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die Lehre von der Regenerierung

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2015
>>die Lehre von der Regenerierung<<
FOREWORD
The concept of regeneration arose initially from some of Richard Wagner's writings on Art, Race, Philosophy and Religion.
 
After the death of the master, many of his followers, especially in Bayreuth, took up  this concept and developed it into a complex, yet coherent philosophy. Foremost  among these followers of the doctrine of Regeneration was Wagner's widow, Cosima Wagner, and her daughter Eva, who was married to Houston Stewart Chamberlain.
Cosima Wagner (von Bülow - born Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt; 24 December 1837 – 1 April 1930) was the daughter of the Hungarian pianist and composer Franz Liszt. She became the second wife of the German composer Richard Wagner, and with him founded the Bayreuth Festival as a showcase for his stage works; after his death she devoted the rest of her life to the promotion of his music and philosophy. Commentators have recognized Cosima as the principal inspiration for Wagner's later works, particularly 'Parsifal'.

Houston Stewart Chamberlain (9 September 1855 – 9 January 1927) was an English-born German author of books on political philosophy, natural science and son-in-law of the German composer Richard Wagner. In December 1908, twenty-five years after Wagner's death, Chamberlain married Wagner's stepdaughter, Eva von Bülow. Chamberlain's two-volume book, 'Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts' (The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century), published in 1899, became one of the many references for the pan-Germanic movement of the early 20th century, and, later, of the völkisch philosophy of the Third Reich.
Parsifal by Fidus
The concept of Regeneration had a considerable impact on the social, cultural and political development of the German speaking world in the 19th and early 20th centuries. While the Wagnerian, Bayreuth form of Regeneration was very much for the elite, a slightly more accessible form of the basic philosophy filtered down through the various social classes. This form of Regeneration theory was generally known as Lebensreform ("life reform"). 
Back-to-Nature
It was a social (although not always an overtly political) movement in late 19th-century and early 20th-century Germany and Austria that propagated a 'back-to-nature' lifestyle, emphasizing among others health food/raw food/organic food, nudism, sexual liberation.
Siegfried Wagner
This included an acceptance of homosexuality - (Siegfried Wagner, Wagner's only son was homosexual) - and lesbianism, alternative medicine, and religious reform, and at the same time often included abstention from drugs, and vaccines. Important Lebensreform proponents were Sebastian Kneipp, Louis Kuhne, Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, Fidus (Hugo Höppener), Gusto Graeser, and Adolf Just. The Lebensreform movement in Germany originally was a diverse movement.
There were hundreds of groups across Germany dedicated to some or all of the concepts associated with Lebensreform: ecology and organic farming, vegetarianism, abstinence from alcohol and tobacco - (all three important parts of the Wagnerian form of Regeneration theory), and naturalism (Nacktkultur). Dozens of magazines, books, and pamphlets were published on these topics. Other Lebensreform groups involved in völkisch Romanticism gradually became part of the ideology of the 1930s, known as 'blut und boden' - (blood and soil). As early as 1907, Richard Ungewitter published a pamphlet called 'Nacktkeit und Kultur' (Nudity and Culture) (which sold 100,000 copies), arguing that the practices he recommended would be "the means by which the German race would regenerate itself and ultimately prevail over its neighbors and the diabolical Jews, who were intent on injecting putrefying agents into the nation's blood and soil".
Artamanen-Gesellschaft
Heinrich Himmler
Those promoting völkisch Lebensreform ideology eventually became popular among Third Reich officials and their supporters, including Heinrich Himmler and Rudolph Höss, who belonged to the farming organization known as the 'Artaman League'.
The Artamanen-Gesellschaft - Artaman League - was a German agrarian and völkisch movement dedicated to a 'Blood and Soil' inspired ruralism. Active during the inter-war period, the League became closely linked to, and eventually absorbed by, the NSDAP (see below). The Artaman League had its roots in the overall Lebensreform movement in late 19th-century and early 20th-century Germany and Austria.


Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler's admiration of Richard Wagner is well known, and although he is not recorded as making any direct references to Wagner's Regeneration writings it is difficult to imagine that he was not aware of them. Hitler, of course, always saw himself a primarily an artist, and considered art and classical culture to be essential elements for the creation of an ideal, regenerated state.
Wandervogel Jungen
Equally his abstaining from alcohol and tobacco, and his vegetarianism are indicative of Wagnarian Regeneration theory, as well as the ideals of the Lebensreform movement. Hitler, of course, like all those who were influential in the
völkisch movement, and the NSDAP, was a 'child of his time', and therefore it would have been surprising if he had escaped the all pervasive influence of Lebensreform, which affected so much of German and Austrian society in his youth. It is undoubtedly this pervasive influence, both of Lebensreform, and also Regeneration Theory proclaimed from the 'grüner Hügel', that now enables us to refer to the 'dritte Reich' as the 'grüne Reich'.
These völkisch Lebensreform groups were espoused by German youth, and associated with such groups was the 'Wandervogel' movement, which was a precursor to the Hitlerjugend.
Hitlerjugend
DIE LEHRE VON DER REGENERIERUNG
INTRODUCTION

The current form of human society (the modern State and its religious organisations) is recognized as fruits of the decline.
And yet the knowledge obtained of the causes of this decadence lead to the notion of a possible regeneration.
It is important to note the following: it is that this denial and negation is not metaphysical but empirical, and this affirmation is not primarily mystical, but positive and refers to a possible becoming.
Our decadence is due to material influences, and what is lacking for them are material remedies, or as well the prompt suppression of these harmful influences will be enough to open for us the paradise now lost and then rediscovered in a conscious way.
In this practical doctrine of regeneration, philosophy and religion are so important that not to take them into consideration would risk a misrepresentation of the doctrine.
If, alongside the practical doctrine of regeneration, we bring other elements into our line of conduct, then we are in the presence of three doctrines, one practical, another philosophical, the third religious.
And each of these doctrines is dependent on the other two, and sometimes in contradiction with them, even it seems in their fundamental premises.
Take for example the philosophical doctrine of regeneration.

