Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Neo-Barbarian Heresy

In developing the last post on Arianism, the quite different concept of Aryanism spontaneously came to mind—simply by sound associations and, further, that in German “Aryan” is spelled “arish” and the Aryans are “die Arier.”  Both words designate heresies, to be sure, but Aryanism is a pseudo-scientific race-theory whereas Arianism is a Christian heresy. The word with a Y has its roots in linguistics. Aryan was spoken in the very dim past by an Indo-European peoples; their language used that word to designate themselves. The people have left us nothing about their religion and culture. The new use of the word by the Nazis owes something to a secular heresy centered on the superiority of some races over others, first rendered in plain French by Arthur de Gobineau in his Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaines (1852-1854). For Gobineau the purest survival of the Aryan race was the nobility of France. One gets the idea.

Every phase of human culture has its heresies, be its orientation transcendental and therefore vertical or progressivist and therefore horizontally pointing to the future. But it is striking that, once we abandon a transcendental viewpoint, the heresy also becomes rather rude. Master Race, anyone? Better yet, Superman?

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