There are two directions for future developments of Tradition, based on how seriously one takes Guenon’s view of the modern world. Specifically, he regarded it as an “illusion”, i.e., totally false, and it would dissipate as soon as the illusion evaporated. That means he opposed its very foundations, including the ideas of progress, evolution, democracy, equality, etc., that is, every quality that the modern world holds dear. From his perspective, these ideas are not worth debating; only an “intellectual conversion” could destroy the illusion.
Guenon began publishing his books in the 1920s. Apart from Guido De Giorgio who knew him personally, it seems that Julius Evola was the first writer to have incorporated Guenon’s views into a larger whole. That was still in the 20s, well before figures like Ananda Coomaraswamy, Fritjhof Schuon became involved. Schuon, in particular, has had a minor following who consider themselves the guardians of Tradition. They are the nice side of tradition, earned by writing favorably about world religions, even compiling a compendium of “Traditional Wisdom”. They often aim for academic respectability. This “vanilla” tradition seems far from the radical nature of Guenon himself. Moreover, this strand tends to exclude Evola from their purview, mostly by neglect, yet resorting to hostility when necessary.
Let us not forget that Guenon regarded the diremption of politics from spiritual life as another deviation of the modern world. Hence, the “separation of church and state” or the French-style secular state are simply errors promulgated in the modern world. Now it is true that apart from his involvement with Action Française, which ended with its condemnation by Pio IX, Guenon avoided active participation in politics, for obvious reasons. Evola, on the other hand, again for the obvious reason, did engage in the political situation at his time. Of course, Evola made some mistakes, since action in the world differs from the contemplation of metaphysical principles.
This hardly means that he was anti-Tradition, as the “nice” wing would have it. Quite the contrary, he was following one of Guenon’s core principles. Now who else, among the new breed of professors and professional “traditionalists”, are so intransigently opposed to the values and mores of the modern world?
Path of Blame
Charles Upton, in The System of the Antichrist, gives a useful summary of the ideal of the People of Blame. The true esoterist becomes indistinguishable from exoteric believers. Ibn al-Arabi pointed out that the spiritual works which are obligatory for ordinary believers are even more so obligatory to the Sufi esoterist. The principle of non-duality is the metaphysical justification for this: God is beyond the duality of esoteric/exoteric, so one is not “higher” than the other.
This is the same conclusion that Valentin Tomberg reached: anthroposophy cannot be an alternative to the Traditional church. Authority comes through Tradition, not from one’s particular spiritual experiences. The latter must be subservient to the former.
This became crystal clear to me some time ago, while I was participating in a weekly discussion group on Nisargadatta’s discourse collected in I Am That. Since he was regarded as an enlightened being (I am not disputing that), we strove to penetrate his mystical utterances. Of course, we were all “beyond” any exoteric religions. One day, someone brought in a documentary film about him. I noticed right away that he had a little altar set up in his apartment. So, certainly, such a man does not neglect his exoteric prayers. Once the depth of that observation sunk in, I left the group shortly thereafter.
Now Nisargadatta seemed to be a humble man, running his tobacco shop, and not running expensive weekend seminars.
That is not the case, however, for most New Age gurus. Eckhart Tolle, for example, followed a rather formulaic path. At the point of despair, he came to a sudden inner transformation leading to the realization of his life purpose. His reading of Bo Yin Ra was the trigger.
That worked pretty well for Mr Tolle. Unfortunately, it won’t work for you. You will need to spend money on books, videos, overpriced lectures and expensive retreats, wherein you will experience various “modalities” to dissolve the ego. As if the ego will spend all that money just to get dissolved! But it is not just about dissolving the ego, since a side effect will be the elimination of violence in the world. Any day now.
Translation of Sintesi
I know many people have wanted to bring me gifts, but were unsure what to get. After all, what to give the guy who has everything? Well, here are two suggestions for your consideration:
- A Maserati Quatroporte
- A copy of the book La Razza di Roma by Massimo Scaligero