Editor’s Note: This is another essay for the short book of essays we will publishing on Kindle about contemporary Europe. Also, when first posted I accidentally thanked Kadphises for notifying me of the concept of Sisu instead of Kristopher. That has been corrected now 🙂
‘Sisu’, ‘Eucatastrophe’, And The Future Of Europe
Those of us who focus on the situation in Europe are hyper-aware of the dire nature of things. On a daily basis, we hear the horror stories of rape and murder, and see the crushed lives that result from the horrors of mass immigration. We see the never-ending arrival of foreign aliens, set only on destruction, conquest, and Islamization. Simultaneously, we watch the omnipresent insanity of Progressive European politicians, never ceasing to lobby for more of the same, and acting based on fantasy ideologies far removed from real-life events.
These bleak realities force us to confront the question of response, and determine exactly what actions- and mindsets- are most warranted. To this important question a reader of ours in Sweden- Kristopher- recently recommended to me a helpful concept. This is the Finnish word- or idea- of Sisu, and it has great relevance to the situation in Europe, and the fate of the lands we descend from and revere.
Sisu is said to be difficult to translate into English, but roughly means willpower, or something like the combination of courage and tenacity and the drive to stick with something against all odds.
The Wikipedia entry for the word gives the following definition:
Sisu is a Finnish word that cannot be translated metaphrastically into the English language, loosely translated to mean stoic determination, grit, bravery, guts, resilience, perseverance and hardiness, expressing the historic self-identified Finnish national character.
Sisu is about taking action against the odds and displaying courage and resoluteness in the face of adversity. Deciding on a course of action and then sticking to that decision against repeated failures is Sisu. It is similar to equanimity, with the addition of a grim quality of stress management. The pertaining adjective is sisukas, “having the quality of Sisu“.
“Having guts” is a fairly literal translation, as the word derives from sisus, which means something inner or interior. One closely related concept to Sisu is grit; which shares some of its denoting elements with Sisu, save for “stress management” and passion for a long-term goal. Sisu may have an element of passion but it is not always present, unlike in the case of grit as defined by Dr. Angela Duckworth.
The mention of the word ‘stoic’ is appropriate, for the Roman ‘Stoic’ philosophers wrote about the same qualities. Authors such as Tacitus and Marcus Aurelius transcribed great volumes about the need to accept life for what it was, trials and tribulations most of all. While their civilization could not survive its own ‘migrant crisis’, their writings live on, and are also relevant for the existential and spiritual battle we find ourselves in today.
Sisu has a metaphysical quality as well however, which uniquely recommends it for these apocalyptic times. Descriptions I have found by Finns online point to its ‘mystical, almost magical meaning.’
In discussions of both The Lord of the Rings and his own spiritual beliefs, Tolkien often discussed the concept of what he called “eucatastrophe”. As one of the world’s foremost linguists, he created this word to reflect a specific kind of event that can take place both in stories and real life.
“Eucatastrophe” means the exact opposite of “catastrophe”. While the latter refers to things suddenly going wrong, “eucatastrophe”, its inverse, refers to that moment when- in the midst of all seeming bleak and beyond hope- everything suddenly changes for the better, and good is able to (almost magically) triumph over evil. In his books examples would include the arrival of the eagles at the Battle of Five Armies, the arrival of Gandalf and the Rohirrim at the Battle of Helm’s Deep, and Gollum’s fall into Orodruin after taking the ring from Frodo.
Eucatastrophe is not possible without Sisu (a word I am sure Tolkien must have been aware of). For if we do not persevere in the face of darkness and despair, and fight back despite the overwhelming odds that confront us, then the arrival of moments of eucatastrophe is not possible.
The situation we see in Western Europe today is exactly that. The odds that we as Identitarians and European-Preservationists confront are dire. Not only is the present filled with unbound horrors, but the future possibilities range from bad to worse. The only potential outcomes rational observers can imagine range from complete Islamization to civil war to worse. Yet the concept of Sisu teaches us to persevere not just for the possibility of eucatastrophe and victory, and the chance that good will triumph over the evil so increasingly prevalent, but also because that is how we as Europeans should by nature conduct ourselves. The brave people of Finland have used the concept of Sisu to govern their actions for generations untold, and triumphed over many enemies and trials. In this latter age where we as people of European descent confront even greater threats to our ancestral lands and collective future, these ways of thinking laid down by our ancestors are of greater importance than ever before.