Duality of the European Soul
The constant war between the two halves of the European soul can be seen in all aspects of European life.
When looking at European man, we must look at his origins. What makes us Europeans? The past few decades of liberalism, since the May ’68 protests, have greatly distorted what it means to be European and cut many off from the ties that bind us to our people, our culture, and our history.
Great identitarian thinkers like Guillaume Faye would likely identify our liberalism as being the result of influence from American liberalism and capitalism. I would partially agree with this point because I do believe that the dual nature of the European soul explains why liberalism came about, and also explains how we can take this duality and restore harmony to Europe, much as Anakin Skywalker was to restore ‘balance to the force’.
Since the fall of the western Roman Empire (and perhaps before), the European has been one or the other, and often both at the same time. In those days, the European was a Roman or a Barbarian, a Christian or a pagan. This spirit of one in many forms is even expressed in our view of Christianity as one God with many forms. The liveliness of the pagan and the stoic sacredness of the Christian were both present at the birth of the European soul.
This duality manifests itself in everything that is European. The constant war between the two halves of the European soul can be seen in all aspects of European life, and especially in our art and music. Modern music seems a far cry from the music of the Middle Ages, but the genealogy of music can be traced back to the birth of Europe. There are and always will be two forms of European music: high, Christian-inspired, and low, folk-inspired music: the Christian and the pagan souls. The evolution of Christian music through the ages began with chanting, then moved on to Bach, Mozart, and all the great composers until it ended and was perfected by Wagner. Why Wagner? Wagner was the one to merge the soul of the Christian with the soul of the pagan to create sublimely European music. The remnants of this style of music still exist today in film and video game soundtracks. So what of the music of the folk? This music, which has been passed down not through ornate performances for emperors, but rather through songs sung beside campfires and in pubs, manifested as early as the American Civil War in the form of Dixieland music, which went on in America to influence country, rock, blues, heavy metal, and more. Jazz, of course, is a special case, because like Wagner it takes the form of the classical in an attempt to express the soul of the folk, but in a way opposite to Wagner’s.
Another great duality of the European soul is the idea of the explorer on one hand and the great defender on the other. I believe this is the reason why Americans and Europeans sometimes have difficulty finding common ground, because I would say that America was founded on the soul of the explorer, with the warrior who remains in place and defends his land being a rarity, while the European mostly stays in one place (his land or country) while explorers are in the minority. If we look at America, we see a people constantly on the move; a people who began in the Thirteen Colonies, expanded to the Appalachians, the Midwest, California, and, finally, went out into the world by means of its military and culture. The direct influence of American culture has led to more and more younger European people becoming the explorer type, moving to bigger cities or even different countries in their pursuit of a good life. It is therefore interesting that we Europeans can have heroes like Charles Martel, who was the great defender, as well as Sir Francis Drake, the great explorer. This confirms the duality of our soul as a people.
I truly believe we must reconcile the explorer and the defender to become fully European, just as we must reconcile the liberal and the traditionalist, or the Christian and the pagan. European culture is a culture of both dynamism and deep-seated tradition. What has happened in recent decades is the shifting of this balance, which began in 1793. The victory of liberalism, many will say, happened in 1793 with the French Revolution. I do not subscribe to this view. I believe that the French Revolution was the start of the great war for the European soul. These battles have been fought before in religious wars, but these were still within the realm of balance. What has happened since 1793 has been a gradual shift toward liberalism, a building up of water in the dam of tradition until that dam burst in May ’68, and now the water is flooding us at an ever-increasing rate. If we were a man drowning, the water would be up to our mouth, and our nostrils are all that we have left to breathe with.
If we look at the greater struggle of Europe through this dualistic lens, we can make sense of where to take a stand and what ideas we need to look toward. The identitarians chose their symbol well when they chose the lambda, because it is the ultimate expression of the defender in the European soul, and defenders we must all be.