Stages of the same deviation




[…] when a few people have become conscious of the disorder of these days [...] and when these people try to 'react’ in one way or another, the best means for making their desire for ‘reaction' ineffective is surely to direct it toward one of the earlier and less 'advanced’ stages of the same deviation, some stage in which disorder had not yet become so apparent, and was as it here presented under an outward aspect more acceptable to anyone not yet completely blinded by certain suggestions.

Anyone who considers himself a 'traditionalist' must normally declare himself ‘anti-modern', but he may not be any the less affected, though he be unaware of the fact, by modern ideas in a more or less attenuated form; they are then less easily detected, but they always correspond in fact to one or another of the stages passed through by these same ideas in the course of their development; no concession, even unconscious or involuntary, is admissible on this point, for from the very beginning up to the present day, and beyond that too, everything holds together and is inexorably interlinked.

In that connection, this much more must be said: the work that has as its object to prevent all ‘reaction' from aiming at anything further back than a return to a lesser disorder, while at the same time concealing the character of the lesser disorder so that it may pass as ‘order', fits in very exactly with the other work carried out with a view to securing the penetration of the modern spirit into the interior of whatever is left of traditional organizations of any kind in the West; the same ‘neutralizing’ effect on forces of which the opposition might become formidable is obtained in both cases.

Moreover, something more than mere ‘neutralization' is involved, for a struggle must necessarily take place between the elements thus brought together as it were on the same level and on the same ground, and their reciprocal enmity is therefore no more than an enmity between the various and apparently opposed productions of one and the same modern deviation; thus the final result can only be a fresh increase in disorder and confusion, which simply amounts to one more step toward final dissolution.

As between all the more or less incoherent things that are today in constant agitation and mutual collision, as between all external ‘movements’ of whatever kind they may be, there is no occasion to ‘take sides’, to use the common expression, whether from a traditional or from a merely 'traditionalist’ point of view, for to do so is to become a dupe. Since the same influences are really operating behind all these things, it is really playing their game to join in the struggles promoted and directed by them; therefore the mere fact of ‘taking sides’ under such conditions is necessarily to adopt, however unwittingly, a truly anti-traditional attitude.

[René Guénon]
The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, p.212-4



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