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Book notes: Ride the Tiger

Not a book everyone would find useful or interesting, but I’m getting something out of it: Ride the Tiger, by Julius Evola.

The author calls the book “a survival manual for the aristocrats of the soul,” although in concrete fact I’m not sure there is such a thing in his sense. Still, it’s hard to think about things without referring to ideal forms, and his qualities as a writer—clear, to the point, unpretentious—may reflect the circumstance that he actually was an aristocrat (as it happened, a Sicilian baron).

It’s his final book, apparently published in 1961 and revised about 1970, so it deals with our own time—post-war, post-Vatican II, post ’60s. Its basic point is that we live in an age of dissolution, in which effective public action is impossible, so the question is how to lead a life of grounded integrity in a social setting based on rejection of Tradition (he uses the capitalized term to mean tradition that refers to the transcendent).

He favors a hierarchical civilization based on severe transcendent absolutes, I suppose one should imagine Shang bronzes or the pyramids. He’s not conservative, because for him there’s nothing worth conserving today. He thinks the collapse of bourgeois civilization, based on individualism, property, contract and sentiment, is the result of its own intrinsic anti-Traditional destructiveness, and he’s not interested in saving it. Throughout the book he tries to find uses for late-modern cultural collapse (it gets rid of superficialities and distractions).

His attempts to see something useful in the collapse of bourgeois civilization are constantly thwarted by recognition that what follows collapse isn’t a neutral field for reconstruction or an automatic turn of the wheel but something worse than what preceded. My own view is that he’s too much of an absolutist and exaggerates the degree of dissolution. A complex system like human life can’t remain at all functional unless it mostly works more or less as it should, which requires the continuing presence however obscured of tradition and an orientation to the transcendent. You can always work with what you have but you can never control things completely. He seems to think that if you don’t will the whole of something yourself in a clear way then it doesn’t count, because (at least under current circumstances) you can’t rely on anything outside yourself. I think that ignores the mixed nature of life.

For him the question of personal integrity comes down to metaphysics: how do you base your life on transcendent Being. His basic answer is that you find it within, thereby achieving calm mastery and independence of surroundings. His sympathies are thus with Eastern religions rather than Christianity. Naturally, I disagree with him:

  • His comments on Christianity mostly relate to a Christianity that’s adopted a modern metaphysics that views the world as something arbitrary that’s just there with man somehow tossed into the middle of it. On such a view God even if he exists becomes a sort of cosmic tyrant who can’t solve any basic questions for us any more than any other tyrant can. Religious devotion and Christian morals become a matter of avoiding dealing with our situation in any serious way by paying attention to something else and insisting on external rules that have no real connection to what at bottom we really are. If you’re stuck in someone else’s watch, one might say, it doesn’t seem to take hold of the deeper problems of your situation to say there’s a divine watchmaker who put you there and has set up promised rewards and threats to make you do this and that.
  • If you assume a more metaphysical Christianity, as has mostly been the norm, then the issue between Eastern religion and Christianity seems to be whether the ultimate principle of things is personal, so Being should be understood as intended, or impersonal, so it should be understood as unintended and the ultimate principle of things in fact viewed as a sort of fate. I don’t see why it’s shallower, less hierarchical, or more at odds with the comprehensive integrity of all existence to add intention to whatever other features the ultimate principle of things is thought to have. In fact, it seems to me the “it’s-all-intentional” theory knits things together much better than the “fate” theory, and makes it easier to understand why the higher is higher, how the lower can have a real relationship to the higher, and how mixed beings (like you, me and everybody else) can participate in the ultimate. A problem with the “fate” theory is that it becomes very hard to understand how something personal (human beings, for example) can participate in the ultimate. It means you have to believe in impassive stoics, perfect spiritual masters, supermen, or esoteric rites of ontological initiation, none of which actually seem to exist anywhere, to explain how life worth bothering with is possible.

Still, the book’s useful in some ways. His emphasis on the importance of metaphysics and the transcendent is salutary if a little one-sided even in the admittedly extreme circumstances of the present day. He discusses a variety of modern philosophical and cultural tendencies and has good things to say about them. I found his comments on Nietzsche—mostly, that if what you want is transcendence you can’t get by without transcendence—very sensible, much more sensible than Nietzsche himself who I find incoherent. Ditto for his comments on various later thinkers. His comments on sex and family life I thought were hurt by his all-or-nothing approach to things. Even though the conception of the family is a mess, it seems to me, some of the reality of the family nonetheless persists simply because the human body and human actions have intrinsic meanings that even a degraded culture can’t altogether eradicate. Besides, people never wholly believe the dominant theory of their time, and in our time that allows more transcendent metaphysics and more possibilities of a tolerable life to survive behind the scenes than one might think possible.



