Tag Archives: Traditionalism

Rising from the Ruins

Ur ruinerna

Finally arriving in the mailbox, “Rising from the Ruins” (Ur ruinerna) is a beacon of hope for Northern and Western Europe and the West in large, as these bleak days that are being heralded with jumbled and insignificant words are falling more and more on deaf and indifferent ears: “Progress”, “Democracy”, “Diversity”, “Open Society”; but which in reality are euphemisms for Kali Yuga or the Twilight of the Gods, Ragnarök.

Joakim Andersen is the head contributor for the Swedish New Right, Alt-Right – or whatever label you prefer – think-tank Motpol, (Counter pole) and a chief figure in the growing Swedish underground political and cultural sphere which is represented, aside from Motpol, by the publishing house Arktos, Logik Förlag and many more Swedish alternative media outlets.
He and the Motpol gang have committed themselves to the re-invigoration of the Swedish culture and political sphere. They describe one of their chief goals as follows: “Lifting forth a spectrum of culture left out from an increasingly narrower and infantile public discourse.”

Being a former Marxist with a keen eye for the history of ideas, Andersen has delved and shed light on the principles of Traditionalism and the New Right school of thought brought forth by the likes of Alain de Benoist and the French think-tank GRECE, (Groupement de recherche et d’études pour la civilisation européenne), chiefly responsible for introducing these ideas to Swedes seeking to find their way out of the mirage of Liberalism. He continues this admirable trade in his book debut.

Just like the eponymous title suggest, “Rising from the Ruins” proclaims “The End is Nigh”, that the liberal order of the West is doomed to perish from the internal contradictions and crises that it has afflicted upon itself via mass immigration, multicultural politics at the expense of native cultures, cultural and spiritual neglect, and unprecedented demographic change, (Progress, according to Liberals).
But as they say about “blessings in disguise”, this means that from the metaphysical ruins, not any physical rubble (with the exception of Detroit and the growing European suburbs), a new type of world is taking form, at least in the form of ideas and street activism.
“Rising from the Ruins” examines the growth of the Alt-Right phenomena and its similarities and distinctions with the European New Right. It looks at the Donald Trump phenomena, (albeit before his shift into the same-old interventionist and Zionist pandering). The book highlights a number of thinkers from which the New Right/Alt Right have reaped ideas from: Julius Evola with his Riding the Tiger, Martin Heidegger with Daesein, Ezra Pound with Usura, René Guenon with the Crisis of the Modern World, Samuel T. Francis with his Foxes and Wolves analogy of power struggle, Aleksandr Dugin with Eurasianism, Guillaume Faye with Archeo-Futurism, Antonio Gramsci with Cultural Hegemony; the seed to Cultural Marxism, Hans Blüher with the Männerbund; a fraternity of Men keeping (or re-invigorating) the flame of Civilization, (i.e. the Monks after the fall of Rome laying down the groundwork for Christian Europe), as well as highlighting the intellectual, cultural and social movements: Casa Pound; (the Männerbund), the Eurasian movement, Génération identitarie, etcetera.

Joakim Andersen proves himself an accomplished summarizer. His wide encyclopedic knowledge of the intellectual history of the Right and the various movements mentioned above is impressive to say the least. Drawing inspiration from Spengler, Evola and many others, the book does not merely linger on the political, but on the spiritual and cultural sphere, from a possible re-Christianization to a revival of European heathenism  a sargued by Alain de Benoist and others of the French New Right. The optimism one feels while reading the book makes it stand out from all the echoes of defeatism and short-term strategy that characterizes the black-pillers. Andersen allows the thinkers and ideas to speak for themselves without muffles, very seldom sharing personal thoughts or insights on the issues.

