This a transcript for my the first video uploaded to the new YouTube channel, Embedded below:
Perhaps the best place to start this channel would be with an introduction to Traditionalism, and provide a somewhat crude whistle stop overview of what will be filled out in later videos comprehensively. As a precursor, I must state that Traditionalism encompasses a broad range of viewpoints, I will attempt to focus on the general premises agreed by most who espouse the position, and expand on the intricacies in later videos. My aim is to approach traditionalism and radical conservative viewpoints from a philosophical angle rather than a political one, as it seems that there is a real scarcity in that particular niche in regards to videos.
I will start with a brief historical background of what is meant by “Traditionalism”.
Though there were prior disturbances, such as the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, the Great East-West Schism of the 11th century or even the decline of the Roman Empire and the onset of Christianity, it can be said that Traditionalism proper, that is to say an organised school of thought dedicated to radical conservative perspectives, first emerged in Europe as a result of a rejection of the 17th and 18th century cultural movement known as the Enlightenment, which espoused the doctrines of moral subjectivism, democracy, liberalism, individualism, republicanism, separation of church and state, equality and empiricism and/or scientific rationalism; “Liberte, egalite, fraternite.” as the French Republic put it.
This cultural shift was a result of the philosophy of Descartes, Rousseau, Voltaire and numerous others, and sought to restructure society from a collective to a mass of sovereign individuals, who exalted the “sovereignty of reason” above the sovereignty of God or the Crown. These philosophies provided the impetus for the English Civil War of 1642, the American Revolution of 1776, the French Revolution of 1789 and later the Russian Revolution, which caused the brutal murder and deposition of many of Europe’s ancient ruling dynasties.
Perhaps the most disruptive innovations of the movement were Rationalism and Empiricism. These were respectively the view that all truth comes from reason, i.e. that which can be proven by logic, and the view that truth comes from that which can be observed. These were two prevailing but separate schools of thought which dominated the intellectual landscape.
There were, however, some who opposed these new developments for reasons we will come to shortly. They were known as the Counter-Enlightenment, led by Royalists, Romanticists and Aristocrats such as Francois Chateaubriand, Joseph de Maistre, Louis de Bonald and over in England Edmund Burke writing around the turn of the 1800s. Around the same time, you also had the Luddites who opposed the Industrial Revolution by destroying machinery in the English Midlands and Romantics such as William Blake writing poetry about the “dark satanic mills”.
Though Empiricism, truth from observation, fell out of favour after Immanuel Kant’s Critiquque of Pure Reason, rationalism, anti-monarchism and egalitarianism continued to be influential and inspired the ideology of Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx from 1840 to 1890, which took Enlightenment views to their conclusion promoting a pure materialism which did away with any system which transcended man: demolishing all notions of class, gender, nationhood, and hierarchy, even portraying religion as an “opium of the masses”.
From then on philosophy was split into three primary camps:
- the aforementioned Marxists
- the “classical liberals”, who agreed with Marxists on opposing absolute monarchy, opposition to faith and the doctrine of equality but disagreed over the idea of individualism. Classical liberals argued for individual liberty and in favour of capitalism, whilst Marxism argued for the working class to work as one mind towards a common struggle. As a result, there was a schism between the two.
- and finally, a particular group of successors to the counter enlightenment, now opposing classical liberalism on one side, and Marxism on the other. Writing at the turn of the 20th century, these were thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Giovanni Gentile and Oswald Spengler. The focus of this video, and my intention when I say Traditionalism, comes from a particular group of writers within this category, who came slightly later, writing in the 1920s to the 50s and are known as the Traditionalist School. The most influential of these were Rene Guenon, Frithjof Schuon and Julius Evola, and argued for a return to the roots of classical thought and a way out of the two aforementioned positions and an emboldened return to Religion, Race, Hierarchy and Metaphysics.
