“Now let us change perspective and consider time phenomenologically. Husserl proposed to study time through the use of music. The consciousness of hearing music is not based on the strict identification of notes sounding in a concrete, discrete moment. Hearing music is something different than hearing an individual note that sounds now, in the present. The consciousness of music occurs by hearing an individual note that sounds now, in the present, as well as recalling past notes that are dissolving little by little into nothingness. However, their resonance persists in the consciousness and gives music its aesthetic sense. Husserl calls it ‘the continuous instance.’ The past is present in the present. The present thus becomes continuous and includes the past as a vanishing presence.” (157)The past, or rather, traces of it, being present in the present isn’t by itself a radical statement. But the analogy of time as music or a song is interesting precisely because of its implications. If time is like a song, it has an identifiable beginning, middle and end. The end, then, is a forgone conclusion, but it is something that can be anticipated by the listener; there can be found within the song traces of the future just as the present is fading away into the past. We can still recall the notes, lyrics, and instruments as they are disappearing into the background, being replaced by new lyrics and changes in tempo. The present becomes a vanishing point as the future becomes the past, just as it is normally conceived as the point of departure for when the present launches itself into the future. Both views are technically right, but the difference in perspective that our view implies is far more radical. This is because the struggle for the future is the struggle for power and whatever elite, in any time or place, who controls the mechanisms of power, literally and figuratively controls the future as well. As we have said, to be in control of the future means to have control over all possible futures. Continuing to use music as our analogy, any elite that exercises power effectively becomes the grand conductor of the symphony that is Time. Elaborating further on these ideas, Dugin continues. Writing that,
“The future should, therefore, be understood in this context. The future is a continuous present. Not the moment of novum, but the process of the fading away of the present into the past. The future is the tail-end of the present, its resonance. We live the future just now, and already now, when we play the note of the melody of life. The future is the process of the death of the present, attention to the dissolution of the melody into the totality of harmony. The novum appears in the future only when the harmony is lost, when our attention falls asleep, and then suddenly we awaken and cannot identify the sounds we hear. Momentarily, they simply make no sense. That is the novum: spontaneous incomprehension of what is going on in the ecstasy of time. It is the nature of discreet, discontinuous events. It is the suspended moment of being without history, and hence without a sense of awareness and consciousness.” (158)Dugin goes to say that “Time constitutes consciousness running away from the unbearable confrontation with itself.” (159) This is why the illusion of a perpetual present continues to haunt us as a specter, barring our path toward any new accessible futures that open themselves up to us. This continuous haunting of the present is exactly what is called hypermodernity, or the intensification of the Modern condition that neoliberal capitalism has imposed upon us. To reiterate, Dugin has confirmed exactly what I have stressed at the beginning of this work, viz., that those creatures who do not possess within themselves a feeling of Time, a feeling of History, belong to that category which I have designated a mere zoological existence. The human creature too was subject to such a state of timelessness, of a lack of sense of History, far in the primordial reaches of humankind’s early days. That is why we cannot rightly speak of primitive “cultures” only primitive ways of being and different ways of perceiving Time. Culture-life belongs to the realm of that mode of existence that gives meaning to human events, that sees temporality as the cosmic stage in which the mythical and the divine assert and reassert themselves in the liturgical drama of human affairs. Spengler and Yockey designated this stage of historical affairs as “Culture,” which belonged to those nations, peoples, estates, guilds, warrior nobilities and priesthoods that found themselves caught up within the life of a spiritual organism much larger than the sum of their mere parts. Julius Evola described this way of existence as the World of Tradition, which itself belonged to a previous, quasi-mythical time in primeval antiquity. This is contrasted with the view of Eliade, who brilliantly pointed out that among the tribal peoples who continue to eek out a Stone Age way of life on the absolute fringes of the Postmodern world, base their conception of Time on the return to the exact moment of creation, when the gods and culture-heroes first gave the secrets of hunting, fishing, boat building and ritual to the very first ancestors. It should be noted that Time and History are not the same thing. Time naturally precedes History, but a sense of History gives birth to sense of historical time in which the affairs of human beings are given, as it was in the Traditional world, a sacred meaning. Or, in profane logic, this sense of importance is that which constitutes what the Postmodernists and Metamodernists would identify as grand narratives. The very idea of a “the grand narrative,” of the Hegelian struggle of History to complete itself as a metaphysical and ontological project, was the result of the Modern inversion of sacred religious myths into secular political ideologies. This inversion, of the theological into the political, has if nothing else been the sole defining feature of Modernity. But Time, much like History, is a social experience. For the lower forms of life—for bacteria, plants and animals—do not possess a conception of time and therefore, no conception of the future. However, the higher forms of life—Man and High Cultures—do possess within themselves a sense of the future. Again, Dugin writes,
