The Faustian Spirit

I. On the Faustian

A universal theme among Fascist parties of the past was the belief in the maturation of a ‘New Man’, to be brought about in a ‘High Culture’ that was always ascending. I believe that this theme could be considered to be the foundation of 3rd Position philosophy. This ethos was not invented by 3rd Positions thinkers, but it was 3rd Positionist thinkers that sought to materialize and actualize this ethos through the State.

Historian/Philosopher Oswald Spengler best articulates this spirit in the term “Faustian”, a reference to Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe’s most seminal work “Faust”. This was a tale about a polymath that is dissatisfied because, despite being highly educated in many different fields, he still feels as if he truly knows nothing. 

As is said at the start of the tragedy:

I’ve studied now, to my regret, Philosophy, Law, Medicine, and what is worse- Theology from end to end with diligence. Yet here I am, a wretched fool and still no wiser than before.

Cut to somewhere in the Ether, God and the Devil are having a debate, and they place a Job-like wager, that the Devil can get Faust to sell his soul.

Back on Earth, Faust, who is so desperate to expand beyond his simple, worldly education, has taken to summoning spirts in desperation to expand his horizons. The devil eventually introduces himself and offers endless experiences & wisdom. Dr. Faust signs the contract, and thus starts the drama.

The desire in Dr. Faust to expand limitlessly is what Spangler defines as the Wellspring of Western Civilization and so terms it “Faustian”.

 In Decline of the West Spengler describes this desire as:

The Faustian soul, whose prime symbol is pure and limitless space, and whose ‘body’ is the Western Culture that blossomed forth with the birth of the Romanesque style in the tenth century on the Northern plain between the Elbe and the Tagus. ‘Space’ speaking now in the Faustian idiom – is a spiritual something, rigidly distinct from the momentary sense-present.

Or as the character Faust describes:

A longing pure and not to be described drove me to wander over the woods and fields, and in a mist of hot abundant tears I felt a world arise and live for me.

II. On the Faustian and the 3rd Position

Of the different and core components that makes 3rd Position philosophy unique to itself and outside the parameters of Liberal & Marxist political alternatives, it is this foundation: modern 3rd Positionist thought will manifest into political action. While the Liberal critiques, the Capitalist exploits, and the Communist stagnates… the Fascist will originate. 

Because we are driven by this Faustian ideal, there is no option but to constantly evolve: from Man to Overman, from Nation to Empire, from Earth to Space, from our Galaxy to our Universe. This is why emphasis is placed on creating the New Man: on taking away the ability to influence from those that would exploit us and giving it to those that would enhance us. 

This concept was not lost on Jose Primo De Rivera, who said the following:

The spiritual positions which captures in heroic struggle against the automatic urge, are those which later on become the deepest foundations of what is genuine in us… Such, amongst others, is the sweet recompense that is won by the effort at improvement: elementary joys may perhaps be lost, yet others are waiting at the end of the road, others so dear and so keen that they even invade the sphere of the old affections, which fade away at the outset of the undertaking that overrides them.

The suppression of the momentary sense-pleasure, the impulse towards self-gratification, put on a leash for a pure, deep, and spiritual reward that comes through the joy of accomplishment––it is as Faust says upon his death:

The traces of my days on earth will survive into eternity! Envisioning those heights of happiness, I now enjoy my highest moment.

Or, as Mario Palmeri highlights  in “The Philosophy of Fascism”:

Man does not live by bread alone but also, and mainly, of beliefs. Given an inspiring set of beliefs man may be able to accomplish great deeds and the world may be vivified by a new age of faith. 

Knowing man needs more then bread and water to satisfy his needs, 3rd Position politics creates the environment where man can be enhanced to his top potential. This knowledge forms the common destiny that is our collective pursuit, our manifestation of our shared destiny, the legacy we leave behind––being the fulfilled investment of our time spent in the struggle overcome, the raising of Nation to new heights only to be lifted higher by the next generation through the process of handing off the everlasting baton of duty to the coming generation. And this must be done in a classically masculine demeanor such as described by Author and Playwright Yukio Mishima, who said the following:

To be thus a man was to give constant proof of one’s manliness–to be more a man today than yesterday, more a man tomorrow than today. To be a man was to forge ever upward toward the peak of manhood, there to die amid the white snows of that peak.

