Regarding Ernst Jünger’s “The Worker” – Part 6 of 6

The Figure of the Worker evolves to a totally different level than the proletarian in the proper sense. The spirit of technology has very simply become second nature in it; it masters with a light hand, with an entirely natural assurance, the ensemble of technical tools. The precision of the technician, the realist imagination of the engineer, the audacity of the great builder, such are the virtues that it animates. But its most powerful motor is a will of domination that aims to organize the world in its global reach and give it a new balance. For it, the idea of planning is attached to no nostalgic aspiration for a radiant happiness, but stems from the constructive spirit of technology, thanks to which the universe will be reshaped.

The work of Jünger is a bulletin, a preliminary report on a world that is still in the process of becoming. In the measure where we understand its dialect, we have already shared in this world. Also, it is, without fail, a book where the spirit of great cities breathes. And it is, at the same time, in its most stringent ramifications, a protestant book. The most modern rationality, secularization, and technicality of life are consequences of Protestantism, and no one dreams of contesting its paternity, even if Protestantism would very well like to disavow its offspring by hypocritically turning its back. Rome has always known it and Rome has always said it. Ultimately, Bolshevism, it’s Luther in Russia.

There is no other choice: on the line traced by Jünger, Germany must work against the West, against Versailles. Even if that repulses us, even if that hits our “substance.” Against Versailles all means are good; if one of them proves effective, it must be used, even if it makes us sick. Because there is a “courage before the abyss,” that permits us to know with certainty that we will not fall on the ground and that only the jump into the void permits that attainment of a space in which we could do historic work. If the reign of the Figure of the Worker achieves the German space, then it will open to us a territory that extends “from Vlissingen to Vladivostok”: should that not be for us, the guarantee of the point where the German can open his door to the free air?

There is a German sloth and softness, that always tends to expose itself before the due date of the “decision.” With its metallic precision, its sharp visions, the book by Jünger requires the decision anew. It is necessary not to give the German laxness and torpor the least respite.


Regarding Ernst Jünger’s “The Worker” – Part 5 of 6

The Jüngerian theses present a troubling similarity with the fundamentals of Marxist doctrine. The advent of the Figure of the Worker as the dominant Figure incontestably recalls, deeply, the Proletkult. The planetary pretensions of this Figure constitute a philosophical justification for the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the intransigence with which the bourgeoisie will see itself deprived of its right to existence is reminiscent of the class struggle. Finally, the planetary feeling-of-the-world that characterizes this “type” echoes in a certain fashion the spirit of proletarian internationalism called to lead the entirety of humanity. However, the trench that separates Jünger from the fundamental positions that Marxism holds, is impassable: with Jünger, what appears clearly as courage before reality and as an audacious description of what it will become, is in its Marxist counterpart, a made up, fantastic image of humanitarian sentimentality, imbibed with bitterness. Moreover, this ideological neighborship of which we speak does not come from Jünger having submitted to Marxist postulates; it simply suffices to state that Marxism, as well, constitutes a specific world view bound to an existence that its accompanied with and by the essence of technology. But Marxism still gives a sentimental response to the technologization of existence. The response of Jünger, it is exclusively imprinted with “heroic realism.”

We can trace the parallels of the same type between the view that Jünger holds of his epoch and Russian reality. No part of the Figure of the Worker was imposed in a more definitive fashion than in Bolshevik Russia. Nowhere else does the character of work encompass existence more sensibly, no part of the Figure of the Worker is a more determinant element than total mobilization. The theses of Jünger are sometimes perceived like conceptual abstractions, as philosophical transfigurations of the world and Russian reality. But in fact, they are nothing like that at all. Jünger only maintains a living interior relation with the irresistible tendency of the world towards technology, which has already overthrown the structures of Russia and readies itself to transform other peoples equally. If we try to retrace the routes imprinted by this global tendency and give an exact general description, we are always astonished to state that concrete realizations and specifics of the Bolshevik space prove Jünger right. He is not a Bolshevik, but he testifies despite himself how much Bolshevik Russia is in accord with the dominant tendency of the world.

