Georges Sorel and the Triumphant Return of the Myth

15.10.2020

The main theme of Sorel’s work, namely, of an intimate connection between myth and history, between myth and human nature, is perhaps a theme of central concern in our current analysis and discussion.

Just like Augustine, and Plato, and many others, there is in Sorel’s work a strict relationship between mass movements, mass consciousness, historical and objective meaning – with the intimate play between myth and symbol. For Sorel, it is not some distant form of abstract reasoning, or naive linear progressivism that is the main catalyst and objective of history. Rather it is the concrete, immediate play of myth, and its impact upon the collective unconscious of different ages, that is the central character of man’s historical course and his fundamental decisions that turn the unfolding of events decisively in all ages.

Just like Evola, we see in Sorel this emphasis as forming the center of man’s cosmology and worldview in all ages. And whereas previously traditional man was moved by his own innate and organic body of myths dictated by religious belief, modern man is moved by a different dimension of political, social, and ideological myths – the characteristic byproduct of the modern ages and the dimension of post-Enlightenment idealism in its manifold forms. Both of them, Evola and Sorel, recognize – in direct contradiction towards Enlightenment and previous Humanistic ideology – the primacy of man as a mythological, not a rational creature. And that man’s fulfillment, including his wish towards transcendence, was primarily dictated by this mythological inner character that forms his own essence as a living being. This is what centrally and fundamentally pits both of them against the modern worldview of man, and the logocentric view that has become dominant of the West after the dominance of Scholasticism, Thomism and Western Christianity.

We should then, after realizing this, argue in favor of Sorel and against the modern West: man is not a rational animal. Man is a mythological animal. Only then can we start to understand in the full scope the character and essence of ideology in modern times, and why distinct ideologies became dominant in our age, and why people tend to gravitate towards certain types of ideologies in the present but followed different ways in the past.

For the modern age, as the Fourth Political Theory has very much described it, the dominant ideologies were Communism, Liberalism and Fascism. This is not something that is completely rational or logically predictable in itself, but rather something that amounts to the necessary result of long historical processes, of certain historical views, of events, and of the conceptions of certain personalities. It is the culmination of 500 years of Western history to have witnessed in the 20th century the emerging, the struggle, and finally the endgame where the three main ideologies have fought out. We have seen that Heidegger, who was a brilliant mind – ahead of his time in many aspects, provided perhaps the best sort of explanation as to why this has happened, and to why the 20th century amounted to such and such – as the long consequence of certain chains of events, and the development of Western ontology, of Western spirit, and Eurocentrism, in the years since 1500 and up to the end of the Cold War.

In our day and age we are witnessing fundamentally different paradigms, events and challenges. The West has ceased to be the center; the Faustian impulse that dominated Western European philosophy and the expansionistic drive emerging from it are actively dwindling into Nothingness. Western European man once dictated values, and was respected and feared throughout the world; it seemed as if progress could only be obtained by the linear mimicking of Western European patterns. But today this dimension has ceased, and Western man can no longer claim to be genuinely universal. What we have instead is a definite transitional period, a certain morass, where the future is still unclear and uncertain, but the patterns that have been until recently true and unquestionable have already been shattered and no longer bear the same authority – if any authority at all. Thus not only has the geopolitical and cultural landscape changed, but also a longstanding Myth of Western superiority has been broken, or is being broken, in our days.

The end of this Eurocentrism perhaps opens us a new path, and this path is already well described in the many theoretical elucidations that have followed the advent of the Fourth Political Theory. There is the opportunity, sensed long ago by Heidegger, Spengler, Trubetzkoy and others, but only now actualized – of a new paradigm of civilization, of new patterns of thought, of the end of Western supremacy actualized by the creation of the multi-polar world – and the flourishing of different paradigms and patterns of civilization not necessarily tied to the linear and decrepit paradigms of Western modernity and naive progressivism, as well as blind mimicking of Western cultural trends, tendencies and fashions. It is here that Sorel’s work acquires a new, vital importance, towards those who seek a new horizon and a genuine liberation within the Fourth Political Theory.

The great challenge of our epoch, still attainable to those who would seek it, and still attainable to those who would strive for it, is to create a new driving force based on myth, as Sorel proposed. One that is capable of becoming the clear rival towards the dominant ideology of liberalism and its own assortment of myths centered upon human rights, individual liberation, sentimentalism, progressivism, feminism, environmentalism, and so on. Perhaps we, who seek the implementation of the Fourth Theory in the periphery, and against the Western Euro center, can shoulder this mighty task of giving an ideological north, and a chief purpose, that can rival, that of Western liberal ideology. Perhaps we could say that the chief task in the creation of this new Myth is the recognition that Myth has never died, despite the best efforts of Modernity to destroy, to hide and bury it. That Myth has only assumed a new dimension, but in a true Sorelian fashion, man is still the same mythological character who has always chosen to believe and to orient himself around certain predetermined totems and taboos that have assumed a fundamentally different shape in post-modernity.

To recover the genuine and honest dimension of Myth, of Myth and Symbol as once taught and elucidated by Plato and Saint Augustine, of Myth as the great cement of history and Being, and as a symbol and metaphor of the deeper, noetic undercurrents of reality. To stop hiding within the limitations of a false and self-contained logocentrism, or a faux facade of sentimentalism, and instead to acknowledge fully the dimension of man as a mythological animal, is objectively the great but still attainable goal, the supreme challenge, of those nationalists who would dare not only to question in theory – but to actively exit Modernity and who are prepared to make great sacrifices and efforts in this sense wherever the scope of their work is.

After these considerations, we move to the final points: it is only through the recovery of Myth, and its application as the center of gravity, the chief theme of the mass revolutionary process, and its fundamental reorientation towards the anti-liberal, anti-modern struggle, as well as the re-enchantment of the world that has become dry and empty with post-modernity, that we will be able to overcome the shallow sterility, the nihilism, the empty sentimentalism, the decrepit and desacralized senility of the postmodern logocentric reality and turn ourselves back towards the youthful, energetic and mythopoetic dimension that was the main essence and trait of every great people in their younger, heroic, ascetic and sacral ages. The turn towards this dimension of mythopoetic reality is the necessary vehicle towards which the attainment of a new youthful golden age is capable of being realized, and through which we will also be capable of restoring the essence, character and inner life of entire societies that have so far been shaken by moral and political erosion, and by the nihilism of a postmodern age that has been submerged into the paradigms of a soulless, empty, Spenglerian Zivilisation of Machines, Money and Matter in opposition to the previous Mythopoetic Traditional Kultur of Spirit, Faith and Heroic Vigor.