Julius Evola isn’t a very representative figure of the ‘traditionalist’ or ‘perennialist’ movement. Rene Guenon, Frithjof Schuon, Titus Burckhardt, Huston Smith - or for something more politcally focused - Charles Le Gai Eaton have a much firmer grasp of tradition, and display a much more penetrating insight into the dilemmas of the modern era. For a more general overview of traditionalism as a whole, I recommend ‘Traditionalism: Religion in the Light of the Perennial Philosophy’.


Evola corresponded extensively with Rene Guenon, the ‘founder’ of the ‘Traditionalist’ movement, and Guenon never perceived any real problems in Evola’s understanding of essentials, and even considered preparing him as his ‘successor’ for a moment. To assert so flatly that Evola is unrepresentative of Traditionalism is tastelessly polemical. Those with a conscience for true conservatism would be enriched by looking into any of Evola’s works.
Anyhow, Mr. Kalb has done a real service in bringing attention to a broad-minded Defender of the West like Evola (while also justly pointing out his minor mis-steps), whose untimely qualities of honesty, forthrightness, and spiritual superiority are sure to be felt as unbearable by modern pseudo-conservatives who find dignity in mere wealth. Confronting Evola would relieve American pseudo-conservatives of their provincialism and moralistic self-narcosis, prompting the decisive question, “What is worthy to be conserved, after all?” That things like, e.g., 1) a money economy unsupported by any principle beyond mammonistic individualism, 2) industrialist rapacity, 3) belief in the salvific power of high-tech consumerism, 4) plebeian hatred of Culture and Nobility (as seen by America’s unrelenting destruction of superior, virile, reverential, self-respecting civilizations such as found in the Middle East), 5) unconditional faith in parliamentarism, 6) a desire for racial self-immolation, 7) imperialist democratism (Bush and his Neo-Conservative Zionist Network are insidiously trying to carry out the ‘unfinished’ work of the corrosive French Revolution on a global scale), etc.,—that such things are *NOT* legitimate elements of the heritage we ought to uphold, will come as a *real* shock to most self-esteeming ‘conservative’ citizens of the Zionist-American Imperium.

Filmer and De Maistre point towards recovery.

“That kingdom where Sudras (common, low people) are very numerous, which is infested by atheists and destitute of twice-born inhabitants (aristocrats) soon entirely perishes.” — Laws of Manu, VIII, 22.

Hi Mysterious Stranger, your comment was thoughtful and sensible until you lost the plot with
“4) … America’s unrelenting destruction of superior, virile, reverential, self-respecting civilizations such as found in the Middle East”
Perhaps 1000 years ago this was accurate, but the daily horror stories from the Middle East give the lie to such grandiose claims.

“7) imperialist democratism (Bush and his Neo-Conservative Zionist Network are insidiously trying to carry out the ‘unfinished’ work of the corrosive French Revolution on a global scale)”
This is paranoid antisemitic claptrap. I refer you to Milton Rokeach “The Open & Closed Mind”; this may help you identify whether you have a healthy worldview.

Dear Sir,

Please allow me to provide you with an opportunity for self-enlightenment. Paul Wolfowitz is the most visible representative of Zionism in the American government; this man who urged so insolently for the contemporary Middle East disaster is now under investigation by the FBI due to his possible subversive espionage activities in favor of Israel.

FBI Espionage Probe Goes Beyond Israeli Allegations, Sources Say”

Wolfowitz is merely the public symbol of a much larger and deeper phenomenon. You will note, Sir, that Napoleon, the continuator of the FRENCH REVOLUTION, Napoleon’s luciferic brand of revolutionary democratic imperial despotism, is at the heart of the present perfidious attempt to forcibly introduce the idea of the modern state into the manfully resistant Muslim realm.

“Synarchism: The Fascist Roots of the Wolfowitz Cabal”

On Neo-Jacobinism

Reflex accusations of “anti-semitism” are so tedious. The fact that the American government is inordinately influenced by Zionism hardly needs substantiation. The unusual relationship America has with Israel breeds anti-American animosity, not Islamic fundamentalist hatred of our so-called “freedom”. Is Patrick Buchanan a “paranoid, close-minded” oddball because he speaks the truth about Zionist infiltration of American institutions?

Pollardites in the Pentagon?
by Patrick J. Buchanan
“In 1987, Jonathan Pollard, U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, was imprisoned for life for selling a roomful of U.S. secret documents to Israel. Tel Aviv refused to return them. At the Clinton-Netanyahu summit at Wye River, Pollard became a subject of contention….”

Is Charley Reese an unhealthy paranoiac too?

