Just as with “Tantric Traditions“, the title suggests that this is another Manticore journal, especially because of the “volume 1” in the title. But just as with the other book, “Operative Traditions” is a book by one author.
Another suggestion of the title is Masonic. Before there was “speculative” Freemasonry, there was “operative” masonry. The selling line: “Where Ernst Jünger & Julius Evola meet at last” seems to suggest another direction though. In fact, both is true. The book is, to a certain extent, about “operative” traditions from before 1717, but rather than seeing it as a progression, Fernandez sees 1717 (the ‘founding’ of modern Freemasonry) as a turning point to the negative. He does not say that Freemasonry is the problem, but suggests that the same development that led Freemasonry to leave operativeness, led the West to loose its eye for the miraculous and an over-appreciation of technology and science.
The book perhaps mentions Freemasonry a few times, the subject is wholly different. Mostly based on the work of three thinkers, the author aims at presenting an idea of a contemporary operative Tradition. These authors are of course the German writer (and “war hero”) Ernst Jünger (1895-1998) who is most famous for his work Der Arbeiter (1932) which Fernandez does not translate as “the worker”, but as “the operator”. The other author is the Italian Traditionalist Julius Evola (1898-1974) who people familiar with this website and the books published by Manticore Press will be familiar. The last author is Eugen Herrigel (1884-1955) whose book Zen in der Kunst des Bogenschießens (“Zen in the Art of Archery”), in which he describes his experiences while studying under master Awa Kenzô, is referred to a lot.
I find Fernandez’ book a difficult read. It is well-written in good English, but often ‘high-flying’, with sentences full of interesting sounding words. Also the book comes across very philosophical to me, writing a lot, but not saying too much. Within the whirlwind of information I fail to find the red thread or even the point. Fernandez manages well to explain spiritual experiences in technological terms (such as a photo camera flash), but the purpose of his lengthy explanations of elements of scientific discoveries elude me. There are large parts that make nice reads. There are also large parts that do not appeal to me at all. What does not help, is that, like I said, I have not found what the author says he presents. The book remains a receptacle of thoughts and information without coming to a clear conclusion.
Fernandez frequently refers to volume 2, so I suppose this part is well in the making. Perhaps there he will ‘wrap things up’.
2017 Manticore Press, isbn 0994595867