Alexander Dugin – “The New Program of Philosophy”

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Originally published in Literaturnaia gazeta [Literary Newspaper] in 2003, republished in the book The Radical Subject and its Double (Moscow: Eurasian Movement, 2009).

***

The human and the world. It would seem that the posing of such a question is relevant at all times. However, everything is much more complex. “Human” is not an affirmation, but a question mark. Human? Oh, yeah? Really? Would that be ‘the human’ in essence? In fact? Are you so sure about this?

“Human” has been understood as meaning altogether different things in different times, such as the stage of the ascent of the animal, or as the threshold of the descent of the angel…”Human” sounds strange…Human…

The world. This was also once all clear. But then again, what to say, how to say it…Even the word for world – mir in Russian, Welt in German, monde in French, dunya in Arabic, etc. – in different languages refers us to different things. Nevertheless, such has always meant something integral, universal, all-embracing…

The contemporary French philosopher Marcel Conche wrote that today “the world is no longer a world, but an extravagant ensemble.” This means that the obviousness has been blurred…Clearly, we are dealing not with an integral whole, but a mosaic of fragments out of which a complete picture cannot be shaped – there is always something missing or something clearly superfluous…

The eternal topic of “the human and the world” is now formulated differently as “Human? And the world?”, in which two uncertainties – inner and outer – collide.

Altogether recently, the labor of assigning the human and the world a clear identity was undertaken by ideologies. The human of communism was something fairly concrete, described, and established, just as the world of historical materialism and dialectical materialism was thoroughly studied and certified, with freedom of choice being placed within an explicitly outlined framework. Other ideologies – religious, national, and democratic – offered different models with differing proportions and structures, but always and everywhere understood “human” and “the world” to be fairly detailed, attentively conceptualized and defined.

But the time when Western liberalism finally defeated the Soviet camp, when an end was put to the struggle between ideologies, has gone. At first it seemed that the liberal-democratic doctrine of the human and the world had become universal and mandatory on a planetary scale. But something else happened. Left without a global opponent, rival, and adversary, the Western world quickly drowned in its own uncertainty. In the final decades of the “Cold War”, only the geopolitical necessity of ideologically confronting the Marxist USSR and its satellites lent harmony to the bourgeois system. The West was not philosophically ready for victory, it expected a protracted ideological duel, and the rapid disappearance of its enemy caught it by surprise. Being left alone, Western man was confused, taken aback, and drowned by a wave of cognitive hallucinations in which the past and present, the accidental and the paramount, the fundamental and the superficial, male and female, the serious and the sarcastic were irrevocably mixed.

Today the West is imposing not its system, but its systemlessness, not its obviousness, but its doubt, not its assertion, but its deep internal crisis.

When we join the global network, we do not receive a new identity and we do not come into contact with a new world. We simply irrevocably surrender to the storage room with a forgotten entry code those remnants of what made us who we were before and that reality in which we lived before. The act of dropping old certitudes and definitions is quite specific: it is a passport to the “new times”, a credit card for complicity in globalism, a mandatory requirement, and all those who reject this “initiation into globalism” automatically end up on blacklists, henceforth deemed agents of the “axis of evil” – after all, they did not catch the “latest news” that the world and the human are dead (following the death of God).

There is nothing in return. Not that there ever was something. The flickering of flames, of colored fish, half-dressed figures, the foamy opulence of shampoos, and the soft saliva of the ocean…You have been sucked into the ceaseless dreams of post-reality, and your job is only to press the buttons on the remote…

Whole words and phrases disintegrate into so many brilliant fragments, yet we are only interested in interjections and clauses, witty mooing and successful teasers. A world in which the parodying of the parodist delivers mass enjoyment has no right to be called a world. It is something from another system of things.

When we recognize in ourselves increasingly blind disagreement with such a state of affairs, we automatically rush to the past, to that time when the world and the human were fixed and well-defined realities. We become fascinated and inspired by everything: churchliness, monarchy, Sovietism, nationalism, and even democracy in its modestly-realistic and initial (industrial) version, where there were still decision and choice, labor and wages, and risks and laws for forming value. But this is not the way out, because if something – even something very good – has disappeared, this means that there is some kind of higher meaning…

If we can stand and straighten up in the flow of the tender, appetizing, rapid nothingness that is lashing at us from all sides, we will understand that something enormous and great, safely hidden in the most distant holes, is sending us – precisely us – new rays. If the human and the world no longer exist, then they are no longer so significant in the final analysis, and things might go out without them…Go out…

I put forth a new program of life: look at what is around us without squinting, without glancing back. The impending doom from which man has tried to escape has overtaken us in the final moment of history. Alright, we’ve learned our lesson.

