Our Soulless Aryan Ancestors?

JLK's recent article, “The Real Difference Between Christians and Pagans: a Graeco-Roman Perspective,” suffers from serious defects; I feel it should receive a firm rebuttal. Many commentators opined that the author didn't know much about Christianity, and this is very true. But he knows even less about Paganism. The Aryan folk have a tradition of lofty spirituality and ethics that deals heavily with the concept of the soul; that author, therefore, advanced a position which is diametrically opposed to both the Pagan and Christian views, proposing an alternative, which, in my opinion, is far more amenable to the malicious elements of world Jewry (which was his ostensible concern).

It is understandable, if a man be ignorant about the Pagan conception of the soul - it is a complex topic and most of us are pretty uneducated these days. But it is not understandable that a man should venture to speak in a decisive way about topics, of which he seemingly knows very little. Just to start with the Latin language, which would have been an easy place to start for someone wanting to know about the Roman concept of a soul, we find two very obviously related words: anima and animus. The "anima" is the soul, conceived of as the life-force, the breath of life; the "animus" is the soul, conceived of as the mind, the intellect, the mood, feelings and perception. So, right here in Latin, prior to Christianity, you have a Pagan concept of two aspects of soul – one more animal, one more intellectual – in closely related terms.

The concept of the soul amongst the peoples sometimes referred to as Aryans - Hittites, the Rigvedic tribes, Medes, Parthians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Celts, Teutonics, Balts and Slavs - is knowable because many of these cultures have left us writings that pre-date Christianity (or Christianization). In the earliest sources, the concept of the soul lacks explicit affirmation of the higher, intellective and “psychological” elements that would find explicit attribution later. There is a distinction in early Vedic and Greek texts, which still find parallels in Scandinavian, German and Anglo-Saxon texts well into the first millennium AD, between a kind of "body soul" or "life soul" (more like the Latin anima), and a "free soul," a soul that deals with the mind, emotions, perceptions, etc. The "body soul" is more dominant during waking hours and is risked in battle; the "free soul" perdures after death.

The distinction is widespread in Aryan peoples; let us take English, for example: the English word "soul" is from sāwol, the Anglo-Saxon word for the "body soul," and English "mood" is from Old English mōd, more akin to the "free soul" or "mind soul." Old English also had other words, including the pair feorh/ferdh, which correspond closely to Latin anima/animus. A recurring phenomenon in Vedic, Greek and Germanic texts is mention of the “body soul” in conjunction with mortal danger; courage leads men to risk the soul, i.e., life, in battle. This “body soul” is still not equated with the body or physiology, such that we might apply it to genetics; it is simply the life force which animates the body, and which is lost through the expiration of breath and the loss of bodily integrity, especially through the shedding of blood. In the earliest periods of extant Vedic and Greek texts, there is little explicit recognition of a "unitary soul," i.e., a unified concept of the soul that integrates the animal and intellectual conceptions of the soul.

Yet, here is something important to note: even in the early periods, as in the Homeric corpus, only mankind is described as having a soul, and when discussing the underworld, there are only human shades – i.e., no animal souls. Thus, in the period before the implications of Aryan peoples' belief in the soul are made explicit, there is still the recognition of a uniquely human quality to the soul. By the later Vedic period for Sanskrit, and in Pindar and post-Homeric Greek, a unitary soul begins to emerge. For the pre-Socratics, all living things have a certain quality of soul; soul is what gives life, even to plants. By the time we are to Euripides and Sophocles, the soul involves “psychological” desires and intentions and sentiments. Greeks begin to attribute virtue (and vice) to quality of soul. Though the continued existence of the soul into the afterlife certainly is attested in earlier periods, it is vague; Plato begins to treat of this explicitly, and of the soul's immortality. In the Phaedo he argues against the notion that the soul is destroyed or dispersed at death, and says that it contemplates truth in the afterlife.

Aristotle parses it all out quite carefully, and we have the vegetal, animal and rational souls, with the rational soul being unique to man. The intellect, the highest part of man's soul, can continue to exist after the death of the body, unlike the other parts of the soul. This is all prior to Christ, and is precisely the concept embraced by the Church.

