Ernst Jünger: Psychonautic knighthood & Visionary Art

Courage is the wind that drives them to distant shores, the key to all treasures, the hammer that forges great empires, the shield without which no culture exists.
– Ernst Jünger

It is extremely unfortunate that psychedelic subcultures, especially the counter culture of the late 60’s, never embraced the chivalric-values of Ernst Jünger.

Jünger was not an acolyte of the easy humanist pacifism espoused by Timothy Leary and his various imitators. Jünger was, rather, a gentleman of knighthood. He also happened to be one of the first people to experiment with LSD, along with the drug’s founder Albert Hoffman.

If Jünger had enjoyed Leary’s ‘fame’ then perhaps psychedelic rock and visionary artwork (admittedly already somewhat Jüngerian at the periphery) might have been more vitally sustained and succoured, and even later ascended into a more heroic direction, disregarding limp and false humanism and sensualism for knightly courage codes and self-determination. Those partially-explored realms still remain, dormant and guarded, in a colourful void which awaits the courageously curious. Such adventurers who probe archaic states of awareness (where lies primeval creativity) must do so not in pursuit of sensationalism or hedonism (while not pretending those are not lesser elements) but in order to wage a battle against the lesser-self, and the chthonic forces which produce nihilistic materialism, conformism, commercialism, and plutocracy.

The seeker searches for wisdom, for the evolution of new religious discoveries and orders unguessable to current thinking. He seeks branching alterations which step back and outside of absolutism to see the ever-changing material energy from the only view permitted: the self-interested view. To find the favour of the guardians of the hidden world, who can only commune with human sentience in the colourful clouds at the back of your mind, their voices not being strictly intelligible, but nonetheless interpreted, deciphered, and used to inspire.

With the embodiment of Ernst Jünger’s psychonautic warrior-knighthood in music, writing and visual art, a counter culture might be armed with the necessary weirdness to subvert the materialistic values and excite a kind of religious extremism of the psyche. There must be at it’s core the visceral experience, not merely the secondary creative affect, for only when courage is conjoined with curiosity can the experience weather confined commercialism and flower-power-pacifism, and assimilate these energies into a Promethean attitude towards the Sun, and the unknown.

Turn on, tune in, and conquer.

Habent sua fata libelli et balli
[Books and bullets have their own destinies]
– Ernst Jünger

1 thought on “Ernst Jünger: Psychonautic knighthood & Visionary Art

  1. I have it from a very reliable source that Ernst Jünger’s large book on drugs and his own experiences with them will be published in English in 2022 by Telos Press. I understand that the title will be “Approaches: Drugs and Altered States”. (The German original is Annäherungen: Drogen und Rausch). I’ve read it in German, a fascinating read!

    Telos also has other Jünger books that they’ve recently had translated into English.

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