THE CRISIS OF THE MODERN WORLD COLLECTED WORKS OF RENE GUENON

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The Crisis Of The Modern World

Author : René Guénon
ISBN : 0900588500
Genre : Social Science
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It is no longer news that the Western world is in a crisis, a crisis that has spread far beyond its point of origin and become global in nature. In 1927, Reni Guinon responded to this crisis with the closest thing he ever wrote to a manifesto and 'call-to-action'. The Crisis of the Modern World was his most direct and complete application of traditional metaphysical principles-particularly that of the 'age of darkness' preceding the end of the present world-to social criticism, surpassed only by The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, his magnum opus. In the present work Guinon ruthlessly exposes the 'Western deviation': its loss of tradition, its exaltation of action over knowledge, its rampant individualism and general social chaos. His response to these conditions was not 'activist', however, but purely intellectual, envisioning the coming together of Western intellectual leaders capable under favorable circumstances of returning the West to its traditional roots, most likely via the Catholic Church, or, under less favorable ones, of at least preserving the 'seeds' of Tradition for the time to come.
Category: Social Science

The Reign Of Quantity And The Signs Of The Times

Author : René Guénon
ISBN : 0900588683
Genre : Religion
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The Reign of Quantity gives a concise but comprehensive view of the present state of affairs in the world, as it appears from the point of view of the 'ancient wisdom', formerly common both to the East and to the West, but now almost entirely lost sight of. The author indicates with his fabled clarity and directness the precise nature of the modern deviation, and devotes special attention to the development of modern philosophy and science, and to the part played by them, with their accompanying notions of progress and evolution, in the formation of the industrial and democratic society which we now regard as 'normal'. Guinon sees history as a descent from Form (or Quality) toward Matter (or Quantity); but after the Reign of Quantity-modern materialism and the 'rise of the masses'-Guinon predicts a reign of 'inverted quality' just before the end of the age: the triumph of the 'counter-initiation', the kingdom of Antichrist. This text is considered the magnum opus among Guinon's texts of civilizational criticism, as is Symbols of Sacred Science among his studies on symbols and cosmology, and Man and His Becoming according to the Vedanta among his more purely metaphysical works.
Category: Religion

The Symbolism Of The Cross

Author : René Guénon
ISBN : 0900588667
Genre : Religion
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The Symbolism of the Cross is a major doctrinal study of the central symbol of Christianity from the standpoint of the universal metaphysical tradition, the 'perennial philosophy' as it is called in the West. As Gunon points out, the cross is one of the most universal of all symbols and is far from belonging to Christianity alone. Indeed, Christians have sometimes tended to lose sight of its symbolical significance and to regard it as no more than the sign of a historical event. By restoring to the cross its full spiritual value as a symbol, but without in any way detracting from its historical importance for Christianity, Gunon has performed a task of inestimable importance which perhaps only he, with his unrivalled knowledge of the symbolic languages of both East and West, was qualified to perform. Although The Symbolism of the Cross is one of Gunon's core texts on traditional metaphysics, written in precise, nearly 'geometrical' language, vivid symbols are necessarily pressed into service as reference points-how else could the mind ascend the ladder of analogy to pure intellection? Gunon applies these doctrines more concretely elsewhere in critiquing modernity in such works as The Crisis of the Modern World and The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, and invokes them also to help explain the nature of initiation and of initiatic organizations in such works as Perspectives on Initiation and Initiation and Spiritual Realization.
Category: Religion

Perspectives On Initiation

Author : Rene Guenon
ISBN : 0900588411
Genre : Religion
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The present volume, first published at the close of World War II, and based on a series of articles on initiation originally written between 1932 and 1938 for Le Voile d'Isis (later renamed tudes Traditionnelles), is unique in giving a comprehensive account both of the conditions of initiation and of the characteristics of organizations qualified to transmit it. Gunon's distinction between the initiatic and the mystical paths-the first requiring a formal relationship with a master, a set of specific contemplative techniques, and a chain-of-transmission stretching back to the origin of the tradition in question, the second generally lacking these elements-led to some controversy between those who accept this distinction and others who believe that initiatory and mystical spirituality are one and the same. The book presents such central principles as the dangers and barrenness of syncretism, the often dire consequences of fostering 'psychic powers', and the superiority of sacerdotal initiation (into the Greater Mysteries) over 'royal' initiation (into the Lesser Mysteries), though both are necessary parts of the initiatic path. This last point precisely defines the rift between Gunon and Julius Evola, whose elevation of royal initiation over sacerdotal must be seen, according to Gunon's criteria, as a modern-day echo of the ancient revolt of the warrior caste against the priestly one. Whoever follows Gunon's argument will realize that a romantic warrior mysticism held no fascination for him, and is in fact explicitly contrary to his principles. But pre-eminently, Perspectives on Initiation provides indispensable points of reference for anyone attempting to distinguish between 'initiatic', 'pseudo-initiatic', and 'countert-initiatic' spiritualities in these profoundly uncertain times.
Category: Religion