It must be noted, Andersen stresses, that the nations of Europe differs and thus one ideology or movement in a particular country may not succeed in another. The Identitarian movement in France and Germany being a good example. Both countries are unified states, composed of several historical “nations” or tribes with strong sense of “local patriotism”. In the case of France, we have the Celts of Brittany, the German heritage of Alsace, and in Germany, the state of Bavaria. In Sweden, where the nation state has gone further and local identities been swallowed up in the homogenization process – the exceptions being the provincial identities of Dalarna, Skåne and Gotland – the Identitarian movement have not picked up here as great as in France. Likewise, Casa Pound, being a product of Italian sensibility and cultural formation might prove difficult in exporting to other countries that lacks that some vigor and thumos that Italians have stored. Possibly the incomplete and non-dogmatic Fourth Political Theory could blend well with the different historical, cultural and religious backgrounds of respective European nations and peoples.

The English edition is under way, and I can highly recommend it for its spiritually and life affirming importance. Time is due to learn how to ride the tiger through all the rubbles and funeral pyres.

The Forest and the ‘Faustian’ Soul

“Deep roots are untouched by frost.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

Source:
http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2016/01/timeless-essays-the-forest-and-the-faustian-soul.html

Against Libertarianism

Libertarian philosophy, which achieved it’s clearest development in the work of Robert Nozick, rests on the state of nature fantasy, conceived of by Rousseau, which conceives of man as a self sufficient automaton who rationally gives up a portion of his independence to benefit from the law and order of a just society. Thus, for liberals of all stripes, but especially libertarians, the relation between man and society is contractual, man serves society only insofar as it is beneficial to his own self interest. The conception of a cause greater than individual self interest is discarded, if not explicitly then implicitly. Libertarians may pay lip service to nationalism, community, religion or other forms of tradition, but this can only be considered lip service – their philosophy relegates these to a place of subservience to the self, and their existence is thus contingent on their being perceived to benefit a collective of this self interest. To make these tings contingent on individual interest is to remove all their significance, and to condemn them to an inevitable downfall among a mass of other superstitions which, in the liberal mindset, were only hindrances on the individuals growth.

Libertarianism differs from other forms of liberalism in that it is completely amoral. Other forms of liberalism leave a place for some kind of universal morality, generally based on universal compassion or the remnants of a Christian morality, libertarianism by contrast sees it’s amoral principles as steadfast due to their objective fairness within the conception of man the libertarian holds. This a priori, objective nature is what draws a lot of young intellectual types to the movement, they, like socialists, want an easy solution, a few basic principles which are applicable to all forms of social organisation, at all times, for all people. Taking these principles as sacrosanct, any societal problems which develop under them are seen as faults of he individual, protecting the objective rightness of the principles involved. But there will be losers under libertarianism, and these losers will be those who cannot make themselves valuable in the open market.

This is another problem of libertarianism, it is almost wholly an economic philosophy. It’s founders and chief propagators, Friedrich Von Hayek, Milton Friedman, Murray Rothbard and others, were economists who sought to build a wholly a priori economic science which was not so reliant on the whims of politicians and changing circumstances as Keynesianism was. Keynesianism necessitated politicians deciding when the time was right to stimulate the economy with tax payer money, and when the time was right to restrict growth to prevent eventual downfall. With an understandable and natural distrust for this kind of cynical authority, they sought to take this power over people’s lives out of the politicians hands and into the individuals, through their collective choices to supply and demand the market and thus dictate a fair equilibrium, and also to objective, fair, a priori principles, which could do the job politicians tried to do better than the politicians. Libertarianism is the philosophy of the modern automaton. The wholly individual, self seeking economic unit, the “ego and his own”, free to forge his destiny through the amoral pursuit of his desires.

But man is more than an economic unit. Who has ever seen the Individual that the libertarians speak of? Man is an aspect of, a reflection of, a creation of and an integral part of his community. Man is his family. Man is his religion. Man is his nation. Man is his ethnicity. Man is his people’s history. Man is NOT simply a pleasure seeking animal, man, as Aristotle says, is a social animal. And more importantly, man is a being who thirsts for something greater. In his day to day life, he chases one pleasure after another, life, as Schopenhauer says, swings like a pendulum between pain and ennui. And yet, there is an intuition within us all that there is something greater than the material, that there is a good or goods to be pursued, whose pursuit goes beyond any narrow economic interests, and whose pursuit we feel is the justification for this endless game of survival.

