This book sets out to study some οf the ways in which the present age
Appears essentially as an age ao dissolution. At the same time, it addresses the question οf what kind οf conduct and what form οf existence are appropriate under the circumstances for a particular human type.
This restriction must be kept in mind. What Ι am about to say does
Not concern the ordinary man οf our day. Οn the contrary, Ι have in
Mind the man who finds himself involved in today’s world, even at
Its most problematic and paroxysmal points; yet he does not belong
Inwardly to such a world, nor will he give in to it. He feels himself, in
Essence, as belonging to a different race from that οf the overwhelming
Majority οί his contemporaries.
The natural place for such a man, the land in which he would not
Be a stranger, is the world οf Tradition. Ι use the word tradition in a
Special sense, which Ι have defined elsewhere. It differs from the common usage, but is close to the meaning given to it by Rene Guenon ίη
His analysis οί the crisis οί the modern world. ln this particular meaning, a civilization or a society is “traditional” when it is ruled by principles that transcend what is merely human and individual, and when all its sectors are formed and ordered from above, and directed to what is above. Beyond the variety οί historical forms, there has existed an essentially identical and constant world οf Tradition. Ι have sought elsewhere to define its values and main categories, which are the basis for
Any civilization, society, or ordering οf existence that calls itself normal
In a higher sense, and is endowed with real significance.
Everything that has come to predominate in the modern world is
The exact antithesis οί any
traditional type οf civilization. Moreover, the circumstances make it increasingly unlikely that anyone, starting from
The values οf Tradition (even assuming that one could still identify and
Adopt them), could take actions or reactions οf a certain efficacy that
Would provoke any real change in the current state οί affairs. After the
Last worldwide upheavals, there seems to be nο starting point either for nations or for the vast majority οf individuals-nothing in the institutions and general state οf society, nor in the predominant ideas, interests, and energies οf this epoch.
Nevertheless, a few men exist who are, so to speak, still οn their
Feet among the ruins and the dissolution, and who belong, more or less consciously, to that other world. Α little group seems willing to fight on,
Even in lost positions. So long as it does not yield, does not compromise
Itself by giving in to the seductions that would condition any success it
Might have, its testimony is valid. For others, it is a matter οf completely
Isolating themselves, which demands an inner character as well as privileged material conditions, which grow scarcer day by day. ΑΙΙ the same, this is the second possible solution. Ι would add that there are a very few in the intellectual field who can still affirm “traditional” values beyond any immediate goal, so as to perform a “holding action.” This is certainly useful to prevent current reality from shutting οff every horizon, not only materially but also ideally, and stifling any measures different from its own. Thanks to them, distances may be maintained-other possible dimensions, other meanings οf life, indicated to those able to detach themselves from looking only to the here and now.
But this does not resolve the practical, personal problem-apart from