What is here presented as a ‘miscellany’ of essays would in the case of most other writers on metaphysical subjects be considered a major work, both in breadth and depth. Some claim that René Guénon’s views never ‘developed’, that his knowledge of metaphysics was innate, as primordial and unchangeable as truth itself. Though clearly an exaggeration—for example, A.K. Coomaraswamy and Marco Pallis led Guénon to considerably revise his views Buddhism—there is still a remarkable degree of truth to this claim. Information must be acquired, and in the process erroneous notions will be corrected; yet the capacity for intellective insight is not an acquisition, but a gift; it is developed not by adding something, but by removing a veil. Some of the essays in the present volume could be considered Guénon’s ‘juvenalia’, yet the unerring instinct for metaphysical truth is already there, fully formed, along with the first stirrings of the author’s lifelong preoccupation with initiatic spirituality, the cosmological sciences, and the errors of modernity; there is no real incompatibility of outlook here between the Guenon of 1909 and the Guénon of 1950. Far from being a mere collection of fugitive writings, Miscellanea is an important work in its own right, worthy of its own unique place in the Guénonian corpus.
Table of Contents
PART ONE: METAPHYSICS AND COSMOLOGY
The Demiurge—Monotheism and Angelology—Spirit and Intellect—The Eternal Ideas—Silence and Solitude—'Know Thyself'—On the Production of Numbers
PART TWO: TRADITIONAL ARTS AND SCIENCES
Initiation and the Crafts—On Mathematical Notation—The Arts and Their Traditional Conception—The Conditions of Corporeal Existence
PART THREE: SOME MODERN ERRORS
The 'Empericism' of the Ancients—The Diffusion of Knowledge and the Modern Spirit—The Superstition of 'Value'—The Sense of Proportions—The Origins of Mormonism—Gnosis and the Spiritist Schools—Concerning a Mission to Central Asia—Profane Science in Light of Traditional Doctrines
Guénon established the language of sacred metaphysics with a rigor, a breadth, and an intrinsic certainty such that he compels recognition as a standard of comparison for the twentieth century.
Jean Borella, Modern Esoteric Spirituality
René Guénon is without doubt one of the colossal figures of the century, whose fame only increases with the passing of days.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, author of Knowledge and the Sacred