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[page 54] This is why 'profane science', the science of the moderns, can as we have remarked elsewhere be justly styled 'ignorant knowledge', knowledge of an inferior order confining itself entirely to the lowest level of reality, knowledge ignorant of all that lies beyond it, of any aim more lofty than itself, and of any principle that could give it a legitimate place, however humble, among the various orders of knowledge as a whole. Irremediably enclosed in the relative and narrow realm in which it has striven to proclaim itself independent, thereby voluntarily breaking all connection with transcendent truth and supreme wisdom, it is only a vain and illusory knowledge, which indeed comes from nothing and leads to nothing.
But let us cease anticipating and turn to present events: the West is undeniably encroaching everywhere; its influence first made itself felt in the material domain, since this comes most directly within its reach, working through conquest by violence or through commerce, and by securing control over the resources of other countries; but now things are going still further. Westerners, always animated by that need for proselytism which is so exclusively theirs, have succeeded to a certain extent in introducing their own antitraditional and materialistic outlook among other peoples; and whereas the first form of invasion only affected men's bodies, this newer form poisons their minds and kills all spirituality. In point of fact, it was the first kind of invasion that made the second one possible, so that it is ultimately only by brute force that the West has succeeded in imposing itself upon the rest of the world, as, indeed, must necessarily be the case, since in this sphere alone lies the superiority of its civilization, so inferior from every other point of view. The Western encroachment is the encroachment of materialism under all its guises and cannot be other than this; none of the more or less hypocritical veils, none of the moralistic pretexts, none of the humanitarian declamations, none of the wiles of a propaganda that knows how to be insinuating the better to achieve its destructive ends, none of these things can gainsay that Western encroachment is the encroachment of materialism; this could be disputed only by the gullible, or by those who have an interest in aiding a process that is truly 'satanic' in the strictest sense of the word. It is extraordinary that the very moment that Western encroachmentis penetrating everywhere is the moment chosen by some people to raise a cry against the peril, dreadful for them, of a supposed infiltration of Eastern ideas into the West; what new aberration can this be?
originally posted by: gosseyn
"The crisis of the modern world" is the title of a book written by René Guénon... To summarize the book is one sentence : we have killed god, but we haven't replaced it. It's more complicated than that but I think it's a fair and short description.
The modern world is a rupture, not just a progress or an evolution
calling it as it should be : a monstrosity.
The opposition of Eastern world versus Western world
For the author, there is contemplation and there is action. The East(China, India, Muslim world) is mainly contemplation but doesn't reject action, and considers action as subordinated to contemplation. While the West has rejected contemplation completely and has erected action as its only mode of functioning. Civilisations can understand each other if they have contemplation in common, even if they have superficial differences. Contemplation is superior to action just as the immutable is superior to what is changing : change has to refer to something immutable to even become possible. Contemplation leads to real knowledge, to wisdom : action without contemplation is vain.
Traditional science versus modern science
In the traditional world, everything is subordinated to a metaphysical questioning. Modern science can lead nowhere because it cuts everything into little pieces and this cannot lead to wisdom,
this cannot lead to a truth of the whole, understandable at the human level. If one day we find that behind atoms, electrons, photons and all that, there is just nothing, a void, what will we do, what will we say,
The author is not saying that it has no value, he says that all knowledge has value but only if it is linked to something of higher meaning.
Distinction is not separation, ... whine...whine...whine... supreme wisdom, it is only a vain and illusory knowledge, which indeed comes from nothing and leads to nothing.
This following quote is very reminiscent of what is happening today, nearly 100 years later(page 99).
But let us cease anticipating and turn to present events: the West is undeniably encroaching everywhere; its influence first made itself felt in the material domain...
originally posted by: gosseyn
If you read the book, you will understand that he is not really talking about god, or religion, and that he is not even talking about tradition for the sake of tradition. He is really talking about a guiding principle, that unifies, in the minds of men, the apparent multiplicity of matter. He is saying that we lost that, and he is right. A modern society obsessed with materialism can only see the multiplicity, which makes the universe look like it is just a bunch of separated and isolated elements. Without a guiding principle, without a principle that represents the whole, every action is an aimless action. And aimless action is exactly what this modern world is about, and we can see it in every domain of activity. There is no purpose anymore. It is like a football player who would never know in which direction he has to progress with the ball : yes, he plays with the ball, but it makes no sense, it is just senseless agitation. Materialism has become the alpha and the omega of everything.