Tag Archive | "perennial philosophy"

Dugin vs. Traditionalism: A Closer look

Aleksandr Dugin

Aleksandr Gelyevich Dugin (Russian: Алексaндр Гeльевич Дyгин) is a Russian political scientist who came to prominence by promulgating a theory of geopolitics known as Eurasianism in his book Foundations of Geopolitics. He was a key member of a number of Third Positionist groups such as the National Bolshevik Party, which was an anti-liberal political organization critical of American interventions in the former Soviet Union. To some degree, he credited the Belgian theorist Jean-François Thiriart and Evola as inspiration.

In recent times, Dugin has become an increasingly mainstream fixture in the Russian intellectual élite.  It should be said at this point that many of Dugin’s political views have merit, and indeed some portions of his outlook are difficult or impossible to deny.  However, the focus of this article is not upon the Dugin’s theories themselves, but rather their genesis, and we will attempt, here to briefly analyze the relationship between Evola, Guénon and Dugin.


The original basis of Traditionalism, as promulgated by Guénon was that, in high antiquity, a “primordial Tradition” (also referred to as “perennial wisdom,” or sophia perennis) had been revealed and existed among mankind.  As time progressed, the world and its people became decadent, slothful, and increasingly disconnected from this Tradition.  In the so-called “Kali Yuga” or “Iron Age,” there remain only a few traces of this Tradition, which manifests itself in the teachings of the major world religions.  Traditionalism, then, is a rejection of the myth of progress that had commonly been accepted throughout the 20th century.

Such a view was accepted by Julius Evola, whose works such as Revolt Against the Modern World and Men Among the Ruins, advanced Traditionalist theory.  Whereas Guénon expounded a religious and spiritual theory of Traditionalism, Evola expanded this to show how the religious and spiritual effects manifested in political and social phenomena.  In other words, Evola, though he has his differences, presents us with the utilization of Guenon’s ideas.  This can be seen readily in how Evola treats politics: while the “old” Traditionalists were not concerned with Politics, Evola does delve into politics.  Dugin, however, is explicitly and overtly political in his outlook.  It is Evola then, along with the other figures of the European New Right who influenced him, such as Alain de Benoist and Troy Southgate, who form the crucial link between the older Traditionalist school of  Guénon and Evola.

Dugin, however, does not reject modernity as definted by Evola or Guénon in its entirety.  In fact, he proposed “modernization without Westernization” in 1997.  While citing the two Traditionalists frequently in his work, it seems that his own theoretical work is geared towards an abstraction of these themes, and whilst Evola explicitly rejected the myth of progress, the national-Bolshevik idea coincided with the renewed sense of progress in Russia.  Moreover, On more than one occasion, Dugin has even proposed Alistair Crowley as a Traditionalist.  This shows a remarkable misunderstanding of the original Traditionalism, as Guénon had condemned Crowley as being a stark anti-traditionalist.


If Dugin is a Traditionalist, then he is the founder of a uniquely Russian interpretation of it, which instrumentalizes the original ideas of the 20th century Traditionalist scholars, but re-packages them so as to be useful in Dugin’s political Third Way-oriented worldview.  This is not to say that Dugin was not influenced by the Traditionalist school of thought, but rather that it does not play a major role in Dugin’s own thought.  And while it is true that there are plausible links between the Third Way and Traditionalist schools, the Third Way must be viewed first as a political system, and not as an entire worldview in and of itself.

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Tradition, Antitradition and Countertradition

Most people who are familiar with the giants of the Traditionalist school such as Julius Evola or Rene Guénon understand what is meant by Tradition according to these authors.  In this context, “tradition” has a meaning which is far removed from mere custom or folklore.  Instead, “Tradition” takes on the facets of something which is divine and eternal.  In a word, it calls man back to what Schuon called the ”transcendent unity”.  Tradition contrasts with modernity, whose sight is limited in scope, and concerned with quantity, not quality.  Evola describes the Tradition as embodying that which is “solar,” or “heroic” in nature, while anti-tradition is the direct antithesis of that.

Since Modernity is opposed to Tradition, there are two concepts that can be invoked in the description of modern life: antitradition and countertradition.  These may be perceived as the causes and effects of modernity.  In The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, René Guénon characterizes the antitradition as a mere negation of Tradition.  In other words, the characteristic symptoms of modernity, such as materialism, democracy, and secular humanism are a denial of Tradition, merely in the sense of failing to recognize it; they are  a deviation without actually becoming openly hostile.  Countertradition, however is a step further along the path of degeneration.  It is the satanic inversion of true spirituality, leading to the regime of Antichrist.

