Modern man has reached the point of totalitarian humanism in which, as Julius Evola described it, ‘the only “self” modern man knows and is willing to acknowledge is the empirical self that begins at birth and is more or less extinguished at death. Everything is reduced by him to the mere human individual since in him all prior recollections have disappeared’.*
The break with tradition began with the emergence of wage labour and the shift from an agrarian to an urban economy. Now governed by the “principles” of the banker in the debt financed economy, familial continuity has been broken by the near total mobilisation of both the male and female labour forces and the nationalisation of parenthood. Children not aborted out of inconvenience are torn from their mothers’ arms and conscripted by law into care from birth. After an extended period of being “educated” into liberal rationality, young adults are released into the workforce to be motivated by, at best, economic survival and, at worse, a nihilistic desire to make money and achieve success.
(Tradition and faith will have to be rediscovered and relearnt - something that will have to happen outside of academia, which is now a functionary of liberalism e.g. business and so-called vocational education supporting the wage economy.)
All contact with previous eras of faith is lost in such conditions; the distance between the traditional and egoistic mind being vast. ‘In this context’, wrote Evola, ‘“culture” is no longer the context in which it is possible to actualise one’s being through serious commitment and faithfulness; it is rather the locus for “self-actualisation”’.*
The demand for equality has arisen in such a manner that ‘no other difference is acknowledged to be more right and truer than that which is “achieved” through one’s efforts and “merit” according to the terms of various vain, intellectual, moral or social beliefs typical of these recent times.’*
From a higher point of view (from a point of view that knows that the progressive decay of the organism will eventually push one into nothingness), meritocracy and the chasing after wealth or self-fulfilment or peer-recognition or celebrity are all chimeras.
The vanity of wealth and honour was recognised in Ecclesiastes 5
10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. 11 When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? 12 Sweet is the sleep of a labourer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.
13 There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, 14 and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. 15 As he came from his mother's womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. 16 This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind? 17 Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger.
Yet in the levelling chaos of modern “freedom”, men and women are cowed into joining the mass ranks of the collective, Das Man, out of economic necessity if not, as is near universally the case, ignorance. The result is the doom of an inauthentic life, the despair Kierkegaard recognised, whether in lives that were failures or successes in worldly terms.
*Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, (Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont, 1995), p93.