluating politics – indeed, all aspects of the modern world, including the very nature of society itself – at its most fundamental level, rejecting not only liberal democracy but also Communism, seeking a new synthesis of Germany’s aristocratic, hierarchical traditions with socialism. It was a monumental project which perhaps has no precedent in the West since the ancient Greeks. This circle included Oswald Spengler and Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, and influenced Martin Heidegger and Julius Evola, among many others.  Like many of the Conservative Revolutionaries, Jünger freely mixed with both the radical Right and Left, and was as interested in the activities of the German Communists and anarchists as he was in the nationalists.

Jünger was especially close to Ernst Niekisch, who was the leader of the current known as the “National Bolsheviks,” which sought to combine nationalism with the best elements of Communism, and Jünger was a frequent contributor to Niekisch’s newspaper, Widerstand (Resistance). Many years later, he was to remark that if Niekisch had become the leader of Germany in the 1930s instead of Hitler, that the history of Germany in the twentieth century would have taken an entirely different, and more successful, course.

In 1932, Jünger published what is still seen as his most important philosophical work: Der Arbeiter (The Worker [7]), which outlined the type of civilization he imagined for the future (more on this later). It was also during this year that he published his last nationalist writings, adopting an apolitical attitude from that point forward.

He greeted Hitler and his Party’s rise to power without enthusiasm. He turned down all offers of official posts from them, refused to allow his writings to appear in official Nazi publications, and would not appear on Nazi radio broadcasts. Jünger largely withdrew from public life, although he continued to write and publish, and his early war books were celebrated more than ever before. In 1939, he published the novel On the Marble Cliffs [8], which is a thinly-veiled allegory about totalitarianism, depicting a pastoral community of traditional, aristocratic people destroyed by a ruthless dictator known as the Head Forester. Whether the novel was intended as an allegory for Nazism or for Communism, or both, is still debated. Surprisingly, the book was never banned, and Jünger was not blacklisted for publishing it, likely due to the high regard in which he was held by Hitler personally because of his war record and war books.

In spite of his antipathy for the Nazis, however, Jünger was nonetheless recalled to the German Army shortly before the Second World War broke out and was given the rank of Captain, which he willingly accepted. He was assigned the command of the 2nd Company of the 287th Regiment of the Wehrmacht, and participated in the invasion of France in 1940, winning himself another Iron Cross. Jünger saw little combat for the remainder of the war, however, and was instead assigned as an officer of the occupation in Paris. One of his duties was censoring letters; he later claimed to have saved the lives of several people by destroying letters that he knew would have run them afoul of the authorities. Apart from this, he spent most of his time visiting bookshops in Paris and spending time with artists and writers such as Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau. He also kept a series of diaries during this period (as yet untranslated) which are regarded as being among his greatest works.

Like many of the senior officers of the Wehrmacht, however, Jünger was fearful for the fate of Germany when the fortunes of the war took a turn for the worse, and he was an inspiration to many of those who took part in Claus von Stauffenberg’s plot against Hitler in July 1944. Jünger had been in contact with many of the plotters (including Erwin Rommel), circulating a secret document entitled The Peace, which was a blueprint for a new post-war and post-Nazi order for Europe. Although Jünger’s peripheral role in the conspiracy was known to the Nazis, he only suffered dismissal from the Wehrmacht, and no additional punishment – again, likely due to the high esteem in which he was held by the Nazi leadership and by the German public in general. Jünger’s son, Ernst Jr., a naval cadet, was arrested the same year for allegedly holding subversive talks, and he was sentenced to serve in a Wehrmacht penal unit, and was killed in action in Italy in November 1944.

After the war, Jünger found himself in the unenviable position that all of the survivors of the Conservative Revolution were thrown into: although he had never been a National Socialist, and in fact had resisted them to some degree, he had nevertheless been a well-known figure of the Right and had contributed to the milieu which had allowed the Nazis to rise to power, not to mention his Wehrmacht service. As such, he was still regarded with suspicion by the Allies, and in 1945 the British authorities banned him from publishing for four years. Although he was to continue to write and publish for many decades thereafter, the dark cloud which hangs over all those who have refused to toe the line of the wonders of liberalism and democracy continued to follow Jünger for the rest of his life, and indeed, still overshadows his legacy to this day.

In 1951, Jünger embarked on yet another, much more unorthodox, adventure: he was one of the first people to take LSD. Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who originally synthesized LSD by accident while attempting to develop an anaesthetic for women in childbirth, had been a long-time admirer of Jünger’s books, and after undergoing the psychedelic experience himself, he felt that his only precedent for it was certain lyrical descriptions of mystical states in Jünger’s novels. As such (Hofmann recounts the story in his book LSD: My Problem Child [9]), he contacted Jünger and asked him if he was interested in trying it. Jünger, who had already sampled a wide variety of drugs in earlier life, eagerly accepted, and in 1951 Hofmann showed up at his home, where the two took it together (under medical supervision). Jünger was quite fascinated by the experience, which he wrote about in fictional form in his novella, Visit to Godenholm [10], recently translated into English by Annabel Lee for Edda Publishing in Sweden. Hofmann and Jünger continued to trip together occasionally for many years afterwards, apparently well into Jünger’s 90s (Hofmann likewise lived to age 102, passing away in 2008). Jünger writes about all of his drug experiences in his as-yet-untranslated book, Annäherungen.

In spite of the continuing controversy regarding his involvement with the Right, Jünger nevertheless became a literary celebrity in post-war West Germany, as well as in France, where most of his work has been translated, and he won many literary prizes across Europe. He likewise travelled the world, and is said to have visited every continent except Antarctica. His stature was such that in 1984, when Germany and France held a ceremony of reconciliation at Verdun, the site of one of the great battles of the First World War, Jünger was asked to act as a mediator between German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and French President François Mitterrand, the latter of whom was a professed admirer of Jünger’s work.

Jünger continued to be productive into his old age, publishing dozens of books – works of fiction, including books that could fairly be called science fiction, as well as non-fiction on a wide variety of topics (the final edition of his Collected Works consists of twenty-two volumes) – and many more essays, the last of which was published only weeks before his death in 1998.

The question that is probably in the minds of many Counter-Currents readers is, was Jünger still a man of the Right after 1932? There is no easy answer. Julius Evola, who praised Jünger’s Weimar-era work and published a book on The Worker in 1960, nevertheless regarded Jünger as a traitor for going back on his oath of loyalty by participating (however peripherally) in the plot against Hitler in 1944, and saw him as selling out to the liberal values of the new Republic in the post-war years.

As for the first accusation, while it cannot be denied, one must take into account the circumstances of the time. By 1944, Germany was facing certain defeat, and Hitler’s announced policy of total war and fighting to the last man was already leading to the complete devastation of the country. Also, most of the leaders of the Stauffenberg plot were Prussian aristocrats who had no intention of allowing Germany to become a liberal Anglo-American colony in the aftermath of their success. Rather, their intention was to insist on an independent Germany which would side with the Western allies in a continuing struggle against the Soviets – but they made it clear that they would not countenance the wholesale surrender of the country. Jünger’s desire to see Hitler overthrown could therefore be seen as a form of loyalty to his people, even if he was expressing disloyalty to its leaders.

As for the second, I think it is unjustified. While Jünger clearly softened in his later years (he would refer to his early works as his “Old Testament” – but he never disavowed any of them), it is clear to see even in his post-war writings that he was far from a liberal democrat. Jünger always remained an elitist who sought to stand apart from the crowd, and expressed horror at the dehumanizing effects of the ever-accelerating modern world (as he had predicted in The Worker). In his later decades, if anything, Jünger could be fairly described as an anarchist – not of the form one associates with the antifa and street demonstrations, but rather in believing that the modern state has become a prison for the individual, and that only by standing aloof from it and living on one’s own terms, and according to values of one’s own making, can one hope to attain any genuine freedom in a world dominated by bureaucrats with incredible and unprecedented forces at their disposal.

But there is also some evidence that Jünger never really lost his interest in the Right. For example, Alain de Benoist, the founder of the French New Right, has related [11] how he was at a stand at a book festival in Nice in 1977 when Ernst Jünger unexpectedly approached him, striking up a conversation. As Benoist tells it, Jünger was very much interested in the activities of his GRECE organization, and the two continued to correspond until Jünger’s death. This is significant, given that the New Right is very much a continuation of the efforts of the German Conservative Revolutionaries. Also, as I learned in Lennart Svennson’s book about [12]Jünger [12], the German Right-wing journal Junge Freiheit [13], which has been published weekly since 1986, revealed after his passing that he had been a long-time subscriber. According to one of their writers, Thorsten Thaler, Jünger always took the latest issue with him on his travels, praising the journal for taking an unconventional stance between mainstream conservatism and the radical Right. So in spite of the fact that he refrained from commenting on politics directly, it seems that Jünger never truly turned his back on it.

