As I was preparing Joscelyn Godwin’s foreword
to Julis Evola’s Men Among the Ruins
, I was stuck by his idea of an “academic approach [which] resembles that of a bomb-disposal unit”. His point is that there is a way to approach to material, such as Evola’s that takes into account “explosive” material without pretending that it doesn’t exist, and that with such an approach there is virtue in engaging that material.
“However, if Evola is to be studied and understood even by those—and this is increasingly the case in the United States—who cannot read him in the original language, it in academically dishonest to suppress anything.
The virtue of the academic approach resembles that of a bomb-disposal unit. That is to say, it can handle explosive materials at arm’s length, without harming either itself or others. It does this with the tools of rationality and scholarship, unsullied by emotionality or subjective references. At least, that is how it is supposed to work, and why there is such a concept as “academic freedom” that is, the freedom to work on controversial topics and to come to one’s own conclusions without political interference.”
There’s more to the point, which you can find at the source, but the idea is that it should be possible to approach such material without suppressing it or becoming indoctrinated, or infected by whatever contagion it may be carrying, if such is a concern. And that there is value in doing so:
“The value of such reading and debate lies, naturally, in their educative function, but also, in the present case, in the self-knowledge that one gains from the dispassionate handling of explosive material.”
Obviously, there’s relevance here to the library site. I’ve often said there’s something there to offend everyone, if one looks; and also that there is plenty of material that people would want suppressed, for various reasons. This has been mostly a point I make on Banned Books Week, when the point can be made about how much of the entire corpus and subject matter as a whole would be gone if each and every thing anyone wanted to suppress were banned, both historically and present day.
I’ve talked a bit about my own approach, in a different way, in my Introduction
to the Esoteric Disorientation Manual
section which may be of interest. Also, do keep in mind that I’m open to submissions and suggests for additional material for the disorientation section, that reflects on any of the material at the library, some of which, no doubt, is in need of it.