Friday, March 23, 2018

Miguel Serrano: A Record of Two Friendships (or, How I Ingratiated Myself to Two Old Men for My Own Sleazy Purposes)

I have had this book on my shelf for a number of years, but only glanced into it occasionally before deciding at the end of last year to read it through.  A few pages into Miguel Serrano’s memoir of his association with Hermann Hesse and Carl Jung, published by Schocken Books in 1966, the author casually mentions a small deception he made in conversation with Hesse by implying that he was going to India as a seeker, a humble wanderer, rather than in a diplomatic capacity.  I thought that this was a curious thing to do, so I decided it was time to learn more about Mr. Serrano, Chilean diplomat and (inconsequential to our discussion) alleged paramour of Indira Gandhi.
Well, I got an eyeful about Mr. Serrano.  In this book, he presents himself as a metaphysical seeker, an introspective searcher who had learned much from the esoteric writings of the elderly gents into whose orbit he so forcefully inserted himself, fawning at their feet to eke out a few letters from them in return.  Try as I might, in my reading of this volume, I don’t seem to find any reference to Serrano’s true life passion - as exposed by the easy access of information that the internet provides us - the glorification and apotheosis of Adolf Hitler, known as Esoteric Hitlerism.  Apparently his deep reading and thoughtful meditation had led him to cobble together a bizarre amalgam of “Aryan” Vedic knowledge and Nazi cultism to bring forth a strange and vile religion based on Hitler worship and (surprise!) vilification of the Jews.  If you care to have a gander at Google Images, you can see images of Senor Serrano down through the years, done up nice in his crisp black uniform with its assorted vile paraphernalia, waving a peculiarly stiff goodbye to someone apparently out of the camera shot.

Now the biggest, and most puke-inducing, kick regarding this bullshit is that this loathsome creep somehow shanghai’d Schocken Press, a pre-eminent publisher specializing in Judaica to publish it, in those glorious pre-internet days before one could “google” a name and see what kind of freakish dishonest bastard you were dealing with.
I don’t know to what extent Hesse and Jung had any Nazi sympathies (apparently there are suspicions and rumors regarding Jung that I’ve never taken the time to look into), but they certainly weren’t on display here.  What this tiresome memoir looks like is some fast-talking sleaze pushing himself upon two semi-retired figures in their dotage, and harvesting their acquaintance to facilitate publication of, as far as I can tell, the only remotely respectable piece of work he ever presented to the world.  Mr. Serrano left this world in 2009: I hope they buried him proudly in that lovely uniform - in a pile of dung.