Wyndham Lewis Quotes
Extracted entirely from an Occidental Quarterly Online post here: Wyndham Lewis by Kerry Bolton.
-Here is the root of all romanticism: that man, the individual, is an infinite reservoir of possibilities, and if you can so rearrange society by the destruction of oppressive order then these possibilities will have a chance and you will get progress. One can define the classical quite clearly as the exact opposite to this. Man is an extraordinarily fixed and limited animal whose nature is absolutely constant. It is only by tradition and organization that anything decent can be got out of him. [Quoting T.E. Hulme]
-Your flabby potion is a mixture of the lees of Liberalism, the poor froth blown off the decadent Nineties, the wardrobe-leavings of a vulgar bohemianism . . . . You are concentrated, highly-organized barley water; there is nothing in the universe to be said for you: any efficient state would confiscate your property, burn your wardrobe-that old hat and the rest-as infectious, and prohibit you from propagating.
A breed of mild pervasive cabbages has set up a wide and creeping rot in the West . . . that any resolute power will be able to wipe up over night with its eyes shut. Your kind meantime make it indirectly a period of tribulation for live things to remain in your neighborhood. You are systematizing the vulgarizing the individual: you are the advance copy of communism, a false millennial middle-class communism. You are not an individual: you have. I repeat, no right to that hair and to that hat: you are trying to have the apple and eat it too You should be in uniform and at work. NOT uniformly OUT OF UNIFORM and libeling the Artist by your idleness. Are you idle? The only justification of your slovenly appearance it is true is that it’s perfectly emblematic.
-In accusing yourself, stick to the Code of the Mountain. But crime is alien to a Herdsman’s nature. Yourself must be your Caste.
Cherish and develop side by side, your six most constant indications of different personalities. You will then acquire the potentiality of six men . . . Each trench must have another one behind it.
Spend some of your time every day in hunting your weaknesses caught from commerce with the herd, as methodically, solemnly and vindictively as a monkey his fleas. You will find yourself swarming with them while you are surrounded by humanity. But you must not bring them up on the mountain . . .
Do not play with political notions, aristocratisms or the reverse, for that is a compromise with the herd. Do not allow yourself to imagine a fine herd though still a herd. There is no fine herd. The cattle that call themselves ‘gentlemen’ you will observe to be a little cleaner. It is merely cunning and produced by a product called soap . . .
Be on your guard with the small herd of gentlemen. There are very stringent regulations about the herd keeping off the sides of the mountain In fact your chief function is to prevent their encroaching. Some in moment of boredom or vindictiveness are apt to make rushes for the higher regions. Their instinct fortunately keeps them in crowds or bands, and their trespassing is soon noted Contradict yourself. In order to live you must remain broken up.
Above this sad commerce with the herd, let something veritably remain “un peu sur la montagne” Always come down with masks and thick clothing to the valley where we work. Stagnant gasses form these Yahooesque and rotten herds are more dangerous than the wandering cylinders that emit them . . . Our sacred hill is a volcanic heaven. But the result of the violence is peace. The unfortunate surge below, even, has moments of peace.”
-That Russian communism is not a war to the knife of the Rich against the Poor is only too plainly demonstrated by the fact that internationally all the Rich are on its side. All the magnates among the nations are for it; all the impoverished communities, all the small peasant states, dread and oppose it.
-You as a Fascist stand for the small trader against the chain store; for the peasant against the usurer: for the nation, great or small, against the super-state; for personal business against Big Business; for the craftsman against the Machine; for the creator against the middleman; for all that prospers by individual effort and creative toil, against all that prospers in the abstract air of High Finance or of the theoretic ballyhoo of internationalisms.
-The intellect is more removed from the crowd than is anything: but it is not a snobbish withdrawal, but a going aside for the purposes of work, of work not without its utility for the crowd . . . More than the prophet or the religious teacher, (the leader) represents . . . the great unworldly element in the world, and that is the guarantee of his usefulness. And he should be relieved of the futile competition in all sorts of minor fields, so that his purest faculties could be free for the major tasks of intelligent creation.
-I would rather have an ounce of human consciousness than a universe full of ‘abdominal’ afflatus and hot, unconscious, ’soulless’ mystical throbbing
-We by birth the natural leaders of the white European, are people of no political or public consequence any more . . . We, the natural leaders of the world we live in, are now private citizens in the fullest sense, and that world is, as far as the administration of its traditional law of life is concerned, leaderless. Under these circumstances, its soul, in a generation or so, will be extinct.
-I believe they could with advantage be compelled to remain absolutely alone for several hours every day and a week’s solitary confinement, under pleasant conditions (say in mountain scenery), every two months would be an excellent provision. That and other coercive measures of a similar kind, I think, would make them much better people.
-This is the capital of a dying empire–not crashing down in flames and smoke but expiring in a peculiar muffled way.