Miscellanea

René Guénon

Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2003.
216 pages
Paperback
ISBN: 0-900588-55-1
Price: $20.95 US
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Hardcover
ISBN: 0-900588-56-X
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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

Praise

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 BorellaModern 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

About the Author

René Guénon (1886–1951) was one of the great luminaries of the twentieth century, whose critique of the modern world has stood fast against the shifting sands of intellectual fashion. His extensive writings, now finally available in English, are a providential treasure-trove for the modern seeker: while pointing ceaselessly to the perennial wisdom found in past cultures ranging from the Shamanistic to the Indian and Chinese, the Hellenic and Judaic, the Christian and Islamic, and including also Alchemy, Hermeticism, and other esoteric currents, they direct the reader also to the deepest level of religious praxis, emphasizing the need for affiliation with a revealed tradition even while acknowledging the final identity of all spiritual paths as they approach the summit of spiritual realization. His greatest contributions are a blindingly lucid exposition of the principles of orthodoxy and traditional metaphysics, an uncompromising critique of the deviation of modernism, and a breath-taking view of the polyvalence of traditional symbols. Implicit in these three genres, as in all Guénon's writing, is the need for personal affiliation with an orthodox tradition as a precondition for a bona fide spiritual practice that might lead, at least in principle, to the intellectual intuition of which he speaks. Little known in the English-speaking world till the recent appearance of his Collected Works in translation, Guénon has nevertheless long been recognized as a veritable criterion of truth by a vanguard of remarkable writers who evince that rare combination: intellectuality and spirituality. Regarded by leading scholars as the first truly authentic interpreter of many Eastern doctrines in the West, Guénon never tired, in face of the seemingly inexorable process of dissolution in the twentieth century, of pointing to the transcendent unity of all religious faiths and the abiding Truth that contains them all.