The Crisis of the Modern World (Collected Works of Rene Guenon)
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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, 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.
The Crisis of the Modern World Rene Guenon COLLECTED WORKS OF RENE GUENON THE CRISIS OF THE MODERN WORLD RENE GUENON THE CRISIS OF THE MODERN WORLD Translators Marco Pallis Arthur Osborne Richard C. Nicholson SOPHIA PERENNIS HILLSDALE NY Originally published in French as La Crise du Monde Moderne © Editions Gallimard 1946 Fourth, revised edition 2001 (Second Impression 2004) Third edition, Sophia Perennis, Ghent 1996 Second edition 1962, 1975, Luzac & Company, London First edition
the confusion of our time; we shall therefore now study this individualism more closely. 5 INDIVIDUALISM BY INDIVIDUALISM we mean the negation of any principle higher than individuality, and the consequent reduction of civilization, in all its branches, to purely human elements; fundamentally, therefore, individualism amounts to the same thing as what, at the time of the Renaissance, was called 'humanism'; it is also the characteristic feature of the 'profane point of view' as we have described
there can be no valid knowledge outside· this science, and when all the education they receive tends to instill into them the superstition of this science-or 'scientism' as it should really be called-how could these men not in fact be materialists, or in other words, how could they fail to have all their preoccupations turned in the direction of matter? It seems that nothing exists for modern men beyond what can be seen and touched; or at least, even if they admit theoretically that something
so, 75 Pythagoras 12 Pythagorean mathematics Pythagorism 12 so Reformation 15, 59 Renaissance 15-17, 55, 59 Rome 12 Saint Thomas Aquinas 76 n3 Satan 100 n1 Solomon 40 n 5 spiritism, spiritualism (defined) 83 ll2 Stoic and Epicurean moralism 15 tamas 76 TI5, 100 Til Taoism 10 Taoist doctrine 13 n 6 Theosophists 24, 102 Thoth 11 n2 universal suffrage 90 upaveda 50 TI5 Vaishyas 35 n 1 Veda 50 n5 Vishnu 9 n2 Vyasa 11 n3 Zeno of Elea 40 Zoroaster 11 ne Guenon ( 1886-1951) was one of the great
the time of their greatest intellectual decadence, and with them utilitarian considerations had at least never claimed the first place, as they were very soon to do with the moderns. Humanism was the/~ form of what has subsequently become contemporary secularism; and, owing to its desire to reduce everything to the measure of man as an end in himself, modern civilization has sunk stage by stage until it has reached the level of the lowest elements in man and aims at little more than satisfying