Finally, libertarianism, more than any other credible political philosophy, is anathema to nationalism. For the libertarian, every individual is equal and should be given an equal chance, there is no concern over mass immigration for within libertarianism this is fundamentally fair. Let as many immigrants come as they please, the best will be hired, the worst will not, that is what’s fair. This is also to suppose that outside of the government’s interference we can have a totally color blind world, where individuals escape the shackles of the ignorance of racism and other prejudices. Libertarianism is also steadfastly opposed to all forms of protectionism, and, in it’s usual a priori way sees Free Trade as objectively fair and right, regardless of national interest. What this unabashed free trade would mean is a fully global market and the removal of borders in any meaningful sense.

This is hardly surprising when one looks at the founders of libertarianism. Von Hayek, Friedman, Rothbard, Nozick and Ayn Rand were all racial jews. Kevin MacDonald in his book The Culture of Critique gives two characteristics of Jewish intellectual movements. They are generally internationalist in nature, and propose a world free of nationalism and national interests, and they rest on unproven, often unprovable a priori assumptions. This fits Marxism, psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt School, and of course libertarianism. It is easy to see why it has attracted many prominent jews among it’s ranks, for it promises a world free of nations, free of irrationality, free of collective interest in any groups, and favours a society which would inevitably be run by a small economic elite, free from taxation or responsibilities to their host nation. Let no man call himself a libertarian who opposed internationalism, liberalism, atheism, modernism and the materialism and selfishness which accompany it.

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Democracy is a Myth

Democracy is a myth

“Who will rule, God or Man? This is the great constitutional question of human existence”
Excerpt from Demokratin är en myt (Democracy is a Myth); or The Myth of Democracy

Swedish historian, thinker and leading representative for the Perennial school of thought, Tage Lindbom (1909-2001) wrote his critique on Western democracy in 1990. Formerly a dedicated member of the Social Democratic Party of Sweden, he grew disillusioned with the economic progress, yet spiritually and culturally empty void of Swedish society. He denounced Social Democracy in favor of a Traditionalist worldview, embraced Sufism and became a disciple of the Swiss Sufi metaphysician Frithjof Schuon. He spent the remainder of his life with writing critiques of Modernity. In his work “Democracy is a Myth“, he puts democracy under the microscope and lay forth that once Democracy raised to the status of Myth, Mythos, became the Order of Western Civilization or as he terms it: the Kingdom of Man; “Människoriket”.

The first thing is to give some context. What is Traditionalism and Modernism? First, Traditionalism is being aware of a higher, divine reality that determine the worldly, sensual reality. The other is the idea that rejects the Traditional in favor of evermore change, progress and the abolishment of hierarchies and authorities in order to create new fields of human exploitation. Simply put, Traditionalism is the idea of a cosmic equilibrium in which man lives in connection with both a vertical and horisontal existence, whereas Modernity is the idea of unrestrained human freedom and a purely horisontal worldview.

In spite of this long lasting enmity, Lindbom finds a common thread that unites both the Traditionalist and Modern worldview. While ideological, cultural and spiritual enemies, they share a common heritage of a common memory of a primordial state of Order. Both Traditionalism and Modernity acknowledges a primordial order, yet differ on the basis of whether Man or God will rule supreme. It is from this search for the primordial source that the French thinker Jean Jacques Rousseau constructs his ideas of the General will, the Social Contract and Nature being the primordial source, i.e. the Garden of Eden or Paradise Lost.

With the Fall of man, we have the rise of Liberty and Equality, the two cornerstones in human existence and the ideological frameworks for the French and Russian Revolution or Devolution. By using the Myth instead of the Ideology, Democracy is raised above time and space, beyond human wills and strivings, becoming absolute, total and ahistorically primordial. Man is made the Sovereign, indivisible and the center of everything.
The prevailing order can be summarized as the holy trinity of Modernism.
In the name of Man, Modernity and the mythical Democracy.

 

 

 

The Demise of Chinese Spirituality

 

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I recently heard from a friend who on his travels to China met a Taoist practitioner who cried when he began to explain that there was no one left in all of China interested in Taoist practice and philosophy.

