Evola Has No Sense of Humor, and That’s Just Wrong

I regard the lack of fun, delight, and love in Guénon and Evola as a deep mistake by both these writers. The Traditionalists are convinced that as occult warriors they must be opposed on principle to the frivolous entertainments of the masses. Their failure is rather incredible, because fun is an exclusive property of the traditional elements of a society.

This may seem incorrect at first glance, because of an inversion that has occurred. Intellectuals now have a solid body of “serious” literature which mocks real tradition, and a constant stream of humor “with a message” employed by the left to mock the right. This seriousness, and this message, is not an integral part of fun, but is injected into it by modern progressivism. The enjoyment is actually drained out of these works by their poisonous politicization. A truly fulfilling sense of humor and fun requires a human concept to play with, so denouncing this concept renders your art less funny and more harsh, even misanthropic. One must only visit a playground to realize that fun is not a destructive force but actually requires rules and can only be fulfilling when those rules are obeyed. Quoting Huizinga’s Homo Ludens: “Play creates order, is order. Into an imperfect world and into the confusion of life it brings a temporary, a limited perfection.” Violating the rules renders a game meaningless.

Huizinga also has an interesting thing to say about poetry, which Spengler noted withers on the vine with the rise of modernity. Poetry cannot be put to work for progressivism, because

If a serious statement is defined as one that may be made in terms of waking life, poetry will never rise to the level of seriousness. It lies beyond seriousness, on that more primitive and original level where the child, the animal, the savage, and the seer belong, in the region of dream, enchantment, ecstasy, laughter. To understand poetry we must be capable of donning the child’s soul like a magic cloak and of forsaking man’s wisdom for the child’s.

The ancient Hindu epics are an incredible proof of this. They are a kind of play, in regular verse often performed with music or actors, that not only sustains tradition but created the tradition itself. Their primitive dreaminess and perennial magic are inseparable from their fun, the fact that they are a joy to listen to and watch. In short, they are a wonder of the world, an impenetrable mystery in a way that a poem celebrating scientific knowledge could never be.

In Chesterton’s The Napoleon of Notting Hill, a king appears who institutes a host of absurd traditions throughout England, requiring every town to appoint a Provost who will wear ridiculous clothes at all times, carry a coat of arms, and be accompanied everywhere he goes by a team of halberd bearers. Nearly all of England is in revolt over this. They think these invented traditions demean their role as serious, modern, secular leaders. But one man, trying to get the king to protect his beloved neighborhood of Notting Hill, engages himself in the game fully, and presents himself to the king with complete pomp and circumstance. The other provosts grumble, but the delighted king addresses them:

You thought to spoil my joke, and bully me out of it, by becoming more and more modern, more and more practical, more and more bustling and rational. Oh, what a feast it was to answer you by becoming more and more august, more and more gracious, more and more ancient and mellow! But this lad has seen how to bowl me out. He has answered me back, vaunt for vaunt, rhetoric for rhetoric. He has lifted the only shield I cannot break, the shield of an impenetrable pomposity.

Fun in the traditional world is an activity that respects the existence of an institution. When there is a butt of a joke in a traditional society, it is the human being, unable to live up to the metaphysical tasks he is asked to fulfill. Human nature, which in tradition is not appealed to with capitalist treats but kept in check by a rigorous order, is a source of comedy that never stops supplying, and can always be much more subtly and pleasingly humorous than leftist, political humor. The object of the traditional joke is not, generally speaking, the shared standards of living. Cultural institutions can be funny either for the people participating in them or the people who despise them, but the latter group are playing a dangerous game. When ridicule of a standard becomes more prominent in society than the standard itself, soon the standard shall be unable to tolerate mockery. Then the standard will fall, and all the humor it gave the world will obviously cease with it; and the world will therefore lose some of its cheeriness and joy.

Christopher Hitchens at his most intelligent observed that men are inherently much funnier than women. He attempted to supply several answers for this, but I believe I have a very simple one. Recently I tried to teach the card game Doubt, or BS, to a large number of Japanese children. This is a simple game where lying gradually becomes inevitable and players are rewarded for spotting the lies of others. Boys and mixed-sex groups picked up the rules quickly. But one group was consisted entirely of little girls, and none of them were willing to accuse their friends of lying. I understood the sincerity of their sweet intentions immediately, but the game as they played it was no fun.

Posted: June 16th, 2012 | Tradition 6 Comments »

6 Comments on “Evola Has No Sense of Humor, and That’s Just Wrong”

  1. 1 Gabriel Kummant said at 7:41 pm on June 18th, 2012:

    “There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us
    when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was
    His mirth.” – Chesterton, Orthodoxy

    He also has a wonderful little reflection on sport in Tremendous Trifles that is relevant.

  2. 2 Antidoom said at 6:53 am on June 22nd, 2012:

    Evola did have a sense of humor, you are wrong. How’s that for funny.
    Examples are given in messages #198 & 924 of the “Evola as he is” group.