The Tenets of Traditionalism
With the historical background largely out of the way, we can discuss the principles of the Traditionalist School, and what I mean in future when I use the term Traditionalism:
- Firstly, what makes Traditionalism so different from all other philosophical formulations and belief systems, and what makes it so difficult to understand, is it not concerned with what the modern world classifies as “proof” or “empirical evidence” because it does not draw its truth from the 5 senses, which are deceptive and subjective. Nor does not try and understand reality and devolve the meaning of life from the reason of “this world” but from Metaphysical truth, which transcends all notions of logic, reason or comprehension and come through Authority alone. Authority is the cornerstone, which comes from divine revelation and is then carried through tradition and protected and preserved by the aristocracy. This can seem quite disturbing and alien to those accustomed to the materialist, vacuous belief of our time that “seeing is believing”. My assertion is that “inheriting the truth is believing”. This is a return to pre-Enlightenment notions of the concept of truth which are eternal and global, which is a testament to their validity. A quick but important point to address the question “how do we know that what has been passed down to use is a true revelation?” and the short answer is that because the same truth is present in all world traditions therefore it is indisputable, or at the very least highly plausible. This point warrants a video proof all of its own.
- Secondly, It is fundamentally and vehemently anti-materialist, not in the sense that it is against the world but denies the idea that the physical world of matter is “all there is”. Traditionalism asserts that the world as observed by man is merely a representation of the Absolute Reality, of which the human mind can only experience an abstraction due to its limited faculties. It derives this view from the work The World as Will and Representation by Arthur Schopenhauer, as well as Immanuel Kant and its interpretation of world religious texts, which brings me onto my next point.
- Traditionalism asserts that many of the world’s religions stem from a primordial truth which existed before and exists within these traditions, known as religio perennis, or the Primordial Tradition. A religion is considered authentic if it does not contradict with the fundamental teachings of another and shares the same esoteric truth, more on exactly what this means in a later video.
- Next is the notion of the Fallen Nature of Man. Since man is no longer ignorant due to the knowledge of good and evil, he in no longer innocent and is divided from God, in other words divided from an understanding of the nature of the Infinite. He is no longer a product of virgin nature but a product of himself. Humanity is not perfect, nor is it perfectible. Man is too volatile to be ruled by his instincts, and will always seek base pleasures, forbidden fruits and slavemasters which distract from understanding the Absolute Reality beyond the senses.
- As such, liberalism and Marxism are insufficient because they deprive man of a hierarchy, which is required to employ a code of ethics to transcend this Fallen State and to assist man in returning to his primordial nature. The basics of this system are the same in all world religions, which Traditionalists espouse only differ by their external appearance and have the same function, being passed on unchanged through the generations. The spiritual “walking dead” amongst us must be directed upwards towards the truth by a system of ethics, guided by men who are less effected by the pull of sin, which directs us away from our true nature. This is an aristocratic ideology which is vehemently opposed to liberal notions of universal equality or “human rights”, because authority and hierarchy cannot be found independently of one another. This will also seem strange because there is no room for “subjective morality”, a truth invented by the individual for their own use. Instead, Traditionalism is aristocratic, anti-individualist and determined to raise the individual up towards regards rather than down towards the proleteriat as Marxism seeks to do.
- The ultimate goal, therefore, is to become, so to speak, a “New Adam” through the use of the intellect or gnosis, a sixth sense if you will. It is the awareness and understanding of religious doctrine, known as mysteries. The word mystery actually comes from the Greek musterion, ultimately from Proto Indo European muo, meaning “to be closed”, meaning that only a select group could fully comprehend the depth of the allegory.
I will fill out the concepts I have discussed in this video in more detail. Please feel free to leave any questions about the subjects discuss in the comments below, and do let me know if you have any thoughts on the speed at which I have outlined these ideas.
I will end with a selection of quotes. Thank you for watching. Carpe diem!
The truths that allow us to understand the world of Tradition are not those that can be “learned” or “discussed.” They either are or are not. We can only remember them, and that happens when we are freed from the obstacles represented by various human constructions (chief among these are the results and methods of the authorized “researchers”) and have awakened the capacity to see from the nonhuman viewpoint, which is the same as the Traditional viewpoint … Traditional truths have always been held to be essentially non-human.