Something terrible is revealing itself in our bodies, blossoming like a flower, something black…And out of the final horizons of darkness, the trembling petals of external consciousness – suspicions, guesses, and the lightning flashes of the undoubtable – are reaching out to meet our red heart.

In the heartless, camouflaged cosmos, we must build new dams of life by reaching to grasp the sparks of presence out from underneath the last shells of borrowed insight…

The new program of philosophy consists of persevering forward when there is no path forward and cannot be.

***

[Artwork – Alexey Belyaev-Gintovt, collection “Victory Parade 2937” (2010-2011)]

Dugin’s Guideline: World Philosophy Day

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold 

Dugin’s Guideline (17/11/2016)

***

Today, the third Thursday of November, on the initiative of UNESCO is World Philosophy Day. This date is rather bureaucratic and its celebration is just a formality. On the whole, World Philosophy Day is something artificial and even foolish which is not worth the attention of a philosopher, not to mention a non-philosopher. But let this be an occasion for reflection: what is philosophy?

There are two erroneous opinions which do not even allow us to approach what philosophy is from a distance. Those who believe that philosophy is only one among many possible human engagements or professions are hopeless. No less hopeless are those who believe that philosophy is a science, or even the most important of the sciences. Such an approach kills philosophy and does not allow one to think about its nature and essence.

Man is thought. All other properties, such as body, mobility, emotions, and sensations, are possessed by other species. What makes a human human is thought. Hence Aristotle’s definition that “Man is a living being possessing Logos.” If you do not possess Logos, you are not a human. A separate discussion would be who you are if you are incapable of thinking. Clearly, not merely an animal. An animal corresponds to its own archetype without thinking, but if a person loses thought, they are sinning against their archetype and find themselves nowhere. They would even still have to try to be a pig or a shark.

Philosophy is the realm of thinking that is so intense that thought turns towards itself and beings to think of thought. Thinking of itself, thought thereby thinks of everything surrounding it in an entirely different manner – in a philosophical manner. Philosophical thinking is the highest of thinking. Therefore, a philosopher is not simply busy with a profession, but penetrates the center of humanness. The philosopher is a human in the full sense of the word. He who is not ultimately a philosopher, or is not a philosopher at all, is not entirely human. Why is man given thought? So that he may think and, in the end, think about thinking. This is the aim of the human being as a species. If a person does not approach philosophy, they abandon their nature and aim, which means that they are on the way to being subhuman. This is what philosophy is: it is that to which all born humans are called. A human is not something given, but a task. And this task consists of the necessity of becoming human, i.e., a philosopher.

Now for the second misconception, which is characteristic of the professional philosophical community. There is nothing more vulgar and repulsive than this professional philosophical community. It is virtually impossible to meet a real philosopher among them. In this milieu, philosophy is regarded as a science, which means almost the same thing as a profession. Yet philosophy is not a science, but that which makes science possible, which lies at its heart, and which endows science with being and reality. Science is the servant of philosophy. As long as the structures of thinking and the standards of knowledge are not set by a philosopher, science simply does not exist. Science comes into play when a philosopher finishes his work. Scientists are migrant workers serving creators and architects – they may be amazing craftsmen or they might be bunglers, but they will always be only and exclusively implementers.

Philosophy lies at the root of science, and when science breaks away from philosophy, it becomes more and more absurd. Science without philosophy is akin to a paranoid disorder, when man fiercely and stubbornly does something, the meaning of which has long since been lost, to the point that all that remains is the irrefutable sense of terror that pushes him towards ever-newer sequences of hysterical reasonings. Philosophy calls this de-ontologization, the loss of the correlation between thinking and being, the oblivion of being. When science ceases to be philosophy, then philosophy becomes science and, as logically follows, both are finished.

The 20th century was the last century of philosophy. It is telling that at the end of the 20th century the historian of science John Horgan declared the end of science. Indeed, this is the case. World Philosophy Day began to be celebrated precisely once not a trace of philosophy was left in humanity. And then all the philosophizing worms, clerks and technologues of all stripes begin to stir. The boss left and the servant arranged the kitchen into what they understood to be the master’s ball.

To paraphrase Hölderlin, Wozu Philosophen in dürftige Zeit? Just like Hölderlin’s poets, the last and true philosophers unbeknownst to the crowds are following the trail of the disappeared solar Logos. And they are deeply hidden in the “sacred night” – in heiliger Nacht.

Alexander Dugin – NOOMAKHIA: Principles for Comprehending Chinese Civilization

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Chapter 1 of Noomakhia – The Yellow Dragon: The Civilizations of the Far East (Moscow: Academic Project, 2018)

***

China is recognized to be an independent and unique civilization by virtually everyone, and therefore there is no need to prove this. Rather, we are faced with attempting to reveal the structure of this civilization’s Logos and to determine as much as is possible its geosophical map both within the borders of China and beyond, as well as in its dialogue with neighboring civilizations.

