Photo: Prayer in the desert.
Matter is essentially multiplicity and division; and this, be it said in passing, is why all that proceeds from matter can beget only strife and all manner of conflicts between peoples and between individuals. The deeper one sinks into matter, the more the elements of division and opposition gain force and scope; and, on the other hand, the more one rises towards pure spirituality, the nearer one approaches to that unity which can only be fully realized by consciousness of the universal principles.
Quote Source and Recommended Reading:
'The Crisis of the Modern World'
By Rene Guenon (Author)
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, René Guénon 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 Guénon 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.
René Guénon (1886–1951) was one of the great luminaries of the twentieth century, whose critique of the modern world has stood fast against the shifting sands of intellectual fashion. His extensive writings, now finally available in English, are a providential treasure-trove for the modern seeker: while pointing ceaselessly to the perennial wisdom found in past cultures ranging from the Shamanistic to the Indian and Chinese, the Hellenic and Judaic, the Christian and Islamic, and including also Alchemy, Hermeticism, and other esoteric currents, they direct the reader also to the deepest level of religious praxis, emphasizing the need for affiliation with a revealed tradition even while acknowledging the final identity of all spiritual paths as they approach the summit of spiritual realization. René Guénon, of whom Jacob Needleman wrote in The Sword of Gnosis that ‘no other modern writer has so effectively communicated the absoluteness of truth,’ is gradually being recognized by deeper thinkers as one of the few who have truly penetrated the seductive veil of the modern age. As an expositor of pure metaphysics and its application to the science of symbols, Guénon is without peer; and his extraordinarily prescient critique of the modern world is attracting more and more attention among cultural commentators. Little known in the English-speaking world till the recent appearance of his Collected Works in translation, Guénon has nevertheless long been recognized as a veritable criterion of truth by a vanguard of remarkable writers who evince that rare combination: intellectuality and spirituality. After a lonely childhood, often interrupted by ill health, Guénon navigated the seductive half-truths of occultism toward a deeper, unified vision offering a way out from the confusion and fragmentation of our time. Regarded by leading scholars as the first truly authentic interpreter of many Eastern doctrines in the West, Guénon never tired, in face of the seemingly inexorable process of dissolution in the twentieth century, of pointing to the transcendent unity of all religious faiths and the abiding Truth that contains them all.
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