Monday, 26 October 2015

"RENÉ GUÉNON DOES NOT EXIST": A REMINDER FOR THOSE ON THE RIGHT



René Guénon (1886-1951) is mainly acknowledged on the Right for having had a deep influence on Julius Evola. Though both thinkers could disagree on small issues, the latter held the former in a sufficiently high esteem to praise him as “a teacher for modern times”, something he would never have said about any philosopher or post-Enlightenment intellectual.

Beyond Evola, Guénon also had an important legacy in religious and comparative studies. His detailed works on Hinduism played a crucial role in shaping research of the so-called Oriental world. Despite the fact that some of Guénon’s reflections are far from politically correct, his books are still sold by the prestigious and over-the-counter Parisian publisher Gallimard. The religious historian Mircea Eliade, whom one may hear about if he opts for comparative studies today, also held a deep interest in Guénon’s views – at a time when he was also close to Corneliu Codreanu.

Even though he achieved success through his works, Guénon always rejected the labels of “philosopher” or “intellectual.” Such labels, he wrote in The Crisis of the Modern World, correspond to men who pursue innovation or originality at all cost, by “put[ting] their name to a ‘system’, that is, to a strictly limited and circumscribed set of theories, which shall belong to them and be exclusively their creation.” Rather than that, Guénon merely aimed to be a messenger, someone who gives to others a renewed access to a long-forgotten transcendence.

In the traditional sense, Guénon was a pontifex, (literally “bridge builder”) yet remained modest and low-key while maintaining a voluminous correspondence with various figures. He refused to have “students” or disciples. Indeed, he sometimes went so far as to say that “René Guénon does not exist” or that “René Guénon is a symbol.”

Given his actual existence and legacy, those expressions may sound ironic. However, they are also consistent with traditional teachings. Truth in general, and transcendent principles in particular, are impersonal. They are either true or false, no matter who communicates them. We still find this in modern epistemology, where the truth value of a sentence does not depend on who says it, while postmodernists, of course, tend to focus on the purported identity of the speaker.

René Guénon 
One of the rare bones of contention between Evola and the younger Guénon – the older finally joined Evola and others on this point – concerned Buddhism. While the young Guénon considered it as an expression of a “low” principle trying to destroy a transcendent tradition above itself, Evola saw it as expressing a genuine yearning for “the unconditioned” at a time when the Brahmin, the priestly caste of India, had lost touch with a transcendence they merely pretended to embody.

According to the Baron and the older Guénon, Prince Siddharta, the future Buddha, sensed that the Brahmin clung to dry, complex rituals, while being tempted by wealth and women rather than by a higher calling. Born a Kshatriya, i.e. a member of the warrior caste, Siddharta discarded the royal title and comfort he lived in and joined self-made monks, who searched for the truth independently from the Brahmin. Then, after a period of asceticism, long-held meditations, and prolonged reflections, Siddharta is said to have reached “the Awakening.”

Evola’s reading is completely at odds with later “theology of liberation” and other leftist interpretations of Siddharta’s teachings. As he yearned for Golden Age principles but did not live in this Age, Siddharta could see that the castes of his day did not always overlap with the vocations or “spiritual races” of the individuals sorted into them. He railed against the cast system only to the extent that it failed to connect the people with transcendent principles and sort them into their right places.

Rejecting the excuses of the Brahmins and their empty rituals, Siddharta sought to follow the “Awakened Ones” of the past, and to reestablish the connection they used to have. Thus, says Evola, the heart of Siddharta’s doctrine – and the true historical basis of Buddhism – lay in the “Awakening,” that is, the ability to connect with the transcendent, something only the “noble” natures – in Sanskrit, the āriya – could really yearn for and manage to reach.

One of the most famous Buddhist teachings, and one of the first discussed in Evola’s book on Buddhism, The Doctrine of Awakening: The Attainment of Self-Mastery According to the Earliest Buddhist Texts, is commonly called the doctrine of no-self (anattā in Pali or anātman in Sanskrit).

