terça-feira, 16 de fevereiro de 2016

Counter-Initiation - Critical Remarks about certain aspects of Rene Guenon doctrine - Aleksandr Dugin

1. Preliminary remarks: the need for amendments to traditionalism

The question of  "counter-initiation" is the most dark and ambiguous in all traditionalist thought. Perhaps is a result of the very reality of what traditionalists following Guenon termed "counter-initiation". The meaning of counter-initiation is presented in the book "The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times".  In short, we can say that by counter-initiation Rene Guenon understands the totality of secret organizations possessing initiatory and esoteric data, which, however, direct its activities and its efforts toward the goal which is exactly the opposite purpose of normal initiation, that is, not to achieve absolute, but to a fatal extinction and dissolution in the "realm of quantity", in the outer twilight. The hierarchs of counter-initiation, Guenon, following the Islamic esoterism, called "Awliya al-Shaytan", i.e., "saints of Satan." In his view, the representatives of counter-initiation stand behind all the negative tendencies of modern civilization, and secretly direct the course of events on the way of degradation, materialization and spiritual degeneration.

According to Tradition, following the logic of cyclic process, a movement along the path of degeneration inevitably comes down, from the golden to the iron age, therefore there must be some kind of conscious forces that contribute to this process, while the power of the true initiation and the genuine esoterism, on the contrary, in every way interfere with such fatal decline. Guenon historical dualism by no way affect the unity of the metaphysical principle, since it  relates to the field of manifestation, where the primary law is duality. This duality, which lies at the heart of the manifestation, is only overcome when one goes beyond the manifested, in the transcendent sphere, inside the the same world of irremovable duality. Thus, the role of counter-initiation is partly justified, because it is not rooted in the tyranny, but at the very providential necessity, associated with the laws of the universe. This purely theoretical part of the counter-initiation doctrine, completely flawless from a logical point of view, is confirmed by the various doctrines of the sacred traditions relating to the theme of "demons", "devil", "evil spirits", "antichrist" and so on. But everything becomes much more difficult, when an attempt is made to move from theory to practice and name exemples of any counter-initiatic specific organization or secret society. The problem is not only this. Before we clarify this delicate question, you must carefully consider what Rene Guenon understands by "initiation" and "esoterism".

According to Guénon, the historical distinction of sacred forms - religions, traditions, etc. - is a consequence of various qualities of the human and historical environment projected by non-human rays of Unified Truth. In other words, for him, all traditions, as they approach the center of their own, they overcome sectarian differences and almost merge into a single entity. Guénon calls this the "Primordial Tradition" ( "Tradition Primordiale"). This tradition, according to Guénon, is the secret essence of all religions. In a sense, it is fair.

A careful study of the symbolism of Tradition, rituals and doctrines leads to the idea that all the sacred teachings have a common element, some general paradigm, which is somewhat lost from sight, as soon as it comes to the more narrowly dogmatic and detailed aspects. Particularly, in the current conditions, the thesis of the "Unity of Tradition" looks convincingly, when the modern world has created a civilization built on sharp contrast to everything that can be called Tradition. In other words, integral traditionalism and it appeals to the Unity of Traditions is true to the extent that the modern world is opposed to all forms of civilization, based on the sacred principles. Indeed, between traditions and religions there are much more similarities than differences when contrasted with modern fully desacralized civilization. This a obvious statement. The only question is to what extent such a rapprochement in the face of a common enemy is a consequence of the esoteric unity?

In other words, is the differences between sacred traditions only the result of errorsin the space environment at certain points in the cycle? Is not for some deeper causes?

A good example to the relevance of such question may be Guenon hesitation as to reckon whether or not Buddhism was a authentic tradition. Guenon first attributed Buddhism to the category of antinomistskih heresies, and later admitted it as a real tradition. The issue here is not Buddhism, but the fact that such Guenon uncertainty shows some arbitrariness of his method whenever it comes to the specific historical traditions and dogmatic principles. Even if Guenon could be mistaken in Buddhist question (which remained for him a considerable degree of abstraction since the opinion of his Hindu informants differed, as all the Hindu traditionalists have a strongly antibuddhist orientation), it is possible that similar errors can also happen in the case of other religions.

