Below are a collection of extracts from Evola’s work “Ride the Tiger” concerning the relations between the genders. Ride the Tiger was written by Evola later in his life, and was intended by the author to serve as a sort of manual or survival guide for ‘traditional’ man in a dissolutive modern society.
We hear of a “sexual revolution” supposed to remove both inner inhibitions and repressive social taboos. In fact, in today’s world “sexual freedom” is being affirmed ever more, as a current practice. But we have to consider this in more detail.
I must emphasise above all that the direction of the processes at work is toward a freeing of sex, but in no way a freeing from sex. Sex and women are instead becoming dominant forces in present society, an evident fact that is also part of the general phenomenology of every terminal phase of a civilisation’s cycle. One might speak of a chronic sexual intoxication that is profusely manifested in public life, conduct, and art. Its counterpart is a gynocratic tendency, a sexually oriented preeminence of the woman that relates to the materialistic and practical involvement of the masculine sex: a phenomenon that is clearest in those countries, like the United States, where that involvement is more excessive.
Since I have dealt with it on other occasions, I shall not dwell on this subject here, limiting myself to the collective and, in a certain way, abstract character of eroticism and the fascination centred on the latest female idols, in an atmosphere fed by countless means: cinema, magazines, television, musicals, beauty contests, and so on. Here the real persona of the woman is often a quasi-soulless prop, centre of crystallisation of that atmosphere of diffuse and chronic sexuality, so that the majority of “stars” with their fascinating features have as persons quite poor sexual qualities, their existential basis being close to that of common, misguided, and rather neurotic girls. To describe them someone has aptly used the image of jellyfish with magnificent iridescent colours that are reduced to gelatinous mass and evaporate if brought out of the water into sunlight – the water corresponding to the atmosphere of diffuse and collective sexuality.
Today’s situation is such that increased freedom in the realm of sex is not connected to a conscious reacquisition of values that accord little importance to “important” sexual matters and oppose the “fetishisation” of intersexual human relations, but is caused by the general weakening of any value, of any restraint.
By adding the products of commercialised mass pornography, the polarity between the sexes is diluted, as seen in the conduct of “modern” life where the youth of both sexes are everywhere intermingled, promiscuously and “unaffectedly”, with almost no tension, as if they were turnips and cabbages in a vegetable garden.
We can consider separately the cases in which the climate of diffuse and constant eroticism leads one to seek in pure sexuality, more or less along the same lines as drugs, frantic sensations that mask the emptiness of modern existence.
The present situation excludes the possibility of integrating sex in a life full of meaning within institutional frameworks.
The erotic, fascinating quality widespread in today’s environment is concentrated and almost “precipitated” (in a chemical sense) in certain female types precisely in terms of an “elementary” quality. Therefore, in a sexual relationship with a woman, the situation I have often considered would reappear – that is, a dangerous situation that requires self-mastery, the surpassing of an inner limit by anyone who intends actively to attempt it. Despite a certain exasperation or crudeness due to the different environment, the meanings originally connected to the polarity of the sexes could reappear in this context, if not yet suffocated by the puritanical religion of the “spirit”, and if they were not enfeebled, sentimentalised, and made bourgeois, but also not primitivised or simply corrupted. These significances are found in many legends, myths, and sagas of very different traditions. In the true, typical, absolute woman, they recognised a spiritually dangerous presence, a fascinating and even dissolutive force; this explains the attitude and the precepts of that particular line of ascesis averse to sex and woman, as if to cut off their danger. The man who has not chosen either to denounce the world or to be impassively detached from it can face the danger and even derive nourishment from the poison, if he uses sex without becoming a slave to it, and if he is able to evoke the profound, elemental dimensions in a certain transbiological sense.
In reality, the entrance of the woman with equal rights into practical modern life, her new freedom, her finding herself side by side with men in the streets, offices, professions, factories, sports, now even in political and military life, is one of those dissolutive phenomena in which, in most cases, it is difficult to perceive anything positive. In essence, all this is simply the renunciation of the woman’s right to be a woman. The promiscuity of the sexes in modern existence can only “relieve” the woman to a greater or lesser degree of the energy with which she is endowed; she enters freer relationships only by regressing, because they are primitivised, prejudiced by all the factors and the practical, predominating interests of modern life.
It is certain that in an epoch of dissolution the solution for the woman is more difficult than that for the man. One should bear in mind the already irreversible consequences of the error through which the woman believed herself to win a “personality” of her own using the man as a model: the “man”, in a manner of speaking, because today’s typical forms of activity are almost all anodyne, they engage “neuter” faculties of a predominantly intellectual and practical order that have no specific relation to either sex, or even to any particular race or nationality, and are exercised under the sign of the absurdity that characterises all the systems of contemporary society. It is a world of existence without quality and of mere masks, in which the modern woman in most cases simply takes care of the cosmetic aspect, being so inwardly diminished and displaced, and lacking any basis for that active and essentialising depersonalisation of which I have spoken, regarding the relations between person and mask.