The Far East is revered for it’s deeply held spirituality, yet it is little discussed how the atheistic Neomarxism of the country coupled with its obsession over economic development has served a final death blow to indigenous Chinese spirituality. Christianity, admittedly, is spreading, but some of that is due to Chinese attempts at Westernization.

This is the side of modernism that is little discussed, but is in fact it’s core value. The sweeping, all devouring “progress”, which is simply a change in mindset from the valuation of quality to quantity. It is a move from the spiritual to the material, the infinite to the finite, the self sustaining community to the all consuming self. It is base materialism, which, like a cancer devours all that falls outside it’s narrow atomistic worldview. It is this that we, as Radical Traditionalists seek to resist.

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Radical Traditionalism is now on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/radicaltraditiomalism/

 

I have now added a facebook page for the blog, and I hope to grow it’s following through facebook over the coming months. So if you’re on Facebook please take the time to give the page a like.

 

It’s Too Late for The West

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 “Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.”
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Thus goes W.B. Yeats lament regarding the degradation in character and morals of the Irish middle class in the early 20th century. It’s ironic that this is found in his poem September 1913 when you consider that just three years after the date the Irish would participate in a brave rebellion against the British in Dublin, a rebellion they knew would end in failure and their blood sacrifice. In other words, Yeats was wrong, there was an aspect of romantic Ireland which survived, inside the hearts of every Irish man and woman as a spark of nationalist sentiment, a spark which was fanned into a veritable inferno by the events of September 1916. What is the point of this? The point is that people are always lamenting the degradation of what they hold dear, society is always collapsing, even when it isn’t. Man holds a certain pessimism for the progress of society. But I will venture to say it again, we, the west, are in decline. I am so sure of the downward direction our society is advancing in that I am now convinced there is no hope of redemption. The West is dead.
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Now, some may say my pessimism is unfounded and badly timed, giving the growth of the alt right, nationalist politics, Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. All these are signs that most people are throwing off the cosy liberal consensus and returning to a more reactionary approach to governance. This provides some hope, but ultimately it is motivated by the same motives as those who vote for liberal policies. In each case people vote based on the prospects of their finances under whatever leadership. Who will make them wealthiest, give them the most benefit for 4 years. No one votes on ideals, and the constant drive for economic prosperity is part of the reason the West is doomed. For it, we have sacrificed much, but the greatest sacrifice of all was morality. The West cannot survive because it is decadent. In our material comfort, we have lost reverence and respect for the ideals which were the formation of the West.
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The educated are resented, knowledge is scoffed at, philosophy and theology are seen as a joke, simply leaching off the more noble field of science, which guarantees continuing prosperity and comfort for us. Religion is seen as one hobby among many, no greater or worse than yoga, though perhaps worse for the hatred it inspires, though this can’t be said regarding Islam, for most muslims are non whites and thus immune to any criticism. Political correctness has stifled free debate, and shown us that liberalism as it ultimately manifests itself is little more “free” than medieval political arrangements. With the sacrifice of morality we can not recover. Even if there is a great awakening in the West, a massive reaction against the liberal consensus, the reactionaries will not know with what principles to replace those they rebel against. Rome did not collapse because it over extended itself or because it embraced Christianity, it collapsed for the same reason every great empire has – having long enjoyed prosperity created by men of belief, it fell into unbelief and decadence. The weak, nihilistic men this decadence spawned drove their inheritance into destruction. It has happened to every great civilization, it will happen to the West. Many on the left may embrace this, but what could possibly follow it is more worrying. Lament the death of the West, the Moslem barbarians wait at the crumbling walls of our civilisation.

A Call To Tradition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As of today this blog has been renamed The Traditionalist, and it’s new url is radicaltraditionalism.com. I feel it would be remiss of me to let this opportunity pass without explaining my decision to make it explicitly a space for the promotion of traditionalism.

