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Thread: The Myth of the XXth Century [Dr. Alfred Rosenberg]

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    Lightbulb The Myth of the XXth Century [Dr. Alfred Rosenberg]

    The Myth of the XXth Century covers the following topics:

    • Racial history
    • Analysis of the distinctive features of Germanic art and creative achievement
    • Description of the coming Reich
    • Race hygiene
    • Responsibilities of the coming Reich in religion and education
    • International affairs


    Book One: The Conflict of Values
    Chapter I. Race and Race Soul
    Chapter II. Love and Honour
    Chapter III. Mysticism and Action

    Book Two: Nature of Germanic Art
    Chapter I. Racial Aesthetics
    Chapter II. Will And Instinct
    Chapter III. Personality And Style
    Chapter IV. The Aesthetic Will

    Book Three: The Coming Reich
    Chapter I. Myth And Type
    Chapter II. The State And The Sexes
    Chapter III. Folk And State
    Chapter IV. Nordic German Law
    Chapter V. Church And School
    Chapter VI. A New System Of State
    Chapter VII. The Essential Unity

    Download the book here

    QUOTES FROM 'The Myth'of the XXth Century'

    "Today a new faith is awakening — the Myth of the blood; the belief that to defend the blood is also to defend the divine nature of man in general. It is a belief, effulgent with the brightest knowledge, that Nordic blood represents that Mysterium which has overcome and replaced the older sacraments."

    "Alongside the mythos of the eternal free soul stands the Myth, the religion of the blood."

    "Racial history is therefore natural history and the mysticism of the soul at one and the same time; but the history of the religion of the blood, conversely, is the great world story of the rise and downfall of peoples, their heroes and thinkers, their inventors and artists."

    "Heroism is basic to the character of the Nordic peoples. This heroism of the ancient mythic period—and this is what is decisive—has never been lost, despite reverses of fortune, so long as the Nordic blood was still alive. Heroism, in fact, took many forms, from the warrior nobility of Siegfried or Hercules to the intellectual nobility of Copernicus and Leonardo, the religious nobility of Eckehart and Lagarde, or the political nobility of Frederick the Great and Bismarck, and its substance has remained the same."

    "In heroic conduct, whether of warriors, philosophers or scientists, we see what is of essential nature, and we know that all heroism groups itself around a supreme value. This has always been the idea of honour, spiritual and mental. But the idea of honour, like its corporeal representatives, was and is involved in a war of soul and spirit against the values represented by alien races or the miscegenated offspring of racial chaos."

    "However, the values of the racial soul, which stand as driving forces behind this new image of the world, have not yet become a living consciousness. Soul means race seen from within. And, conversely, race is the external side of a soul. To awaken the racial soul to life means to recognise its highest value, and, under its dominance, to allot to other values their organic position in the State, in art, and in religion. That is the task of our century; to create a new human type out of a new view of life. And for this, courage is needed; courage of each single individual, courage of the entire generation growing up, indeed of many following generations. For chaos has never been mastered by those without courage, and a world has never been built by cowards. Whoever wishes to go forward, must therefore also burn bridges behind him. Whoever sets out on a great journey, must leave old household goods behind. Whoever strives for what is highest, must turn his back on what is lesser. And to all doubts and questions the new man of the coming great German Reich knows only one answer: I alone will triumph!"

    "We wish to determine the necessity of our spiritual Being as such, just as Meister Eckehart once strove to do. But Being of this kind has as its essence the racially linked soul with its necessary supreme values of honour and freedom. These supreme values determine the structure of the other, lesser values. This race soul lives and unfolds itself in nature. It awakens certain qualities and suppresses others. These forces of race, soul and nature are the eternal prerequisites of existence and life, from which culture, belief, art, and so on, result as spiritual being. This is the final inward withdrawal, the new awakening Myth of our life."

    "Cultures are not, in fact, things which descend from the empyrean, for no known reason, as formal culture cycles upon one then another region of the earth. They are full blooded creations which are each in their own way (rational and irrational) metaphysically rooted, grouped about an intangible centre, related to a highest value. All possess, even if later distorted, an element of life enhancing truth. Every race has its soul and every soul its race—its own unique internal and external architectonic shape, its characteristic form of appearance and demeanour of lifestyle, and a unique relationship between its forces of will and reason. Every race cultivates its own highest ideal. If, by the massive infiltration of alien blood and alien ideas, this is changed or overthrown, the result of this inner metamorphosis is chaos and, by epochs, catastrophe. For a highest value demands a specific nexus of other precepts of life which are subject to it; that is, it determines the style of existence of a race, a people or a group of peoples within a nation. Its elimination therefore involves the dissolution of the entire inner tension necessary for organic creation."


    Rosenberg’s understanding of the Nazi project is a modern religiosity because it affirms a morality based on the culture of authenticity and an epistemology based on self-conscious narrative epistemology in the context of a naturalistic materialist outlook.

    These elements together lead to a mythological understanding of religion, one which is more properly called a religiosity because it consists not in the affirmation of particular pieces of knowledge, but in the participation in a self-conscious myth.