It would be impossible to summarize all of Jünger’s literary work in an essay of this size, but there are three works which seem to epitomize the archetypal periods of his thought. The first is The Worker from 1932, which marked the culmination of his nationalist period. He did not use the concept of “the Worker” in a Marxist, classist sense, but rather as an archetype: the Worker is man engaged in any sort of productive or creative endeavor. Jünger believed that the industrial processes which had shaped and supported the impersonal killing fields of the First World War were soon to be implemented across the world, in all fields, and that the individual was doomed to be swallowed up in the processes of collectivization. For Jünger, this would be a world dominated entirely by impersonal forces in which all traditional values would be destroyed in favor of the value of material goods: mass production and consumption. In short, it would be a world made up of nothing but numbers. However, Jünger did see a possible upside to this disturbing vision: he also predicted the rise of a new race of Worker-Titans, Faustian men who would use these new powers as a means of achieving superhuman aims. Humanity as we know it would be destroyed, but the Titans of the future might give rise to something new and more powerful, attaining god-like status.

In 1951, Jünger published The Forest Passage [14], and this is very much the reflections of a man who has lived through the horrors of the World Wars, and who now sees his homeland divided and occupied between the forces of liberal democracy on one side and totalitarian Communism on the other, which are not only imprisoning the individuals under their rule but threaten to unleash apocalyptic destruction at any moment. Jünger no longer talks of the superhuman potential of the Titans to make use of these forces. Rather, he speaks of the “forest rebel,” he who flees into the forest (symbolically), like a guerrilla fighter, to escape the ravages of the modern world and the forces of authoritarianism which seek to dominate and control him (already in this book, Jünger claims that America is “nearing perfection” in this technique through the use of radio and television). The forest rebel is one who withdraws from participating in this inhuman society as much as possible, living according to his own rules, but who seeks to undermine society by performing acts of resistance (even if these are doomed to failure), or through personal disciplines and religious practices. Jünger also calls upon the Germanic tradition of the home as one’s sanctuary: one’s home is a place of freedom, he writes, not because that freedom is guaranteed by law, which can betray you, but rather because one is prepared to fight anyone who tries to violate that space.

And lastly, there is the post-apocalyptic novel Eumeswil [15], published in 1977, which draws on the ideas of Max Stirner and other anarchists. In it, Jünger introduces the concept of the Anarch. “The Anarch is to the anarchist, what the monarch is to the monarchist,” he writes. The Anarch is one who participates fully in modern life, but who is not inwardly part of it. Internally, he still has his own beliefs and values, and sees himself strictly as an observer of events. In other words, he is in this world, but not of it. It bears a striking resemblance to Evola’s idea of apoliteia, and of “riding the tiger.”

Whatever one thinks of Jünger’s life and work, it is undeniable that he was one of the most prominent members of an increasingly rare breed – that of geniuses who make important strides in many different fields simultaneously, and who make a brilliant work of art out of their own lives, both in terms of what they do as well as how they live it. In our age of small men who are encouraged to never grow up and to keep their ambitions low, Jünger is a towering figure from the Age of Titans, a man who dared to live life on his own terms and contributed to transforming the world around him in the process.

While a great deal of Jünger’s work is available in nearly every other European language, for some reason his books, apart from Storm of Steel, have never caught on in the Anglophone world, and only a small portion of his body of work has been published in English. Fortunately, Telos Press has been making an effort to remedy this situation, and in recent years has issued a number of his works in translation. An excellent introduction to Jünger’s life and ideas is the film 102 Years in the Heart of Europe [16], which consists of an interview with him that was shot by a Swedish crew only a year before his death interspersed with narration.

 

(Review Source)
Counter Currents Staff

2,860 slov [1]

English original here [2]; Hungarian translation here [3]

Kdybych mohl být kýmkoliv z dvacátého století, ani na vteřinu bych neváhal s volbou Ernsta Jüngera. Tento muž totiž ve svém vymezeném čase vyzkoušel takřka všechno a napnul hranice toho, čeho může jednotlivec v životě dosáhnout, až na úplné maximum. Jeho nesmírně dlouhý život (zemřel měsíc před svými 103. narozeninami) překlenul Kaiserreich [4], německou revoluci, Výmarskou republiku, Třetí říši, Spolkovou republiku Německo a konečně v poslední dekádě jeho života také sjednocené Německo – a v každém z těchto období aktivně působil. Jeho život lze tedy chápat jako symbol Německa 20. století, přestože Jünger sám zůstával za každého režimu velmi nekonvenční.

Přestože bývá obecně pokládán za pruského aristokrata, ve skutečnosti se Jünger narodil do středostavovské rodiny z Heidelbergu ve spolkové zemi Bádensko-Würtembersko. V roce 1913 utekl z domova, aby se přidal k francouzské Cizinecké legii a dostal se až do Alžírska. Po pouhých šesti týdnech však byl propuštěn, když německá ministerstvo zahraničí (jednající na základě pokynů jeho otce) sdělilo velení Legie, že Jünger ještě není plnoletý.

Na splnění svého vojáckého snu však mladý Ernst příliš dlouho čekat nemusel, protože hned následujícího léta vypukla 1. světová válka. 1. srpna 1914, tedy stejného dne, kdy Německo vyhlásilo válku, narukoval Jünger jako dobrovolník do 73. hannoverského pěšího pluku generála polního maršála prince Albrechta Pruského (Füsilier-Regiment Generalfeldmarschall Prinz Albrecht von Preußen /Hann./ Nr. 73 [5]). Po absolvování výcviku ho v prosinci poslali na frontu do Francie. V boji pak Jünger vytrval až do konce války, čtrnáctkrát byl zraněn a za své bojové výkony byl vyznamenán Železným křížem [6] [druhé i] první třídy a pruským řádem Pour le Mérite [7]. Po skončení války tuto svou zkušenost zpracoval v sérii knih, z nichž tou jistě nejslavnější je V ocelových bouřích, která ho nejvíce proslavila v anglicky mluvícím prostředí a jež ve velké míře vychází z jeho válečných deníků.

Jüngerův vlastní postoj válce se vymykal běžným kategoriím – na rozdíl od ostatních spisovatelů odmítal pacifismus a místo toho se soustředil na život utvrzující, dobrodružné a takřka mystické rozměry zkušenosti zprůmyslněné zákopové války. To samo o sobě ještě nutně neznamená, že by válku oslavoval, v žádném případě se totiž nevyhýbal popisu ošklivých stránek boje, zaujal k moderní válce však nietzscheovský amorální postoj, když ji vnímal jako příležitost k osobnímu růstu a transcendenci. Nápadně nepřítomné byly (v knize) V ocelových bouřích jakékoliv biografické nebo politické prvky – z jejich řádek se toho člověk o politice nebo válečné strategii dozví velice málo a ještě méně pak o Jüngerově předválečném životě. Původní verze knihy obsahovaly i četné pasáže oslavující německý nacionalismus, ale Jünger je v rámci četných pozdějších revizí z dalších vydání odstranil, aby tak zdůraznil sílu válečného zážitku očima frontového vojáka.

Jeho válečná díla se ve výmarském období, a zvláště pak za Třetí říše, stala bestsellery. Ve 20. letech mu zajistila obdiv německých nacionalistických kruhů včetně lidí z prostředí rodící se NSDAP. Jünger však zůstal důstojníkem (poručíkem) německé armády až do roku 1923 a politiky se tedy neúčastnil. Později vzpomínal, jak v této době bojoval se závislostí na drogách vyvolanou fyzickými i psychickými traumaty utrženými za války (tento problém brzy překonal). Po odchodu z armády se nakrátko přidal k nacionalistickému Freikorpsu [Gerharda Roßbacha [8]], odkud ale brzy odešel, podle vlastních slov zejména proto, že lidé v této jednotce měli zpravidla dosti chabý charakter a často si od něj chtěli půjčovat peníze.

Za Výmarské republiky toho Jünger hodně napsal, studoval biologii, zoologii a botaniku a stal se i uznávaným entomologem. Tímto oborem se zabýval celý život a jeden druh brouka po něm dokonce byl pojmenován. Vypracoval se také ve zdatného fotografa. Svými esejemi přispíval do řady nacionalistických publikací – kdyby tehdy existovaly Counter-Currents, psal by Jünger jistě i pro ně – a nijak se v nich netajil svým znechucením z demokratických hodnot. Nikdy se však nestal členem žádné strany a i když udržoval styky s národními socialisty i dalšími politickými hráči, přímo se zapojit do politiky odmítal. Národní socialisté mu opakovaně nabízeli křeslo v Říšském kancléřství, on jej však při první příležitosti v roce 1927 odmítl se slovy: „Napsat jednu dobrou řádku je mnohem čestnější, než zastupovat v parlamentu šedesát tisíc idiotů.“

Nejčastěji však bývá Jünger spojován s kruhy známými jako „konzervativní revolucionáři“: tito myslitelé se nevěnovali jen aktuálním dobovým polemikám, ale zamýšleli se také nad politikou – a vlastně všemi aspekty moderního světa, včetně povahy společnosti samotné – na té nejzákladnější úrovni, když odmítali liberální demokracii i komunismus a hledali novou syntézu německých aristokratických a hierarchických tradic se socialismem. Takto monumentální projekt neměl na Západě obdoby od dob slávy starověkého Řecka. K tomuto proudu se řadí třeba Oswald Spengler či Arthur Moeller van den Bruck a ovlivnil i myšlení mj. Martina Heideggera nebo Julia Evoly. Podobně jako mnozí konzervativní revolucionáři si Jünger volně vypůjčoval od radikální pravice i levice a o činnost německých komunistů a anarchistů se zajímal stejně živě jako o dění v nacionalistických kruzích.

