Abdalbarr Brown: There are three concepts in Ernst Jünger’s work; Warrior/Krieger, Anark and Waldgänger-II

In the second part of our interview, we talked more about the basic concepts used by Jünger and his life. I think it is an introduction for those who are curious about Jünger.

You mentioned before about Jünger’s search for “freedom”. What was the freedom he sought? He became a Catholic in the last days of his life.

Freedom is the ability to make choices and act without the interference of state, bureaucratic or third party influences. Lets call it the middle man. It is the ability to lead one’s life without being molested by taxation and today especially by usury and the usurers also know as Bankers. It is to be able to simplify life without anyone coming to tell you you can’t. In effect this is what the Messenger of Allah wanted, only the Meccans insisted in eradicating the Muslims and Allah clarifies it in the Quran “He who created death and life to test which of you is best in action. He is the Almighty the Ever-Forgiving.” (Mulk 67:2)The meaning of life is in this test.

What is especially interesting about Jünger is that he is also a soldier. As far as I know, Shaykh Abdalqadir Sufi does not have this experience.

That is a good point, but I would mention that Ernst Jünger said that he was a bad soldier, rather he saw himself as a warrior. Someone who fights for a cause. Shaykh Abdalqadir Sufi fought for the cause to worship of Allah.

I couldn’t read Jünger’s cult works like Waldgang, Der Arbeiter… There is no Turkish translation that’s why I couldn’t penetrate it that deeply. But what I felt while reading Jünger was that he was always looking for the root.

There are perhaps three concepts that need to be defined in Ernst Jüngers work. They are the Warrior/Krieger, the Anarch and the Waldgänger. I leave out the worker because that concept is something that defines the age. The worker is something that forms us here. Ernst Jünger calls it the gestalt of the Age. As for the warrior, this is the opposite of a soldier, a soldier fights because he has to, he has been pressed to do a job, and he is a form of the worker. The warrior on the other hand fights for something because he feels he must. It can be many things but at its root the fight is spiritual and honorable. War crimes are inconceivable for him. He lives and dies by a code of honor.

The Warrior is active in times of war. This then brings us to prewar or postwar figure of the Anarch. Jünger explicates the Anarch in his book, Eumeswil. He writes, “The special trait making me an Anarch is that I live in a world which I “ultimately” do not take seriously.This increases my freedom; I serve as a temporary volunteer.” You would say this is a man who is free at his core. It is a way of being free when the world around you is constricted by tyranny. It is an idea that is very useful today. It is an inner sovereignity that doesn’t need to draw attention to itself. What is there to be gained by attacking the politician, a system? They come and go. All of life is transient therefore to endanger yourself by exposure is not wise. Freedom to move is of higher value than fear of movement. The Anarch can sit in the middle of things and go undetected. He only moves when things become impossible and he has prepared for that. That is called the Waldgäng. Shaykh Abdalqadir Sufi writes about this in “The time of the Bedouin,” “Such a man believes “that every man is immortal and eternal life is his.” according to Jünger. “Such a man is a Sufi and his religion is Islam, according to Ibn Khaldun.”

Waldgänger could be likened to a period of tyranny when people are arrested, tortured and disappeared. “The difference is that the Waldganger has been expelled from society, while the anarch has expelled society from himself.” If you can’t make hijra, then you need to fight. Here we have gone full circle and in a way we are back at the warrior. The danger does not come from the field of battle but rather it is a danger to one’s home and family. It comes from one’s own government. One takes up arms with brothers, sons, uncles and neighbors to preserve freedom. At this point there is nothing to lose.

I was surprised to find that there were more references and allusions to pagan mythology in his books than to explicit references to Christian theology.