    Rosenberg directly associates race and soul: “Soul means race when viewed from within. And, vice versa, race is the externalization of soul”

    “The science of racism rejects simple prejudice based in traditional hatreds. It concludes its prejudices for and against according to scientific findings”

    Of particular importance [to Rosenberg] was Chamberlain’s claim that psychic conditions were reflected in the physical form of a given individual. This allowed one to judge a man’s blood and spirit using a given physical criterion” (Pois 1970: 23).

    Thus race could be a criterion of spirit. It has also been noted that Rosenberg bases his notion of racial struggle on a form of social Darwinism derived from Ernst Haeckel and Ludwig Woltmann.

    These men produced theories of biological racism and eugenics by identifying the laws of nature with society; Haeckel advocated a cosmic theory of evolution that operated according to race and Woltmann identified the Nordic race as the source of European culture

    Like the Christian god of Meister Eckhart’s writings, whom Rosenberg admires so much, Odin is only a name given to the source of Being experienced by the Nordic race-soul.

    For Rosenberg, race and soul are the biological and spiritual dimensions of the same entity, one that unfolds and exists only in the natural world. Even though he participates in the spurious conclusions of racial science and bases his own racial history on the worst kind of circular reasoning, attempting to force world history into the shape of an Aryan epic (Cecil 1971: 91), Rosenberg nevertheless appeals to scientific racial theory as an authoritative source and constructs his version of history in terms of struggle between races in the natural world.

    Like many modern movements within world religions, Rosenberg seeks to accommodate a category of ‘the spiritual’ within a scientific and naturalistic world-view.

    The Nordic peoples exercise their natural self-determining freedom by heeding the inner voice of their common racial self, and create civilization by expressing this inner voice in art, religion and culture.

    The Jewish race, he argues, has no inner voice by which to live, and so is slavishly dependent on artificial abstract constructions that amount to a mere methods of life-management rather than an true expression what it means to live as a human being Rosenberg expresses the direct Nordic experience with Being, or Dasein, in various ways, but all identify the Nordic race-soul with the eternal, whether he names it Being, God or Brahman.

    For example, he lists the various spiritual insights of some of the chief Nordic peoples. The ancient Aryans of India were the first to recognize the equality of the Nordic race-soul and Being through the teaching of the identity between Atman (self) and Brahman (ultimate reality, or Being).

    The Nordic-Persians conceived of themselves as partners, not servants, of God in the struggle against evil. Jesus spoke of the kingdom of heaven within us. The identity of the Nordic race-soul with God are polarities on the same spectrum. “The true Nordic soul is always embarked on a soaring flight ‘to’ and ‘from’ God. Its ‘peace in God’ is synonymous with ‘peace in itself’.

    Meister Eckhart (1260-1328) was one of Rosenberg’s most important inspirations and examples of German religion (see Vieler 1999: 50; Whisker 1982: 55-61). Eckhart preached a ‘religion from within’, that ‘the kingdom of God is within you’, an authentic religiosity that he opposed to the institutional religion of the Catholic Church.

    He summarizes Eckhart’s teachings as follows “Each creative being is driven towards a goal which is perhaps unknown even to him. The soul has a goal: to be true to itself and to attain consciousness of God…this ‘inner work’ means to grasp the kingdom of heaven within oneself, as Jesus had attested to” (Trans. Pois 1970: 121).

    Compare this to Taylor’s definition of authenticity: “There is a certain way of being human that is my way…this gives a new importance to being true to myself. If I am not, I miss the point of my life, I miss what being human is for me”.

    He says that, for Jews, law “is no longer the question of expression of moral feeling, but merely of knowledge and mastery of technical rules.

    Rosenberg interprets this Biblical passage in terms of the usual caricature of Jewish obedience to the law as mere legalism, and contrasts it with the authentic, internal morality of the Nordic race.

    Leibnitz, he says, expressed this truth when he said that “the soul does not adhere to abstract rules imposed from the outside; neither does it move towards a goal posited from without; in no case does it go outside itself, but rather, comes to itself” (Trans. Pois 1970: 87).

    The lived expression of Dasein must be completely identical with its inner experience by the Nordic soul. It cannot be mediated by abstract thought, but is at best only expressed in abstract forms as Sosein.

    He quotes the Rig Veda to demonstrate the monistic wisdom of the ancient Indians in realizing that the idea of a separate and distinct creator is nonsense; the denial of this insight constitutes an attack on the truth of the Nordic race-soul’s experience of Dasein

    He challenges the traditional ideas about the construction of identity that begin from a universal human nature, and are followed by culture group, Volk-group, and national identity (Pois 1970: 93).14

    Rosenberg replaces it with his own ‘organic’ circle, a format consistent with Berger’s description of primitive blood religions, in which race-soul is equivalent to the tribal essence and is the same fundamental life that informs all of its members.

    This racial essence determines nationality, which in turn determines personality, which in turn determines culture, which then re-informs race-soul The experience of Being, which must be personal and personality-forming, follows from race-soul.