Our own research has led us to the conclusion that, at least in two cases, Guenon evaluated things not quite correctly.

Firstly, when Guenon denied the Christian Church initiatory dimension - he dated the loss of this dimension (which was present in the original Christianity) to era the First Ecumenical Council, - here he is clearly on the history and philosophy of history exclusively of Roman Catholic branch (from the the later Protestant deviation). Guenon clearly ignored the metaphysical and initiatic reality of Orthodoxy, which in the most fundamental positions sharply differs from Western Christianity. Guenon identified Christianity with Catholicism and wrongfully transferred the proportions of the Catholic organization - including the mystical nature of the rituals and the specificity of theology - to the whole of Christianity in general, thus making absolutely incorrect assertions on this issue.

Secondly, Guenon hurried to recognize the Jewish Kabbalah as genuine esoterism, which,
according to his opinion, must be a different universalism which lies beyond any particularism. In fact, Kabbalah has no less (if not more) exoterism degree than the Talmud Judaism insisting on ethnic singularity of the Jews, on the uniqueness of their fate and its metaphysical opposition of all the other peoples and religions. This is clearly contrary to Guenon definition of esoterism, which should be dominated by principles of universal unity and amalgamation of all spiritual and religious forms in the general concept. Kabbalah, even in its most transcendent aspects, claims not its unity, but a radical and irremovable metaphysical ethnic dualism.

Moreover, in more general terms, Guenon evaluation of some peoples - Greeks, Japanese, Germans, Anglo-Saxons, Slavs - sometimes so subjective and arbitrary (and in these evaluations Guenon tends sometimes to base conclusions on the orthodoxy or heterodoxy of traditional forms) put cast doubt on all aspects of traditionalism, which deals with the application of theoretical considerations to the practical sphere.

2. The Absence of Universal Counter-Initiation 

The differences of religious forms may be a factor far deeper than exoteric conventions and is rooted in the very metaphysics. If unification synthesis is carried out quite easily (though all the others traditions are interpreted in the perspective peculiar exclusively to them) in Hinduism and Islamic esoterism this is because the specificity of these traditions; others religions forms the situation is somewhat different. Hinduism and Islam allowed Guenon to build a logical and not contradictory picture, but it becomes much less obvious if we try to apply it to other religions and their particular approach to metaphysics.

For Guenon (and traditionalists following him) the situation is: the unified metaphysical tradition constitute the essence of the universal esoterism, the kernel of orthodox traditions. Dogmatic religion and other forms of exoteric traditions are outer shells, hiding beyond the visible the unity of the various contents (esoterism and initiation). At the opposite pole to universal esoterism is located "counter-initiation", as the negation of universalism and not just a denial of a particular religious or exoteric form. Thus, the concept of "counter-initiation" is not separated from the postulation of the unity of all esoteric traditions.

But, as we have shown, beyond the  Islamic and Hindu esoteric context, this logic can not be unequivocally accepted since the metaphysics does not recognize other esoteric traditions with solidarity to other religious forms. In fact, the universality of Sufism and Hinduism are not as obvious as it seems at first glance. The price of the recognition of other religious orthodox forms is an approval of "distortion" and the interpretation of their dogmas in the spirit and letter specific and peculiar only to Hinduism and Sufism esoterism. For example, in the Buddhist approach to Christology, Christ is actually equated to an avatar, which within the framework of a purely Christian doctrine is equivalent to "Monophysite" view. Islam, based on the strict monotheism, on the other hand, adheres to "Nestorian" ("Arian") Christological scheme. In both cases, it is denied the orthodox Christological formula, resulting in a completely different metaphysical perspective.