“I have long since given up the hope that Americans would wake up and resent the manipulation of their government by a foreign country. The Israeli lobby has been so successful in labeling any criticism of Israel, no matter how justified, as anti-Semitic that most Americans prefer to stick their heads in the sand. For sure, American politicians and much of the media seem to be terrified by the Israeli lobby, which says more about their cowardice than it does about the power of the lobby itself.”

“Since 9-11, a small group of “neo-conservatives” in the Administration have effectively gutted—they would say reformed—traditional American foreign and security policy. Notable features of the new Bush doctrine include the pre-emptive use of unilateral force, and the undermining of the United Nations and the principle instruments and institutions of international law….all in the cause of fighting terrorism and promoting homeland security.”

Lastly, - Islamic civilization, more than any other, has shown more energy in defending itself against the legion of deicidal, subhuman, DEMONIC ideologies that have eviscerated the West and corrupted the Orient into forsaking its better traditions to confusedly imitate Western-style decadence. With the inevitable Jewish-led pacification and devitalization of Islam, modern humanity’s last uncompromising expression of spiritual orthodoxy, a new dark age will have begun.

…Napoleon’s luciferic brand of revolutionary democratic imperial despotism….

Despotism by its fundamental nature is anti-democratic, so there can be no such thing as democratic despotism. Napoleon was no democrat. His regime was an authoritarian military dictatorship.

Please leave the Jewish people alone. There is no evidence they are controlling the world. Yes, they have uncommon ability that could serve to threaten other religions and ethnic people on a one to one basis. But they cannot get anywhere without the complicity of the vast numbers of non-Jewish people. So the proposition that “the Jews” are the instigators of evil and the Gentiles could be duped into carrying out their “evil plots” is ridiculous. This conclusion assumes the number of Gentiles of uncommon ability are outnumbered by the number of Jewish people when the opposite is the case. Recall Archimedes, Alexander, Caesar, Galileo, Newton, Watson & Crick, Sophicles, Plato, Socrates, da Vinci, Napoleon, Wellington, Washington, Lincoln, Turing, Arthur C. Clarke, Renoir, Euclide, the Wright Bros., Werner vonBraun, vonManstein et al, Wagner, Beethoven, the Beatles, Descartes, Fermat, etc. The brilliant gentiles dwarf the number of brilliant Jewish people. Morevoer, there are many Jewish people who agree with traditionalists. This should indicate that traditionalists should seek out and ally with Jewish people of like mind. Paul Henrí.

“Uncommon abilities” have nothing to do with it; it comes down to a willingness to profit from practices that Christians find loathsome (such as usury, following Talmudic teachings on cheating “Gentiles,” etc.) and a clannishness that benefits the members of the tribe. You’re right about one thing, though: they couldn’t do what they do if “Gentiles” didn’t “comply” by letting them get away with it.

I am unaware that Jewish people promote usury or that the Christian Bible declares that God condones the cheating of Gentiles by Jews. Please provide the citations. Clannishness is not wrong, if you are a traditionalist. Why should Christians or Jews not stick together? If the sticking leads to a lack of mercy or compassion, it is wrong. Otherwise it is natural and delightful.

Because some Jews may believe usury upon Gentiles is acceptable, it does not follow that all Jews are evil. The Old Testament is in no way equivalent to the Koran, which contains horrific descriptions of what Muslims must do to nonMuslims. Our Testaments, Jewish and Christian, contains no such horrific descriptions. So please view Jewish people as fellow human beings absent specific citations. Thanks for your input.

Doggone it. I keep forgetting to sign my name: Paul Henrí f/k/a P. Murgos.

I never said that the Christian Bible “declares that God condones the cheating of Gentiles by Jews”; the Talmud does, and it is through the Talmud that Torah and the rest of the Old Testament is read. As to usury, you can read about the history of Jewish usury here:

I never said there was anything wrong with clannishness, either. But when you have one clan sticking together and opposing your clan, it is good to recognize the opposing clan for what it is instead of seeing it as a group of your best pals.

Nor did I never say that the Old Testament was the equivalent of the Qu’ran. I accept the Old Testament as the divinely inspired word of God; the Qu’ran is inspired by demons. But that doesn’t mean that Jews read the Old Testament the same way Christians do. Given that the Old Testament foreshadows the New, and given that Jews see Jesus as boiling in excrement in Hell right now, it’s obvious that Jews and Christians read the Old Testament in entirely different ways. Jews, as said, read the Old Testament through a Talmudic filter. If you want to know what Judaism is, you have to know what the Talmud teaches, and not confuse the Old Testament religion with the rabbinical Pharisaism that sprang up after A.D. 70.

I view Jews as human beings in spite of knowing what their religion teaches. It is Judaism that teaches that the “goyim” are cattle, an entirely separate species of creature; Christianity teaches that all men are created in the image of God and all men have the opportunity for redemption through the Blood of Christ.

