Phillip Sherrad was apparently critical
of Guenon, at points. Tomberg emphasizes that there is a "Self Beyond
the Self", which Christians call God, as well. However I am not so
certain, speaking even as a Christian, that these types of debates are
more a matter of method & emphasis, rather than absolute substance.
Guenon (it is true) speaks much of Principles rather than Persons, but
surely he is meaning something very similar? Why would Christians
quibble over a word? Is it because they can see only Either/Or, and if
they do not disputato, then they perceive they will be forced into a multi-lateral world of comparative religion?
During the reviews and summaries of Clement's Journal,
I tried to show how Saint Peter comes across within the text - he is
perfectly willing to debate anyone in good faith he judges to be an
honest inquirer, & he even tours the marbles of Phidias
in Asia Minor with Clement and others, to see what he can learn from
Greek art. All of his religious opinions are the result of a process of
careful philosophical reasoning which, if they are somewhat Hebraic, are
at least Greek in rule and form. Furthermore, odd Christian practices
are found to have a factual and spiritual basis in esoteric postulates
and experience. The Jewish element provides the abstract postulates and
the initial atmosphere of spirituality, yet the new religion is oriented
towards Truth in whatever garb, because it is subordinated to the
childlike personality of the bishop.
As Cologero is fond of
saying, only those who have experienced these things (especially those
who have had both) are fit to sit in judgement on these things.
The Early Church certainly was eager to embrace Greek learning. Lactantius,
Clement, Origen, Justin the Martyr, and many others like Chalcidius
went so far as to claim Socrates as one of the Church's own, because he
loved the truth. "The words are no obstacle," says Lactantius, "because
the sentiments agree with the Truth." The old icon painters sometimes
placed, in the narthex of their churches, the wise Greeks, because they
were a sort of "ante-chamber" to the great mysteries of the Truth (see Bachovo Monastery).
Their argument was merely that the Greeks (and others) did not know
"the whole Logos", and sometimes turned back from a full apprehension of
the Truth, because they were not completely free of the infatuations of
their own culture - merely consider (for instance) the Greek fad of demokratia, and one can see how this might have objectively been the case.
In Lao Tzu's Te Ching,
there is an elaborate argument for the principle of Unity, the Dyad,
& the resultant Triad, an argument that finds an echo in the work of
whether one calls the ultimate subtleties of Spirit which are
irreversible and irrepeatable (and as Tomberg argues, therefore, outside
the scope or judgement of Science, which confines itself to the realm
of fungible Space and the division & re-combining of
solids), the "Principle" or the "Person" is both lawful and according to
nature (like a principle) & also contains what is human (although
it is super-human).
This reminds me of an amusing story about
Thomas Merton's work with Buddhist monks to establish "common ground" -
at one point in the meeting, it was discovered that what the Buddhists
called contemplation, the Christians translated as meditation, and vice
versa. Both sides were "at odds" from the very start, because they were
already talking past each other. Might not a good deal of the confusion
between traditionalists of various stripes be of this variety?
Dmitri Orlov in his latest post
demonstrates how even political discourse (and presumably higher forms
like religion or even culture itself) can become a means of obfuscation
and misunderstanding. In fact, since things are known by virtue of the one doing the knowing, we should expect many misunderstandings in our stunted environment.
is a longish, roundabout way of arguing that the science of
Traditionalism (and God forbid it become a science like the others, but
rather a real knowing) is likely just beginning a long re-ascent to implementation.
Just as Pico de Mirandola
did a great service in dividing Magick into Theurgy and Goetia, thus
opening the path for Bruno & others to re-ignite alchemy or for
Druidry to revive (without the demonic elements against which
Christianity had fought so fervently), scholars and students and
practitioners today have a great opportunity to "divide anew", not in a
way that "murders to dissect", but with the sword of the Spirit that
leads to life, reuniting what belongs together.