Regarding Ernst Jünger’s “The Worker” – Part 4 of 6

The “type” embodies itself, Jünger affirms, in the Figure of the Worker. The latter does not correspond” to the “fourth estate”; that is “a bourgeois view that considers the quality of the worker as an ‘estate,’ and moreover this interpretation is unconscionably fallacious because it returns to lock up the new aspirations in an old cadre, thus leading to prolong a state of submission.” The Figure of the Worker is poised to dominate the world; founded on the technicality of the world; it bears in itself the seed of totality. Beside it, all the other human types appear obsolete, retrograde, romantic, and must wither away until they no longer have land or roots, or air to breathe.

Searching in the Figure of the Worker for the meaning of the “type” is an ultimately justified case; this interpretation is neither arbitrary nor forced. It betrays no less, otherwise, a political warrior will, with an anti-bourgeois essence. The bourgeois is simply sidelined as a form of existence. Incapable of resisting the vehemence with which we deny his right to existence, he is finished by declaring himself lost! The advent of the Figure of the Worker in the rank of a planetary type removes the bourgeois from its last recess on earth. Of the rest, even its idea is already somewhat exterminated; of little import, in practice, we starve its body, its lamentable residue, we hang it on the wall, or we exterminate it in some manner or another! Faced with the Figure of the Worker, there is no longer any place for the bourgeois. In the fashion where the “type” discards the bourgeois, there is something implacable. The superiority of the Figure of the Worker results from its relations with technology: “the role that technology plays in these processes is comparable to the advantage that the first Christian missionaries, formed in the schools of the Roman empire, possessed when faced with the ancient German dukes.”

It is this superiority that is the base of the imperial rank of the Figure of the Worker. “Sovereignty, that is to say the overtaking of anarchic spaces by a new order, is only possible today as the representation of the Figure of the Worker, who professes a planetary validity.” The important fact is “that it again becomes possible to lead on earth a grand style life according to elevated standards.” The new feeling-of-the-world (Erdgefühl) that animates the Figure of the World conceives the terrestrial globe as a unity; it is “a feeling of the world sufficiently audacious to undertake great works, and sufficiently deep to understand organic tensions.”

Regarding Ernst Jünger’s “The Worker” – Part 3 of 6

The “type” that acts here is the man of the technological era; his face is already profiled in the hard and simple traits of the soldier in the last years of the war, with the combat of “material” and machines. It was he who left behind what already belongs today to the “romantic countryside”; all the bourgeois attitudes contained in these imaginary expanses. “No, the German is not a good bourgeois, and it is where he is the least bourgeois that he is strongest.” It was necessary that the Germans mistrusted the will to become bourgeois exactly now! The bourgeois costume began “to look ridiculous, like all the exercise of civic rights, notably the right to vote”; the bourgeois costume, mainly, gave to the German a “unfortunate allure.” Have we forgotten the comic side that encompasses a glow so unusual as the very serious advocacy of Hans Grimm in favor of “bourgeois honor?” Although we feel enthusiastic for a cause that, to truly say, doesn’t concern the German man. Jünger is conscious of all the consequences of his position: technology implies an assault against all attachments, including those of “the bourgeois, the christian, the nationalist” considered as the most natural. That is a front of reaction, whose efforts to reestablish itself “are necessarily linked up with all that is the hackneyed and dusty world: romanticism, liberalism, conservatism, the Church, the bourgeoisie.” Also, he adds, with the idea of the “state” (Stand). The advent of the man that corresponds to the “type” is, for him, less and less compatible with the order of the old days. “The nonsense believed on Sundays and old public holidays” seem more and more glaring. To listen to “this onerous mixture of the disgust and the presumptuousness of official discourses made by the government, patently national and Christian, which never lacks an appeal to culture,” we ask how “such a varnish of inconsistent idealism, coated with romanticism, can still be possible.” Faced with the gossip of German atheists, Jünger, who declares himself son, grandson, and great grandson of entire generations of atheists, and in whose eyes doubt itself is suspect, affirms: “The decline of the individual announces at the same time the last spasm of the Christian soul. And as for us, we should understand that between the Figure of the Worker and the Christian soul, he can no longer maintain the relation between this soul and the old images of god.”