Schopenhauer
Alongside the simple practical doctrine of a regeneration of mankind, we must consider the philosophy of Schopenhauer, who, in a sense, should serve as the foundation.
We know in this philosophy the metaphysical 'new birth' is presented as the 'complete knowledge', the penetration, we might say, of individuality, and as the reversion of the will which is the consequence.
Must we devote ourselves to the fulfillment of a regeneration that nowhere, at no time, will ever be known to reach any valid result ?
Can we hope to establish the hope of a history, yet to come on an equally historic past, if any real appearance of the world is just illusion and lies ?
Such indecisions would only have value from the standpoint of a contradiction of pure logic. They have no value for knowledge that nature teaches us.
We have already found this same phenomenon expressly stated concerning politics: the coexistence of apparently contradictory terms that actually complement one another. 
These are necessary constituent elements of an intelligence sincere even against itself, an intelligence formed organically and in which systematic lies would have no place.
Then comes a third element: religion.
If practical regeneration is represented as possible, then it succeeds only if we are 'brave and believing'."
Only on the firm foundation of 'true religion' can the necessary strength develop to reach the aspiration for regeneration.
It is precisely in their relationship that we reconcile these contradictions of the joy of life and relentless painful knowledge, of optimism and pessimism.
But a new difficulty arises; that our religion, as it is now, has also not escaped the universal decadence, so we can not admit its immediate application to regeneration.
At the end of this work we return to this point, intending to clarify the meaning of this apparent contradiction.
The exposition of the doctrine of regeneration falls into two parts: negation or denial and affirmation.
The element of negation is the awareness of decline and this consciousness, once acquired, serves as a basis for faith in a possible regeneration.
Art is, alongside religion, a most potent factor of regeneration, Art cannot reach full bloom in our society, but only in a regenerated society.
On the other hand, what is absolutely essential for this regeneration is the cooperation of the arts.
Those who are nourished by the belief that humanity is on the path of indefinite progress, of which we can discern no end, and it is in this that most do place their faith, will not know how to nor be able to admit the need nor the possibility of a regeneration.
Indeed, this notion of regeneration carries with it the admission of two postulates: the 'original goodness', at least relative, of man in so far as his life and development are in harmony with the laws of both surrounding nature and his own nature, and also the conviction that humanity has historically been wrong and departed ever more from the ways of sound development in accordance with nature.
That which is for some 'progress' is for others nothing more than 'decadence'.
One could represent decadence as the work of a fatal power, against which all resistance would be futile, as an inevitable decline, similar to the effects of age on individuals.
But it can also be seen as the result of a true deviation, and then one must take a first step, and not the least important one, to regeneration.
Undoubtedly if we scrutinize and uncover its causes, then regeneration will not only appear desirable to us, but possible as well.
The admission of a deviation of mankind, as opposed as it appears to the idea of progress, could well be the only basis on which to secure and found our hope.
For if we can verify this affirmation is due to too powerful external influences, against which prehistoric man, devoid of experience, could not defend himself, then the history of humankind, within the limits accessible to us, appears as the sorrowful period of elaborating his full awareness which will show him the way by which he will be able to use the knowledge thus acquired to protect himself from those evil influences.
Wherever we look in the civilized world we always find a deviation in men and the astonishing moral deformation of our actual social condition.
We shall not recapture faith and courage until we listen to murmurings of history, this eternal source of life, hidden in the rubble of historical civilization, that continues flowing in its original freshness.
It is, however, essential to deeply despise this world, where hypocrisy simulates concern for art and culture, while in its veins not a single drop of artistic blood will be found, and it knows not how to produce a single atom of quality, or of truly human beauty.
As it is now, our civilization is wicked and heartless, and not led by anything more than the enhancement of the correct value of calculations of its egotism.
It is a society that is profoundly immoral, a world of organized crime and looting certified by falsehood, lies and hypocrisy, that "transforms men into monsters.
And the modern State lives only on the vices of society.
In addition, ecclesiastical religion has become impotent and is devoid of the true God.
We must, however, look well ahead into the question of knowing where is the true cause of all the misery of our current social condition, and one of the main causes is money.
Money – gold, - the pallid metal to which we are enslaved by a shameful servitude, but behind this product the most rigid and least able to have life in all of nature, there is the very beginning of property.
Property, which has become hereditary, is the principle cause of the decadence of humanity.
In the historical organization of the feudal system, in so far as it remained in its primitive purity, we find this principle, at once human and heroic, expressed: the concession of an enjoyment was only given to those who, for some service, could personally claim it.
From the moment the fief became hereditary, the man, his individual activity, his personal merits, lost their value, which were converted into a possession, and had become hereditary.
It was that, and not personal virtue, that created the social importance of inheritance, and thus the gradual and growing depreciation of men, as the value of possessions climbed steadily, and came to incorporate themselves into the most inhuman institutions. 
This made property legitimize the man rather than, as before then, the man being he who legitimized property.
In addition, it has become the primordial concern of the modern State to forever fix property, which thereby stops the vivifying fertility of the future.
From possession converted into property, on which alone one wants to make all order rest, have come all the crimes of myth and history, and it seems certain that from this notion of ownership, that seemed so simple in itself, and with its political sanction, there has entered into the body of mankind such a cruel spear that it makes mankind suffer a painful agony forever.
However, institutions such as money and the hereditary inheritance of property should, at most, be considered as causes of a secondary order, perhaps as symptoms more than as effective factors of decadence.

RACE

For the primary cause we should consider a physical cause for this decadence and decline, and found it in the corruption of the blood.
He was possible that the peoples of Europe were not only victims of a growing deviation, but that they seemed to move farther and farther from their own image, to the point that the various branches of the Aryan and Germanic races became increasingly foreign with respect to one another.
And the explanation is to be found in the moral influence of Judaism.
Therefore the main causes for our decadence were a corruption of blood, and the demoralizing influence of Judaism.
The influence of Judaism accelerates and favors the progress of degeneration, pushing modern man into a wild storm that does not leave him time to recognize or raise awareness of this unfortunate decline, nor of the loss of his own identity.
The corruption of blood comes above all from abnormal nutrition, but also from the mixture of more noble races (Aryan) with those that are less so.
The issues of nutrition is significant, for on one side there is lack of nutrition, and on the other excess of sensual enjoyments above any limit, and a way of life absolutely contrary to nature.
It is here we have what has led us to a state of degeneration that can be stopped only by a complete renewal of our deformed organism.
Superfluity and deprivation, here are the two mortal enemies of our present humanity. In truth, all our politics, our diplomacy, our thirst for the future, our science and, unfortunately, all our modern art - indeed, all this parasitic vegetation of our present life is undoubtedly greatly influenced by poor nutrition.
The inequality of human races is a second cause of decadence.
If the noble race can quite dominate the inferior race, it can not, by means of mixture, elevate the latter, since all it will achieve is the lowering of its own blood to the level of the inferior.
It is more than obvious we would not have human history without the movements, successes and creations of the white race, and we can find, without a doubt, that universal history is the history of the mixing of this race with the yellow and black, in the sense that these last, less noble, enter into history only to the extent that by mixing they are more or less assimilated to the white race.
The deterioration of these, moreover comes, obviously, from their being infinitely less numerous than the representatives of the inferior races, and seeing themselves obligated to mix with them, by which the white race loses much more in purity than the others could have gained by ennobling their blood to some extent.
Despite its vital importance, however, it has only a secondary importance in the doctrine of regeneration, since it does not clarify the future, but rather the past, and can only be projected into the future in the form of a powerful cataclysm.
With regard to the racial question, however, ther is also the demoralizing influence of one of those white races over the others, - of the Jewish element over the non-Jewish Aryan peoples.