The story of my journey to an embrace of traditionalism probably may not be captivating, but in many ways it seems to parallel the journey humanity has been on the past few centuries, though the conclusion is far from certain to be the same. What i mean is, I was raised with a romantic and firm belief in a religious mythology, began to embrace it intellectually, then encountered certain heresies against those beliefs and, after a rather poor intellectual examination of those original beliefs dropped them, first in favour of agnosticism or a kind of deism, and then in favour of full fledged materialism and atheism. I then faced the consequences of such a belief and, still desiring something greater than myself to believe in, I turned my passion to radical politics. Having seen the failings in such views, I then again dropped into a kind of nihilism, before embracing a return to traditionalism. Were my story to be akin to that of humanities, it would seem we are at the penultimate stage of development, though I am less than hopeful that is how it will pan out.

Raised a Catholic, I was quite devout as a child and for a time I even wanted to be a priest when I grew older. Around a certain age, say 14, an older family member introduced me to a YouTube documentary which viciously attacked religion and the Catholic Church in particular, and then casually “refuted” Christianity with it’s explanation of how the story of Jesus had been fabricated, taking common aspects from other religious myths such as Horus, Mithra and Krishna to construct a satisfying fairytale to keep stupid poor people under the thumb of the all powerful church. Of course, at the time I neither had the critical faculties nor the knowledge to challenge these shocking claims, and thus left my faith.

Despite losing my faith in any and all religion, I always remained an agnostic rather than an atheist, and still had a certain intuition that bare faced atheism could not be true, but I did not trouble myself with thinking over the matter. is there a God? Who knows? Better not to trouble oneself with such unanswerable questions and get on with life. My first great intellectual interest was politics, and I dived into it with all my heart and soul. The same family member who showed me the falsehood of all religion pointed my intellectual endeavors in the direction of radicalism, expressing his horror at the evils of capitalism and the crimes of the US. Once again, he seemed right minded on this, and I became quite left wing for a time, being convinced that socialism was the answer to the ills of mankind.

it is interesting looking back to see how tied my socialism was to my belief in determinism. Before any foray into philosophy, practically from the moment I dropped religion, I was convinced that free will was an illusion. I did not know such a theory even existed outside my own head, but it seemed clear that humans are impacted by the outside world the same way a stone or a tree is, and our movements are similarly determined. How did this tie into my radicalism? If there were such a lack of free will, the result of anyone’s position in society was there upbringing. The poor were poor because they were born into conditions destined to make them poor. The rich were rich by chance, being born into a wealthy family which had similarly won the lottery ticket of birth and been born into favorable circumstances. Having accepted this as true, what option was there other than to enforce a leveling on society, and ensure that all were given the same opportunity (and outcome). If no one was responsible for their position in life, what else could be fair? Of course, I was not so naive as to embrace a bare faced communism, the ideology which had caused the deaths of tens of millions and failed in practically all of it’s aims. I needed an alternative which was just as radical, but avoided the trappings of “orthodox communism”. Aided by reading a lot of Chomsky, I found this in anarchism, anrcho syndicalism, libertarian socialism or whatever other name is being used for it nowadays.

My faith in this belief system was also motivated by another thinker who I had come to love, Friedrich Nietzsche. As he is with many, Nietzsche was the first philosopher I read seriously,in fact, I did not just read him, i devoured him. Nietzsche opened my eyes to a terrible realisation I had somehow always avoided, unintentionally or not. If there was no God, if God really was dead, then everything was fundamentally meaningless. Concepts such as right or wrong, good or evil, better or worse, were just subjective preferences, statements of belief with no objective validity. This meant my passion for radicalism was basically just a silly little passion of mine. No system of governance was really better than another, because to believe that you had to believe in a right and wrong, and the reality we all faced was that in the end we will all die, all our suffering, all our joy, misery, success or failures will all come out in the wash the same. Infinity +1 is still infinity. However, I still had a strong sense of justice, and so I found a new, more Nietzchean way to justify my radicalism. A form of anarchism, it seemed, could be constructed which did not rely on resentment or the remnants of a Christian morality. Rather, this was a more positive system which sought to maximise the potential of all rather than maintain the narrow aims of ensuring everyone got their share of bread and water.

