Monday, August 27, 2012

José Vasconcelos, from "The Cosmic Race," trans. Didier T. Jaén

In the opinion of respectable geologists, the American continent includes some of the most ancient regions of the world. The Andes are, undoubtedly, as old as any other mountain range on earth. And while the land itself is ancient, the traces of life and human culture also go back in time beyond any calculations. The architectural ruins of legendary Mayans, Quechuas, and Toltecs are testimony of civilized life previous to the oldest foundations of towns in the Orient and Europe. As research advances, more support is found for the hypothesis of Atlantis as the cradle of a civilization that flourished millions of years ago in the vanished continent and in parts of what is today America. The thought of Atlantis evokes the memory of her mysterious predecessors. The Hiperborean continent, vanished without trace, other than the vestiges of life and culture sometimes discovered under the snows of Greenland; the Lemurians or the black race from the south; the Atlantean civilization of the red men; immediately afterwards, the emergence of the yellow races, and finally the civilization of the white men. This profound legendary hypothesis explains the evolution of the races better than the elucubrations of geologists like Ameghino, who places the origin of man in Patagonia, a land which, it is well known, is of recent geological formation. On the other hand, the hypothesis of prehistoric ethnic empires finds extraordinary support in Wegener's theory of the translation of continents. According to this thesis, all the lands were previously united into a single continent, which has since been breaking apart. Thus, it is easy to assume that in a particular region of a continuous land mass, a race would develop which, after progress and decline, would be substituted by another, instead of having recourse to the hypothesis of migrations from one continent to another by means of disappearing land bridges. It is also interesting to note another coincidence of the ancient tradition with the most recent facts from geology: According to Wegener, the communication between Australia, India, and Madagascar was interrupted before the communication between South America and Africa. This amounts to a corroboration of the theory that the site of the Lemurian civilization disappeared before the flourishing of Atlantis, and also, that the last continent to disappear was Atlantis, since scientific explorations have come to demonstrate that the Atlantic Ocean is the sea of most recent formation. 

Although the origins of this theory remain more or less confused within a tradition as obscure as it is rich in meaning, the legend still remains of a civilization born in our forests, or spread to them after a powerful growth. Traces of it are still visible in Chichén Itzá and Palenque, and in all the sites where the Atlantean mystery prevails: The mystery of the red men who, after dominating the world, had the precepts of their wisdom engraved on the Emerald Table, perhaps a marvelous Colombian emerald, which at the time of the telluric upheavals was taken to Egypt, where Hermes and his adepts learned and transmitted its secrets. 

If we are, then, geologically ancient, as well as in respect to the tradition, how can we still continue to accept the fiction, invented by our European fathers, of the novelty of a continent that existed before the appearance of the land from where the discoverers and conquerors came? 

The question has paramount importance to those who insist in looking for a plan in History. The confirmation of the great antiquity of our continent may seem idle to those who see nothing in the chain of events but a fateful repetition of meaningless patterns. With boredom we should regard the work of contemporary civilization, if the Toltec palaces would tell us nothing else but that civilizations pass away leaving no other fruit than a few carved stones intersecting at an angle. Why begin again, if within four or five thousand years other new immigrants will distract their leisure by pondering upon the remains of our trivial contemporary architecture? Scientific history becomes confused and leaves unanswered all these ruminations. Empirical history, suffering from myopia, loses itself in details, but it cannot determine a single antecedent for historical times. It flees from general conclusions, from transcendental hypotheses, to fall into the puerility of the description of utensils and cranial indices and so many other, merely external, minutiae that lack importance when seen apart from a vast and comprehensive theory. 

Only a leap of the spirit, nourished with facts, can give us a vision that will lift us above the micro-ideology of the specialist. Then we can dive deeply into the mass of events in order to discover a direction, a rhythm, and a purpose. Precisely there, where the analyst discovers nothing, the synthesizer and the creator are enlightened. Let us, then, attempt explanations, not with the fantasy of the novelist, but with an intuition supported by the facts of history and science. 

The race that we have agreed to call Atlantean prospered and declined in America. After its extraordinary flourishment, after having completed its cycle and fulfilled its particular mission, it entered the silence and went into decline until being reduced to the lesser Aztec and Inca empires, totally unworthy of the ancient and superior culture. With the decline of the Atlanteans, the intense civilization was transported to other sites and changed races: It dazzled in Egypt; it expanded in India and Greece, grafted onto new races. The Aryans mixed with the Dravidians to produce the Hindustani, and at the same time, by means of other mixtures, created Hellenic culture. 

Greece laid the foundations of Western or European civilization; the white civilization that, upon expanding, reached the forgotten shores of the American continent in order to consummate the task of re-civilization and re-population. Thus we have the four stages and the four racial trunks: the Black, the Indian, the Mongol, and the White. The latter, after organizing itself in Europe, has become the invader of the world, and has considered itself destined to rule, as did each of the previous races during their time of power. It is clear that domination by the whites will also be temporary, but their mission is to serve as a bridge. The white race has brought the world to a state in which all human types and cultures will be able to fuse with each other. The civilization developed and organized in our times by the whites has set the moral and material basis for the union of all men into a fifth universal race, the fruit of all the previous ones and amelioration of everything past. 


Only the Iberian part of the continent possesses the spiritual factors, the race, and the territory necessary for the great enterprise of initiating the new universal era of Humanity. All the races that are to provide their contribution are already there: The Nordic man, who is today the master of action but who had humble beginnings and seemed inferior in an epoch in which already great cultures had appeared and decayed; the black man, as a reservoir of potentialities that began in the remote days of Lemuria; the Indian, who saw Atlantis perish but still keeps a quiet mystery in the conscience. We have all the races and all the aptitudes. The only thing lacking is for true love to organize and set in march the law of History. 

Many obstacles are opposed to the plan of the spirit, but they are obstacles common to all progress. Of course, some people may object, saying that how are the different races going to come to an accord, when not even the children of the same stock can live in peace and happiness within the economic and social regime that oppresses man today. But such a state of mind will have to change rapidly. All the tendencies of the future are intertwined in the present: Mendelianism in biology, socialism in government, growing sympathy among the souls, generalized progress, and the emergence of the fifth race that will fill the planet with the triumphs of the first truly universal, truly cosmic culture. 

If we view the process panoramically, we shall find the three stages of the law of the three states of society, each one vivified with the contribution of the four fundamental races that accomplish their mission and, then, disappear in order to create a fifth superior ethnic specimen. This gives us five races and three stages, that is, the number eight which in the Pythagorean gnosis represents the ideal of the equality of all men. Such coincidences are surprising when discovered, although later they may seem trivial. 

In order to express all these ideas that today I am trying to expound in a rapid synthesis, I tried, some years ago, when they were not yet well defined, to assign them symbols in the new Palace of Public Education in Mexico. Lacking sufficient elements to do exactly what I wished, I had to be satisfied with a Spanish renaissance building, with two courtyards, archways, and passages that give somewhat the impression of a bird's wing. On the panels at the four corners of the first patio, I had them carve allegories representing Spain, Mexico, Greece, and India, the four particular civilizations that have most to contribute to the formation of Latin America. Immediately below these four allegories, four stone statues should have been raised, representing the four great contemporary races: The white, the red, the black, and the yellow, to indicate that America is home to all and needs all of them. Finally, in the center, a monument should have been raised that in some way would symbolize the law of the three states: The material, the intellectual and the aesthetic. All this was to indicate that through the exercise of the triple law, we in America shall arrive, before any other part of the world, at the creation of a new race fashioned out of the treasures of all the previous ones: The final race, the cosmic race.

No comments:

Post a Comment