Here one must consider the irremediable disadvantage in which one finds the German race when faced with the Jew, for the principle of the Jewish religion is egotism.
The Jew is indifferent to everything that does not bring him a personal benefit.
Hebraic egotism is a deep and unfathomable violence. One thing was clear, Jewish influence over European intellectual life has made itself felt strongly in the sense it distorts and alters our most sublime art and culture that is proper to us.
In this it is obvious that the Jews live off the exploitation of the universal decay. 
However, knowledge of the true cause of our decline leads, with equal force, to believe in the possibility of a radical regeneration.
For example, if meat-eating if the major cause of human decay, the remedy will be, evidently, a strictly vegetarian diet; if miscegenation tends to corrupt the blood, take steps to prevent it at all costs immediately.
Vegetarianism is important, but we must also maintain a strict solidarity that exists between man and nature and, therefore, recognize the all-powerful force of natural necessity.
But also the emotional life, the best of the soul, should be directed to that Art, which is conceived as absolutely one with true religion, for material or metaphysical remedies were not enough to reach, by themselves, regeneration, which will never arise other than from the deep core of a true religion.
It seems there are therefore three juxtaposed worlds: one material and empirical, another transcendental and metaphysical, and a third mystical and religious; Art is the element that collects and unites them, since its form is material, its content transcendental and its meaning mystical.
From the material, empirical point of view the main consideration is food. We must abstain from eating meat and drinking alcohol.
An exclusively vegetarian diet is the central point of the question of regeneration. In the philosophical field nature, and nature alone, can unravel the tangled skein of human destiny, as the civilization based on Christian faith and on the condemnation of human nature, thus denying mankind, has gained an enemy who must soon destroy it, in the sense that man does not find his place, so that this enemy is precisely eternal living nature.
What is "purely human," what surges from "eternal nature," are not perhaps pure abstractions, but it at least corresponds that these notions are not taken from observation.
Nature, and in particular "the true nature of man" is good, and our world is "the desert of a degenerate paradise."
Equally, there is the importance of "the fatal necessity" - which reminds us of the "Will" as found in the works of Schopenhauer.
Nature engenders and forms by necessity, and in man as well it is the unique pressure of necessity that determines us to create some acts and gestures worthy of being created.
And the logical consequence is clear: life is what is immediate, what determines itself. Regeneration does not find its place in a fatalist conception of nature, however.
This has formed all that it is by necessity, and wisdom consists in wanting the necessary. In Schopenhauer there is no regeneration, since the word "decadence" has no meaning in his system, and he has never pronounced it.
To try to prove progress is, doubtless according to him, to entrust oneself to "an artificial and imaginary construction," but he does not admit the idea of decadence; for him the final residue of history is in the presence of a "being always the same, always equal to itself, immutable, that today does what was done yesterday and forever."
Schopenhauer, indeed, affirms the doctrine of the fall, but specifically by way of myth, as existence is sinful in itself.

Wotan
Richard Wagner
According to his philosophy the sage, like the Wotan of Wagner, can not "want more than one thing".
It is, however, not Schopenhauer's fault if the quite exact representation of the world he found before him occupied him so much that he was forced to leave to us the charge of exploring those roads .
The philosophy of Schopenhauer, though, must be seen as the only that can be recommended to take us to the paths of true hope.
And so the certainty of the victory of the will results from the awareness of decadence.