It would be much more simple to point out some moment where my whole perspective entirely changed, but belief is much more complex than that. Over the next few years I studied economics, politics and especially philosophy intently. I came to disregard Nietzsche and actually think him a quite worthless philosopher. I was drawn to the perennial philosophy. It seemed incredible to me to see the enormous similarity found in the doctrines of Eckhart and other Christian mystics, Lao Tzu, the Buddha, Sufism and the Upanishads. I especially took an interest in Eastern philosophy, and after intense study of it’s teachings saw Vedanta, the philosophical school of Hinduism, as the culmination of all philosophy, and it’s Brahman as being the absolute reality of which all religion attempts to express and celebrate. I also became convinced of the truth of idealism, and came to see materialism as an empty and fundamentally false philosophy, laced in error. During this time I became almost apolitical, I had given up on leftism, gradually feeling disdain for the tactics and arguments leftists used to advance their ideology, which to me seemed to appeal to nothing but man’s desire for comfort, before I had any stronger beliefs this always seemed to be an attitude worthy of disgust. I had hated the conservatives for always seeming to appeal to nothing but their constituents greed and desire to become wealthy, but now I realised those on the left appealed to desires just as base. People voted liberal or conservative, basically, based on which one would be most to their advantage, generally financial.

I came to see the whole of modern politics, and the whole of the modern world, as being built on a lie. The lie was never actually spoken, but it was ever present, underlying all discourse and argument. The lie was the promise of heaven on earth. It was the conviction that materialism was true, that God was dead and that the only real truth was the self. We can not believe anything to be absolutely true, and thus we can not believe that anything could be greater than the self, the medium which relegates these other potential truths to mere relativity. And the unavoidable conclusion of such belief is that the only path left for the human race is to pursue a logical path to both ever increasing personal freedom and manipulation of nature through science with the intent of increasing it’s potential to alleviate our suffering and increase our pleasure. The world is slowly moving from what remains of the Christian slave morality to a new utilitarian approach, which trusts in science and personal preferences to dictate the direction of human progress.

I realised this was the spirit of the age, and I detested every aspect of it. The utopianism, the promise of paradise on earth, that same promise which the communists and the fascists had used to justify their grave crimes against humanity. The positivism and scientism, which assumed science could answer all our questions, and anything that could not be answered in such a way was a not a meaningful question in the first place, thus relegating philosophy and religion without even bothering to debate them in any fair way. The belief that nothing was greater than pleasure. That art, education, literature, poetry, beauty, adventure, discovery, invention, religious experience, all of these only had worth in so far as they were enjoyable to the person experiencing them or benefited the survival and pleasure of the human race as a collective. That morality was non existent, that we could not condemn certain behavior or praise virtuous behavior. I detested these views, and I saw that they were not really separate beliefs at all, but rather branches on the one tree, sprouting from the one, fundamental belief which characterised the age they dominated. The belief was materialism. Liberals and conservatives are left and right on a spectrum which operates entirely in a materialist framework, a framework established during the Enlightenment by figures like Rousseau and Locke. Thus, the only alternative was not another place on that spectrum, another point on the compass, rather, the alternative would be to leave that spectrum entirely. To throw away materialism and modernism having accepted it’s failure, and to return to the kinds of beliefs which birthed Western civilization and all it’s fruits.

The alternative? Well, as the Traditionalist writers often point out, all religions have both an exoteric and an esoteric aspect. The exoteric aspect is that expressed to the masses, it is heaven and hell, God in heaven and people on earth, angels and demons, sins and sainthood. The esoteric aspect is that common to all religion. It is the mystical aspect, the one truth expressed by all great mystics and spiritual teachers, which the exoteric side is a simplified, doctrinal version of. These two options seem to be two alternatives to the modern dichotomy. In other words, one could embrace an exoterism, and thus embrace the absolute truth of one religion and struggle for it’s implementation as an alternative to the very post modern malaise we find ourselves in. The other option is esoterism, which would amount either to a form of paganism or an embrace of unity and detached, compassionate action, which could manifest politically as the promotion of spiritual seeking in all it’s forms. This is rather vague, and there’s a reason for that. The esoteric attitude is fundamentally a detached, apolitical one, which does not concern itself with the trivialities of organising the material world when the more fundamental task of achieving gnosis or enlightenment is ever present, and is something the individual must do alone. As such, embracing this spirit seems to land one in a new age, hoky, ultra liberal embrace of humanity which will struggle with relativity of liberalism, and which also lacks an absolute morality.