It distinguishes an immortal, immutable, perennial nature from the individual self. On the path of awakening, the boddhisatva must realize that his individual self, as any other’s, is perishable, ephemeral, and should not be identified with. By clinging too much to his self, the boddhisatva loses track of the aim he actually wants to follow. A condition of awakening is the de-identification of the boddhisatva from the ego or individual self.

From one "I" to the other.
Confronted with perceptions, emotions, or even the matter of which his own body is composed, the boddhisatva must ask himself, is that what I am? then always answer by the negative. Hence, free from clinging to his individual self, he may become aware of another I: an impersonal, transcendent, supra-sensible and supra-rational one.

In order to go from the “samsaric” (conditioned and suffering) individual I to the (unconditioned and free) transcendent I, the boddhisatva needs to tame and master the former. He practices asceticism in order to master his thoughts, emotions, desires, and to cease identifying with the streaming and the ephemeral in order to focus his attention on what lasts.

At first glance, the no-self doctrine may seem quite esoteric. To a reader accustomed to the materialist reductionism that has pervaded at least the three last centuries, it may appear to be a nebulous myth. Worse than this: as New Age movements have carelessly woven in Buddhistic ideas, they have cast a shadow that discredits them. As he often did, the French essayist Alain Soral hit the nail on the head when he remarked, in his Abécédaire de la bêtise ambiante (Alphabet Primer of the Prevailing Stupidity), that Buddhism or rather “neobuddhism” was primarily a therapy, not unlike psychoanalysis, for rich bourgeois-bohemians trying to get rid of their leftist white guilt.

Yet, the astute reader of Evola might easily guess that “neobuddhism,” just like the New Age babble that flourished during the 60s and 70s, has not much to do with the genuine teachings of Prince Siddharta. The ascetic prince in search of awakening did not write for complacent bourgeoisie or hypocritical champagne socialists. He would probably have despised them even more than he despised the Pharisaic Brahmin who maintained their power though they could no longer summon the transcendent.

The sheer radicalism of the attitude of Siddharta, a high-ranking warrior who freely relinquished an unworthy heritage in order to grasp something much worthier, should be inspiring to any alt-rightist. Siddharta’s royal inheritance had been reduced to entertainment, ceremony, and a very weak kingdom that ended up crushed under the boot of a mightier neighbor.

As a prince, Siddharta could have sacrificed himself for the honor of his realm. But would it have been the best thing to do? Obviously not. Born an āriya, someone with both the potential and drive to be spiritually “reborn” as an “Awakened One,” he followed the path that he sensed would be right and managed to fulfill his destiny.

Aryan blood in our veins.
We are not princes, but we all have some Aryan blood in our veins. Besides, our historical situation bears analogy with Siddhartha’s. When we strive to be integrated into what should be our society, we find ourselves struggling not to puke on the blue pills that are fed to us daily. The Cultural Marxists in power work to subvert our national identities by pretending to redefine our countries, for example, saying that France had been defined through racial mixing since antiquity, or that European peoples are merely the result of various mixings of Black “out of Africa” origin.

Should we hold to the laws of our modern multicultural states, defend whiteness only as an implicit value, and “mainstreamize”? Should we try to identify with some of the elements shunned by the corrupt culture of our age? Once again, the answer is obviously a no. Our yearning for a lasting identity, a genuine home, may indicate something more significant than a conditioned reactionary disgust for a crumbling Western world.

Without reverting to a full-on belief in the reality of absolute, transcendent principles, we can see Siddharta’s doctrine of no-self – or, perhaps more adequately, of a higher and wider self – as a masterful example to follow. The main reason for this is that too many on the Right tend to put their own ego, their own opinions about a variety of topics, to the forefront.

Some lock themselves inside a “far-Right” ghetto and dwell there, disputing about trifling topics and personal stories with other ghetto members, while doing nothing to actually contribute to the cause. Others carry out petty coups d’état over a place for collective expression and insider communication, then turn it into a small shop where they sell themselves before “selling” the cause. Those attitudes hamper the development of the alt right. They are weaknesses that jeopardize the whole trend and divert our attention from what we should focus on.

