Wednesday, August 29, 2007

from "The Vindication of Nietzsche"

(by Aleister Crowley)

""""Is there any man who still shuts his eyes to the plain fact that homo sapiens is but a primate, cousin of the gorilla, with a brain over-developed to think abominations, and a larynx evolved to aid their execution, a creature whose prime pangs are hunger, lust, and hate, and his fundamental solaces rape, robbery, and murder? I laughed with open throat at the "atrocity" Press Campaigns in the Balkan War. "The half-civilized peoples of the Near East!" Is the present war any less prolific of such stories when the compatriots of Tolstoi, and Gorky, and Goethe, and Anatole France, and Shelley are at war? And are the stories true? True of false in detail, I knew them true in essence, and I knew also that the primmest old maid in Dorchester whose palsied hands dropped her knitting as she read of them was horrified because, although she did not know it, and could never be brought to know it, those atrocities were in her blood from everlasting. "There, but for the Grace of God, goes Charles Baxter" was the wisest remark that ever came from a fool's lips. And it is because we have persuaded ourselves bitterly and obstinately, against the deeper knowledge that is instinct in every organism, that these things cannot happen, that we have lost the manhood that could have prevented them. Some there are so priggishly purblind that fact itself, naked and bleeding at their thresholds, battering on the gates of their ears with the Ram of actuality, fails to force those waxed-up tympana. When the nations were already at each other's throats, when men had seen their brothers blown to atoms before their eyes, drilled through with nickel and lead, slashed and gashed with steel, ridden down beneath the hoofs of the horses1, we heard that President Wilson had offered to arbitrate! To arbitrate, when the diplomatic and economic pressure of a decade, and the consciousness of ineradicable race- hatred since time began, and clan tore clan with flint, had forced the Boar of Germany to turn at last upon the Borzoi and the Bulldog, to lash out with tusk and hoof at the invisible pack of hounds that closed upon him.

And we are still babbling of the Cause of Liberty, and the Banner of the Democracies, and the Truth, and the Righteousness, and the Justice, and the Equity, and the Humanity, and the Progress, when every man that is not stultified beyond the surgery of war by his own hypocracies, knows well that the battle is a battle of over-population, the haemorrage of a plethora, and that its terms are merely "My life or yours!" -- "The hammer or the anvil?"

The Chinese (till Europe infected them) murdered all but a few selected female infants, and consequently lived in peace and prosperity for two thousand years. Civilization and the arts flourished; famine has been rare, and floods and plague welcomed as a purge.2 Our squeamishness has forbidden us to take this elementary precaution, this restraint imposed on prosperity by wisdom; and where are our civilization, our prosperity, our liberty, our Progress? In fifty years will there remain so many monuments of what we were two months ago as Egypt has of its Pharaohs, Greece of its Republics, Rome of its Caesars? We have used bricks and iron for stone and brass, pulp for papyrus and palm-leaf, rhetoric for fact, pharisaism for publicansim, and our era will perish ere our own bones rot!3

We have pretended4 that there was no such thing as sex, no such thing as venereal disease, that our publicists were True Believers in Christianity, that our women were pure and our men brave; we have howled down every man who dared to hint the truth: we have sowed the wind of pious phrases, and we must reap the whirlwind of war.
It has been the same in every drawer of our cupboard -- and now the skeleton is out. Swinburne's prophecy has come true; we must amend him to read:

"They are past, and their places are taken,
The gods and the priests that are pure."

We have had a credit system which when analysed meant that we were all pretending to be rich, a social system in which we all pretended to be esquires at the least. We had Dukes who never led, Marquesses with no marches to ward, Knights who could barely sit on a donkey; we called our slattern slaveys lady helps, our prostitutes soiled doves, our grumbling mumbling fumbling politicians statesmen.
And it is gone like a ghost -- and an unclean spirit sure it was that haunted us.

And if I write for England, who will read?
As if, when moons of Ramazan recede,
Some fatuous angel-porter should deposit
His perfect wine within the privy closet!
"What do they know, who only England know?"
Only what England paints its face to show.
Love mummied and relabelled "chaste affection,"
And lust excused as "natural selection."
. . . . . . . .

........ ............. (CENSORED!)

"""I wish I could quote the whole poem;5 but it may need another six months before prudery has a final "seizure."6

It is this prudery which has fought Nietzsche. In its last ditch it is still pretending that Nietzsche, who hated the Germans, was a German. "The Anglo-Nietzschean War!" True it is, the Germans were the only people who had the common sense, the clear sight, the ability to face, grasp, and use the facts which Nietzsche thundered to the planet. Had England done so, she would have had two million men always under arms, and Germany must have surrendered without a blow, could never have dared even this desperate dash, this madness which comes of pushing sanity to the wall, and bidding it fight for its life. Nor could I write that the British army

has been
is being annihilated.
is about to be

Are we fighting to preserve peace, to hold the balance of power, to save civilization, to relieve the burden of armaments, to smash the tyranny of militarism, to sentinel liberty?
Then we should have had an army equal to Germany's, and our fleet should have destroyed hers while we were three to one. You must fight fire with fire. Shelley's "Laon and Cythna" and his "Masque of Anarchy," Tolstoi and the whole school of non-resistance, where are they now? The "big blonde beast" who visits women with a whip under his arm has not been impressed with the moral superiority of the conquered. He has robbed them and enslaved them and murdered them, he has ravished their women and tossed their children on his bayonets, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen. Thus spake Zarathustra.


Is not Earth purged? Is not the Pillar established in the Void? , ! Thou art arisen! Is there not an end of the anaemia of the Humanitarian, and the hysteria of the Suffragist, and the stark sunning lunacy of the Cubist-Futurist-Vorticist-Parallelipipedist-Feminist, and all the onanism of the Knut and the Flapper?
Will not man arise again, and hunt and fight and master his mate, and will not woman return to her cooking and her housewifery and the breeding of lusty children to her man? And if Nietzsche be the dawn-star, shall there be no son of man to be a Sun of men? Had we no prophet? Had we no poet, O all ye weary criticasters of the prostitute-prude Press? Was there not one to put into the mouth of his king-priest-magus, baffled by fate in the hour of the birth of Christianity, this prophecy of the Antichrist --7




Unlike his many demon-hick acolytes, Crowley (as in Crow-lee) could write a bit (no slouch as linguist, Al translated from French, Latin, some Greek, as far as I know--probably Hebrew and Germanic tongues as well). Crowley also played chess at grandmaster level, climbed in the Himalaya (and Hindu Kush--including a rather unpleasant attempt at K2), and dabbled in the sciences (his occultish shit remains interesting, if redolent with a few hints of charlatanry).

Crowley knew his literary and ideological masters well, and paid them their respects: Shelley, Nietzsche, Sir Richard Burton (not the thezpian), Swinburne, etc. Though Crowley's writing generally tends towards irony he appears rather anti-pacifist in this piece, penned apparently at the conclusion of WWI: a bit more Nietzschean than Shelleyan. Indeed Crowley granted Nietzsche saint status in his gnostic-freemason pantheon (then Crowley granted it to hisself as well).
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