Thus, the solution, in my view, is a synthesis. A middle way between the esoteric and exoteric sides of traditionalism. This was the case in many ways while Europe was dominated by Christianity, for Christianity is perhaps the only religion which synthesises estoericism and exotericism It is exoterically esoteric, and it thus achieves the unity of the positive aspects of each. Thus, a Christian renaissance would be ideal for the kind of synthesis I believe is now desirable. Nevertheless, the point remains, that a return to the kind of traditionalism once enjoyed is not possible, as the subconscious prejudices and beliefs which enforced it have been challenged and called into question, and that alone is enough to derail the validity of the system they enforced. And so, my firm conviction is that our future, if we are to have one, rests in a ‘Neo Traditionalism’ which can find the best aspects of Traditionalism and a way to synthesise them with aspects of modern life and development which either will not or should not go away. The search for, promotion, and refinement of this viewpoint will be the purpose of this website.

Frithjof Schuon on Christianity and the Bible

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Taken from The Fullness of God Chapter 9 – Keys to the Bible.

In order to understand the nature of the Bible and its meaning, it is essential to have recourse to the ideas of both symbolism and revelation; without an exact and, in the measure necessary, sufficiently profound understanding of these key ideas, the approach to the Bible remains hazardous and risks engendering grave doctrinal, psychological, and historical errors. Here it is above all the idea of revelation that is indispensable, for the literal meaning of the Bible, particularly in the Psalms and in the words of Jesus, affords sufficient food for piety apart from any question of symbolism; but this nourishment would lose all its vitality and all its liberating power without an adequate idea of revelation or of suprahuman origin.

Other passages, particularly in Genesis, though also in texts such as the Song of Songs, remain an enigma in the absence of traditional commentaries. When approaching Scripture, one should always pay the greatest attention to rabbinical and cabalistic commentaries and—in Christianity—to the patristic and mystical commentaries; then will it be seen how the word-for-word meaning practically never suffices by itself and how apparent naïveties, inconsistencies, and contradictions resolve themselves in a dimension of profundity for which one must possess the key. The literal meaning is frequently a cryptic language that more often veils than reveals and that is only meant to furnish clues to truths of a cosmological, metaphysical, and mystical order; the Oriental traditions are unanimous concerning this complex and multidimensional interpretation of sacred texts. According to Meister Eckhart, the Holy Spirit teaches all truth; admittedly, there is a literal meaning that the author had in mind, but as God is the author of Holy Scripture, every true meaning is at the same time a literal meaning; for all that is true comes from the Truth itself, is contained in it, springs from it, and is willed by it. And so with Dante in his Convivio: “The Scriptures can be understood, and ought to be explained, principally in four senses. One is called literal. . . . The second is called allegorical. . . . The third sense is called moral. . . . The fourth sense is called anagogical, that is, beyond sense (sovrasenso); and this is when a Scripture is spiritually expounded, which, while true in its literal sense, refers beyond it to the higher things of the eternal Glory, as we may see in that Psalm of the Prophet, where he says that when Israel went out of Egypt Judea became holy and free. Which, although manifestly true according to the letter, is nonetheless true in its spiritual meaning, namely, that the soul, in forsaking its sins, is made holy and free in its powers” (Trattato Secondo, I).

As regards Biblical style—setting aside certain variations that are of no importance here—it is important to understand that the sacred or suprahuman character of the text could never be manifested in an absolute way through language, which perforce is human; the divine quality referred to appears rather through the wealth of superposed meanings and in the theurgic power of the text when it is thought and pronounced and written.

