Ride the Tiger: Written for the Man of Tradition Ready to Experience

the Contemporary Decline of the World of the Bourgeoisie

(from "The Path of Cinnabar")





The following book I wrote, Ride the Tiger, partly returns to the issue of the 'worker', which it develops and integrates. This book essentially sprung from the negative conclusions I had reached from my experience and a realistic assessment of the present situation; its roots, that is, lie in my awareness of the fact that nothing can be done either to bring about a significant change at the present, or to halt a series of processes which, following the latest collapses, now have free rein. In particular, the incentive for me to write Ride the Tiger came from various people who had followed the 'traditional' phase of my career. These people had come to acknowledge the superior validity of a model of existence and society based on those traditional ideals I had emphasized in my writing (especially in Revolt Against the Modern World), and had sought to address the question of what might be done in a society and culture such as ours. I thus felt the need to outline a different approach for such people. I argued that any prospect of external reconstruction is to be abandoned, for it is unrealistic in the present age of disintegration: rather, I suggested, what ought to be addressed is the purely individual problem, which is to be solved in such a way that 'what I hold no power over, may hold no power over me.'

Such, then, is the problem I tackled in Ride the Tiger; yet not from Everyman's perspective, but from the perspective of a given human type: the man of Tradition, the man who inwardly does not belong to the modern world, and whose fatherland and spiritual homeland lies in a different civilization; a man, therefore, who possesses a specific interiority. Nor is this the only restriction of Ride the Tiger: in the introduction to the book, I point out that those whom I am addressing are not the individuals willing to wage a lost war, nor those possessing the inclination and material resources to abandon the contemporary world. Nor does the book address the few individuals called forth to act as witnesses by the publication of books or other means in order to ensure that at least the mere memory of different existential horizons and levels of being - as attested in the traditional past - might not be lost forever. Rather, Ride the Tiger is intended for all those people who cannot or do not wish to abandon the contemporary world, but are ready to face it and to experience it even in its most feverish aspects, all the while preserving a differentiated personality and avoiding any capitulation. It is precisely this approach which the expression 'riding the tiger' refers to: for the individuals in question are to take those forces that cannot be directly opposed upon themselves and neutralize them, along with those processes which have become unstoppable and irreversible. The forces and processes, therefore, which, for the overwhelming majority of our contemporaries, represent a cause of destruction, must firmly be allowed to act in such a way as to foster transcendence and liberation. In the book, the formula 'riding the tiger' merely applies to the inner problems of the individual - his behavior, actions and reactions in an age of dissolution - and in no way pertains to either external goals or to the future (i.e., to the prospect of the end of the current cycle and the beginning of the new one). I here pointed out that if the theory of cycles - understood in a different sense from that outlined by either Spengler or Vico - represents an integral component of traditional doctrine, it nevertheless should not be treated as a crutch in the present day: for the prospect that 'those who have kept watch during the long night might greet those who will arrive with the new dawn' remains shrouded in mist.

An important question I felt the need to address was the following: ours is often described as a time of crisis and decline; yet few attempt to define just what it is that is affected by this crisis and decline. Is it the world of Tradition? Certainly not. Rather, it is the world of the bourgeoisie, which represents the antithesis of the world of Tradition. Hence, the contemporary crisis might be described, in Hegelian terms, as a 'negation of negation': as a phenomenon, that is, not of an exclusively negative nature. The prospect we face is that this 'negation of negation' will either lead to nothingness ('either the kind of nothingness from which erupts the multiplicity of chaos, dispersion and revolt which characterizes many trends of the younger generations, or that which is concealed behind the organized system of material civilization’); or that it will lead, in the case of the kind of man I was addressing in Ride the Tiger, to the freeing of new space. In such a way, I both confirmed my opposition to the bourgeois world, and rejected the 'rule of residues': the futile attempt to oppose the various processes of dissolution that are currently underway by means of any surviving form of bourgeois life. I particularly felt the need to emphasize this last point, as certain individuals at the time were suggesting a strengthening of the aforementioned residues (in the form, for instance, of bourgeois Catholicism) with traditionalist ideas, without realizing that any such attempt would merely serve to put traditionalist ideas at risk without accomplishing any concrete goal.




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