Zvlášť těsný vztah pak udržoval s přední postavou národně bolševického hnutí Ernstem Niekischem, který se snažil spojit nacionalismus s tím nejlepším z komunismu a často přispíval do jeho časopisu Widerstand (Odpor). O mnoho let později Jünger poznamenal, že kdyby se v 30. letech stal místo Hitlera vůdcem Německa Niekisch, dějiny země ve 20. století by se ubíraly zcela odlišným a podstatně úspěšnějším směrem.

Roku 1932 vydal Jünger knihu dodnes pokládanou za jeho nejvýznamnější filozofické dílo: Der Arbeiter (Dělník – momentálně není dostupné v angličtině, přestože Northwestern University Press na letošek ohlásil vydání překladu /kniha již vyšla [9] – pozn. DP/), kde vykreslil typ civilizace, jíž si představoval do budoucna (ještě se k tomu vrátíme). Téhož roku také publikoval poslední své nacionalistické texty, aby napříště zaujal zásadově apolitický postoj.

Nástup Hitlera a jeho strany k moci přijal bez velkého nadšení: odmítl všechny nabízené oficiální pozice a nesvolil ani k otištění svých textů v oficiálních nacistických publikacích nebo vystoupením v rozhlasových pořadech. V podstatě se stáhl z veřejného života, přestože dál psal a publikoval a jeho starší válečná díla se těšila větší oblibě než kdy předtím. V roce 1939 vydal román Na mramorových útesech, jen pro forma skrytou alegorii o totalitářství. Idylické společenství tradičního aristokratického lidu zde ohrožuje a ničí vzestup nemilosrdného diktátora: Nadlesního. Zda tato alegorie směřovala proti nacismu, komunismu nebo oběma, zůstává dodnes předmětem debat. Kniha však překvapivě zakázána nebyla a Jüngerovi nezajistila ani zařazení na černou listinu – zřejmě díky respektu, jež k němu Hitler kvůli jeho válečnému hrdinství a tvorbě osobně choval.

I přes svou nechuť k nacistům byl však Jünger krátce před vypuknutím války povolán do armády v hodnosti kapitána, kterou ochotně přijal. Bylo mu svěřeno velení 2. pěší roty 287. pluku Wehrmachtu, s nímž se zapojil do letního francouzského tažení v roce 1940, za něž získal další Železný kříž.

Do konce války se pak už do boje nedostal a prožil ji jako důstojník okupační správy v Paříži. Jednou z jeho povinností byla také cenzura korespondence; později tvrdil, že několika lidem zachránil životy, když zničil dopisy, které by jim zle zatopily u úřadů. Kromě toho trávil hodně času v pařížských knihkupectvích a s umělci i spisovateli jako Pablo Picasso a Jean Cocteau. Vedl si také několik sérií (dosud nepřeložených) deníků, jež jsou počítány mezi jeho nejlepší díla.

Když se však válečné štěstí otočilo, stejně jako řada vysokých armádních důstojníků se i Jünger začal obávat o osud Německa. Obraceli se na něj mnozí z těch, kteří se později zapojili do spiknutí a pokusu o atentát Clause von Stauffenberga proti Hitlerovi v červenci 1944. Jünger byl v kontaktu s řadou spiklenců (včetně Erwina Rommela) a podílel se na šíření tajného dokumentu nazvaného Mír, nákresu poválečného a postnacistického uspořádání Evropy. Přestože byla nacistům jeho okrajová úloha v komplotu známá, byl potrestán jen propuštěním z armády bez dalšího trestu – zřejmě i v tomto případě díky úctě, již se těšil u nacistického vedení i německé veřejnosti. Jeho syn Ernst mladší, námořní kadet, byl téhož roku zatčen za údajné vedení podvratných řečí a odsouzen ke službě v trestné jednotce Wehrmachtu. Padl v boji na italské frontě v listopadu 1944.

Po válce se Jünger ocitl v podobně nezáviděníhodné pozici jako všichni ostatní přeživší konzervativní revolucionáři: přestože nikdy nebyl národním socialistou a vlastně se režimu do jisté míry postavil na odpor, patřil k nejznámějším postavám pravice a přispěl k vytvoření milieu, jež umožnilo nástup nacismu moci, nemluvě pak o jeho službě v branné moci. Proto na něj Spojenci pohlíželi s nemalým podezřením a v roce 1945 mu britská okupační správa zakázala na čtyři roky publikovat. Přestože pak v psaní pokračoval ještě dlouhá desetiletí, nikdy už se nad ním nepřestal vznášet temný mrak nerozdílně doprovázející všechny, kteří se odmítli plně poddat kouzlu liberalismu a demokracie. Ten ho ostatně doprovází i po jeho smrti a dodnes vrhá stín na jeho odkaz.

V roce 1951 se Jünger pustil do nového a snad ještě neortodoxnějšího dobrodružství: jako jeden z prvních lidí vyzkoušel LSD. Švýcarský chemik Albert Hofmann, kterému se původně podařilo syntetizovat LSD omylem, když se snažil vyvinout anestetikum pro rodičky, byl už dávno příznivcem Jüngerovy tvorby, a když sám prodělal psychedelickou zkušenost, jediný srovnatelný precedent podle svého mínění našel v některých lyrických popisech mystických stavů z Jüngerových románů. Proto tedy Hofmann (který příhodu popisuje ve své knize LSD: Mé nezvedené dítě [10]) kontaktoval Jüngera s dotazem, zda by neměl zájem LSD vyzkoušet. Jünger, který už v mládí okusil širokou paletu drog, nadšeně přijal a v roce 1951 Hofmann přijel k němu domů, kde oba si LSD (pod lékařským dohledem) vzali. Pro Jüngera to byl fascinující zážitek, který v beletrické formě popsal v novele Návštěva Godenholmu, nedávno přeložené do angličtiny Anabel Leeovou pro švédské nakladatelství Edda. Hofmann s Jüngerem pak s tripy na občasné bázi pokračovali ještě dlouho potom, prý až do desáté dekády Jüngerova života (i Hofmann žil až do 102 let, zemřel v roce 2008). O všech svých zážitcích s drogami Jünger píše ve svém dosud nepřeloženém díle Annäherungen.

I přes trvající kontroverzi zapříčiněnou jeho dřívější angažovaností na pravici se Jünger v poválečném Západním Německu i Francii stal literární celebritou, když byla přeložena většina jeho knížek a získal řadu literárních cen po celé Evropě. Procestoval celý svět a navštívil všechny kontinenty s výjimkou Antarktidy. Jeho renomé vzrostlo natolik, že když roku 1984 slavily Německo s Francii smiřovací ceremonii u Verdunu, na místě jedné z největších bitev 1. světové války, požádali Jüngera, aby se ujal role prostředníka mezi německým kancléřem Helmutem Kohlem a francouzským prezidentem Françoisem Mitterrandem, který se nijak netajil svým obdivem k německému spisovateli.

Ani v pokročilém věku nepřestával Jünger pracovat: vydal tucty knih – beletrie, z nichž některé lze směle nazvat sci-fi i literaturu faktu na různá témata (konečná edice jeho Sebraných spisů má dvaadvacet svazků) – a nespočet esejí, z nichž ta poslední vyšla jen pár týdnů před jeho skonem v roce 1998.

Mnoha čtenářům teď jistě vrtá hlavou otázka, zda Jünger zůstal i po roce 1932 mužem pravice? Snadná odpověď na ni asi neexistuje. Julius Evola, který vysoce hodnotil díla Jüngerova výmarského období a v roce 1960 vydal Dělníka, Jüngera označil pro jeho porušení slibu věrnosti účastí (jakkoliv okrajovou) na spiknutí proti Hitlerovi v roce 1944 za zrádce a považoval ho za zaprodance liberálním hodnotám nové poválečné republiky.

U prvního obvinění, přestože jej nelze popřít, musí hodnotící vzít v potaz dobové okolnosti. V roce 1944 stálo Německo před jistou porážkou a Hitlerem oznámená politika totální války a boje do posledního muže mohla mít jediný výsledek – naprosté zničení země. Většina předních postav Stauffenbergova puče navíc pocházela z pruské aristokracie a neměla sebemenší touhu nechat Německo po dokonání svého činu proměnit na liberální angloamerickou kolonii. Místo toho doufali ve vytvoření nezávislého Německa, které by po boku západních spojenců pokračovalo v boji proti Sovětům – dali však jasně najevo, že žádná bezpodmínečná kapitulace země nepřipadá v úvahu. Jüngerovu touhu vidět odstavení Hitlera od moci lze tedy chápat i jako projev věrnosti svému národu – navzdory projevům neloajality jeho vůdcům.

Co se týče druhého nařčení, považuji jej za neopodstatněné. Přestože v pozdějších letech jeho života u Jüngera pozorujeme jasné zmírnění některých postojů (sám pak mluvil o raných dílech jako o svém „Starém zákonu“ – nikdy se však od žádného z nich nedistancoval), i z jeho poválečné tvorby je jasně patrné, že zůstal liberální demokracii na hony vzdálen. Jünger vždy zůstal v prvé řadě elitářem toužícím vyčlenit se z davu a netajil se svým zděšením z odlidšťujícího působení stále se zrychlující modernizace světa (již předpověděl už v Dělníkovi). V pozdějších desetiletích lze Jüngera dosti přesně popsat jako anarchistu – samozřejmě nikoliv onoho typu, jaký najdeme v řadách antify nebo pouličních demonstrantů; každopádně však soudil, že moderní stát se pro jednotlivce stal vězením a že jedině životem mimo něj, podle svých vlastních podmínek a v souladu se svými vlastními hodnotami může člověk doufat v dosažení jakékoliv skutečné svobody ve světě ovládaném byrokraty, v jejichž rukou se soustředilo nebývalé a až neuvěřitelné množství moci.

