Julius Evola on American Civilization

Julius Evola on American Civilization


America has created a ‘civilization’ that
represents an exact contradiction of the ancient European tradition. It has introduced the religion of praxis and
productivity; it has put the quest for profit, great industrial production, and mechanical,
visible, and quantitative achievements over any other interest. It has generated a soulless greatness of a
purely technological and collective nature, lacking any background of transcendence, inner
light, and true spirituality. America has [built a society where] man becomes
a mere instrument of production and material productivity within a conformist social conglomerate. The United States represents the reductio
ad absurdum of the negative and the most senile aspects of Western civilization. What in Europe exist in diluted form are magnified
and concentrated in the United States whereby they are revealed as the symptoms of disintegration
and cultural and human regression. The American mentality can only be interpreted
as an example of regression, which shows itself in the mental atrophy towards all higher interests
and incomprehension of higher sensibility. The American mind has limited horizons, one
conscribed to everything which is immediate and simplistic, with the inevitable consequence
that everything is made banal, basic and leveled down until it is deprived of all spiritual
life. Life itself in American terms is entirely
mechanistic. The sense of I in America belongs entirely
to the physical level of existence. The typical American neither has spiritual
dilemmas nor complications: he is a natural joiner and conformist. In a society which has lost all sense of tradition,
the notion of personal aggrandizement will extend into every aspect of human existence,
reinforcing the egalitarian doctrine of pure democracy. If the basis of such ideas is accepted, then
all natural diversity has to be abandoned. Each person can presume to possess the potential
of everyone else and the terms ‘superior’ and ‘inferior’ lose their meaning; every notion
of distance and respect loses meaning; all life-styles are open to all. To all organic conceptions of life Americans
oppose a mechanistic conception. In a society which has ‘started from scratch’,
everything has the characteristic of being fabricated. In American society appearances are masks
not faces. At the same time, proponents of the American
way of life are hostile to personality. The Americans’ ‘open-mindedness’, which is
sometimes cited in their favor, is the other side of their interior formlessness. The same goes for their ‘individualism’. Individualism and personality are not the
same: the one belongs to the formless world of quantity, the other to the world of quality
and hierarchy. The Americans are the living refutation of
the Cartesian axiom, “I think, therefore I am”: Americans do not think, yet they are. The American ‘mind’, puerile and primitive,
lacks characteristic form and is therefore open to every kind of standardization.

20 thoughts on “Julius Evola on American Civilization

  1. The US (as opposed to the American people themselves) is epitomized by the most senile elements of western civilization.

  2. Hmmm. As an American descended from original English, German, and Scandinavian settlers, I really beg to differ with his thoughts on us. We are a much richer culture than he gives us credit for.

    As for the scourge of shallow materialism, it might have seduced us first, but it has seduced everyone else, too.

  3. I’m American but in my soul I feel European. I identify with Europe, and I have to say I tend to agree with evola on this. I have read some of his work myself while riding to and from work on bustling subway carts. There is a traditional American culture, but it lied largely with the original colonists. We have literary traditions throughout New England Emerson, Thoreau, lovecraft, Poe, etc. we have traditional rural folk traditions surrounding the banjo which itself is an American instrument. Songs about going west, facing Indians, etc. I think there is quite a bit of nuance that is missed here though, because the America of rural Appalachia differs quite a deal from New York, but there is a vacuous materialism which seems to grip the nation as a whole. The pockets of old timey America is rapidly fading, but in some places among some individuals it does persist. It is strange to be an American National, because we sometimes feel that we posses no identity.

  4. Lots of coping Americans in this section, America is too young for a mythos, we almost got it with Johhny Appleseed and Davy Crocket. Only spiritual patricians will transcend and rise again amongst the ruins.

  5. Born in very Christian Science family I disagree… It is not everyone there is another America.

  6. Aristocracy is a degeneracy. a depravity expressing itself within the self as mental and moral putrefaction. like a rotting potency from within a body or other organic matter it lies dormant, ready to spring forth at any moment like an unseen venereal decease. ravaging the bodies of the pure and true spiritual beings.

  7. Australia is generally the same although once the people had a stronger British colonial identity that is now gone.

  8. The conditions Evola speaks of began to accelerate during and after the Second World War. When Germany rose to a world power, the destructive forces that were working against her fled to America and began their "long march through the institutions." They infiltrated the media, education, politics, finance and religion. And here we are.

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