We agree Jews can be redeemed through Christ. This is major agreement considering the Jew haters we all know about. Thanks for your reply. Let’s try to determine where we disagree on facts before we proceed. It is my understanding the Talmud is the first several books of the Christian Bible. Is this true or false or partially true? What are the citations to the Jewish Talmud to support your accusations about usury and goyim cattle? I don’t mean to task you, because I can look it up too, but a cite would be nice. Paul Henrí.

The Talmud isn’t the first five Books of the Bible (they are “Torah”); the Talmud is a collection of rabbinical “wisdom” that instruct on how Judaism is to be practiced. It covers everything from Temple worship to business to farming to hygiene. According to Talmud, the “goyim” (those who aren’t Jewish) are on par with cattle and are not human (Yebamoth 98a, Kerithoth 6b, Yebamoth 61a). They can be cheated (Sanhedrin 57a) and otherwise manipulated and taken advantage of.

Their allowance of usury comes not only from Talmud, but from their interpretation of Torah—in particular Deuteronomy 23:20, which reads (KJV), “Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.” The “goyim” are the “strangers” and not brothers. The Church, however, teaches that all men are potential brothers in Christ by virtue of our being made in the image of God, and that the practice of usury is sinful against anyone.

To read more about Talmud, see

talmud,apocripha,pseudoepigrapha,gnostic, zoroastrian and buddhists books are sources from quran,everything you can say about judaism as a religion you can say about offspring from judaism islam,people discussing evils from talmud must to remember evils from islam visit this site

With all your talk of a Zionist ‘network’ and ‘Imperium’, you have unintentionally brought out one of the key reasons for my claim that Evola is not a fitting representative of the traditionalist movement, namely becuase of his virulent anti-Semitism. Evola’s publication of the ‘Learned Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ is merely one example of his calumny against the Jewish people; something which Guenon seems to have been wholly unaware of, judging from the evidence gathered from the letters they shared.

Ananda Coomaraswamy, a tradtionalist closely associated Guenon, condemned Evola’s work for inverting the traditional hierarchy of the political sphere. Both Coomaraswamy and Guenon reached the conclusion (through written correspondence) that European Fascism was devoid of transcendent/traditional values, and so was merely another strain of the modern pathology. Nor did they accept his anti-Catholicism, or his views on replacing Catholicism with a revival of Roman Imperial Paganism which, having died out centuries beforehand was considered by Guenon and Coomaraswamy to be defunct, in that it was no longer capable of performing a salvific function.

Evola has a very murky history, and I believe the fascist theory which figures so heavily in his writing essentially marks him as a ‘black sheep’ amongst genuine tradtionalists. This is why, for instance, you will not find him included as a notable figure in the work I mentioned in my first post: ‘Traditionalism: Religion in the Light of the Perennial Philosophy’. That Evola did manage to convince many that he was in fact a traditionalist, is extremely lamentable.


Dear Michael,

To counter your oversimplification and ardent mischaracterization of Evola’s attitudes toward fascism, *modern* Catholicism, and Judaism, I present the following abridged expositive essay for those who might be interested in the facts of the case, wherein is analyzed Evola’s highly complex positions:

The famous Jewish philosopher Otto Weininger’s concept of Judaism is not very dissimilar from Evola’s:

“First I want to define exactly what I mean by Jewishness. One is not dealing with a race or a people, and even less with a legally acknowledged profession. One can define it only as a spiritual attitude, a psychic constitution, which offers an OPPORTUNITY for ALL men and which merely found its most grandiose REALIZATION in historical Jewry. Nothing proves the veracity of this statement more than anti-Semitism. The truest, most Aryan of Aryans, certain of their Aryan-ness, are no anti-Semites; they cannot even fathom hostile anti- Semitism; … one the other hand, one can always detect certain Jewish traits in the aggressive anti-Semites …

“It would be impossible for this to be any other way. As one LOVES only those traits in the other which one would wholeheartedly embrace oneself, yet can never fully attain, so one HATES in the other only that which one never wants to be, yet which one partially retains. One does not hate something with which one has nothing in common … And then: Indeed, when I speak of a Jew, I never mean the individual or the whole group, but man in general, as far as he shares the PLATONIC idea of Jewishness. It is my sole intention to define the meaning of this idea. …

“The spirit of the modern age is Jewish wherever it is found. … Our age, which is not only the most Jewish, but also the most effeminate of all ages; the age in which the arts are only a rag for wiping its moods, and which attributes the artistic urge to animal games {{i.e. evolutionist materialism}}; the age of the most gullible anarchism; the age without a sense for the state and justice; the age of sexual ethics; the age of the most shallow of all historical methods (historical materialism); the age of capitalism and Marxism; the age in which history, life and science are reduced to economics and technology.”

Otto Weininger, Sex and Character