Very early in his revolutionary career, Engels wrote about the direction taken by Schelling in his response to to Hegel’s philosophy.
“Here is the first great gulf between Schelling and all other philosophers, here is the first attempt to smuggle belief in dogma [Autoritätsglauben], sentimental mysticism, gnostic fantasy into the free science of thinking. The unity of philosophy, the wholeness of any world outlook, is torn apart into a most unsatisfactory dualism, the contradiction which makes up the world-historic significance of Christianity is raised to the principle of philosophy as well.” (Frederick Engels, Schelling and Revelation, 1842)
What Engels recognised was the ‘sentimental mysticism’ and ‘gnostic fantasy’ into which all world outlooks slide that are founded on the shifting sands of philosophical idealism.
Schelling’s work was the nineteenth century’s own particular germ of mysticism out of which artistic, political and religious movements grew to manifest themselves as romanticism, expressionism, fascism, anarchism, liberalism, existentialism and occultism.
What all these emanations of mysticism share is a position on a scale between the autonomous creative ability of the individual and the divine source of all creativity in an Absolute Being. They all ultimately lead to the swastika.
Ernst Jünger alluded to the imperialist conflicts of the twentieth century as ‘the two great wars between the red flag and the swastika’. (Ernst Jünger, Eumeswil,1977)
By this he meant the dichotomy of world views that persisted into the Cold War and beyond to the present day. This was the dichotomy between science and mysticism, or materialism and idealism. Ever since Marx and Engels made their momentous discoveries, science in the form of dialectical materialism has been counterposed to the illusory views held by mankind for millennia.
These were the illusory views rooted in the perennial human need to explain the self, its origins and purpose and place in eternity. These are illusions or ‘truths’ that have found expression in philosophy, art and religion down the centuries,‘truths’ that lead to the swastika.
© John Dunn.