Where will we still find the bridge that rejoins Jünger with bourgeois culture, Western civilization, Christian tradition? Until this day, the poor nationalists and bourgeois patriots have yet to understand that they are frightfully ridiculous each time they claim amicable bonds with Jünger!

Regarding Ernst Jünger’s “The Worker” – Part 2 of 6

Ernst Jünger was always interested in technology and the laws that govern it. Technology transforms the world. It gives it entirely new bases. It results in a relation of a new type between man and the nature he submits to his hold. The machine has only ever oriented natural forces; it is the form that permits their use. Man seized the energy of the cosmos and since then, his vital space loses its infinite dimension, it becomes transparent, calculable, limited. Technology is the master of the external world, the more it is dedicated to it, the more attention is accorded to the internal world seems untimely and sterile. Compared to the work of technology, metaphysical speculation becomes an importune distraction. A new type of man appears, for whom the mastery of technical instruments is more important than the “blue flower” of introspection. A new type of man, who calls for new forms of life. But these are themselves marked by the atmosphere of technology which impregnates all things. The new man is not an inexhaustible individual, nor a richly filled personality; he is a type, and, as such, he is bound to his fellows by a similarity, a conformity, that is in substance the expression of a certain fairly flat primitivism. This community of traits and this permanence of the essential creates between all the representatives of the “type” permanent bonds, bonds founded on a “existential belonging.” These bonds show to the exterior world that the type, placed at the center of existence, is in perfect harmony with his fellows. It is not a mechanically founded community, of the exterior, between immeasurable individuals, but a collective that is born from the simple fact that all the representatives of the type are tailored according to a uniform figure.

Regarding Ernst Jünger’s “The Worker” – 1932 – Part 1 of 6

The idea of the state for the worker should spring forth. It does not mean, of course, that everyone should henceforth work in a factory or that only the factory workers should be considered as having value. Its essential characteristic would be this: the fundamental law of this state would decide that work, the accomplishment of a task (Leistung), should be sacred, but sacred only in the measure where it tends to serve the state and where it gives it meaning. Work that, in one fashion or another, would be fundamentally done from the view of the state, it would be the corner stone of society and the worker state” (Ernst Niekisch, Gedanken über deutsche Politik, Widerstand, Dresden 1929)

Since 1918, Germany has been muzzled by the bourgeois and imperialist world: its servitude directly results from the logic of this bourgeois and capitalist world. And yet, Germany feels that it is of this world and intends to continue being a part of it. Better, it appears responsible for the survival of this world, thus limiting the choice of means at its disposal for the liberation struggle. It forbids itself from fighting for an order where the logic of the bourgeois and imperialist world, which forcibly strangles Germany, had no course, because this world would be entirely destroyed. As long as Germany will be in the service of the bourgeois and imperialist world and its maintenance, it will reinforce its condition of slavery. Moreover, its membership in the League of Nations is already a symbol, since in this instance, it shows itself the intangibility of the relations of force created by the Treaty of Versailles.

The combat of Germany for its liberation thus lacks an absolute dimension; it does not possess this depth that would permit it to probe the great depths of human existence. A situation without hope, that butchers Germany on all horizons. Lacking opposition to the bourgeois imperialist world and its logic, Germany give reason to this world and its logic, wrongly giving itself.

In his last book, The Worker (Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt), Ernst Jünger shows in magisterial fashion how, under the fundamental plan, we can eliminate, liquidate the spirit of the bourgeois world. Jünger does not fear to look the things in the face. The does not cede to the temptation to embellish. He says what he sees. He finds the proper implications to the facts that he states. And he remains hard and demanding towards himself: the images that parade before his eyes, he does not try to deform them by allowing himself to speak of the hopes that he could secretly nourish in his heart. He who wants to interpret an epoch must not be a coward who can only put himself where he would like to find himself! He must on the contrary penetrate the secrets of this epoch and describe them with an objectivity at all times, even if what he discovers is abnormal, horrible, and defies all calculations. Numerous are those who descend into the bowels of an epoch and only come up with their phantasms. Very few can extract reality. Jünger is one of those rare few.