Ludwig Klages (1872–1956) was a prominent German philosopher associated with the intellectual movement known as ‘vitalism’ (Biozentrismus). He seems to have been a solitary child, but he developed an intense friendship with a Jewish classmate named Theodor Lessing, who would himself go on to achieve fame as the theorist of "Jewish Self-Hatred," a concept whose origins Lessing would later trace back to passionate discussions that he had had with Klages during their boyhood rambles on the windswept moors and beaches of their Lower Saxony home.
Shortly after the NSDAP seized power at the beginning of 1933, one of Klages’s disciples established the Arbeitskreises für biozentrisches Forschung (Working Group for Research on Vitalism). From 1938 onwards, when Reichsleiter Dr. Alfred Rosenberg delivered a bitter attack on Klages and his school in his inaugural address to the summer semester at the University of Halle, the official party spokesmen explicitly and repeatedly condemned Klages and his friends as enemies of the National Socialist Weltanschauung. Yet many prominent NS officials and many influential German academics in the Third Reich and after WWII had a very high opinion of Klages’ work.
The following material is derived from two sources:
- Hans Eggert Schroder’s book: Ludwig Klages, Die Geschichte Seines Lebens (Ludwig Klages: The Story of His Life) (Bonn: 1966,1992), hereafter GL
Ludwig Klages’ book Rhythmen und Runen (Rhythms and Runes) (1944), hereafter RR.
The quotations from RR ‘disappeared’ after the WWII in subsequent German editions.
Mankind and Race
We must draw a sharp distinction between the man who sees the world as divided between the “human” and the “non-human,” and the man who is most profoundly struck by the obvious racial groupings of mankind (Nietzsche’s “masters”). The bridge that connects us to the Cosmos does not originate in “man,” but in race. (RR, 245)
Sin and the Pagan World
The idea of “sin” was quite alien to the pagan world. The ancient pagans knew the gods’ hatred as well as their revenge, but they never heard of punishment for “sin.” The ancient philosophers did understand something of the “good,” but when they employed this expression, they were certainly not endorsing the concept of the “sinless.” Quite the contrary: they were actually speaking of the pursuit of every type of excellence. (RR, 317)
The True Master of Secret Societies
In the forefront of our secret societies, we have the Rosicrucians, the Illuminati, the Freemasons, the “Odd Fellows,” and B’nai B’rith. The educated classes are provided with such recent varieties as … the Einstein cult and Freudianism. For half-educated fools we have H. P. Blavatsky, Anny Besant, Rudolf Steiner, and Krishnamurti. For the poor in spirit, there’s the Christian Science of Mrs. Eddy, the Oxford Movement, and biblical fundamentalism. All of these groups, along with innumerable lesser organizations, are humanitarianism’s masks. Jewry is the center from which they are ruled. (GL, 1345)
Christianity and Wakefulness
Even in the garden of olives Christ begged his disciples to remain awake by his side. The saints indicate by their sleeplessness that nothing can harm them. Christianity is the war against sleep and dreaming, two states for which a reviving elemental life will always be yearning. Against the activity of astral wakefulness, elemental life places consummation and the pagan feeling for fate. True pagans regard sleeplessness as the most monstrous conceivable evil. In addition, the wakefulness of the Christian manifests a slavish impulse: the lurking wariness and prudence of submissive souls. (RR, 253)
From A Letter Re: “Anti-Semitism”
I’ve never endorsed the claim that the Nazi Bonzes [big-wigs] belonged to a superior race. However, I must also add that I have consistently refused to accept the claim of a certain other race to be the “chosen people.” The arrogance is identical in both cases, but with this significant distinction: after waging war against mankind for more than three thousand years, Jewry has finally achieved total victory over all of the nations of the earth.
Therefore, I will have nothing to do with the contemporary kowtowing on the part of almost the entire civilized world before the haters of all mankind (Tacitus spoke of Christians, but he certainly meant the Jews, as will be obvious to every alert reader of his works). I despise all this kowtowing to the Jews as an utterly mendacious tactical ploy. (GL, 1350)
The Prophecy of a Jewish Friend
I might easily fill ten pages…with anecdotes concerning the life of Richard Perls. He was born a Jew, but he eventually abandoned Judaism, a religion that he had come to hate. One year before his death, which occurred, to the best of my recollection, in 1897, he said to me: “Herr Klages, the ancient world was destroyed by Judaism, just as the modern world is about to be!” When I voiced my skepticism as to the accuracy of his prophecy…he merely responded: “Just wait—you will live to see my prophecy fulfilled!” (GL, 196)
The Great Deceiver
To the Jew, everything human is a sham. One might even say that the Jewish face is nothing but a mask. The Jew is not a liar: he is the lie itself. From this vantage point, we can say that the Jew is not a man. … He lives the pseudo-life of a ghoul whose fortunes are linked to Yahweh-Moloch. He employs deception as the weapon with which he will exterminate mankind. The Jew is the very incarnation of the unearthly power of destruction. (RR, 330)
How Yahweh Expresses Himself
Yahweh’s medium of expression is the gesture. The meaning of all of his gestures, so far as they actually possess any metaphysical significance, can be interpreted as an ever-deeper subjugation of one principle at the hands of an ever-loftier one: consecration, blessing, etc., on the one side, and repentance, contrition, and adoration on the other. Semitic religiosity is restricted to adoring worshipper and the adored deity. When this religiosity attaches itself solely to the personal, the emblem of worship becomes the individual person. Only the Semitic religions bow to the “One God.” In adoration, the believer achieves the non-rational form of ego-consciousness. Pagan rationality glides right past the god to the ego; in the Semitic “service of God,” however, the transcendental “One” brings destruction to the world of “appearances.” Apollo is, so to speak, an ethically developed Dionysus; he works on the soil of blood-thinning. Yahweh is the all-devouring nothingness; he works on the soil of blood-poisoning. (RR, 321)
The Cult of the Christ
It is impossible to conceive of a more fatal blindness than that of the cult instigated by this Jewish sectarian and his apostles and camp followers. Torn from the bonds of nature and the past, man must now direct his gaze at the wasteland known as the “future”; into that desert he stares, paralyzed by dread of the vengeful Jew-God. And before this insane masquerade of the “kingdom come,” the “last judgment,” and “eternal punishment” can be consummated, the true heroes and the real gods must first be made to grovel before the cross! (RR, 285)