maandag 17 juli 2017

About the Urge for Deeds: Ernst Jünger and the Autonomen

"Rather to incinerate on the barricades of the revolution, than rotting away on the dung hill of democracy!"

Ernst Jünger would be very interested in the recent events surrounding the G20 in Hamburg. Brave warriors who fought without fear, against the ruling order in the light of burning barricades. During the first World War the then 27-years old national-revolutionary and Reichswehr officer Ernst Jünger wrote down a text in his diary, which - provided they would keep his name secret - could have counted on much consent among the autonome warriors in the Schanzenviertel.

The pamphlet of this anarch of German literature, who didn't want to call himself an anarchist because the term was hjijacked by the left,  is called "Struggle as an internal and engaging experience." In it Jünger criticizes "the society of the spoiled culture, which is divided in all its activity and lust." Only on the battlefields of the first World War Jünger could find salvation and overcome the compulsiveness of this ruling system. He wrote: "There [on the battlefield] man liberates himself in an orgy of ecstasy, when all around him collapses." 

He strives for the rediscovery of violence, because each attack on the foundations of the bourgeois culture, leads towards a spontaneous outburst of lust. In contradiction to his other works, this ecstasy of violence is not a plea for a new order or for the militarization of all aspects of life. Jünger’s only goal here, is a hedonist strive towards the ultimate fulfillment of the spirit; the struggle itself as the most intensive expression of human existence!

The link between Jünger’s pamphlet and the autonome "politics of the individual" is easily made. Not the people or the worker as social class is the starting point of political action, but an orientation on the self and the interest of direct co-warriors. Also in the glorification of violence and struggle, the autonomen have more in common with Jünger, then they would be willing to admit. The wellknown autonome slogan; "freedom is the short moment between throwing the stone and the stone hitting its goal", is very revealing in this context. Throwing a stone is not a means to overcome the system, but a deed of short-term individual liberation - in the eye of the actual inability to overthrow the ruling order.

Already in the '80's of the last century, the German social-psychologist Klaus Horn pointed out that in highly developed industrial societies public violence can give the illusion that man becomes active in the world again: it makes sure that the individual from the passive object of relations, becomes the active subject of the events. Horn’s dark prognosis is perfectly illustrated by the American movie 'Fight Club'. Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden states: "We are all consumers, waste products of the general lifestyle obsession." He directs these sentences to a nameless protagonist, played by Edward Norton. Durden’s answer to this desolate insight is a secret society of alienated men, who only feel alive when they hurt each other during ruthless fights in the basement of a bar. During the film this Fight Club develops into a disciplined and organized army, that attacks the public order - alienated persons in a state of war, who until the last second of salvation resiliently  fulfill their roles as rebel.

In this current pacifist and conformist society, the hedonist self-fulfillment through violence is once more elevated to the highest ideal. Jünger teaches us that in this sinking ship of globalism, pacifism will disappear. Jünger argues that passion, the irrational and instinctive force, will prove inexhaustible, even if it is occasional. His presentation of the struggle as the most intense and highest form of existence , will set us free from the oppressing chains of the established order!

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