Nalezneme však také četné indicie toho, že Jüngerův zájem o pravici trval i v pozdějších letech. Zakladatel francouzské Nové pravice Alain de Benoist například vzpomínal [11], jak k němu u jeho stolku na knižním festivalu v Nice roku 1977 neočekávaně přistoupil Ernst Jünger a dal se s ním do řeči. Podle Francouze se Jünger živě zajímal o činnost jeho skupiny GRECE a oba si pak dopisovali až do konce Jüngerova života. To jistě o mnohém vypovídá, zvlášť uvážíme-li, že Nová pravice je do velké míry pokračováním úsilí a práce německé konzervativní revoluce. Jak jsem se navíc dozvěděl v knize Lennarta Svennsona o Jüngerovi, německý pravicový týdeník Junge Freiheit [12], vycházející už od roku 1986, po jeho skonu odhalil, že slavný spisovatel byl jeho dlouholetým předplatitelem. Podle jednoho z přispěvatelů Junge Feiheit Thorstena Thalera si Jünger vždy bral nejnovější číslo s sebou na cesty a cenil si Junge Freiheit pro její nekonvenční postoj mezi mainstreamovým konzervatismem a radikální pravicí. Přestože se tedy k politice přímo nevyjadřoval, zády se k ní Jünger zřejmě nikdy neobrátil.

V článku tohoto rozsahu samozřejmě nelze adekvátně shrnout celou Jüngerovu literární tvorbu, tři jeho díla však dle mého mínění vystihují archetypální fáze jeho myšlení. Prvním je Der Arbeiter z roku 1932, vyvrcholení Jüngerova nacionalistického období. Pojem „Dělníka“ u něj nemá marxistický třídní význam, definuje ho spíše jako archetyp: Dělník je člověk vykonávající jakoukoliv produktivní nebo tvůrčí činnost. Podle Jüngera měla průmyslová metoda, jež umožnila a utvářela odosobněná vražedná pole Velké války, brzy být zavedena napříč celým světem ve všech oborech. Jednotlivec je pak odsouzen k tomu, aby ho tato kolektivizace pohltila. Pro Jüngera to znamenalo vytvoření světa plně ovládaného neosobními silami, kde dojde ke zničení všech tradičních hodnot těmi materiálními: hromadnou výrobou a spotřebou. Bude to tedy svět plně sestávající z čísel. Jünger však v této znepokojivé vizi nalézal i možné pozitivum: předpověděl i vzestup nové rasy – Dělníků-Titánů, faustovských lidí, kteří díky svým nově nabytým silám dosáhnou nadlidských cílů. Lidstvo, jak jej známe, bude sice zničeno, ale Titáni budoucnosti na jeho troskách možná vybudují něco nového a mocnějšího, když při tom dosáhnou takřka božství.

V roce 1951 vydal Jünger Chůzi lesem [13], reflexi muže, který prošel hrůzami světových válek a jehož vlast si rozdělily a okupují liberálně demokratické mocnosti na jedné, a totalitní komunismus na straně druhé – jež nejen že drží podmaněný národ v zajetí, ale také v každé chvíli hrozit započít zkázu apokalyptických rozměrů. Jünger už nemluví o nadlidském potenciálu Titánů těchto sil využít, místo toho hovoří o „lesním rebelovi [14],“ který (symbolicky) prchá jako partyzán do lesa, aby unikl zničujícímu působení moderního světa a silám autoritářstvím, jež se ho snaží opanovat a kontrolovat (už zde Jünger píše, že Amerika se v této technice využitím rádia a televize „přiblížila dokonalosti“). Lesní chodec se co možná nejvíc vzdává z účastenství na této nelidské společnosti, žije podle svých vlastních zásad, ale současně se snaží oslabit sevření této tyranie akty odporu (i když jsou předem odsouzeny k neúspěchu), sebekázní či náboženskými úkony. Jünger také vzývá germánskou tradici domova coby svatyně: domov je místem svobody, píše, ne díky svobodě zaručené právem, jež ostatně může člověka zradit, ale protože je jeho pán připraven bojovat s každým, kdo by tento prostor pokusil narušit.

A konečně bych do této trojice zařadil postkatastrofický román Eumeswil z roku 1977, jenž hojně čerpá z myšlenek Maxe Stirnera a dalších anarchistů. Jünger zde přichází s pojmem Anarchy: „Anarcha se má k anarchistovi podobně, jako monarcha k monarchistovi“, píše. Anarcha se plně účastní moderního života, ale niterně není jeho součástí. Vnitřně si drží své přesvědčení a hodnoty, sám na sebe však nahlíží zásadně jako pozorovatele událostí. Jinými slovy pobývá v tomto světě, ale není jeho součástí. Nápadně se to podobá Evolovu pojetí apolitei a „jízdy na tygru“.

Ať už hodnotíme Jüngerův život a dílo jakkoliv, nepopiratelně se jedná o jednoho z nejvýraznějších příslušníků vymírajícího druhu – geniů, kteří dosáhnou velkých věcí v několika oborech současně a jejichž život se stává brilantním uměleckým dílem – jak tím, co dělají, tak způsobem žití. Nad naším věkem zmenšených lidí, které nikdo nepohání k tomu vyrůst nebo si klást vysoké cíle, se pak Jünger mocně vypíná jako figura věku Titánů; muž, jenž se odvážil žít podle svých vlastních zásad a tím přispěl k proměně světa kolem sebe.

Přestože je velká část Jüngerova díla k dispozici v mnoha ostatních evropských jazycích, z nějakého důvodu se v anglofonním prostředí jeho knihy s výjimkou V ocelových bouřích nikdy příliš neuchytily, a tak byl přeložen a v angličtině vydán jen zlomek jeho díla. Telos Press se to dnes naštěstí snaží napravit a v posledních letech vydal řadu jeho přeložených knih. Vynikajícím úvodem k Jüngerovu životu a myšlení je film 102 let v srdci Evropy [15], který je vlastně rozhovorem s Jüngerem natočeným švédským štábem jen rok předtím, než jeho smrt proložila vypravěčskou linku snímku.

Překladatel: Tomáš Kupka

Source: https://deliandiver.org/2018/02/muz-dvacateho-stoleti-vzpominame-na-ernsta-jungera-1895-1998.html [16]

(Review Source)
Counter Currents Staff

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[1]

English original [2]; Czech version [3]

Ha választhatnék, hogy melyik XX. századi személyiség életét éljem újra, nem kellene sokáig gondolkodnom. Ernst Jünger szinte mindent átélt, amit a században lehetett, és elment a végső határig abban, amit valaki egy földi pályafutás során elérhet. Egy hónappal a százharmadik születésnapja előtt halt meg – elképesztően hosszú életkora átfogta a Német Császárság, az I. világháború utáni német forradalom, a Weimari Köztársaság, a Harmadik Birodalom és a Német Szövetségi Köztársaság korszakát. Végül élete utolsó évtizedében láthatta az újraegyesült Németországot is, és mindvégig aktívan tevékenykedett.

Pályája ezért önmagában jelképezi Németország XX. századi történelmét, habár ő maga egész életében kívülállónak számított.

Bár Jüngert sokan gondolják valamiféle porosz arisztokratának, valójában polgári családba született a baden-würtenbergi Heidelbergben. Sportos fiatal volt, és korán kialakult az olvasás és írás iránti szenvedélye. 1913-ban elszökött otthonról, és beállt a francia Idegenlégióba. Egészen Algériáig jutott, azonban 6 hét után elbocsátották a szolgálatból, miután a Német Külügyminisztérium – Jünger apja kérésére – tájékoztatta a Légiót, hogy a fiú még fiatalkorú.

Nem kellett azonban sokáig várnia, hogy beteljesüljön az álma és katona lehessen, mivel a következő nyáron kitört az I. világháború. 1914. augusztus 1-jén, azon a napon, amikor Németország hadba lépett, Jünger önkéntesnek jelentkezett a 19. Hannoveri Hadosztály 73. Gyalogsági Ezredébe. Kiképzése után decemberben a francia frontra küldték. A háború hátralévő részét a tűzvonalban töltötte, tizennégyszer sebesült, megkapta az első osztályú Vaskeresztet és a legmagasabb porosz kitüntetést, a Pour le Mérite érdemrendet. A háború után könyveket írt háborús élményeiről – ezek közül a leghíresebb az Acélzivatarban, amely a mai napig a legismertebb műve angol nyelvterületen, és amelyet a háború alatt vezetett naplója alapján írt.* [4]

Jünger szokatlan módon mutatta meg a háborút, mivel – ellentétben más szerzőkkel – elutasította a pacifizmust, és hangsúlyozta az ipari lövészárok-háború életigenlő, kihívásként felfogható, már-már misztikus jellegét. Ezzel nem azt akarjuk mondani, hogy ünnepelte a háborút, mivel egyáltalán nem hallgatta el annak visszataszító vagy csúnya vonatkozásait, de egy nietzschei, amorális attitűd jellemzi, amely a modern háborúban a személyes kiteljesedés és önmeghaladás lehetőségét látja. Szintén hiányzik a könyvből az önéletrajzi és politikai megközelítés – alig tudunk meg valamit a háború politikai vagy stratégiai vonatkozásairól, és még kevesebbet Jünger háború előtti életéről. A könyv első vázlatai még tartalmaztak a német nacionalizmust éltető szövegrészeket, de Jünger a későbbi években állandóan átdolgozta a művet, és ezeket a részeket eltávolította az újabb kiadásokból, amelyek így kizárólag a frontkatona élményeire fókuszáltak.