This is another wholly fascinating  element of Jünger that contains his main critique of Küfr which he calls Titanism. This is a very deep subject that can only really be viewed from the perspective of tawhid. We are not talking about actual gods with Ernst Jünger. It is energies that are experienced. He has this to say about the gods in his book “Approaches,” “The nameless can have a voice but cannot itself be named. To address these powers with their names would be to mistake a mere repetition for a return, for they are only witnesses—Pillars of Hercules. The nameless, the Unminted, calls us to other journeys. It is not gods that return but the timeless, their Creator. And it needs to be grasped with new names.” Here it is that Ernst Jünger states clearly that the Unnamed is the subject matter not “the gods.” They are names, qualities of energies in creation, not realities in the sense of the Divine. He is not speaking with tongue of shirk, he is speaking using metaphor. Jünger’s central ideas about mythology come from his Brother. Who wrote about Greek mythology. I think it is important to remember that along with Heidegger, Jünger is Post Christian. They are looking for a way to see creation beyond the shirk of Christianity. 

This is the amazing thing about Ernst Jünger and certainly why Shaykh Abdalqadir found him interesting. Ernst Jünger like Goethe had a natural understanding of Tawhid. He saw the inter-relatedness of all things. He understood unity and it shows in his work. But above all he saw that the Divine itself was transcendant. It has a reality that is all its own, you might say singularity, but these are only words and both Goethe and Jünger understood that.

What does the term unnamed mean here?

Just ask yourself what is the Mihrab in a mosque? Certainly it is an indication of the Qibla, but we should also ask is it symbolic of something? The answer is of course, yes. It is what is left of a time before when people worshiped idols. It says on the surface of it—no idols. It used to be a niche for an idol but with the advent of the Messenger of Allah our understanding of the Divine was set right. It is empty and yet a reminder. The Mihrab is there for us to see. The message is emptiness because you as a human being can never truly gain an understanding of what you worship. So you make tanzih, you hold to the transcendent. You make tanzih of Allah. Tanzih is the act of declaring incomparability, “Nothing is like Him.” (Quran, 42:11) But here is the point you do not name Him—In many ways He is nameless for us—we name him with the names He taught us. In the same light, we also don’t know how He is; He tells us how he is. “Glory be to your Lord, The Lord of Might, above all that they describe…” (Quran 37:180). We call on Him the way He showed us through the Messenger and the rightly guided Muslims. “Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us.” (Quran 2:32)

Here is another perspective, this is from Walter Otto, Theophania: “In truth, there is no personification at all, but only a depersonification; just as there is no myth-making, but only a demythification; and just as, according to Schelling’s important words, it is pointless to ask how man can have come to God, while we can only ask how he could have departed from him.”

But to answer your question, I believe that Ernst Jünger used this sort of thinking when it came to understanding the Divine. “It is not gods that return but the timeless, their Creator.” Jünger breaks down what is happening in our age. It is kind of a response to Heidegger’s statement in his final interview with Spiegel Magazine. There he says, only a god can save us now. This is a similar coded language to Juenger’s statement. A god? What god could he mean. There is only one reality and we are waiting for men to open their hearts to the Nameless.This is transcendent language, both are speaking about the Divine without shirk/associating partners with it.

What is the Arbeiter ?

It means worker in German.  For Ernst Jünger it is the Gestalt of our age. Gestalt = form. It is something that as usual can’t be explained in any easy fashion. I think, I explain it pretty well in my article for MFAS. In short it is a form of being that covers everything in our age. If you think of social security numbers as human serial numbers you start to get behind the idea. There is of course the idea of inventory within the state, human individuals, human souls seen as something that the state can access and use according to political will, then you say “human resources.”  Hence the idea of inventory, you need to know what you have in order to use it.

It is in some ways worse than a slave. As the slave would not be responsible for his or her up keeping but in the servile state we are slaves and we are responsible for taking care of ourselves.

Marx tried to counter this with the state itself but this only made it worse. Not only were we numbers but in the end there was nothing to stop the state from liquidating the useless and the enemies of the state.  The prognosis was bad but it turned out worse.

Jünger’s diaries are as important as the works he wrote. Can you also talk about his letters in accordance with the period?

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Agreed, the diaries are very important. He said about them that no one writes diaries not to be read. In other words one writes a diary for posterity. His Parisian Diaries have just been translated to English. These diaries were kept while he was on the Parisian General Staff of the Wehrmacht. Sadly the last part of the diaries hasn’t been translated to English. Those entries are perhaps the most important for his later work. Throughout the diaries he is reflecting on his life, as well as taking stock of the Germans and Europeans themselves. They are really fascinating in as far as you can see a lot of the seeds of his later thought and for their insight into world affairs. 