    This makes culture a product of the experience of Being, and personality a product of both. The race or tribe is made the foundation of identity and its racial essence the source of authentic morality. The individual personality is secondary to race and engaged in a dynamic relationship with culture.

    Only the naturalself-determining freedom of the Nordic race is capable of producing authentic and moral culture and civilization. Individual persons only express the truths of Being that are follow from their race-soul, not their unique individual experiences.

    The culture of authenticity regards the inner depths of the self as the sole source of moral authority. Rosenberg places a racial monopoly on authenticity by grounding the quality of subjective experience on race rather than the individual, making it the exclusive property of the Nordic race.

    The Nordic race becomes the only natural moral source of humanity, and therefore the only race capable of self-determining freedom and the creation of moral culture and civilization.

    Because it is dependent on the blood, through race-soul, Rosenberg sees authentic civilization as a precarious construction.

    Although the moral insights of Nordic civilization are derived from the blood, ideas also flow back to the race-soul, destroying Nordic self-knowledge and leading to racial mixing.

    Cultural expressions flow from the race-soul, and these expressions, in turn, help reinforce and inform the natural racial Dasein. That is why it is so important that the alien, artificial ideas of inauthentic Being or Sosein are almost as dangerous as dilution of the Nordic blood itself.

    The Jewish race is held up as the prime example of producers of inauthentic culture, relying on empty formal and legalistic moral rules that are grounded not in feeling but purely on abstract ideas; from this follows ideologies that deny racial nature, such as individualism or universalism, and deny the Nordic spiritual heritage through doctrines such as original sin and creation ex nihilo.
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  2. #2
    I enjoyed (and still enjoy) reading Rosenberg's magnum opus. I do not necessarily share all of his insights, but his way of thinking surely is interesting and probably has most influenced my understanding of what völkisch thinking means. In many ways he has seemed to have brought the völkisch mindset to its ultimate conclusions even though I personally consider it important to accept a conservative/traditionalist mindset as a corrective counterpart to it (the other way around as well by the way).
    Concerning the title of the thread, I do not recall that Rosenberg earned the title of doctor. Or am I wrong?

    I would like to recommend three more works which are very interesting to read if you are interested in the Myth. Especially with a book that is completely ignored nowadays, it is always refreshing to read other works that put it into context or help to clarify it.

    • The final work is Alfred Rosenberg und der Mythus des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts by Alfred Baeumler. Baeumler was a philosopher of the conservative revolution, classified by Armin Mohler as one of the "Überläufer" to nationalsocialism. He embraced nationalsocialism and became known because of his interpretation of Nietzsche as precursor of nationalsocialism. This work on Rosenberg is very insightful and was originally published as a preface to his collected works (or a collection of texts, I'm not sure) but has also been published as a seperate book (a bit over 100 pages).

    One of the people who still discusses Rosenberg's ideas as an important part of philosophical history is Alexander Jacob in the final chapter of Nobilitas and the appendix to De naturae natura. He has also published translations of shorter texts. Surprisingly an Israeli scholar also wrote an interesting study that represented Rosenberg's ideas quite accurately.

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    The book is one of the most important books ever written, and should be standard lecture for any preservationist, especially someone interested in National Socialism - whether to analyse and critique it, or to embrace it. I'm a strong believer in the idea that both the proponent of and the deterrent from a given work should have at least read it to formulate an opinion. That's basic academic etiquette, IMHO.

    I am thus currently reading its essentially precursor, Grundlagen des XIX. Jahrhunderts by Houston Stewart Chamberlain, after I found a neat copy thereof in a local antiquary store. I am only about forty pages into it though and thus not past the introduction, too early to draw a distinctive conclusion about the influences; but I will, once I'm done.
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

  4. #4
    I noticed a very important, yet implicit, influence of Chamberlain's Goethe on Rosenberg's Myth. By Rosenberg's own admission (and Baeumler's) this seems to have been of greater influence (together with Chamberlain's work on Kant) than Die Grundlagen. But of course the book of Rosenberg is indeed understood as a 'sequel' to it.

    As to Goethe, a couple of things were very important. First of all the idealist nature of Rosenberg's thinking (in the sense of philosophical idealism) appears to derive from Goethe (by way of Chamberlain). Chamberlain's book is essentially a goethean account of Goethe himself, whose thought can be described as the artistic equivalent to Kant's idealist epistemology. In this, Chamberlain also created a foundation of a critique of modern (positivist) science. It's not a surprise that this book has been criticized by literature scholars who represented the positivist school of literary science. For Rosenberg this has determined the centre of his writing: his understanding of 'Persönlichkeit'. As an actor positioned on the crossroads of the Kantian realms of 'nature' and 'freedom', the 'Persönlichkeit' functions as the artist Goethe, constantly observing his surroundings and transforming them into a creative act. But only by his act an individual is truly himself. Rosenberg developed this into his doctrine of 'dasein' and 'sosein'. Connected to this is also Rosenberg's goethean understanding of 'Gestalt' which he expanded from the arts to the political realm.

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