Jünger könyvei a weimari időszakban, de különösen a Harmadik Birodalom éveiben a sikerlisták élére kerültek. Az 1920-as években nagy tisztelet alakult ki személye körül német nacionalista körökben, így az ekkoriban induló Nemzetiszocialista Pártban is. Főhadnagyi rangban a német hadsereg kötelékében maradt 1923-ig, emiatt nem vett részt közvetlenül a politikai életben. Későbbi visszaemlékezései szerint ebben az időben a háborúban szerzett fizikai és pszichikai sérülései miatt drogfüggő lett (ezt később azonban sikerült legyőznie). Miután távozott a hadseregből, egy rövid ideig a Freikorps nacionalista szabadcsapathoz csatlakozott, de hamarosan otthagyta őket. Saját beszámolója szerint azért, mert a tagság zömét alacsony nívójú emberek alkották, akik állandóan pénzt kértek tőle kölcsön.

Jünger sokat írt a weimari években, valamint biológiát, zoológiát és botanikát tanult, és neves entomológussá vált – a rovarok élete végéig foglalkoztatták (még egy rovarfajt is elneveztek róla). Tehetsége volt a fotóművészethez is. Számos esszét írt nacionalista kiadványok számára – ha a Counter-Currents már létezett volna abban az időben, Jünger bizonyára a szerzőink között lenne –, ezekben világossá tette megvetését a demokratikus értékek iránt. Ennek ellenére sosem lépett be egyetlen pártba sem, és bár kapcsolatban állt a nemzetiszocialistákkal és más szervezetekkel is, visszautasította, hogy közvetlenül részt vegyen a pártpolitikában. A nemzetiszocialisták kétszer is helyet kínáltak neki a Reichstagban, először 1927-ben, ekkor szellemesen így utasította vissza a felkérést: „Sokkal nagyobb dicsőség egyetlen jó sort leírni, mint hatvanezer idiótát képviselni a parlamentben.”

Jünger legközelebb a konzervatív forradalmárok csoportjához állt. Ennek a körnek a gondolkodói azonban nem vettek részt a napi politikai csatározásokban, ehelyett a politika, sőt az egész modern világ, benne a modern társadalom alapokig ható újraértékelését végezték el. Ennek eredményeként elutasították nem csak a liberális demokráciát, hanem a kommunizmust is, és az arisztokratikus, hierarchikus német hagyomány és a szocializmus szintézisét keresték. Monumentális feladat volt, szinte előzmények nélküli az európai történelemben az ókori görögök óta. Ehhez a körhöz tartozott Oswald Spengler és Arthur Moeller van den Bruck; hatást gyakoroltak többek között Martin Heideggerre és Julius Evolára is. Mint számos konzervatív forradalmár, Jünger is szabadon érintkezett a radikális jobb- és baloldallal egyaránt, és éppúgy érdekelte a német kommunisták és anarchisták tevékenysége, mint a nacionalistáké.

Jüngerhez különösen közel állt Ernst Niekisch, aki a nemzeti bolsevizmus néven ismert áramlat vezetője volt – ez az irányzat a nacionalizmust a kommunizmus legjobb elemeivel akarta kombinálni. Jünger gyakran publikált Niekisch Wiederstand (Ellenállás) című lapjában. Sok évvel később megjegyezte, hogy ha Hitler helyett Niekisch vált volna Németország vezetőjévé a ’30-as években, akkor a XX. századi német történelem egészen más, sokkal sikeresebb irányt vett volna.

1932-ben jelent meg Jünger máig legjelentősebbnek tartott filozófiai műve Der Arbeiter (A munkás) címmel. (Jelenleg nem elérhető angol nyelven, bár az év második felében tervezi megjelentetni a Northwestern University Press.) Ebben felvázolta, milyen civilizációt képzel el a jövő számára – erről lásd alább részletesen. Ugyanebben az évben tette közzé utolsó nacionalista irányultságú írásait, a későbbiekben attitűdje teljesen apolitikussá vált.

Hitler és a náci párt felemelkedését lelkesedés nélkül vette tudomásul. Visszautasított minden pozíciót, amit felajánlottak neki, nem engedélyezte, hogy az írásai hivatalos náci kiadványokban jelenjenek meg, és nem szerepelt náci rádióműsorokban. Szinte teljesen visszavonult a nyilvános élettől, bár továbbra is írt és publikált, és korai háborús könyveit jobban ünnepelték, mint valaha. 1939-ben jelent meg A márványszirteken című regénye, a totalitarizmus könnyen megfejthető allegóriája, amelyben egy kíméletlen diktátor, a főerdész elpusztít egy természetközeli életet élő tradicionális, arisztokratikus közösséget. Hogy a regény a nácizmus, vagy a kommunizmus, vagy mindkettő allegóriája, az a mai napig vita tárgyát képezi. Meglepő módon a könyvet nem tiltották be, és Jüngert sem tették feketelistára – alighanem azért, mert Hitler személyesen nagyra tartotta háborús hőstetteiért és könyveiért.

A nácik iránti ellenszenve dacára Jüngert a II. világháború kitörése előtt behívták a német hadseregbe, kapitányi rangban, amit ő szívesen elfogadott. A Wehrmacht 287. ezredében a 2. század parancsnokává nevezték ki, és 1940-ben részt vett a Franciaország elleni támadásban, ahol újabb Vaskeresztet érdemelt ki. A háború hátralévő részében azonban alig vett részt a harcokban, a párizsi megszálló hatóságokhoz osztották be szolgálatra. Egyik feladata a levélposta cenzúrázása volt; később azt állította, hogy több ember életét is megmentette azzal, hogy megsemmisített olyan leveleket, amelyekről tudta, hogy hatósági eljárást vontak volna maguk után. Ettől eltekintve az ideje javát párizsi könyvesboltok látogatásával töltötte, valamint olyan művészek társaságában, mint Pablo Picasso és Jean Cocteau. Naplót is vezetett ebben az időszakban (ez sem jelent még meg angol fordításban), amelyet a legnagyszerűbb írásai között tartanak számon.

Amikor azonban a hadi helyzet rosszabbra fordult, számos magas rangú Wehrmacht-tiszthez hasonlóan Jünger is aggódni kezdett Németország sorsáért, és személye a Claus von Stauffenberg által vezetett 1944 júliusi összeesküvés számos tagja számára szolgált inspirációként. Jünger kapcsolatban állt az összeesküvőkkel (például Erwin Rommellel), és titokban terjesztette A béke című írását, amely a háború és nácizmus utáni Németország tervrajzát tartalmazta.** [5] Bár Jünger érintőleges szerepe az összeesküvésben nem volt titok a nácik előtt, büntetésül csupán elbocsátották a Wehrmacht soraiból – valószínűleg ismét csak azért, mert a náci vezetés és a német közvélemény nagy tiszteletben tartotta. Fiát, ifj. Ernst Jünger tengerészkadétot ugyanebben az évben lázító beszélgetésekben való állítólagos részvétel miatt letartóztatták, és egy Wehrmacht büntetőszázadba osztották. 1944 novemberében Olaszországban esett el.

A háború után Jünger a konzervatív forradalom többi túlélő képviselőjéhez hasonlóan nehéz helyzetbe került – bár sosem volt nemzetiszocialista, sőt bizonyos mértékig ellenállást is tanúsított, mégis a jobboldal ismert képviselőjeként tartották számon, mint aki hozzájárult annak a miliőnek a kialakulásához, amely lehetővé tette a nácik hatalomra kerülését; ráadásul katonai szolgálatot is teljesített a Wehrmacht soraiban. Ezért a szövetségesek gyanakodva kezelték, és 1945-ben a britek négy évre eltiltották a publikálástól. Bár ezután még évtizedekig írt és publikált, élete végéig felette lebegett a fekete felhő, amely azokat kíséri, akik nem hajlandók elismerni a liberalizmus és a demokrácia nagyszerűségét. Ez a felhő a mai napig beárnyékolja szellemi hagyatékát.