East And West

Author : Rene Guenon
ISBN : 0900588497
Genre : Political Science
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In East and West Guenon diagnoses the fundamental 'abnormality' of Western civilization vis-a-vis the traditional civilizations of the East, suggests avenues by which the West might be 're-oriented' toward the fundamental metaphysical principles it has largely abandoned, and outlines the possible role of a restoration of true intellectuality in this task. Of course, East and West are no longer what they were in Guenon's time. The aggressive rationalism and materialism of post-Christian Western culture has become a worldwide phenomenon, and no longer corrodes the philosophical and cultural underpinnings of the West only: it has infiltrated distorted forms of Eastern spirituality and metaphysics, incited fundamentalist reactions the world over, and, thanks to the pervasive internet, wields previously unheard of influence. And so today we have an East largely inflamed with a desire to surpass the West in materialism, and a West sodden with moral and spiritual degeneracy. Nonetheless, fruitful exchanges between traditional Christianity and Eastern religions have also taken place on an unprecedented scale, though marred by an ongoing temptation to ill-informed syncretism. recent decades, delivers a stunning intellectual punch. But the East is always the East: the place where the sun rises, the point of recollection and return to the Source. And the West is always the West: the place of the full manifestation of possibilities (including the most degenerate), of the tendency to dissipation and dissolution; the point where the sun sets. In postmodern, global culture, we are all more or less forced to be 'Westerners' outwardly; our only recourse under these circumstances may be to become 'Easterners' within.
Category: Political Science

Against The Modern World

Author : Mark Sedgwick
ISBN : 9780195396010
Genre : Religion
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Against the Modern World is the first history of Traditionalism, an important yet surprisingly little-known twentieth-century anti-modern movement. Comprising a number of often secret but sometimes very influential religious groups in the West and in the Islamic world, it affected mainstream and radical politics in Europe and the development of the field of religious studies in the United States, touching the lives of many individuals. French writer Rene Guenon rejected modernity as a dark age and sought to reconstruct the Perennial Philosophy - the central truths behind all the major world religions. Guenon stressed the urgent need for the West's remaining spiritual and intellectual elite to find personal and collective salvation in the surviving vestiges of ancient religious traditions. A number of disenchanted intellectuals responded to his call. In Europe, America, and the Islamic world, Traditionalists founded institutes, Sufi brotherhoods, Masonic lodges, and secret societies. Some attempted unsuccessfully to guide Fascism and Nazism along Traditionalist lines; others later participated in political terror in Italy. Traditionalist ideas were the ideological cement for the alliance of anti-democratic forces in post-Soviet Russia, and in the Islamic world entered the debate about the relationship between Islam and modernity. Although its appeal in the West was ultimately limited, Traditionalism has wielded enormous influence in religious studies, through the work of such Traditionalists as Ananda Coomaraswamy, Huston Smith, Mircea Eliade, and Seyyed Hossein Nasr.
Category: Religion

The Spiritist Fallacy

Author : René Guénon
ISBN : 0900588721
Genre : Body, Mind & Spirit
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Since WW II, 'channeling' has largely replaced older styles of mediumship in the movement loosely known as the New Age. Yet the two are intimately related. As both historical chronicle and metaphysical critique, The Spiritist Fallacy, together with its companion volume, Theosophy: History of a Pseudo-Religion, is a valuable study of New Age origins. Guenon takes the 'spirit manifestations' of the Fox sisters in Hydesville, New York (in 1847) as his starting-point, but while accepting the reality of many such 'manifestations', denies that they represent the spirits of the departed. He sees them, rather, as fostering belief in a kind of rarefied materialism, as though the 'spirit of the deceased' were no more than an invisible, quasi-material body, and death no more than a 'shedding' of the physical body while the 'spirit' remains otherwise unchanged-a belief widespread today in popular culture. The author demonstrates how various 'spirit philosophies' are little more than reflections of their own milieux-'English spirits' being conservative and denying reincarnation, 'French spirits' accepting reincarnation and espousing progressivist or revolutionary ideas, etc. And he addresses the strange fact that 'manifestations' associated from antiquity with haunted houses suddenly, in the 19th century-and within five years of their appearance-spawned an international pseudo-religious movement, speculating that certain magicians (possibly from the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor) may have intentionally produced the Hydesville phenomena by actively projecting hidden influences upon the passive psyches of their mediums. The mutual influence of Spiritism and Theosophy, and the adverse affects of 'spirit entities' upon many mediums, are also covered in considerable detail. The Spiritist Error is both an expose of 'unconscious Satanism' and a highly useful critique of the false ideas of the afterlife which are so prevalent in our time.
Category: Body, Mind & Spirit

Initiation And Spiritual Realization

Author : René Guénon
ISBN : 0900588357
Genre : Religion
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The present volume is a companion volume to Guenon Perspectives on Initiation, in which Guenon carefully defined the nature of initiation and of the organizations qualified to transmit it. In Initiation and Spiritual Realization he adds many details on related subjects, including various inner and outer obstacles the aspirant may face, the need for attachment to a traditional exoterism, the role of the spiritual master, and a closer examination of the degrees of spiritual realization.
Category: Religion

Spiritual Authority And Temporal Power

Author : René Guénon
ISBN : 0900588470
Genre : Religion
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Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power is an analysis of cyclical manifestation, and more specifically of the relationship between royal and sacerdotal power. In accord with the Hindu doctrine of manvantaras and Plato's depiction of historical degeneration in the Republic, Gunon views history here as a series of 'revolts' of lower castes against the higher. The kshatriyas (warriors) revolt against the brahmins (priests), thus setting the stage for a revolt of the vaishyas (loosely, the bourgeoisie), as in the French revolution-and, finally, the shudras (the proletariat), as in the Russian revolution (which Gunon does not touch upon in this work). From one point of view, this is a progressive degeneration; from another it is entirely lawful, given the 'entropic' nature of manifestation itself. External, historical descent reflects an inner degeneration: knowledge (the celestial paradise) is eclipsed by heroic action (the terrestrial paradise), which is in turn overrun by the inertia and agitation of the passions. Yet the nadir of degeneration is also the point of renewal: the dawning of the Heavenly Jerusalem-spiritual Knowledge-which begins a new cycle of manifestation.
Category: Religion