It should be clear, now, what we ought to think of JLK's statement that the soul is a concept of Jewish origin, “little more than a confused utopian concept that relies upon denying the similarities between humans and animals,” or that it is based in an attitude of opprobrium to non-Jews. It is far truer to say that the Church's exposition of the soul draws deeply from the tradition of Classical, Aryan Paganism, incorporated already into the Faith in the Apostolic age (through the composition of the Bible in Greek, and the noted Hellenism of St. John's Gospel), and sanctioned also by the Church Fathers afterwards. What shall we say, then, as regards the Jews and the ludicrous notion that the Christian concept of the soul is merely or even predominantly Jewish?

Far from it being the case that the soul is a Jewish concept foisted upon us by the Trojan Horse of Christianity, it would be more accurate to say that the Jews had the privilege of accurately teaching us what God did, but we had the privilege of teaching them what He meant by His deeds, including instructing them more perfectly on the nature of the soul, and on all points of theology and philosophy. It is a very Protestant notion to think that the Jews were God's chosen people because they're the best people, when the opposite is more likely the case. God prefers to bring good out of bad things, so that the operation of divine grace will stand out more clearly. In that vein, as regards the ethnic origin of our Lord, the Church gives us the rule of faith in this common chant from the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

Sicut spina rosam, genuit Judaea Mariam, ut virtus vicium operiret, gratia culpam.

"As the thorn-bush bears the rose, so Jewry bore Mary, that virtue might o'erspread vice, and grace might bury guilt."

God brought the best thing – our Lord, through our Lady – out of a paltry people; if He seems to have given Aryan peoples greater innate gifts (as it seems to me), He magnified these through putting us in ignorance of the facts of revealed religion. And in the last days, lest we be proud, He has shown to what horrific evil our innate gifts can be put, if we apostatize from Him (i.e., our people's proclivity for pursuing higher and nobler qualities even at the expense of our baser self-interest – an incandescently noble trait – has nevertheless in “Progressivism” been severed from the root of wisdom, and is now suicidal).

God chose the Jews to be a people set apart for the advent of the Christ and the disclosure of revealed religion, but the Pagans, too, had their own praeparatio evangelica in Classical Paganism, which was riddled with factual errors in its knowledge of the divine, but which had a greater philosophical nobility. The Jews did not participate much in the good given to them: God dictated to them the Scriptures, and exactly prescribed their rites and customs. They often ignored these, made up their own, and engaged in perfidious and contemptible perversions of their own tradition through the Talmud, etc.

Contrarily, the Pagans were given nothing in the way of direct revelation and instruction, but were given the gift of searching for the Truth, inducing them to develop powerful virtues and methods for doing so. The Fathers did warn against the errors of Paganism, but also viewed it as providential that the New Testament would be written in Greek and come into a Roman world, where what was best in the Jewish heritage could meet what was best in the Classical, Aryo-Pagan tradition (pardon the abstruse pun).

The result was the Church, that marriage chamber of the Bridegroom, where the surety of revealed religion and the adventure of the quest for Truth - God's gift to the Jews and to the Gentiles, respectively – are joined in one and given to all who will receive it.

For those who want to learn more, two good books:

The Early Greek Concept of the Soul, by Jan Bremmer

Anglo-Saxon Psychologies in the Vernacular and Latin Traditions, by Leslie Lockett

This latter work is on a very different topic, it treats heavily of Anglo-Saxon concepts of how the soul functioned as a corporeal reality in the body; but in doing so it speaks a lot of their conceptions of the soul, which are similar to the ideas of other Teutonic folk.

And one may as well go here, too.

A final word: Look, it's easy enough to research a topic before presuming to write about it; if you seriously believe in White/European solidarity, give your brethren your best effort – or at least a good effort (I'm a busy man these days, so I'll cop to the fact that this article is merely a good effort, not my best effort) – rather than latching onto some plausible-sounding “universal theory” just because it lets you vent your spleen. That only adds to the burden, ignorance and captivity of Western man—and may wind up trampling on his authentic heritage for lack of knowledge. As a virtuous, Western man is not interested in hearing an uniformed opinion, so should he be loath to give one. I intend no mere effrontery by that statement, and God knows I have my own faults.