We now come to the social realm in the proper sense. Here we can only conclude that every organic unity has been dissolved or is dissolving: caste, stock, nation, homeland, and even the family. Even when all these have not completely disappeared, their social foundation is not a living force full of significance, but the mere force of inertia. We have already seen this when speaking of the person: what exists today is essentially the shifting mass of "individuals," devoid of organic connections, a mass contained by external structures or moved by collective, formless, and unstable currents. The differences between them, as they exist today, are no longer true differences. The classes are only fluid, economic classes. Again, the words of Zarathustra are timely: "Rabble above, rabble below! What do 'poor' or 'rich' mean today? I have forgotten how to tell the difference." The only real hierarchies are those technical ones of the specialists who serve material utility, the needs (largely unnatural), and the distractions of the human animal: hierarchies in which rank and spiritual superiority no longer have any meaning or place.
Instead of the traditional unification through particular bodies, orders, functional castes or classes, guilds - frameworks to which the individual felt an attachment, based on a supra-individual principal that informed his entire life, giving it a specific meaning and orientation - today's associations are determined only by the material interests of individuals, united only on this basis, such as trade unions, professional organizations, parties. The formless state of the people, turned into mere masses, ensures that any possible order will necessarily have a centralistic and coercive character. The inevitable, centralizing, overgrown structures of modern states, which increase their interventions and restrictions even when "democratic freedoms" are proclaimed, if on the one hand they hold off complete disorder, on the other they destroy whatever might still remain of organic bonds and unity. And this social standardization reaches its limit when openly totalitarian forms take over.
Furthermore, the absurdity of modern life is blatantly revealed by those economic aspects that essentially, and regressively, determine it. On the one hand, and economy of necessities has decidedly become an economy of excess, one of whose causes is the overproduction and progress of industrial technology. On the other hand, overproduction requires, for the sake of the market, that a maximum volume of needs be fed and maintained among the masses: needs that, on the brink of becoming customary and "normal," entail a corresponding, growing conditioning of the individual. The first factor here is the very nature of the dissociated productive process that has, as it were, taken modern man by the hand, like an unleashed giant incapable of restraint, thus confirming the saying: Fiat productio, pereat homo! (Let there be production! Let man perish! - Werner Sombart). While in a capitalist regime not only greed for profits and dividends has a part in this senseless increase in production, but also the objective necessity for capital reinvestment in order to prevent a blockage paralyzing the entire system, another more general cause of the senseless increase of production along the lines of an excessive consumer economy is the necessity to employ labor to combat unemployment. As a result, in many states the principle of overproduction and overindustrialization, exacerbated by the demands of private capitalism, has become the very dictator of sociopolitical planning. So a vicious circle forms, the opposite of a system in equilibrium, of processes well contained within sensible boundaries.
This naturally brings us to an even more prominent aspect of the absurdity of modern existence: the unrestrained increase and growth of the population, occurring along with the regime of the masses, fostered by democracy, the "conquests of science," and the unselective welfare system. The procreative pandemic or demon is effectively the principal force that incessantly feeds and sustains the entire system of the modern economy, with its mechanism ever more conditioning the individual. Proof positive of the derisory character of the craze for power nurtured by today's man is the fact that this creator of machines, this dominator of nature, this inaugurator of the atomic era, is not far above an animal or a savage when it comes to sex. He is incapable of controlling the most primitive forms of the sexual impulse and everything connected with it. So, as though obeying a blind destiny, he ceaselessly, irresponsibly, increases the formless human mass and supplies the chief driving force to the entire system of the paroxysmal, unnatural, and ever more conditioned economic life of modern society, creating at the same time innumerable hotbeds of social and international instabilities and tensions. The vicious circle then becomes that of the mass, which, with the excess potential of a workforce, feeds overproduction, which in its turn seeks ever-larger markets and masses to absorb the products. Nor can we ignore the fact that demographic growth has an index inversely proportional to the social scale, thus adding a further factor to the general regressive process.
Evidence of this is absurdly obvious, and could easily be developed and supported by specific analyses. But this summary of the essential points is enough to validate the principle of inner detachment not only toward the present political world but also, more generally, the social world. The differentiated man cannot fell part of a "society" like the present one, which is formless and has sunk to the level of purely material, economic, "physical" values, and moreover live at this level and follow its insane course under the sign of the absurd. Therefore, apoliteia requires the most decided resistance to any social myth. Here it is not just a matter of its extreme, openly collectivist forms, in which the person is not recognized as significant except as a fragment of a class or party or, as in the Marxist-Soviet area, is denied any existence of his own outside the society, so that personal destiny and happiness distinct from those of the collective do not even exist. We must equally reject the more general and bland ideal of "sociability" that today often functions as a slogan even in the so-called free world, after the decline of the ideal of the true state. The differentiated man feels absolutely outside of society, he recognizes no moral claim that requires his inclusion in an absurd system; he can understand not only those who are outside, but even those who are against "society" - meaning against this society. Putting aside everything that does not directly concern him (because his way does not match that of his contemporaries), he would be the last to endorse efforts to normalize and rehabilitate within "society" those who have had enough of the game and are stigmatized as "unsuitable" and "asocial" - the anathema of democratic societies. The ultimate intention of such efforts is to narcotize those who can see through the absurd and nihilistic character of today's collective life, behind all the "social" masks and the corresponding lay mythology, as I have already said.
Based on these general considerations, we can now examine the crisis that some particular ideals and institutions of the previous period are undergoing, in order to clarify the position to be taken in that regard.
We turn first to the ideas of homeland and nation. The crisis that such ideas are suffering is evident, especially after World War II. On the one hand, it is a consequence of objective processes: the great economic and political forces in motion are such as to increasingly relativize the frontiers and to reduce the principle of national sovereignty. One tends to think in terms of large spaces and blocs or supranational systems, and given the growing uniformity of mores and ways of life, given the transformation of the population into masses, and given the development and ease of communications, everything that has a solely national reference is assuming the quasi-provincial character of a local curiosity.
On the other hand, the crisis regards the way of feeling itself; it is connected to the decline of yesterday's myths and ideals, to which men respond less and less after the upheavals and downfalls of recent times, and which are ever less capable of awakening the old enthusiasm in the collectivity.
As in so many previous occasions, it is also necessary here to see clearly what exactly is suffering the crisis, and to define its value. Again, it is not about the reality of the traditional world, but of conceptions essentially born and introduced with its destruction, and above all with the revolution of the Third Estate. The words "homeland" and "nation," in the modern sense of political myths and collective ideals, were virtually unknown in the traditional world. The traditional world knew "nationalities," ethnicities, and races only as natural facts, devoid of that specific political value that they would receive in modern nationalism. They represented a primary material differentiated by hierarchies and subject to a superior principle of political sovereignty. In many cases, this elevated principle represented the primary element, the nation the secondary ad derived element, since at the beginning there was no unity of language, territory, "natural borders," or relative ethnic homogeneity beyond the encounter and miscegenation of different bloods; these were often only the effect of a long formative process determined over centuries by a political center and its loyalist and feudal bonds...