This is what makes 3rd Position thought dynamic: the dare to defy, complicacy, impulse reaction, and material satisfaction all for the pursuit of the magnificent, as German Philosopher Martin Heidegger brilliantly explained in an article he wrote when the National Socialists came to power in his country:

For us, the courage either to grow or to be destroyed in confrontation with Being which is the first form of courage, is the innermost motive for questioning. For courage lures one forward; courage frees itself from what has been up to now; courage risks the unaccustomed and the incalculable. 

For us, questioning is not the unconstrained play of curiosity. Nor is questioning the stubborn insistence on doubt at any price. For us, questioning means: exposing oneself to the sublimity of things and their laws; it means: not closing oneself off to the terror of the untamed and to the confusion of darkness. 

To be sure, it is for the sake of this questioning that we question, and not to serve those who have grown tired and their complacent yearning for comfortable answers. 

We know: the courage to question, to experience the abysses of existence and to endure the abysses of existence, is in itself already a higher answer than any of the all-too-cheap answers afforded by artificial systems of thought.

This was the common spark amongst 3rd Position parties throughout the world, whether they called it the Overman, the New-Man, Top-Man, Spiritual-Man––or whatever else. This ideal was and is to be Man, free from the slavery of corporate parasitical vampires that feed off his vices, and free from being bound by sensual gratifications and impulsive habits; Thus this ideal frees man to to focus on his self-improvement, the improvement of his surroundings, and to be a contributing factor in our common, collective destiny. 

At the climax of  his essay on ‘Prussian Socialism’ Spengler describes what he desires for the coming man:

My fervent hope is that no one will remain hidden who was born with the ability to command, and that no one is given the responsibility for commanding who lacks the inborn talent for doing so. Socialism means ability, not desire. Not the quality of intentions but the quality of accomplishments is decisive. I turn to our youth. I call upon all who have marrow in their bones and blood in their veins. Train yourselves! Become men! We need no more ideologists, no more chatter about Bildung and cosmopolitanism and Germany’s intellectual mission. We need hardness, we need a courageous skepticism, we need a class of socialistic mastertypes. Once again: Socialism means power, power, and more power. Thoughts and schemes are nothing without power. The path to power has already been mapped: the valuable elements of German labor in union with the best representatives of the Old Prussian state idea, both groups determined to build a strictly socialist state to democratize our nation in the Prussian manner; both forged into a unit by the same sense of duty, by the awareness of a great obligation, by the will to obey in order to rule, to die in order to win, by the strength to make immense sacrifices in order to accomplish what we were born for, what we are, what could not be without us.

The Faustian Spirit is the spark that starts the fire in the soul of the 3rd Positionist, as Giovanni Gentile expressed when he said:

We seek to provoke in the Italian soul an inextinguishable thirst for knowledge that is the labor and reform of the interior of humankind and the acquisition of the moral and material means for a life always more elevated, always more productive, for the individual and for the nation—in fact, for humanity and the world. We seek the enhancement of the world. We seek the enhancement of the world because we live in it and with it.

It is much more than mere politics that animates the soul of Fascist: an often ignored truth that will never be addressed by the defenders of Neoliberal Capitalism.  

But our satisfaction has never depended on what those ignorant or hostile to Fascism have thought, but instead, on the righteousness of the pursuit itself.

As Dr. Faust’s life came to an end and the devil came to collect on his soul,  a squadron of Angels descend from heaven to save Faust’s soul. The Devil protests that the soul is rightfully his, to which the Angels reply:

This worthy member of the spirit world is rescued from the devil; for him whose striving never ceases, we can provide redemption.

One thought on “The Faustian Spirit

  • October 16, 2020 at 9:20 am
    Permalink

    “I’ve studied now, to my regret, Philosophy, Law, Medicine, and what is worse- Theology from end to end with diligence. Yet here I am, a wretched fool and still no wiser than before.
    Cut to somewhere in the Ether, God and the Devil are having a debate, and they place a Job-like wager, that the Devil can get Faust to sell his soul.”

    These passages for me clearly articulate the Capitalist/Communist matrix in the loose/loose economic system the world is stuck in (in supernatural terms the natural v the unnatural). On the economic/unnatural side it’s all about recreating what can never be recreated, the natural. You cannot prove or disprove the supernatural, but are observing death, debt, and global destruction from this economic matrix.

Comments are closed.