Thus, the universalism proclaimed traditionalists, in fact, is not so total and unequivocal as we would like.

Further, Hinduism base their own tradition on the inverse formula of the Iranian tradition, coming from the same source. It is known that even in the names of gods and demons there is an inverse analogy between Zoroastrism and Hinduism. Buddhism is regarded by Hinduism as a heterodoxy (this view was held for a long time by Guenon himself). Therefore, these three eastern Indo-European traditions can not agree with each other and problemlessly establish their esoteric unity. Indeed, it is difficult to recognize the "esoteric truth" of those who have their gods called by the name "demons", and vice versa ("devas" and "asuras" in Hinduism and Zoroastrism mean exactly the opposite at beginning), or those who radically deny the authority of the greatest sacred source (Buddhists deny the "Vedas", the castes and all the basic doctrines of Hinduism).

In the Abrahamic context, the situation is even more troublesome. Even if Islam recognizes certain legitimacy of traditions to the "people of the Book" (Judaism and Christianity), assuming the mission of Muhammad as the last word of "abrahamism", to correct all the previous errors, neither Christians nor Jews do recognize other abrahamism versions, giving to them not the slightest authenticity, including it as heresy, lies and evil. For example, in the "Zohar", the supreme authority of Kabbalah, is easy to see hostility to Islam and Christianity on the metaphysical and esoteric level, which are not only removed but rather, achieves higher metaphysical ardor. And, accordingly, the complete Orthodox esoterism equally badly relates Judaism (exoteric and esoteric), considered not merely as the otherness of foreign religious forms, but as the embodiment of evil and the metaphysical "tradition" of the Antichrist.

So, outside of Sufism and Hinduism (whose universalism is not boundless, too), there is no general esoterism, which means that, under the "counter-initiation", tradition probably understand those sacred forms that are in frank conflict with their metaphysics. If esoteric evil in this case is  those negative aspects that stem from ethical and doctrinal specificity of given religion, the esoteric evil (counter-initiation) is rather a different metaphysical tradition, contradicting it.

This incredibly complicated question of counter-initiation ceases to be a clear and transparent, and becomes very confusing.

From the standpoint of Orthodox esoterism counter-initiation is, of course, Judaism and Kabbalah. From the point of view of the "Zohar" esoterism, is the "goyim", especially "the descendants of Ishmael and Esau" (Muslims and Christians), as "false doctrine demon Samael", "riding the snake Lilith". From the point of view of esoteric Hindu, Iranian dualism is rooted in the fact that Zoroastrism worship "demons", "asuras" (Iranian "Ahura"), calling them "gods". Esoteric buddhism believe that the initiatory doctrines of Hinduism are the ultimate evil, because they only strengthen the attachment of beings to samsara - in fact, higher divine worlds, a from a Buddhist point of view are even more illusory than human worlds (there is no suffering, only distances from the achievement to nirvana). And within Islamic civilization the most radical representatives of manifestationist esoterism - Al-Hallaj, Suhrawardi, etc. - were executed as the worst of heretics.

How can one, in such situation, identify the universal counter-initiation, to trace its sources, to recognize those forces and organizations that serve it as undercover? If the universality of esoterism (at least in our cyclical situation) is not obvious and proven, then how can we speak of the universality of "counter-initiation", which is its rear-projection?

3. Inter-religious and interior religious differences

Between traditional religious systems there are deep contradictions stretching into the higher metaphysics. This is one side. On the other side, these traditional forms are not something unchanged, they are subject to cyclic laws. Traditions pass through difficult periods of historical embodiments, including the addition of natural phases of prosperity and decline, there are even more paradoxical moments - for example, change in their inner nature, alienations, turning into something essentially different, while maintaining the external atributes.

And very often these troubled times can not be reduced to the "triumph of the negative trends," as they are, considering the exoteric tradition and morality of sacred forms. For example, the degeneracy of the Islamic tradition can take place without the authorities began to openly deny the "principle of monotheism" or "Muhammad's mission," as well Christians to break away from the source and Church in spirit does not necessarily make them worship instead of Christ some other gods (or, for example, Satan).

