The portal to action

Maximilian Rehn
4 min readMar 1, 2024


There was Empedocles, a philosopher, man of high vision.
He jumped into volcano Aetna in Sicily because he knew he
would be reborn as a god. Now imagine yourself in front of
rim of Aetna. It’s dry and sandy. You feel the heat but is not
like you thought it might be. Is not Romantic. Is just hot, dry,
you can’t breathe, and the smell of infernal sulfur and wet
earth and even worse things triggers an old memory or instinct
in you to run. You’re brought to face with a vehemence and
brutality of rock and you start to feel dizzy staring in. Molten
rock in your nostrils and it’s not just that it scares you. If it
were great fear, that could be a spur to action. But it fills your
nostrils with banality and dullness of plain molten dust, you
see gray and black. It reminds you of torrid summer afternoon
by abandoned gas station, you are stranded on dirt road,
choked by heat and so much dust. You see flames in the hole
but it lacks the romance of fire as you imagined it. Is this it? It
seems like nothing to you, because to your eye it’s nothing. So
you pull away from it. You’re not reborn as a god, you remain
a mule. Your lying mind now comes up with many thoughts
about why it’s right to pull back. Why, of course! There’s a
nice meal to have, a glass of wine. Maybe there’s a girl
waiting. Her pussy is warm and inviting. Empedocles was
No, don’t jump in Aetna or Mauna Loa or Puyehue or
Eyjafjallajökull, Titans of the world, even if you get yourself
to do it, it won’t work now. These portals are closed for ages.
But! Other doors are closed to you too. What Mount Aetna
was to Empedocles — is there something like that to you? Is
there something like that at all anymore?
Life has a thing inside it that reaches beyond itself. This is
intergalactic worm, I can’t say here, you must wait. But if you
don’t reach beyond yourself you are dead! Most of mankind is
the walking dead.

In the Bronze Age men had life and force, and I already see, far on the horizon of our world, but the glimmer is surely there — may it not be a mirage! — I see this spirit returning surely in our time. Piratical bands and brotherhoods will take to the seas, and not just to the seas. The enemies of Western man and the enemies of beauty are to learn just what was meant by a piratical race, a nest of pirates like the Chinese thought of the Dutch on first meeting them. I want to prepare you to receive this old spirit — old spirits are moving, from behind the reeds… the silhouette shimmers against a river in late summer, and I see already men who know how to honor such uncanny old friends. May they inhabit us again and give us strength to purify this world of refuse.

— Passage from “Bronze age mindset”

This passage seems to evoke a vision of a return to a more primal, vigorous state of being — a time when men were perceived to have lived with greater vitality and purpose. The mention of the horizon and a glimmer suggests a future potential or hope that this ancient spirit, characterized by boldness, might be revived in contemporary times. The reference to “piratical bands and brotherhoods” taking to the seas — and not just the seas — symbolizes a broader resurgence of adventurous, daring, and possibly confrontational attitudes toward the established order or the enemies of what the author perceives as “Western man” and “beauty.”

The use of “piratical race” and the historical allusion to the Dutch as seen by the Chinese intensifies this vision, suggesting a break from conventional, possibly complacent ways of living, towards a more assertive stance against what is seen as detrimental to western values. This call to embrace an “old spirit” and the imagery of old spirits moving, silhouetted against a river in late summer, conveys a sense of reconnecting with past wisdoms and strengths that have been lost or subdued in modern times.

The final lines of the passage serve as a rallying cry to welcome these ancient energies back into the contemporary human spirit, to imbue modernity with the strength and purity the author believes were characteristic of earlier times. The call to “purify this world of refuse” suggests a moral or cultural crusade against what is viewed as corruption or degradation of society.

Overall, the passage is a poetic and symbolic call for a revival of what the author sees as a more authentic, vigorous, and perhaps noble way of being that challenges the present and seeks to reshape it in the image of an idealized past. It’s a blend of nostalgia for a mythic past with a call to action for the future, embodying a desire to reclaim or rediscover certain values or qualities believed to be lost.



Maximilian Rehn

Change is good. Writing too slowly wastes your time, while writing too quickly wastes your ideas. Writing too long wastes other people’s time, while…