The Aphorisms of Dragoš Kalajić – Part I
Translated by Jafe Arnold
Presented below for the first time in English translation are 26 of the 42 posthumously selected “Thoughts” of the great Serbian intellectual Dragoš Kalajić (1943-2005), one of those monumental figures of the “alternative 20th century” whose life and works are impossible to encapsulate with any single generic term. Philosopher, artist of “Hyperborean Realism”, author of multiple genres, TV-speaker, cultural critic, graduate cum laude of the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome who reportedly received praise from Julius Evola, geopolitical activist and visionary, Traditionalist (credited with introducing Traditionalism to Yugoslavia), Serbian patriot with a pan-European (and, indeed, Eurasian) agenda, “the man who had his own Center” – all and none of these prevalent descriptives are capable of conveying a sense of the immense engagements, works and legacy of this thinker who, while famous in his native Serbia and to limited extents known in Italy and Russia, remains largely unknown in the English-language world. The revelation of Kalajić’s works remains a task of the future. For now, Continental-Conscious presents in translation a number of Kalajić’s “aphorisms” which the curators of dragoskalajic.com, the only archive and resource dedicated to Kalajić known to us, unveiled as “a small, subjective selection, for starters.” The anonymous, volunteer compilers of these passages remark:
“We shall refrain from big words here. But we cannot help but remark that in the 20th century, in Serbian culture, art, and thought, there is no voice and phenomenon comparable to Kalajić. If he had written in one of the great European languages, hardly anyone today would question his place among the greats…We will not speak of fame, because our notion of fame [glory] is infinitely far from the banality into which such is plunged by the noisy and vain ‘civilization of the spectacle.'”
I. Self-esteem is the foundation of any valid self-confidence.
II. Think and act unconditionally, regardless of the threat of defeat or the promise of victory. There is no victory more valuable than loyalty to oneself in defeat, nor is there any greater defeat than betrayal of oneself for the sake of victory.
III. Under the blows of enmity, when you are overwhelmed by anxiety and dispiritedness, by feelings of hopelessness and loneliness, look up at the stellar cathedrals that inspire us with lessons of sovereign serenity and heavenly clarity. Our home is there.
IV. Cultivate within yourself the capacities of flexibility and sturdiness of being, as if it were a matter of crafting an extraordinary sword in the highest of skilled workshops. Flexibility alone is pliable, and rigidity on its own is brittle. It is necessary to wield both qualities: flexibility that serves rigidity, preventing fractures, and sturdiness serving flexibility, suppressing folding.
V. Recognize and evaluate ends by means. Only means justify ends.
VI. It is better to be a dead lion than a living dog. In the memory of descendants, a virtuous example is more powerful and fruitful than the life that brought them into this arena of the universe.
VII. Do not follow the path of action for gain or deviate from the path of action for loss: if you are true to yourself, if you are completely so, you can neither gain nor lose any more.
VIII. Lack of care for one’s body and action is an outward sign of inner capitulations, a sign of lack of trust in a person’s values.
IX. To the question “Who are your parents?”, the correct answer is: “My parents are the solar tradition.” It is said in our sacred books: “The light which shines above us, which shines beyond everything, above the universe, in the highest worlds of which there are no higher, is that same light which shines within man.”
X. It is said in our sacred books that “the sun which we see with our eyes is an image of the intelligible sun which we do not see with our eyes.”
XI. To the question “Where do you come from, where are you heading?”, the correct answer is: “I come from stellar paths and I am heading towards stellar paths.” Everywhere and in every moment, be knowing that you come from afar and that you are going far: you come from prehistory and you are headed towards suprahistory.”
XII. Of the qualities of the man of the solar tradition it is said in our sacred books: “And if the whole world were to collapse, he would remain upright among the ruins.” If you should have no ground, the view of stellar magnitudes is your stronghold. The steadfastness of your being makes up part of the stronghold of the stability of the stellar order.
XIII. You are the disciple and the cosmic Mind is the supreme teacher. In the highest institute of learning, the most difficult question is: “Who are you?” The excellent answer is: “I am You.”
XIV. In this arena of the cosmic Game, the unique, upright position of man is a sign of the ideal orientation: the return to the “stellar abodes”, through education by way of the stellar institutes. The upright position is also the most unstable: a sign that the being of man in the cosmic Game is a game of all or nothing.
XV. Devote more attention and importance to names rather than definitions of beings. Names are derived from the direct experiences and manifestations of beings, whereas definitions are attempts by reason to arbitrarily limit that which is, by its very nature, unlimited.
XVI. Think as if you are going to die tomorrow – act as if you will never die.
XVII. On the paths of [your] mission, face obstacles as means of ascension, abysses as means of overcoming, and absurdities as means of qualitatively transforming the self. This world is nothing but an arena of a game through which beings are educated and tested for higher missions and more difficult tasks.
XVIII. Do not lament the difficulty of a mission’s task, for this difficulty is an evaluation of your values and capabilities.
XIX. Suffering, sadness, or fear are different names for your weaknesses. So do not blame others or other things for your misfortunes, but stand up to fight against your own weaknesses.
XX. Do not allow your consciousness to be polluted and disparaged by fears and hopes brought about by arbitrary assumptions about the nature of death; by your deeds and thoughts you indirectly condition the nature of death.
XXI. Test your own integrity and steadfastness of being with restraint in the midst of abundance, chastity in the midst of orgies, radiance in the midst of darkness. The right way to examine the self is not the suppression of temptations, but the sovereignty of the self over all temptations.
XXII. Do not dwell on virtuous human thoughts and deeds, for they are only indicators of cosmic models, manifestations or reflections of the radiance of the cosmic Mind. Strive towards original models.
XXIII. Be indifferent towards the glory which people distribute. Where the cosmic Mind is – there is your glory.
XXIV. The face is the most immediate and most obvious testimony of beings, especially the eyes, which are said to be the “windows of the soul.” The word “face” comes from the word “to do”, for the face is the synthetic expression of a set of thoughts and deeds.
XXV. At hand is not the end of the world, but the end of the illusions of one of a series of worlds in this arena of the universe. In these circumstances, it is advisable to apply the principle called “riding the tiger”, hence, not to oppose the elements in vain, but to “ride” and await their exhaustion.
XXVI. It is necessary to create “parallel” spaces, to hoist citadels of credible alternatives that are virtual centers of the crystallization of a new, eutopic culture. Thus, no “contact” with the enemy, no conflict or dialogue, no polemic or compromise, but the already isolated effectiveness and preparation of new values and joy of life.
To Be Continued…