“Here in Eumeswil, it seems as if the system occasionally falls asleep and the city begins to dream. The ship founders on a sandbank and then gets back afloat. Electric power stops; after a while, the machines start up again. During such recessions, the anarch measures his own strength and autonomy.” Eumeswil, Page 195
Noticing that I am finding a peculiarly positive prospect in all the current prognoses of economic catastrophe, I found the above quote from Ernst Jünger’s Eumeswil, which in part explains my attitude. Perhaps others can relate….
Setbacks in society’s structures and supports provide an opportunity for the anarchic individual to test just how independent of the infrastructure he is. Unlike the anarchist, he takes no special pleasure in the demise of society’s structures per se – he does not believe in the possibility of reforming society, therefore a temporary demise would mean as little to him as an equally ephemeral flourishing. Rather he sees in the moment of weakened external authority and support an opportunity to learn about himself, always his primary objective. As Jünger states elsewhere, “Know thyself” is the anarch’s first commandant. His second commandment, “Know the rules” is perhaps temporarily less important in moments when the system itself slids into relative anarchy. The rules apply less strictly, he can afford to concentrate more exclusively on his own ability to self-rule.
As much as I would hope this anarchic attitude to self-knowledge explains my current optimism in the face of economic catastrophe, I have to also admit a certain schadenfreude, which takes a positive delight in these hopeful first signs of the inevitable Fall of the Titans. Manuel was more aloof than I am able to be – he judges what he can learn from the titanically-oriented teacher Bruno as highly as what Vigo, his gods-oriented teacher can offer him. He is able to remain independent of both to an extent I am unable to…. I cannot help cheering for a return of the gods.