RELIGION and SPIRITUALITY

The recognition of the moral significance of the world is the coronation of all knowledge. 
This knowledge is also the basis of hope and, thereby, the origin of faith in regeneration. 
The only aspiration and strength that enables the fulfillment of the great regeneration must have its origin in the deep core and basis of a religion, for without religion we can not acquire the force necessary for regeneration, nor even feel ourselves transported to her.
Religion is then, as we see, the condition sine qua non on which rests the entire doctrine of regeneration.
There is a destiny for mankind set beyond space and time in a moral significance of the world – and the whole doctrine of regeneration is rooted in this faith.
It gains nothing from material progress.
To the idea of progress this doctrine opposes harmony with nature.
Neither the development of machines nor the infinite accumulation of scientific knowledge reduce in any way the ocean of human misery.
Also the meaning of these things is only fleeting and relative, not eternal or absolute.
The thought of regeneration has nothing more in mind than man as a moral being.
At bottom it cares little about reaching a temporal goal.
The doctrine of regeneration, starting from three different points of view, one empiric and historic, another abstract and philosophical, and the third religious, is shown to us under three corresponding forms.
It now remains to consider the element in which the three worlds become conscious of their unity and which plays such a preponderant role in this general vision of things: Art. 

REGENERATION and ART

The action of Art in each of these three domains is decisive. It is, to a great extent, by the action of art that we shall develop human society in a beautiful and noble human sense.

The God Apollo
A Temple to the God of Art
The future must raise a temple to Apollo, the God of Art. Art, in the regeneration of human society, will play an indispensable role.
It must reveal to men the significance of this pressing unconscious need, and the right way to those who have gone astray.
Art does not exercise an immediate action, but has the magic power to make man known to himself, and to chart the path that will lead to regeneration.
The relationship between art and metaphysics is clearly defined.
Art can never claim to express a metaphysical abstraction, but there is a superior art that distinguishes itself from ordinary artistic production in that the development of its activity is intrinsic, involuntary, and what it comes to represent are the manifestations of this primary transcendental essence of the world: necessity, will or whatever other names we wish to give it.
Art frees the intangible thought of sensation, and that is why Schopenhauer held it in such high esteem and saw, from his exclusively philosophical point of view, "the true goal of Art which opens a path to cosmic ideas."
Here again, Art plays, a key role as intermediary; it is an intermediary in a way that leads to deeper insight into the essence of the world, the way it is, in itself, an indispensable element of the thought of regeneration.
The work of art is the religion that has come to be sensible in a living form.
So, here again, art is the intermediary, the exponent, we could say, in religious matters.
The main purpose of Art, therefore, is to highlight the most sublime meaning, and show the true direction to follow.
Art will then introduce us to the true ideal and the symbol of everything that endures, while the pseudo-reality of history sleeps, buried beneath the yellowing papers of a corrupt civilization.
It is also the relationship of Art with religion that is by far the most important, because if Art can raise itself from its lesser role of recreation, of innocent distraction, to the height of a sanctifying and purifying deed, then one understands the significance that Art could have, purifying from the immoral demands that today denature her, in the terrain of a new moral order of things.
One could say that where religion becomes artificial, it is reserved for Art to save the substantial nucleus, penetrating the mythic symbols, that religion claims are believed as true in the literal sense of the term, according to their symbolic values, in which are recognized, through their ideal representation, the ideal truth that is hidden therein. 
Thus, one role of Art is to save the substance of religion, as expressing what is inexpressible to religious philosophy, as in the decay of dogma, true idealistic art intervenes as liberator, as she conserves religious thought in her transformative regenerative purity.
The religion which is referred to here is dreamed rather than revealed writings. It can, however, be revealed in artworks.
If the co-operation of Art is indispensable for the restoration of a true religion, then true Art, for her part, must be defined as the emancipation of this religion.
A true art can only grow and prosper on the basis of a true morality.
The highest Art could not find the energy necessary for similar revelations if it lacked the foundation of religious symbols and perfect morality, for only thus can such Art be truly understood.
We see, therefore, in what sense, all truly high Art, can rightly be considered religious. 
The relationship between Art and religion is a relation of reciprocity, which conditions both.
True art can not be born without religion, as this latter can not be revealed without the help of Art.
In this sense Art and religion are not more than a single organism, and it is only in this live form that a profoundly religious Art, revelation of a true religion, can draw out the necessary virtue and force for the fulfillment of regeneration.

adapted from
'The Political Ideology of Richard Wagner'

by
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2015
Houston Stewart Chamberlain