1951-ben Jünger újabb, egyáltalán nem szokványos kalandra indult: az elsők között próbálta ki az LSD-t. Albert Hofmann svájci vegyész szülő nők számára szeretett volna fájdalomcsillapítót kifejleszteni, és kísérletezés közben véletlenül szintetizálta a drogot. Jünger írásainak régi rajongója volt, és úgy érezte, a szer által okozott pszichedelikus élményt csak a Jünger regényeiben leírt misztikus állapotokhoz tudja hasonlítani. Ezért aztán (ahogyan leírja az LSD: My Problem Child című könyvében) felvette a kapcsolatot Jüngerrel, és megkérdezte, hogy van-e kedve kipróbálni a szert. Jünger korábban már többféle kábítószerrel kísérletezett, és lelkesen fogadta a felkérést. Ezután 1951-ben Hofmann megjelent Jünger lakásán, ahol (orvosi felügyelet mellett) közösen kipróbálták a drogot. Jünger nagyon érdekesnek találta az élményt, amelyről irodalmi formában Visit to Godenholm című novellájában írt – ezt Annabel Lee fordította angolra a svéd Edda kiadó számára. Hofmann és Jünger később is alkalmanként együtt fogyasztott kábítószert, a jelek szerint még akkor is, amikor Jünger már jócskán elmúlt 90 éves (Hofmann szintén 102 évig élt, 2008-ban hunyt el). Jünger a droggal kapcsolatos tapasztalatairól az angolra még le nem fordított Annäherungen című könyvében ír.

A jobboldali szerepvállalása miatti állandó vitától függetlenül Jünger ünnepelt irodalmár lett nem csak a háború utáni Nyugat-Németországban, de Franciaországban is, ahol művei többsége elérhető fordításban. Szerte Európában számos díjat kapott, körbeutazta a világot, és úgy tartják, hogy az Antarktisz kivételével minden földrészen megfordult. Tekintélye akkora volt, hogy 1984-ben, amikor Németország és Franciaország közös megemlékezést rendezett Verdunnél, az I. világháború egyik legfontosabb harcterén, Jüngert kérték fel, hogy közvetítsen Helmut Kohl német kancellár és Jünger nagy tisztelője, François Mitterrand francia elnök között.

Jünger idős korában is termékeny szerző maradt, könyvek tucatjait jelentette meg. Írt fikciót – ideértve olyan műveket, amelyeket jogosan nevezhetnénk science fiction-nek –, valamint tényirodalmat is sokféle témában (összegyűjtött műveinek listája huszonkét kötetet tesz ki), és még több esszét, amelyek közül a legutolsó csak halála előtt néhány héttel jelent meg 1998-ban.

Alighanem sok Counter-Currents olvasóban felmerül a kérdés: jobboldalinak tekinthetjük-e Jüngert 1932 után? Nem könnyű ezt megválaszolni. Julius Evola nagyra értékelte Jünger weimari időszakban született műveit, és 1960-ban egy könyvet szentelt a Der Arbeiter-nek. Ennek ellenére árulónak tartotta Jüngert, amiért megszegte hűségesküjét, amikor bármennyire érintőlegesen is, de részt vett a Hitler elleni 1944-es összeesküvésben. Úgy gondolta, hogy a háború utáni években Jünger eladta magát a liberális köztársaságnak.

Ami az első vádat illeti, bár nem tagadható, de számításba kell vennünk az adott körülményeket. 1944-ben biztosra lehetett venni Németország vereségét, és a Hitler által meghirdetett, az utolsó emberig vívott totális háború az ország teljes pusztulásához vezetett. A Stauffenberg-összeesküvés vezetőinek többsége porosz arisztokrata volt, és egyáltalán nem állt szándékukban, hogy győzelmük esetén átengedjék hazájukat a liberális angol-amerikai gyarmatosításnak. A terv az volt, hogy ragaszkodnak Németország függetlenségéhez és csatlakoznak a szovjetek ellen forduló szövetségesekhez, de világossá tették, hogy nem járulnak hozzá Németország feltétel nélküli megadásához. Jüngernek az a szándéka, hogy Hitlert megbuktassa tehát úgy is tekinthető, mint a népe iránti hűség megnyilvánulása, annak ellenére, hogy a nép vezetői iránt valóban hűtlenné vált.

Ami a második vádat illeti, úgy gondolom, hogy ez megalapozatlan. Bár Jünger későbbi éveiben kétségkívül „lágyabbá” vált (korai műveit a saját „Ószövetségének” nevezte – de sosem tagadta meg), még a háború utáni írásait olvasva is egyértelmű, hogy sosem volt liberális demokrata. Mindig is elitista maradt, elhatárolódott a tömegtől, és borzalmasnak találta a modern világ egyre gyorsuló ütemben zajló elembertelenedését (ahogyan azt a Der Arbeiter-ben megjósolta). Az idős Jüngert, ha már be kell sorolnunk valahová, leginkább anarchistának tekinthetjük – és itt most nem arról az anarchizmusról beszélünk, amit az antifával és utcai tüntetésekkel azonosítunk. Jünger annak a gondolatnak volt a képviselője, amely szerint a modern állam az individuum börtönévé vált, és ebben a társadalomban, ahol a bürokraták kezében elképesztő és korábban soha nem látott hatalom összpontosul, csak akkor lehetünk szabadok, ha leválunk a világról és a magunk normái és értékei szerint élünk.

De arra is van bizonyíték, hogy Jünger sosem szűnt meg érdeklődni a jobboldal iránt. Például Alain de Benoist, a francia új jobboldal alapítója leírja [6], hogy 1977-ben Nizzában egy könyvfesztivál standjánál váratlanul megjelent Ernst Jünger, és beszélgetni kezdett vele. Benoist elmondása szerint Jüngert nagyon érdekelte a GRECE mozgalom, és ezután a haláláig leveleztek egymással. Ez jelentős momentum, mert az Új Jobboldal a német konzervatív forradalom folytatásának tekinthető. Lennart Svennson Jüngerről szóló könyvében [7] pedig azt olvashatjuk, hogy az 1986 óta hetente megjelenő német jobboldali folyóirat, a Junge Freiheit [8] Jünger halála után nyilvánosságra hozta: az író régi előfizetőjük volt. Egyik szerzőjük, Thorsten Thaler szerint mindig magával vitte a legfrissebb számot utazásai során, és nagyra tartotta a kiadványt, amely saját útját járta a fősodor konzervativizmusa és a radikális jobboldal között. Tehát annak ellenére, hogy nem nyilvánult meg közvetlenül politikai kérdésekben, Jünger sosem fordított teljesen hátat a politikának.

Lehetetlen vállalkozás egy ilyen rövid esszében összegezni Jünger irodalmi tevékenységét, de három művet ki kell emelnünk, amelyek fémjelzik gondolkodásának archetipikus szakaszait. Az első a Der Arbeiter 1932-ből, nacionalista korszakának csúcsteljesítménye. A „Munkás” szót nem marxista, osztályharcos értelemben használta, hanem mint egy archetípus megnevezését: a Munkás az az ember, aki produktív vagy kreatív tevékenységet végez. Jünger azt gondolta, hogy az ipari folyamatok, amelyek megteremtették és működtették az I. világháború személytelen gyilkoló gépezetét, hamarosan elterjednek az egész világon, maguk alá gyűrik az élet valamennyi területét, és az individuumot el fogja nyelni a kollektivizáció. Jünger számára ez egy olyan világ, amelyet személytelen erők uralnak, és amelyben minden tradicionális érték elpusztul anyagi célok, a termelés és fogyasztás érdekében. Röviden, ez egy számokból álló világ lesz. Jünger azonban látta ennek a sötét víziónak a pozitív oldalát is: megjósolta a Munkás-Titánok új fajának felemelkedését – fausti személyiségeket, akik az új hatalmat arra használják, hogy emberfeletti célokat valósítsanak meg. Az emberiség, ahogyan ma ismerjük, pusztulásra van ítélve, de a jövő titánjai életre hívhatnak valami újat és hatalmasat, és ezzel istenekhez hasonlóvá válhatnak.

1951-ben jelent meg a Forest Passage,*** [9] egy olyan ember visszaemlékezése, aki átélte a két világháború rémségeit, akinek szülőföldjét megszállta és felosztotta egymás között egyrészt a liberális demokrácia, másrészt a totalitárius kommunizmus – rendszerek, amelyek nem csak börtönbe zárják az alattvalóikat, hanem apokaliptikus pusztulással fenyegetik a világot. Jünger már nem beszél a titánokról, akik ezen erők segítségével emberfeletti lehetőségeket ragadhatnak meg – új hőse a lázadó, aki gerillaként a (jelképes) erdőbe húzódik vissza, hogy távol tartsa magát a modern világ pusztító hatásaitól és az autoriter erőktől, amelyek uralni és irányítani akarják őt. (Már ebben a művében Jünger azt állítja, hogy Amerika „szinte tökélyre fejlesztette” az uralom technikáját a rádió és a televízió révén). Az erdei lázadó visszavonul, és lehetőség szerint nem vesz részt ebben az embertelen társadalomban. Saját szabályai szerint él, de ugyanakkor ellenáll, és le akarja rombolni a társadalmat tetteivel (még akkor is, ha ezek kudarca előre megjósolható), vagy önneveléssel és vallásgyakorlással. Jünger a német hagyományra is hivatkozik, amely az otthonra mint szentélyre tekint: az otthon a szabadság tere – írja –, nem azért, mert ott a szabadságot törvény biztosítja, hiszen a törvény ellened fordulhat, hanem azért, mert aki otthon van, az képes szembeszállni azokkal, akik be akarnak hatolni ebbe a térbe.

