sábado, 4 de fevereiro de 2017

Rene Guénon and Nikolai Berdyaev (Robin Waterfield)

It is quite striking how Guenon and Berdyaev complement one another. Guenon is detached, objective, and wholeheartedly concerned with the Principial Truth, which alone can give reality and meaning to the phenomenal world; Berdyaev, emotional as only a Slav can be, is subjective and passionately concerned with individual man's search for meaning in concrete terms, personal and inescapably related to his situation as the centerpiece of the Great Triad. In the symbolism of ancient Rome, they represent the two faces of Janus, the oldest of the gods and the holiest and most exalted, who faced both ways, towards and away from man, and so eminently represented man's special status vis-a-vis the eternal world. This twofold stance reminds us that, as Berdyaev said,

Knowledge of the divine life is not attainable by means of abstract philosophical thought ... but only by means of a con-crete myth which conceives the divine life as a passionate destiny of concrete and active persons, the divine Hypostases.

This at first sight seems very far from Guenon's impersonal insistence on shedding all personal emotional elements, of which one must be stripped if one is to achieve that 'pure intellectual intuition' which he sees as the sole way of attainment. But this very stripping and detachment is itself an entirely personal undertaking and one which demands a total personal commitment. If by Berdyaev's 'concrete myth' we understand, as I think we are entitled to, Guenon's understanding of the function of all dogmatic formulations and religious doctrines, we an understand the necessity of anthropomorphic language and the symbolic representation of Principial Thoth by means of rites and ceremonies, which are, as it were, its local dress and language. Moreover, the entire contents of the phe-nomenal world are a reflection of pan of the contents of the all in all, the Pleroma. Their manifestation can by symbolically described as the drama enacted between God and Himself, the Son of Man is also the Son of God.

 But as Berdyaev says, all 'this is in the sphere of mythology: an attempt to express the inexpressible, for no words are adequate here. However, provided we remain aware that words can be no more than an approximation, at least we do the best we an, and, provided we constantly recall their true nature as clothes, not the body clothed, then in them we possess a valid and authentic key to the mystery of the metaphysics of history.

Guenon and Berdyaev, who came from widely different back-grounds, were both, to borrow a phrase from Nietzsche 'aristocratic radical', aristocratic not by birth or lineage but through being men of are intellectual and spiritual quality who naturally felt themselves to be members of a human elite. We are aristocrats in the inner man, as Eckhart says, by virtue of that true self, the Funkelein or Scintilla, the Divine Spark, that which 'I' hear and heed, as in Psalm as: Audiam qui Ioquiter in me, dominus Deus (I hear who speaks within me, the Lord God).

Both Guenon and Berdyaev possessed an all-embracing concern for the fate of humanity and a humble perseverance in sharing their insights. Both left far behind the cultural and religious environments in which they were raised and fearlessly followed the search for truth wherever it led them. Both were frequently misunderstood by those whom they had left behind, but nevertheless never became resentful or arrogant. They were in Paris at the same time but I have found no evidence that they ever met, though they must have been aware of one another's writings. Guenon, who was not noticeably lenient towards Christian thought in its degenerate state, neverthe-less believed that the Eastern Church had retained somewhat more of the authentic tradition than the West. A comparative study of their work would surely prove fruitful.

Both believed that it was possible for man here and now to encounter God or Principial Truth, and Guenon would surely have agreed with Berdyaev when he wrote,

What is needed is not so much to set certain ends before one and to realize them in the practical world making use of evil means in doing so. as to display, express and radiate a creative energy of one's own, in knowledge, in love, in a sense of community, in freedom and in beauty. and to be self-determined in the strength of one's awareness of the end

All this is, for this student at least, implicit in the whole of Guenon's writings, the study of which remains sterile and mere intellectual trilling unless it motivates us to search for the Ultimate Reality and live it as we search for it. This will involve above all the recognition that while, as Guenon always maintained, it is absolutely necessary to be an active participant in one of the great traditional religions, nevertheless all systems, dogmas, doctrinal and credal formulations are of secondary importance in that they are only different ways of viewing the Ultimate Truth. By their very nature they can only be landmarks or boundary fences defining one's position, rather than infallible and total enunciation of the truth.

The search for deliverance alone can give meaning to the history of the individual, and so, collectively to the history of a nation or a civilization. Deliverance, not from the fatigues and constraints of our earthly life, but from illusion and falsehood: the attainment of what in Hindu terminology is called moksha and in the Christian tradition Beatific Vision, defined by Karl Rahner as

the full and definitive experience of the direct self-communication of God himself to the individual human being when by free grace, God's will has become absolute and attained its full realixation.

From "René Guénon and the Future of the West: The Life and Writings of a 20th-Century Metaphysician" by Robin Waterfield

Nenhum comentário:

Postar um comentário