Equally important is the fact that the Scriptures are sacred, not because of their subject matter and the way in which it is dealt with, but because of their degree of inspiration, or what amounts to the same, their divine origin; it is this that determines the contents of the book, and not the reverse. The Bible can speak of a multitude of things other than God without being the less sacred for it, whereas other books can deal with God and exalted matters and still not be the divine Word. The apparent incoherence in certain sacred texts results ultimately from the disproportion between divine Truth and human language: it is as if this language, under the pressure of the Infinite, were shattered into a thousand disparate pieces or as if God had at His disposal no more than a few words to express a thousand truths, thus obliging Him to use all sorts of ellipses and paraphrases. According to the Rabbis, “God speaks succinctly”; this also explains the syntheses in sacred language that are incomprehensible a priori, as well as the superposition of meanings already mentioned. The role of the orthodox and inspired commentators is to intercalate in sentences, when too elliptic, the implied and unexpressed clauses, or to indicate in what way or in what sense a certain statement should be taken, besides explaining the different symbolisms, and so forth. It is the orthodox commentary and not the word-for-word meaning of the Torah that acts as law. The Torah is said to be “closed”, and the sages “open” it; and it is precisely this “closed” nature of the Torah that renders necessary from the start the Mishnah or commentary that was given in the tabernacle when Joshua transmitted it to the Sanhedrin. It is also said that God gave the Torah during the day and the Mishnah during the night and that the Torah is infinite in itself, whereas the Mishnah is inexhaustible as it flows forth in duration. It should also be noted that there are two principal degrees of inspiration, or even three if the orthodox commentaries are included; Judaism expresses the difference between the first two degrees by comparing the inspiration of Moses to a bright mirror and that of the other prophets to a dark mirror.

The two keys to the Bible are, as already stated, the ideas of symbolism and revelation. Too often revelation has been approached in a psychological, hence purely naturalistic and relativistic, sense. In reality revelation is the fulgurant irruption of a knowledge that comes, not from an individual or collective subconscious, but on the contrary from a supraconsciousness, which though latent in all beings nonetheless immensely surpasses its individual and psychological crystallizations. In saying that “the kingdom of God is within you”, Jesus Christ means not that Heaven—or God—is of a psychological order, but simply that access to spiritual and divine realities is to be found at the center of our being, and it is from this center precisely that revelation springs forth when the human ambience offers a sufficient reason for it to do so and when therefore a predestined human vehicle presents itself, namely, one capable of conveying this outflow.

But clearly the most important basis for what we have just spoken of is the admission that a world of intelligible light exists, both underlying and transcending our consciousness; the knowledge of this world, or this sphere, entails as a consequence the negation of all psychologism and likewise all evolutionism. In other words, psychologism and evolutionism are nothing but makeshift hypotheses to compensate for the absence of this knowledge.

To affirm then that the Bible is both symbolistic and revealed means, on the one hand, that it expresses complex truths in a language that is indirect and full of imagery and, on the other, that its source is neither the sensorial world nor the psychological or rational plane, but rather a sphere of reality that transcends these planes and immensely envelops them, while yet in principle being accessible to man through the intellective and mystical center of his being, or through the “heart”, if one prefers, or pure “Intellect”. It is the Intellect which comprises in its very substance the evidence for the sphere of reality that we are speaking of and which thus contains the proof of it, if this word can have a meaning in the domain of direct and participative perception. Indeed the classical prejudice of scientism, or the fault in its method if one wishes, is to deny any mode of knowledge that is suprasensorial and suprarational, and in consequence to deny the planes of reality to which these modes refer and which constitute, precisely, the sources both of revelation and of intellection. Intellection—in principle—is for man what revelation is for the collectivity; in principle, we say, for in fact man cannot have access to direct intellection—or gnosis—except by virtue of a pre-existing scriptural revelation. What the Bible describes as the fall of man or the loss of Paradise coincides with our separation from total intelligence; this is why it is said that “the kingdom of God is within you”, and again: “Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” The Bible itself is the multiple and mysterious objectification of this universal Intellect or Logos: it is thus the projection, by way of images and enigmas, of what we carry in a quasiinaccessible depth at the bottom of our heart; and the facts of sacred History—where nothing is left to chance—are themselves cosmic projections of the unfathomable divine Truth.