Végül essék szó az 1977-ben megjelent Eumeswil-ről, amely Max Stirner és más anarchisták gondolataira támaszkodik. Ebben Jünger kifejti az Anarch koncepcióját. „Az Anarch az az anarchistának, ami a monarcha a monarchistának” – írja. Az Anarch a modern világban él, de lélekben nem része annak. Benső világában megvannak a saját hitei és értékei, a külvilág vonatkozásában pedig magát szigorúan csak megfigyelőnek tekinti. Más szavakkal, ebben a világban van, de nem ebből a világból való. Ez a gondolat feltűnően hasonlít Evola apoliteia és „tigrislovaglás” koncepciójára.

Bármit gondoljunk is Jünger életéről és munkásságáról, tagadhatatlan, hogy egyik legjelesebb képviselője volt egy kihalóban lévő fajtának: a zseninek, aki egyszerre több területen is fontos eredményeket ér el, aki csodálatos műalkotásként formálja meg saját életét, egyaránt értve ez alatt azt, amit tesz és azt, ahogyan megéli. Ma a kisemberek korában, amikor arra biztatnak bennünket, hogy sose váljunk felnőtté és tartsuk ambícióinkat alacsonyan, Jünger a Titánok Korának fölénk tornyosuló alakja, egy olyan férfi, aki a saját szabályai szerint élte az életét, és ezzel átalakította maga körül a világot.

Bár Jünger művei számos európai nyelven elérhetők, valamilyen ok miatt az Acélzivatarban-tól eltekintve az angol nyelvű világban ezek nem keltettek feltűnést, és munkásságának csak kis részét fordították le nyelvünkre. Szerencsére a Telos Press igyekszik ezt a helyzetet orvosolni, és az utóbbi években elkezdte megjelenteti Jünger műveinek fordításait. Jünger életének és gondolatainak tanulmányozásához kiváló kezdőpont a 102 Years in the Heart of Europe [10] (102 év Európa szívében) című film, egy svéd forgatócsoport által készített, narrációval kiegészített interjú, amely egy évvel az író halála előtt készült.

Jegyzetek

* [11] Németül: In Stahlgewittern, angolul: Storm of Steel. Magyar kiadás: Acélzivatarban, Noran Libro Kiadó, 2014. (A ford.)

** [12] Németül: Der Friede

*** [13] Németül: Der Waldgang

Fordítás: Csató Pál

További magyar nyelvű írások [14]

 

(Review Source)
Counter Currents Staff

3,524 words [1]

Hungarian translation here [2]; Czech translation here [3]

If I could choose to be anyone from the twentieth century, I would not hesitate for a moment to pick Ernst Jünger. The man did just about everything it was possible to do in his time, and stretched the limits of what one individual can accomplish in a lifetime to their breaking point. His incredible lifespan alone (he died a month shy of his 103rd birthday) spanned the Kaiserreich, the German Revolution, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the Federal Republic of Germany, and finally, reunited Germany in his final decade – and was active in all of them. As such, his life itself can be seen as a symbol of Germany in the twentieth century, albeit he remained unconventional throughout all of its phases.

Although Jünger is commonly perceived as having been something of a Prussian aristocrat, he was in fact born into a middle-class family in Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg. Jünger was quite physically active as a youth, and developed a passion for reading and writing early on. In 1913 he ran away from home in order to join the French Foreign Legion and made it to Algeria, but was dismissed from the service after only six weeks after the German Foreign Office (acting on behalf of his father) informed the Legionary authorities that Jünger was underage.

Jünger did not have to wait long to realize his dream of becoming a soldier, however, with the outbreak of the First World War the following summer. On August 1, 1914, the day Germany declared war, Jünger volunteered for the 73rd Infantry Regiment of the Hannoverian 19th Division. After receiving his training, he was sent to the front in France in December. Jünger saw combat throughout the remainder of the war, being wounded fourteen times, and he was decorated with the Iron Cross First Class as well as the Prussian Pour le Mérite. After the war, he wrote a series of books based on his experiences, most famously Storm of Steel [4], the book for which he is still best-known in the Anglophone world, and which was closely based on the diaries he had kept during the conflict.

Jünger’s take on war was unconventional in that, unlike other writers of the war, he rejected pacifism, emphasizing the life-affirming, adventurous, and almost mystical qualities of the experience of industrialized trench warfare. This is not to say that he celebrated war, as he certainly did not eschew the unpleasant or ugly aspects of combat, but Jünger adopted a Nietzschean, amoral approach which viewed modern warfare as an opportunity for personal growth and transcendence. Also missing from Storm of Steel was any biographical or political approach; one would learn very little about the politics or strategies of the war from reading it, and even less about Jünger’s life prior to the war. The early drafts of the book contained a number of passages celebrating German nationalism, but Jünger, who revised the book many times in later years, would soon come to remove them from future editions, keeping the focus solely on the experience of the war as seen by the front-line soldier.

Jünger’s war books became bestsellers during the Weimar period and especially later, during the Third Reich. In the 1920s they secured his veneration by German nationalist circles, including the fledgling National Socialist Party. Jünger remained as an officer (Lieutenant) in the German Army until 1923, however, and as such refrained from participating in politics, and later recorded how during this period he struggled with drug addiction as a result of the physical and psychic wounds he had suffered in the war (a problem he soon overcame). Upon leaving the Army, he briefly participated in the nationalist Freikorps, but left quite soon, by his own account because he found the people in it to be of generally low character, who frequently asked to borrow money from him.

Jünger wrote a great deal during the Weimar period, and was also a student of biology, zoology, and botany, and he became a noted entomologist, a field with which he was to continue to be preoccupied throughout his life (indeed, one species of beetle even bears his name). He also became an accomplished photographer. He wrote many essays for a number of nationalist publications – were Counter-Currents to have existed at the time, Jünger surely would have been contributing to it – in which he made his disdain for the values of democracy well-known. He never joined any party, however, and while he maintained contact with the National Socialists as well as with other parties, he refused to participate in any direct way. Indeed, he was twice offered a seat in the Reichstag by the Nazis – on the first occasion, in 1927, he turned it down with the quip, “It is much more honorable to write one good line than to represent sixty thousand idiots in parliament.”

It was to the circle known as the “Conservative Revolutionaries” that Jünger was most closely associated, however: those thinkers who were not merely engaged in the polemical struggles of the day, but who were reevaluating politics – indeed, all aspects of the modern world, including the very nature of society itself – at its most fundamental level, rejecting not only liberal democracy but also Communism, seeking a new synthesis of Germany’s aristocratic, hierarchical traditions with socialism. It was a monumental project which perhaps has no precedent in the West since the ancient Greeks. This circle included Oswald Spengler and Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, and influenced Martin Heidegger and Julius Evola, among many others.  Like many of the Conservative Revolutionaries, Jünger freely mixed with both the radical Right and Left, and was as interested in the activities of the German Communists and anarchists as he was in the nationalists.

Jünger was especially close to Ernst Niekisch, who was the leader of the current known as the “National Bolsheviks,” which sought to combine nationalism with the best elements of Communism, and Jünger was a frequent contributor to Niekisch’s newspaper, Widerstand (Resistance). Many years later, he was to remark that if Niekisch had become the leader of Germany in the 1930s instead of Hitler, that the history of Germany in the twentieth century would have taken an entirely different, and more successful, course.

In 1932, Jünger published what is still seen as his most important philosophical work: Der Arbeiter (The Worker – no English translation currently exists, although one has been announced by Northwestern University Press for later this year), which outlined the type of civilization he imagined for the future (more on this later). It was also during this year that he published his last nationalist writings, adopting an apolitical attitude from that point forward.

He greeted Hitler and his Party’s rise to power without enthusiasm. He turned down all offers of official posts from them, refused to allow his writings to appear in official Nazi publications, and would not appear on Nazi radio broadcasts. Jünger largely withdrew from public life, although he continued to write and publish, and his early war books were celebrated more than ever before. In 1939, he published the novel On the Marble Cliffs [5], which is a thinly-veiled allegory about totalitarianism, depicting a pastoral community of traditional, aristocratic people destroyed by a ruthless dictator known as the Head Forester. Whether the novel was intended as an allegory for Nazism or for Communism, or both, is still debated. Surprisingly, the book was never banned, and Jünger was not blacklisted for publishing it, likely due to the high regard in which he was held by Hitler personally because of his war record and war books.

In spite of his antipathy for the Nazis, however, Jünger was nonetheless recalled to the German Army shortly before the Second World War broke out and was given the rank of Captain, which he willingly accepted. He was assigned the command of the 2nd Company of the 287th Regiment of the Wehrmacht, and participated in the invasion of France in 1940, winning himself another Iron Cross. Jünger saw little combat for the remainder of the war, however, and was instead assigned as an officer of the occupation in Paris. One of his duties was censoring letters; he later claimed to have saved the lives of several people by destroying letters that he knew would have run them afoul of the authorities. Apart from this, he spent most of his time visiting bookshops in Paris and spending time with artists and writers such as Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau. He also kept a series of diaries during this period (as yet untranslated) which are regarded as being among his greatest works.

Like many of the senior officers of the Wehrmacht, however, Jünger was fearful for the fate of Germany when the fortunes of the war took a turn for the worse, and he was an inspiration to many of those who took part in Claus von Stauffenberg’s plot against Hitler in July 1944. Jünger had been in contact with many of the plotters (including Erwin Rommel), circulating a secret document entitled The Peace, which was a blueprint for a new post-war and post-Nazi order for Europe. Although Jünger’s peripheral role in the conspiracy was known to the Nazis, he only suffered dismissal from the Wehrmacht, and no additional punishment – again, likely due to the high esteem in which he was held by the Nazi leadership and by the German public in general. Jünger’s son, Ernst Jr., a naval cadet, was arrested the same year for allegedly holding subversive talks, and he was sentenced to serve in a Wehrmacht penal unit, and was killed in action in Italy in November 1944.