Also, friendship is an important concept for Jünger. especially frontline friendship.

Yes, and in a way there is a subject that he often talks about the lost outpost that sort of exemplifies this subject. It is a place in no-man’s land that is doomed but one seldom finds oneself there alone. It is there where brotherhood is tested, the lost outpost. What better place than the last stand with one’s companions to find out who your true brothers are? Bonds so meaningful that make escape still a possibility. 

Indeed, there would be no need to fight if it weren’t for the man next to you. You give everything for this brother in arms. Ernst Jünger corresponded with and maintained  friendships with these comrades from the two wars throughout his life. These relationships appear often in the diaries. Posthumously a great deal of his correspondence from them was published as well. 

He started keeping a diary in the trenches and they were the major source of his work “In Stahlgewittern”. From that point on he kept a diary on and off for the rest of his life. I believe the diaries along with his correspondence with his brother Friedrich Georg are the foundation on which he builds the work of the fifties. 

Particularly “the Waldgang”, ‘the Gordian knot”, and “At the Wall of time.” He is thinking about future subjects in the Paris diaries and the events therein shape the later works. After this he takes a hiatus from the diaries until the mid sixties where he starts after his 70th birthday to write “Siebzig Verweht”. He keeps these diaries until the end of his life. They are the details of his travels and thoughts during this period but they are certainly also ad-notes to his literary work as well.

Frontline friendship as it were, is as important for the Waldgaenger, as it is for the Warrior, or even the sovereign individual.

In two novels translated into Turkish , Aladdin’s Problem and The Glass Bees, the main characters are soldiers who have returned from the front and have a nihilistic mood. I thought Ernst Jünger was very nihilistic.

Oh, I find him anything but nihilistic. Certainly the mood is brooding and nihilistic in his novels, but that is the age isn’t it? The European civil war is over and there are winners and losers. Yet there is a very spiritual and positive search going on in those books too. It is looking for something new, something that will guarantee freedom for a new generation. Their subject matter is the Divine and our relationship to it, freedom and what it means and how to keep it and so much more but these two subjects are sufficient to keep visiting his works again and again.

Remember this is Shaykh Abdalqadir Sufi’s goal as well. He wants free young men and women. He knows freedom is bound up in the human relationship to the Divine. He is a step beyond Ernst Jünger because he found the thing that grants you true freedom, the Deen of Islam or we could also say submitting your will to God, as Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, taught us.

Ernst Jünger fills in some blanks, and gives us an idea of what has happened and what is missing. Questions that the Muslims missed are asked and answered by Ernst Jünger and Shaykh Abdalqadir Sufi together.

Is it true that Ernst Jünger assassinated Hitler? Some generals from aristocratic families in the German army of the period did not like Hitler.

He was in the circle that conspired to kill him, but he refused to be directly involved. He was of the view, as a historian, that to assassinate a tyrant only brought about a worse tyrant and a strengthening of the tyranny. It was too late to kill Hitler anyway. He was finished. The Generals should have waited for the end, but their cause was lost from the beginning. The allies had already called for unconditional surrender. The Generals thought that by getting rid of Hitler they could negotiate but it was too late and they gave their lives for nothing.

What happend his family?

Ernst Jüngers family life was quite tragic. He had two sons, Ernstel and Alexander. Ernstel fell near the marble cliffs of Carrera. He was put on front line because of his criticism of the nazis. Alexander became a doctor but committed suicide later in life.

There is a short text Ernst Jünger wrote on Judaism in his youth. Was Ernst Jünger Anti-Semitic?

No, he wasn’t. He may have said a few things in his youth. There is very little if anything to say other than it was not part of his character. In fact I haven’t found any hate in his writings at all. If there is it is reserved for tyranny. I don’t think he ever defined himself against anything. If so he was perhaps against the Weimar Republik in his youth, dialectical thinking was not a part of his mature thinking or writing.

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