Ernst Jünger: Eumeswil…! (Photo)


By Ernst Jünger, “Eumeswil” (1977)

The original and semi-mythical Brutus killed the last Roman king, his historical descendant killed the first caesar-both with their own hands. One commenced and one conduded the five­hundred-year history of the republic. Solid distinctions can therefore be linked to both men-say, distinctions between the will of the collective and the will of the masses or between justified assent and vote on the one hand and acclamation on the other. The transitions were captured by literature in Mark Antony’s renowned funeral oration.


I do not wish to go into details. The sympathy of the students with both tyrannicides was instructive. (Brutus is also one of my dear old dad’s heroes.)… On the other hand, I had two or three students who did not succumb entirely to being up-to-date, and who touched not only the nomos but also the ethos of history. I took them to Vigo’s garden, and their active interest made up for everything. We also had that silent rapport when the moon hung over the Casbah. Every teacher knows that select few. […]

I have noted that when they gather in my dear father’s home in order to improve the world, the air soon turns bad. No incense helps, no air freshener-you have to go outdoors. Once again, as a historian I am obliged to be there occasionally; this is as indispensable for everyday life as for scholarship. The air smells worst among the anarchists-and they can be found in Eumeswil, too, as they are everywhere and always. I gain access to them through my students, although they regard me as suspect.

The bad odor is related to their intrinsically correct maxim that everyone should live according to his taste-but their taste stinks. One finds types among them who deliberately step on turds and flaunt it as an intellectual achievement. Vigo, although affected by their machinations, is not unbenevolent toward them. ‘In ten years, they will all be lawyers with stylish haircuts.’ […]

If the Condor is overthrown by the tribunes, little will change, for they, too, would need to practice violence. Only the style will differ. The tyrant is replaced by demagogues. The demagogue remains at the helm by orienting the plebiscite according to his wishes. The art lies in the posing of questions; if they are put successfully, then the response is overwhelming, not only in its massiveness, but also in its intellectual uniformity, which goes all the way to the top.

The Condor tries to avoid plebiscites; they would be a foreign language to him. On the other hand, he makes use of popular demonstrations. If an opposition becomes too blatant, then the Domo is always capable of raising and subduing violent storms along the waterfront or in the marketplaces.

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