If everything was so simple, the story would be elementary mechanical devices, a predictable operation and would be easy to foresee the future. As well, occasionally seeing many people characterized by a  naive (not to say idiotic) view of the world, whether it is a matter of the "conservatives" or "progressives". Only a deep understanding of the inner kernel of tradition, the actual implementation of its higher levels, allows you to select and grasp what is the main and most significant, and therefore accurately separate the true orthodoxy from axis alienation, deviations, simulations and degeneration. In this matter, a purely external criteria do not exist, and in this sense, do not underestimate "the devil" (if it was so simple, as it seems to moralists, it is unlikely he would have such a long and active, and most importantly, unrecognized, part in human history ).

For example, the division of Christendom into Eastern and Western Churches was far from a purely exoteric event, behind it there are deep metaphysical reasons. The same is true for the Islamic world and the division between Shiites and Sunnis. Sunni tradition holds high prestige to Sultan Yazid, who killed Ali, cousin of Muhammad and the spiritual poles (Qutb) of Shiites. But this contradiction hides a much deeper differences of a purely metaphysical nature. In a certain sense, things are not so smooth in Hinduism - Vaishnavism and Shaivism where not so in harmony with each other, as it seems at first glance. So, for example, traces of duality can be seen in the "Mahabharata", edition which, of course, was fulfilled in the Vaishnava community. We see there the Kauravas and the incorrigible enemies - Pandavav villains, inspired by Shiva and his entourage, to the point that Shiva is considered as a "subtle nature", in contrast to the a purely metaphysical and spiritual nature of Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu. In this case, the parallels with the "devil" arise by itself, especially when Guenon indicate that the "devil" belongs exclusively to "the subtle plan".

So, if a traditionalist approach is applied to other sacred forms other than Hinduism and Sufism, then we get into a situation where to speak of an counter-initiation as something universal and opposite to universal esoterism is impossible without falling into mythomania or moralistic dualism (which, theoretically, should have been overcome, as long as we consider the scope of esoterism). Or, in other words - each sacred form has a special metaphysical characteristics and formulates in its theory what is counter-initiation (and only for it). Thus in certain aspects, different positions may coincide in some traditions, and in others - be different. Thus, we arrive at the assertion about the absence of a single counter-initiation doctrine or organization, and we are forced say that this reality is not universal, but plural, multi-polar. The definition of the counter-initiation qualities and shape derives from the metaphysical singularity of each particular tradition.

One can not deny the fact that in the last century there was a common history of a process that certainly is a clear tendency to build anti-traditional society based on principles radically opposite to the common set that is the basis of any tradition.

But there is one exception. We are talking about Judaism, the religious and metaphysical perspective which the last centuries, since 1240, and especially since 1300, considers, on the contrary, as a prelude to the messianic triumph, the fall of Christian civilization and political liberation of the Jews (not to mention the modern achievements of the political Zionism and the state of Israel) as the greatest metaphysical progress. Thus, even in the context in which the majority of traditions fully agree with each other, there is an exception - Judaism.

External revival of confessional religions in recent years, after several centuries, during which, on the contrary, there was a actively developing a process of desacralization and secularization, also do not fit well in the traditionalist logic - although this is an interest in religion, not a a straight parody as neospiritualism or "New Age", but on the other hand, it clearly does not constitute a genuine spiritual revival.

In short, the problem of deviation of esoterism or counter-initiation becomes complicated not only because inter-confessional contradictions, whose origins go back to metaphysics, but also due internal transformation within the same traditions.

On top of this, there is abnormal cases (a new interest in Judaism in the West), which contradict the seemingly very obvious trend of progressive secularization, on the basis of which Guenon tried to substantiate his theory of counter-initiation and its planetary plans prepared to the "kingdom of the Antichrist."

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