Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reading the Brussels Journal on Guenon.

A good introduction for Protestants, although they will find much to disturb and alarm them.

Anyone familiar with Eric Voegelin’s usage of the same term will, however, recognize that Guénon frequently addresses the identical phenomenon of antinomian rebellion, motivated by libido dominandi and expressing itself in apocalyptic language, as addressed by Voegelin. Such self-aggrandizing rebellion, which would impose itself on the whole world, attempts to disguise its libidinousness under the banner of sweeping moral imperatives. Crusading slogans of this type make an appeal to the compensatory self-righteousness of the frustrated and resentful...Guénon even anticipates Voegelin in his assertion that radical preaching, whether for the advancement of socialism or for the disestablishment of authority, invariably employs “a sentimental and ‘consoling’ moralism,” just as in modern liberal oratory, with its parade of alleged victims of iniquity. Such “moralism” finds fertile ground in the varieties of Protestantism, especially in its Puritan offshoots, like Unitarianism. “The modernist mentality and the Protestant mentality,” Guénon writes, “differ only in nuance,” both being directed at an ancien régime, or religious establishment, denounced as intolerable; both being moralistic; and both being politically messianic.... In this way, by recruiting a large exoteric enrollment, the actual ruling minority provides itself with an instrument of willing drones and propagandists. Idealism finds its locus in the movement in the large following. The inner circle, by contrast, aware of its own manipulative character and jealous of its privileges, quickly becomes cynical if it were not so from the beginning; it extracts money from the membership and delegates to volunteers the workaday and unsavory tasks that it prefers not to undertake directly on its own. Gothic Christianity represents for Guénon a temporary positive “readjustment” to tradition. The so-called Renaissance, which follows the Middle Ages “was in reality not a rebirth but the death of many things,” so much so that in respect of the medieval mind modernity is “unable to understand its intellectuality.” Together the Renaissance and the Reformation correspond with “the disruption of Christendom” and they therefore together mark “the starting-point of the modern crisis” in a “definitive rupture with the traditional spirit. Guénon denounces “the pseudo-principle of… ‘equality,’” which as he says, “almost all of our contemporaries blindly accept.” Along with pseudo-principles there are “pseudo-ideas” such as “progress” and “democracy,” which have “nothing in common with the intellectual order.” These “false ideas” are, properly speaking, “suggestions,” rooted in sentiment, whose “contagious” character endows them with propagandistic effectiveness; these “verbalisms” are the “idols” of the contemporary masses. As for democracy, “The higher cannot proceed from the lower, because the greater cannot proceed from the lesser.” “The modern mentality… cannot bear any secret or even any reserve,” but “such things appear [to it] only as ‘privileges.’” The modern mentality again despises “any kind of superiority” of intellect or mastery because the fact that these things require preparation, capacity, and attunement “is just what ‘egalitarianism’ so obstinately denies.”


What is remarkable about Guenon (and other traditionalists) is that they seem to have an uncanny spiritual insight into the roots of the disorderly cancer that is devouring us alive, and hence, offer the possibility of at least understanding our fate in the latter "Days of Iron". It is important to note, here, that the heart of their critique is a positive and reactionary perception of Order which hinges on a truth that (in Davila's words) "will not die". Modern Christians, steeped in Jewish anti-intellectualism, would do well to turn on their minds in order that they can again think.

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