The two may be thought of as cause and effect, and is consistent with the principle of degeneration. The antitradition weakens and dissolves traditional spiritualities, after which the countertradition sets up a counterfeit in their place. Since Guénon’s time, as is well known, anti-traditional forces have greatly advanced worldwide.  The genesis of the anti-tradition, is within humanism, for as Guénon states, humanism “implies a pretension to bring everything down to purely human elements” (p 193). Guénon further goes on to posit that Protestantism and rationalism are further examples of the early antitradition.  Evola though, is more pessimistic and finds traces of the anti-tradition, which he equates with the presence of an ancient “Telluric,” or “southern,” civilization, in even ancient civilizations.  As an example, he cites the disentegration of the Aryan worldview as the concept of atman and brahman degenerating from a “formless, magical force” into a pantheistic concept which denied the existence of spiritual personality.

The Beginning of the End: For Western Europe, antitradition began with the decline of the Catholic Church

The manifestation of antitradition can be seen in all aspects of the Western world today.  Societies are crumbling, having lost direction and having rejected the aspects of a traditional society.  In political terms the system is democracy and secularism.  This system denies the existence of any divine cause, and regresses the castes in such a way that subjects him to be without a characteristic form.  The materialist outlook, whether it is capitalistic or communistic, is a system which is solely concerned with that of quantity.  Art, music, and culture are now the abstract expressions of soul-less individualism.  None of this is concerned with the spiritual betterment of human beings or any real human problems.  In America, the so-called ‘Land of the Free’, through every medium, man is told he has reached a degree of happiness hitherto undreamed of. He forgets who he is, where he came from, and basks in the present.

While antitradition is fully in force in the West, and has begun to spread to other parts of the world, we can already see countertraditional movements rising to the highest echelons of global political, economic, and religious power.  The existence of these movements would never be possible without the denial of tradition (i.e. antitradition).  The formations of such associations are allowing for a near-theological perspective on the tenets of the countertraditional society.  We can see such religious fervor in the way some in the West conduct themselves and view society.  As an example, there are certain groups which are now protected under the laws of the West, and certain histories, events, and concepts which the average person regards as canon.  In contrast to the anti-traditional attitude, which does not recognize Tradition, these new precepts are often diametrically opposed to the religious principles which, even 100 years ago, were at least paid nominal lip service to.

A clever disguise: In the absense of tradition, the countertradition can quickly take on many forms

At this point, antitradition manifests itself as a number of disconnected social movements.  Feminism, homosexuality, democracy, and liberalism are part of the transitional phase from antitradition to countertradition.  However, the countertradition will ultimately masquarade as a fully-fledged religion.  Both Guenon and Evola assert that the forces of “counter-initiation” are primarily occupied with cutting human beings off from the knowledge of anything transcendent, and then when this has been effectively completed, offering up a “parody” or “counterfeit” of the authentic initiatory experience “vitalized” by energies from the sub-human realm.  In the 20th and 21st century, many new religious movements have arisen: some of them are quite obviously draw their energies from chthonic sources, such as the various branches of Satanism or Luciferianism.  Some movements, such as modern Talmudism (which both rejects Christ and which is an inversion of the original principles of the ancient Israelite faith), are less subtle in their origins.  Still others are able to hide their nature as counterfeit spirituality, and are even being used by globalist powers to sow the seeds of conflict, such as Falun Gong or Baha’ism.

It is in the realm of countertradition, from which the prophesied Antichrist or Dajjal is to arise, because the Antichrist will superficially resemble Christ the Messiah, while doing the work of the Devil.  Thus, Tradition is not merely denied, but it is inverted, as per Guenon’s thesis.  This antichrist will seemingly provide for the needs of the people but deny them ultimate salvation.

For those worried about the coming counter-traditional world, Guenon gives us some words of hope, however:

between the fleeting reign of the ‘counter-traditiod and the final moment of the present cycle there can only be the ‘rectification’, which will suddenly put back all things into their normal place at the very moment when subversion seems complete, thus at one stroke preparing for the ‘golden age’ of the future cycle.

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