After the war, Jünger found himself in the unenviable position that all of the survivors of the Conservative Revolution were thrown into: although he had never been a National Socialist, and in fact had resisted them to some degree, he had nevertheless been a well-known figure of the Right and had contributed to the milieu which had allowed the Nazis to rise to power, not to mention his Wehrmacht service. As such, he was still regarded with suspicion by the Allies, and in 1945 the British authorities banned him from publishing for four years. Although he was to continue to write and publish for many decades thereafter, the dark cloud which hangs over all those who have refused to toe the line of the wonders of liberalism and democracy continued to follow Jünger for the rest of his life, and indeed, still overshadows his legacy to this day.

In 1951, Jünger embarked on yet another, much more unorthodox, adventure: he was one of the first people to take LSD. Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who originally synthesized LSD by accident while attempting to develop an anaesthetic for women in childbirth, had been a long-time admirer of Jünger’s books, and after undergoing the psychedelic experience himself, he felt that his only precedent for it was certain lyrical descriptions of mystical states in Jünger’s novels. As such (Hofmann recounts the story in his book LSD: My Problem Child [6]), he contacted Jünger and asked him if he was interested in trying it. Jünger, who had already sampled a wide variety of drugs in earlier life, eagerly accepted, and in 1951 Hofmann showed up at his home, where the two took it together (under medical supervision). Jünger was quite fascinated by the experience, which he wrote about in fictional form in his novella, Visit to Godenholm [7], recently translated into English by Annabel Lee for Edda Publishing in Sweden. Hofmann and Jünger continued to trip together occasionally for many years afterwards, apparently well into Jünger’s 90s (Hofmann likewise lived to age 102, passing away in 2008). Jünger writes about all of his drug experiences in his as-yet-untranslated book, Annäherungen.

In spite of the continuing controversy regarding his involvement with the Right, Jünger nevertheless became a literary celebrity in post-war West Germany, as well as in France, where most of his work has been translated, and he won many literary prizes across Europe. He likewise travelled the world, and is said to have visited every continent except Antarctica. His stature was such that in 1984, when Germany and France held a ceremony of reconciliation at Verdun, the site of one of the great battles of the First World War, Jünger was asked to act as a mediator between German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and French President François Mitterrand, the latter of whom was a professed admirer of Jünger’s work.

Jünger continued to be productive into his old age, publishing dozens of books – works of fiction, including books that could fairly be called science fiction, as well as non-fiction on a wide variety of topics (the final edition of his Collected Works consists of twenty-two volumes) – and many more essays, the last of which was published only weeks before his death in 1998.

The question that is probably in the minds of many Counter-Currents readers is, was Jünger still a man of the Right after 1932? There is no easy answer. Julius Evola, who praised Jünger’s Weimar-era work and published a book on Der Arbeiter in 1960, nevertheless regarded Jünger as a traitor for going back on his oath of loyalty by participating (however peripherally) in the plot against Hitler in 1944, and saw him as selling out to the liberal values of the new Republic in the post-war years.

As for the first accusation, while it cannot be denied, one must take into account the circumstances of the time. By 1944, Germany was facing certain defeat, and Hitler’s announced policy of total war and fighting to the last man was already leading to the complete devastation of the country. Also, most of the leaders of the Stauffenberg plot were Prussian aristocrats who had no intention of allowing Germany to become a liberal Anglo-American colony in the aftermath of their success. Rather, their intention was to insist on an independent Germany which would side with the Western allies in a continuing struggle against the Soviets – but they made it clear that they would not countenance the wholesale surrender of the country. Jünger’s desire to see Hitler overthrown could therefore be seen as a form of loyalty to his people, even if he was expressing disloyalty to its leaders.

As for the second, I think it is unjustified. While Jünger clearly softened in his later years (he would refer to his early works as his “Old Testament” – but he never disavowed any of them), it is clear to see even in his post-war writings that he was far from a liberal democrat. Jünger always remained an elitist who sought to stand apart from the crowd, and expressed horror at the dehumanizing effects of the ever-accelerating modern world (as he had predicted in Der Arbeiter). In his later decades, if anything, Jünger could be fairly described as an anarchist – not of the form one associates with the antifa and street demonstrations, but rather in believing that the modern state has become a prison for the individual, and that only by standing aloof from it and living on one’s own terms, and according to values of one’s own making, can one hope to attain any genuine freedom in a world dominated by bureaucrats with incredible and unprecedented forces at their disposal.

But there is also some evidence that Jünger never really lost his interest in the Right. For example, Alain de Benoist, the founder of the French New Right, has related [8] how he was at a stand at a book festival in Nice in 1977 when Ernst Jünger unexpectedly approached him, striking up a conversation. As Benoist tells it, Jünger was very much interested in the activities of his GRECE organization, and the two continued to correspond until Jünger’s death. This is significant, given that the New Right is very much a continuation of the efforts of the German Conservative Revolutionaries. Also, as I learned in Lennart Svennson’s book about [9]Jünger [9], the German Right-wing journal Junge Freiheit [10], which has been published weekly since 1986, revealed after his passing that he had been a long-time subscriber. According to one of their writers, Thorsten Thaler, Jünger always took the latest issue with him on his travels, praising the journal for taking an unconventional stance between mainstream conservatism and the radical Right. So in spite of the fact that he refrained from commenting on politics directly, it seems that Jünger never truly turned his back on it.

It would be impossible to summarize all of Jünger’s literary work in an essay of this size, but there are three works which seem to epitomize the archetypal periods of his thought. The first is Der Arbeiter from 1932, which marked the culmination of his nationalist period. He did not use the concept of “the Worker” in a Marxist, classist sense, but rather as an archetype: the Worker is man engaged in any sort of productive or creative endeavor. Jünger believed that the industrial processes which had shaped and supported the impersonal killing fields of the First World War were soon to be implemented across the world, in all fields, and that the individual was doomed to be swallowed up in the processes of collectivization. For Jünger, this would be a world dominated entirely by impersonal forces in which all traditional values would be destroyed in favor of the value of material goods: mass production and consumption. In short, it would be a world made up of nothing but numbers. However, Jünger did see a possible upside to this disturbing vision: he also predicted the rise of a new race of Worker-Titans, Faustian men who would use these new powers as a means of achieving superhuman aims. Humanity as we know it would be destroyed, but the Titans of the future might give rise to something new and more powerful, attaining god-like status.

In 1951, Jünger published The Forest Passage [11], and this is very much the reflections of a man who has lived through the horrors of the World Wars, and who now sees his homeland divided and occupied between the forces of liberal democracy on one side and totalitarian Communism on the other, which are not only imprisoning the individuals under their rule but threaten to unleash apocalyptic destruction at any moment. Jünger no longer talks of the superhuman potential of the Titans to make use of these forces. Rather, he speaks of the “forest rebel,” he who flees into the forest (symbolically), like a guerrilla fighter, to escape the ravages of the modern world and the forces of authoritarianism which seek to dominate and control him (already in this book, Jünger claims that America is “nearing perfection” in this technique through the use of radio and television). The forest rebel is one who withdraws from participating in this inhuman society as much as possible, living according to his own rules, but who seeks to undermine society by performing acts of resistance (even if these are doomed to failure), or through personal disciplines and religious practices. Jünger also calls upon the Germanic tradition of the home as one’s sanctuary: one’s home is a place of freedom, he writes, not because that freedom is guaranteed by law, which can betray you, but rather because one is prepared to fight anyone who tries to violate that space.

And lastly, there is the post-apocalyptic novel Eumeswil [12], published in 1977, which draws on the ideas of Max Stirner and other anarchists. In it, Jünger introduces the concept of the Anarch. “The Anarch is to the anarchist, what the monarch is to the monarchist,” he writes. The Anarch is one who participates fully in modern life, but who is not inwardly part of it. Internally, he still has his own beliefs and values, and sees himself strictly as an observer of events. In other words, he is in this world, but not of it. It bears a striking resemblance to Evola’s idea of apoliteia, and of “riding the tiger.”

Whatever one thinks of Jünger’s life and work, it is undeniable that he was one of the most prominent members of an increasingly rare breed – that of geniuses who make important strides in many different fields simultaneously, and who make a brilliant work of art out of their own lives, both in terms of what they do as well as how they live it. In our age of small men who are encouraged to never grow up and to keep their ambitions low, Jünger is a towering figure from the Age of Titans, a man who dared to live life on his own terms and contributed to transforming the world around him in the process.

While a great deal of Jünger’s work is available in nearly every other European language, for some reason his books, apart from Storm of Steel, have never caught on in the Anglophone world, and only a small portion of his body of work has been published in English. Fortunately, Telos Press has been making an effort to remedy this situation, and in recent years has issued a number of his works in translation. An excellent introduction to Jünger’s life and ideas is the film 102 Years in the Heart of Europe [13], which consists of an interview with him that was shot by a Swedish crew only a year before his death interspersed with narration.

(Review Source)