This is third section of an article by Guido de Giorgio, titled The Instant and Eternity, first published in Diorama Filosofico in 1939.
I am constantly struck by so many people today who only perceive darkness, ignorance, or intolerance in the past. They tell me about dictators oppressively their people, who must be saved; some unfortunates who cannot afford this or that without a new government program; some marginal group that must be accepted; and so on. The long for some mythical future when all will be well with the world. Yet they do nothing for their own family, their own children and grandchildren; they assume their current life will continue, just as it is now. They cannot conceive that someday they will be oppressed, impoverished, or marginalized, with nothing to hope for. Those who cut their ties to the past don’t have a future, because they don’t even know what it is.
We said many times that ancient cultures are immobile or seem to be such; but that is precisely their greatness, that fundamental stability that removes all contrasts, integrates all rhythms into the central vein, to the traditional type, who alone remains in the wholeness of its formative efficacy. That is why whoever intends to remain in the pure domain of traditional truth, always turns, logically, toward the past, to retrace the stages of certitude and add them to his experience. This, under that angle, is then recapitulative and conclusive: it is not an exterior repetition, but grants its rhythm to that which is none other than is own face, today still ignored, from now on found again and vivified. It is very difficult to explain certain things to those who hold onto dualist positions and who think that there is something besides the Truth, which is God eternally present. Truth: there only can one become what he is, i.e., one transcends the sphere of human limitations to live the same beat of the infinite.
When we say ancient we mean everything that is valuable, perennial, traditionally authentic in the past of the East and the West, whether it is about a distant or near, doctrinal or poetic, past: it matters little, provided that it reflects, in the truth of its expression, the great light of the Superworld. Beyond the Sacred Books, there is Poetry and sacred Art. There is finally all the forms of activity which, in the past, always relate to a truth of a higher order, be it in a modest utensil, and in the fabrication and the destination of objects of current usage. That past, as we mean it, and all those who are searching only for the truth of God should mean it, is life, creative rhythm, an inexhaustible deposit of wisdom which renews itself each time it is actualized by a new experience. But it is especially the reality of a vibrant life because vivified by the perennial breath of traditional energy. Moderns consider the past as a relic whose ruins they borrow and around which they prowl with the curiosity of photographers and archeologists: who, among them, accepts the past totally, assumes it in all its fullness, not in order to seize form it some fragments and exalt them, but in order to integrate it in one’s experience of life while recapitulating it in a creative manner?