“Moving from man to society, and from anthropology to sociology, we can affirm the future as something absolutely subjective in nature, and so, in this context, it is something social. The future is social because it is a historical feature and not immanent to an object’s nature. The object has no future. The Earth, animals, stones, machines—all have no future. Only that which is included in the human social context can take part in the future, and then only indirectly. Without self-referential consciousness, there can be no time. Time is that which is inside us, and what makes us what who we are. Time is man’s ultimate destiny.”Time is man’s ultimate destiny—if only because control of the future means control of a given superstructure or social order. One cannot escape from the tyranny of Time anymore than they can escape the force of History; one may only feel an absence of its presence. As Dugin writes,
“Time, being historical, is predefined precisely by its historical content. The subject is not free from its structure, and more than this, it is absolutely enslaved by it. Time needs the future as a void for the continuous fading of the present and, partially, of the past. Without the future, the subject will not have the space necessary to evade, running from the impossible encounter with itself, from the short circuit mentioned above. The frozen moment of the present without the future is that of death.” (160)Death. That is, the personal death of the subject. But in a sociological context, the present without a future is exactly what we’re experiencing as hyperreality under the yoke of Postmodernity. A society stuck in a perpetual present means the death of all possible futures. But life is the actualization of the possible, and where there is life, anything is possible. Dugin writes that “History is not only the memory of the past. It is the explication of the present and the experience of the future.” (160) This is because the past, it could be said, possesses a kind of sentience of itself and our projections upon the future, through our power to desire, can be expressed by our pre-consciousness of the past. Our longing to impose our ideals, hopes, and expectations upon the future represent, in some way, the past’s nostalgia for itself. In this sense, Futurekampf is also the struggle of History to convert linguistic sense into aesthetic desire. Such a belief can be considered the basis of what we are attempting to outline for a potential ontology of history. Who then gets to participate in this future? We are not merely talking about the future as an ecstasy of time that will eventually happen once a given number of years or decades pass. What we are talking about is a projection of conscious Will onto a phase of Western history that has not yet happened. And make no mistake, we are speaking solely in terms of a future for our people, viz., for the Western peoples. The peoples of other Cultures and civilizations have futures of their own, but ones that are separate and closed off from us and from our state of experience and Being. While the diaspora populations of Latin America, Africa, the Far East and the Muslim ummah may indeed have a strong presence in certain territorial pockets inside the West, the fact remains they represent their own distinct entities, being the members of different and culturally alien civilizations that have no role to play in the future of the West, save for one of tragedy and antagonism. On this point, we disagree with the orthodox Metamodernists who, much like their socialist and left-libertarian colleagues, insist upon a future for all humanity. The term “humanity” is a sociological construction. It has no basis in lived reality or experience. While they might protest that the borders between nations are mere “lines on a map,” the real fault lines between civilizations are rooted in the separation of languages, religions, biological continuities that go back millennia and, moreover, a shared sense of history and identity. As Dugin notes, “To speak of the future for humanity is quite senseless because it completely lacks semantic value, as well as the sense of these different societal constructions of history and time. Every society is a separate act of consciousness, expanded in the rational and temporal horizons. All are unique and open. But before coming to an understanding of the history of a given society, we should immerse in the depths of its identity. The fact that every people, every culture, every society has its own history, makes time a local phenomenon, grounded in geography. Every society possesses its own temporality. For a given society, all the moments of time are different—past, present, and future. Societies can cross and interact, cross-pollinate and interact. Their sense of history, however, cannot. History is local. A shared sense of history is possible only on the basis of the domination of one society over another, an imposing its own history and, thus, its identity on the enslaved one.” (162) What concerns us living in the tail-end of the Postmodern era is what kind of future the Western peoples, not only in Europe, but in their outposts in North America, Australasia and the Southern Cone want for themselves once the contradictions of neoliberal Postmodernity become unsustainable and collapse on themselves. What kind of future is possible with the prospect of global catastrophe looming overhead? Modern and Postmodern assumptions about our shared cultural values, ethics, views on politics and the role of the State, the experience of Time and History no longer appear to have the same impact or meaning that they did in previous stages of Modernity. Creating a future after Postmodernity is the task that has been left to us, and the stakes could not possibly be higher. With the prospect of becoming a minority in their own homelands, of sudden and drastic shifts in the earth’s climate and the failure of democracy and capitalism to respond adequately to any of these most pressing of issues, the future does indeed look bleak for the peoples of the West. However, all is not yet lost. But this requires us to understand how dire the situation is. A short overview of everything we have laid out thus far will provide the conclusion for this treatise.