    Aside from this you put forward good points; Homo Ludens, or what the author generally tells us about, is indeed very important.

    The importance of play or games most likely wasn’t lost on Evola either, being a student of Nietzsche and Aryan Traditions.

    {…In religious asceticism mortification, the renunciation of the ‘I’ and the impulse to give oneself up to God, are the preferred means by which one attempts to cause the aforementioned crisis and to overcome it effectively.Expressions like “mystical death” or “dark night of the soul”, etc., which indicate this condition, are well-known. As opposed to this, in the context of a heroic tradition the active impulse, the Dionysian unleashing of the element of action, is the preferred means to the same end. At the lowest degree of the corresponding phenomenology we observe, for example, dance when employed as a sacred technique to evoke and employ, through the ecstasy of the soul, forces which reside in its depths. Another life arises within the life of the individual when freed by the Dionysian rhythm, almost like the emergence of his own abysmal root.

    The Wildes Heer, the Furies, the Erynnyes and other analogous spiritual natures are symbolic representations of this force. They therefore correspond to a manifestation of the demon in its terrifying and active transcendence. Sacred games represent a higher level of this process. A still higher level is that of war. In this way we are led back again to the ancient Aryan conception of combat and warrior asceticism. … The latin word ludere (to play, to fight) already seems to contain the idea of resolving (Bruckmann). This is one of the many references to the property, innate to combat, of freeing from individual limitation and of bringing to emergence free forces which are latent in the depths. The third analogy draws its origin and foundation from this: the demon, the lares, the individuating ‘I’, etc., are identical not only to the Furies, the Erynnyes, and other unleashed Dionysian natures, which themselves have numerous features in common with the goddess of death; they correspond also to the virgins who guide the attacker in battle, the Valkyries and the fravashi. The fravashi, for example, are referred to in the texts as “the terrifying, the omnipotent”, “those who storm and grant victory to the one who invokes them” – or, to say it better, to the one who evokes them within himself.}

  3. 3 Antidoom said at 7:04 am on June 22nd, 2012:

    The quote in the first comment is from Evola’s “Metaphysics of War”, the following quote however is not from Evola.

    {“[Play: OE plegan – play, exercise, fight].”
    I can’t find the latter meaning of *plegan* anywhere. In the OnlineEtymology Dictionary, it does mention *swordplay*, but only in the following context:”O.E. *plega* (W.Saxon), *plæga* (Anglian) “recreation, exercise, any brisk activity” (the latter sense preserved in *swordplay*, etc.)” http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=play

    I then looked in the Dictionary of the Dutch Language, where I found apossible connection between *plegan*, *plegian*, and *play* on the one hand and the Dutch *plegen* on the other. The latter is certainly related to *pledge*, however – and the OED mentions under *pledge*;”O.E. *pleon* “to risk, expose to danger” http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=pledge – which was also the original meaning of the Dutch *plegen*.
    This meaning in turn reminded me of Jim Morrison’s assertion that “All games contain the idea of death” [J.D. Morrison, The Lords]. And the German *Spiel*, which I translated as “play”, can also mean “game”.Now to this word, “game”, is related the word “gamble”. This I wish to invoke only in order to reply to your thoughts about chance.
    Albert Einstein – a Jew, of course – said that “God does not play dice”. I would retort that God *does* play dice, but that the throw of a die is as deterministic an event as they come. We should note, however, that mechanistic theory, even as found in quantum mechanics, is based on the soul superstition: on the existence of “unities” (classical mechanics) or “units” (quantum mechanics). We can philosophically rule out the existence of two equal units and even of one self same unit, as there is no way of pre-cisely measuring a unit: for the quanta of quantum mechanics are subatomic, id est, beneath the level of that which can be “cised” (cut).}

  4. 4 Avery said at 1:38 am on June 26th, 2012:

    Thank you for your comment. I have surveyed the group posts you have referenced here but I find these examples of “humor” to fall short of actual jokes. Rather, they are both darkly sardonic commentaries on the short-sightedness of those around him, which is not exactly what I’m looking for.

    The subject I’m trying to address, of the morbidly serious tone of Traditionalism and its engagement in occult war, is also touched on by Charles Upton, “Were René Guénon and Frithjof Schuon Biased against Love?” in Sacred Web 27 (summer 2011). Upton concludes that “in a time when sentimentalities and false enthusiasms threatened his enterprise from all sides, we can hardly blame [Guénon] for failing to elaborate a complete doctrine of the affections. His pressing duty lay elsewhere.”


  5. 5 BloodPaladin said at 7:42 am on December 12th, 2012:

    Well, when all is pandemonium of hell, the Round-Table dead, and Satan-Voldemort has you within his scope, “fun” isn’t the befitting attitude. Simple.

    If we lived in normalcy of Dhamma, maybe fun would be more exuberantly present in the Traditionalist pessimism.

  6. 6 Jim Buck said at 7:38 pm on January 5th, 2013:

    Two can play and make the rules up as we go along— change the rules, any number of times, to please ourselves; this might be sinful, but it also can be creative.