Without a doubt, Prince Siddharta could have joined Napoleon when the latter railed about the “shopkeeper spirit” too many Englishmen were already showing at the dawn of the nineteenth century. Of course, the problem is much wider than just the Anglos. The majority of those born and raised as modern Westerners might be too prone to this kind of materialist individualism.

In another piece I made a point against some features of Stoic philosophy: namely, that an orthodox Stoic tends to consider himself as an atom, a rootless being thrown into a world of randomness. His “liberty” supposedly resides in mastery of his own mental states but has no place outside his mind. Such a philosophy drastically cuts off our sense of collective being and identity. It condemns the Stoic to retreat from the world, and thus “save himself” at the cost of abandoning any hope of worldly victory. Though there is some sense of mastery and constructive asceticism in Stoicism, it hardly allows us to engage in collective action and take risks. Indeed, the Stoic’s search for stable pleasure and peace of mind through self-mastery can also lead to a cowardly, feel-good kind of thinking.

Nation states increasingly appear as cold, alien monsters, just as the mainstream culture and social environment around us has ceased to reflect us. This does not imply that we should abandon outside action in favour of an inward-looking attitude or ghetto that too often fosters egocentrism and complacency. Just like the boddhisatva who strives to get behind the narrow “I” in order to access the higher self, we should identify more with the movement, the cause of the alt right – maybe even but more subtly with the whole global dissidence that is increasingly taking shape.

There are many options: identify with the preservation of the White race, with the rediscovery of Aryan identity, with the great project of establishing a harmonious multipolar world where Whites can have their homelands, from which the demonic forces of subversion shall be forever banished. It does not matter, as long as the sense of identity you perpetuate resonates well with the expansion of our just cause and contributes to the final victory.

A friend of mine once said that “everyone in the nationalist milieu wants to be a star.” He added, “Everyone wants to be the next Enoch Powell or Mussolini.”

But everyone cannot be a political or an intellectual leader, and those who happen to assume such roles should think of them as honorable charges rather than sources of gratification for their – too often wounded – egos. The inflation of wannabe leaders, as well as leaders who do not behave as such, hampers cooperation and collective action. Again and again, squabbling tribes got crushed by mighty empires. The three hundred of Sparta had such a catalyzing effect because they were not squabbling and knew how to fight together. If you enjoyed the movie 300, just as I did, remember the stirring scene where Leonidas tells the hunchback Ephialtes that every hoplite must be able to protect his neighbor with his shield, and thus each can trust his neighbors to protect him too.

This is how we roll.
Templar knights and the painters of the early Renaissance made their contributions, whether in war or art, without seeking individual recognition, without "tagging" their every action with their signature. They were able to identify with something greater than their own names – an inclination we clearly lack today.

Something I have observed over the years is that ex-leftists make better converts on average than youngsters from the traditional bourgeoisie. One factor behind this may be their ability to throw themselves into a project and undertake an enormous amount of activism without feeling the need to put themselves at the forefront.

Many on the side of subversion have worked tirelessly for the victory of their supposedly “wicked” cause, but they have also served with discretion, contenting themselves with real influence rather than a shiny social position. People like Zoe Quinn or Anita Sarkeesian, by contrast, crave the limelight, just like any other SJW-shab.

I don't exist - just kidding!
They are undoubtedly famous, even pedestalized by the mainstream media. But do they have the power of someone like George Soros or Lloyd Blankfein? The chances are you only hear about the latter while surfing alt-right websites, because here we tend to focus on the essentials. Sarkeesian, by contrast, is a disposable idol who spins a narrative through dishonesty and exploitation in order to maintain her prized social status.

Cemeteries are full of people who once believed themselves to be indispensable. As we are all going to end up there, it is only the collective victory (or defeat) that ultimately matters. That which may connect us to a much better age is obviously more important than the quest to disseminate one’s name, chafe about petty disputes, or express narrow dogmatism on issues we do not all agree about.

Perhaps, some of the names currently “famous” on the alt right may be able to survive the test of time and reach posterity; others probably not. This should motivate us to focus less on our egos and more on how to have a genuine impact on the outer and future worlds. This is meaning of Guénon’s paradoxical statement that he does not exist. He does, and even if we did not know his name, he would exist because there are other ways to exist than individual fame.



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