Is There Really a Noomachian Struggle
I wrote this short editorial in May 2022, after listening to an interview of Alexander Dugin by John David Ebert.
As many people will know, Dugin is quite influential in the Russian sphere, his geopolitical books are read by the Russian general staff, and his philosophy books are read by neo-traditionalists in the whole world. He is attempting to craft a ‘fourth political theory’ that would be a new conservative response to both liberalism, and its radical left and right challenges: ‘communism’ and ‘fascism’. For this alone, you should know at least something about his thought, even though his political choices, full support for what he calls ‘the special military operation’, will be ‘sulphuric’ to many in the West. But so was Kissinger in the Vietnam war, and some might add Brzezinski in his role as imperial advisor. Know thy enemy, as it were.
Don’t mistake Dugin for a pure reactionary, he is not, and has absorbed many aspects of postmodern thought and the postmodern moment (just as Jordan Peterson has absorbed civil rights, social democracy, and science as the basis for this thinking). So here are already 2 reasons to be interested: his geopolitical role, and his development of new ‘right wing’ ideas that may be influential in politics. I have, I must add, not read Dugin, at all, but I have listened to several in-depth interviews and to the presentations of Michael Millerman, the latter bringing brilliant intros set in the context of philosophical history. As Brent Cooper says, Dugin is actually ‘hypermodern’. A post-Foucauldian conservative, as it were, the author of a new synthesis, a post-capitalist ‘transcend and include’ theory, designed for those who feel the appeal of a return to ‘tradition’ while being fully aware that a return to the old forms is impossible. Agree or disagree, but he is a serious and deep thinker, very rooted in comparative civilizational history, fully abreast of philosophical schools. This latest interview, by the man who inspired my ‘Civilizational Analysis’ quest, i.e. John David Ebert, brings something new, and I believe is quite extraordinary. At minute 30 of this interview, Dugin starts talking about his multi-volume Noomachia study. It immediately sparked my interest.
The philosophically inclined will be familiar with the Apollonian/Dyonisian principles, introduced by Nietzsche, the tension between ascent and descent, between ordered intellect and joyful ‘animality’, between order and chaos, control and letting go. But Dugin adds a third ‘logoi’ (ordering principle), the feminine/maternal Cybylline principles, occluded by the very same Classical Greeks, but re-introduced in both the Catholic West and Orthodox East, when in medieval times, the worship of Mary far surpassed that of Jesus. (Hence my recent interest in the Sophianic tradition within Western spiritual forms).
It immediately reminds me of the 3 gunas in Vedic/Hindu thought (used in Ayurvedic medicine as well), and the 3 types of homeopathy. But here is the point: every civilizational form is a compromise, a particular mixture of these 3 basic forms, which are always contending for supremacy..
I believe this really illuminates the ‘spiritual warfare’ that has broken out in the West.
Think about it, many of our most important institutions have become matri-dominant, dominated by a authoritarian ‘hyper-empathic’ ideology, that is fully embraced by the ruling neoliberal rentier class; and almost every movie you will see is explicitly dedicated to showing weak, castrated (Terminator 6) and evil males, replaced by females who are actually males in every detail of their behavior, they are mostly ‘men in disguise’. In short, fake men that replace the original model. They do not really represent in any way, any genuine form of female polarity or female values. They kick ass and destroy their enemies just as the previous model did. (see Jonathan Pageau’s Symbolic World channel for these types of myth analysis)
Paradoxically, at the same time!!, female gendered language is systematically expunged from institutional and professional language. At the top of the new proposed ‘inverted’ elite, in terms of comparative value, are actual biological males, presented as the epitome of femaleness (‘men can get pregnant’) , setting the moral rules, again as purported females. (just as once many male gay designers were influential over female fashion trends). Females are NOT setting the tone of the new world; only the ones who behave as males did do, do so, and the ones that once were males, but see themselves as female. The situation in formerly female-only sports, where transwomen are raking in all the prizes, due to clear physiological advantages, is a kind of prefiguration for the kind of society that is in the making.
Although in both cases, it purports to replace the masculine polarity with the feminine, it is also of course very contradictory, since in the cultural expressions of Hollywood, actual female bodies and personalities are glorified, as long as they act ‘male’, while in the second expression, the female itself is obliterated.
This embrace of contradictions in one single ideology doesn’t of course represent high thought, but is in fact new mythology, precisely chosen because it unites these contradictions. Mythologies hide truths as much as they reveal them, and the surface is very rarely what it is truly about. The surface message of 'it's our time now', hides something that in my view, quite more sinister, at least if you are suspicious of any ideology that has so much support from the essentially extractive ruling elites that are promoting it.
But you cannot deny that this is a form of very potent intellectual and spiritual warfare, responsible for the fastest cultural transformation ever, a full inverstion of values in just a few years time, that is now at the heart of Western civilization, and frankly, destroying its very capability of social reproduction. It is hard to imagine any successful society where the very reproductive form, cishet, is considered something radically evil.
So this new mythology is only very superficially ‘cybillian’, I believe it is in fact and in essence, anti-cybillian. Instead of an integration of the male and female polarities, true androgyne, the eternal ideal of true spirituality, we are getting a strange inversion, the upside down world of Stranger Things, a ‘Clown World’.
Therefore, whatever we think of Dugin, I think the concept of a Noomachian struggle, is a crucial part of understanding what is happening in our world today. We don’t have to accept the particular Dugin-ian interpretation of it, of course, which is why I am impatiently waiting for the new book by the Japanese neo-Marxist Karatini, another intellectual hero, who write ‘spirits are what move people to action’. Every societal modality has its spirits, including the fetishistic commodity spirit of capitalism. What will be the ‘spirit’ of the post-capitalist society.
One thing we know for sure, it won’t be, it cannot be, the current inversion of the Successor Ideology, which hides itself behind a overtly cybillian form, only to better fully destroy the female polarity, in our society, and presenting an inverse masculinity as its ideal. I have little real insight into why the ruling elites have chosen this inverted model, but my hunch is that when a hierarchy is endangered, it seeks a new hierarchy, rather than a truly distributed alternative. The scramble is on to be part of the new elite, see how enthusiastically the totality of woke capitalism and the woke state are embracing the new logic and virtue signalling their adherence to it, while dissent is systematically cancelled and made invisible.
The alternative to this inverted model is of course contributory equality, where each unique individual, itself a mix of gendered aspects, commonly constructs generative social projects. A model which also recognizes and honours unique gendered contributions, seeing both polarities, and all their mixtures, as equally capable of bringing vital contributions. A model that has organic hierarchies based on contributions that are mutually recognized. Check out the work of Larry Taub, The Spiritual Imperative, for such a model.
- the Dugin / Ebert dialogue is at