Radical Individualism and the Inflated Value of Das Ich

"A Heavy Burden", by Arthur Hacker

“A Heavy Burden”, by Arthur Hacker

We are all familiar with Descartes’s famous phrase, “I think, therefore I am.”  We know that we exist because we think.  Without beginning on an endless diatribe on that phrase alone, we realize that this model only proves that we are to ourselves.  Man, as a social creature, has an innate need to be recognized, accepted, and even loved by his peers.  In a not so distant past, one was recognized by one’s contributions to society.  We strove to be known for our success as professionals, artists, parents, soldiers, or any number of other pursuits.  Professions were often passed down from father to son and eventually surnames, like these professions, were inherited and reflected one’s ancestral trade.  Names like Smith and Tanner are relics of this Tradition.

Today, occupation certainly plays a role in self-definition, but there is an essential element lacking in Modernity which decreases the perceived value of profession.  Ethnic identity and a sense of community are nearly non-existent in this unfortunate age.  In the past, a professional was able to find value in more than his paycheck.  He played a crucial role in the well-being of his community, which he perceived as his extended family.  Community, in a Traditional sense, can be defined as a group of individuals living and working in proximity to one another who share a common or similar ethnicity and religion.  As a direct result of multiculturalism and the ever encroaching technological bubble shrouding the individual from the greater society, this is often no longer enough.  Man finds himself desperate to be recognized and validated by his peers, who he grows more and more estranged to.

As a teenager, I played in a death metal band.  Our music was raw and edgy and our image reflected that.  I wore combat boots, grew a beard and wore a black t-shirt which read “Polizei” in bold white print until it fell apart.  You would have been hard pressed to have mentioned my name to someone in my town without them saying, “Oh yeah, that guy…”  That was exactly what I wanted.  I wanted recognition and attention above all, which is completely normal for people at that age.  As adolescents, we find ourselves between childhood and adulthood, and with a natural urge to be noticed by the opposite sex, often dress and act in some ridiculous ways in an attempt to radically self-define and “stand out from the crowd”.  Now, at age twenty-four, I find myself married, chasing a toddler around and working a hectic schedule, leaving little time for much else.  I have shelved most of the metal music I once defined myself with and have taken a liking to many less bombastic genres.  With a strong Western European ethnic identity, I no longer need my interests to define myself. Raising a Traditional family with a strong Folk identity is, for me, the most positive contribution one can make to one’s community.

In my interaction with others at work and in my day to day life, I see an ever expanding threshold for the acceptable age to continue the adolescent peacock routine previously discussed.  More and more people who appear to be well into adulthood dress ridiculously, wear tattoos that exist only to grab the attention of others, and generally act like the adolescents they physically once were, but mentally and spiritually never progressed beyond.  Their communities, or lack thereof, have given them seemingly no other means to validate themselves other than to scream for attention in every non-verbal way.  This has lead to an exponentially increasing level of materialism, sexual depravity, Godlessness and a generally masturbatory lifestyle.  Rudyard Kipling once said, “The strength of the wolf is in the pack, and the strength of the pack is in the wolf.”  Clearly, most Modern people have never even considered belonging to a “pack”, so to speak, as they have been taught to defend their individuality with the greatest passion.

The Germans call the ego “das Ich”, literally meaning “the I.”  With no greater sense of Folk, Faith or even Family in many cases, das Ich becomes the only thing that many people are truly a part of.  As Traditionalists, it is our duty to bring the lost wolves of our Folk back to the pack.  Strive to reach a place of influence in your community and set an example that others will follow.  If you have a talent, use it to better your community.  Every minority group has “community leaders”.  We need to become community leaders for our Folk, because without strong leadership, there will never be a community.  Even if somehow, overnight, we had our own sovereign ethno-state and were governing ourselves, our social problems would still be immense without ending the imbalance between individual and community.  To quote von Schenkendorf’s Wenn Alle Untreu Werden for the thousandth time:

Soon it shall become bright again, in all our brothers’ minds,

as they return to the wellspring in love and humility!


Orthodox Mike

Excellent article. May I add that one of the first things I was told when I was delving into Orthodoxy was that one needs to smash his ego.

Leslie H. Higgins

Great article, and very personal. It is encouraging to know that some of those street people (in my locale those of your former description squat on Main Street) can get their lives in order and become family men.

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