Chinese culture has exercised an enormous and at times decisive influence on neighboring peoples, first and foremost on Korea, Vietnam, and Japan, all of which during certain eras held themselves to be part of Great China – not in the sense of political unity, but as indelible and organic parts of Chinese civilization and the Chinese horizon. This horizon also substantially impacted the peoples of Tibet as well as the nomads of Turan bordering China from the North. Moreover, we can encounter definite influences of the Chinese element among the peoples of Indochina and South-East Asia, such as in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, as well as, although to a lesser extent, Indonesia and the Philippines.

On the other hand, China itself has in some cases re-translated tendencies and influences originating in other civilizations. China was heavily influenced by the peoples of Turan, who often came to form the core of the ruling elites (such as among the Xianbei, the Mongols, the Manchurians, etc).[1] In the most ancient periods of Chinese history, the Indo-European factor was significant, as the Indo-Europeans remained the main force of the Eurasian Steppe up to the first few centuries AD.[2] It is from the Indo-Europeans that the ancient Chinese borrowed the horse, the chariot, and a number of cultural forms, above all the art of war, which the Indo-Europeans of Turan had developed with priority.

Also Indo-European in semantics and origins was Buddhism, which became widespread in China from the first to third centuries AD and came to constitute an important component of the Chinese tradition. Buddhism spread to China directly from India [3], as well as from Central Asia and the Tarim Basin, which were inhabited by Indo-European peoples. A certain role in this process was played by Tibet which, on the one hand, itself experienced Chinese influence while, on the other hand, represented a civilization in which the Indo-European vector was decisive.[4]

In studying China, we can apply our traditionally employed methodologies of civilizational analysis which have helped us to attain the level of ultimate generalizations which we have in the topography of noology.[5] If we succeed in hinting at the priorities in the noological structure of Chinese civilization, if we can approach the revelation of the main characteristics (existentials) of the Chinese Dasein, and if we can reveal just which Logos or Logoi of the three main ones is dominant in China, then we will consider our task to be fulfilled.

The Significance of the Works of Marcel Granet: “We, Chinese”

In unraveling the intricacies of the deeply original, unparalleled, unique Chinese culture, we will be guided by the works of an author who, from our point of view, while himself a European, nevertheless maximally profoundly delved into this culture’s structures and provided a most reliable description of it. We have in mind the French sociologist Marcel Granet (1884-1940), who devoted all of his scholarly life to studying China. Granet built his methodology along the following principles:

  1. Western European authors studying China have all, without exception, proceeded in their interpretations from the Eurocentric positions and paradigms of Modernity, reinterpreting social relations, political ideas, philosophical terms, religious practices, and so on in their own key, and thereby constructing an artificial Chinese historial seen from the position of either a detached observer nevertheless claiming universalism and truth in the final instance, or from direct (even if unconscious) colonial attitudes. Thus, any European interpretations will certainly remain within the paradigmatic treatment of China as a “society of barbarians”, that category into which all developed (“non-savage”) civilizations qualitatively differing in their structures from the European societies of Modernity automatically fall. Thus, Eurocentric Orientalism is one-sided, biased, and unreliable.
  2. Chinese historians themselves, in reflecting on the essence and structures of their civilizations, have erected an historial founded on one or another dynastic, philosophical, ideological, or at times religious preference, which also thereby presents a one-sided and ideologized version that cannot be taken as the final truth, and which must be constantly verified and corrected.
  3. We are left with pursuing a third way, that of immersion into Chinese civilization, its language, history, philosophy, customs, rites, art, politics, and society as a whole, attempting to identify its immanently inherent patterns on the basis of sociological and anthropological methodologies, and trying to adhere as close as possible to how the Chinese understand themselves without losing sight of the distance necessary for correcting social self-consciousness (the collective consciousness a la Durkheim) with regards to the general process of its historical changes and dynastic, religious, and geographical versions and alternatives.

Marcel Granet’s method applied towards China is in many respects similar to that of Henry Corbin (1903-1978) in his deep study of Iranian and Irano-Islamic civilization, a methodology which Corbin himself called the “phenomenology of religion.”[6] It is impossible to correctly describe a society’s self-consciousness if it is deliberately held that everything in which they themselves believe is “ignorant prejudice” or “empty chimeras.” Yet China can be understood only upon taking the position of the Chinese, agreeing to consciously trust how they see the world and just which world they constitute with their view. Just as Corbin said in his study of Iranian Shiism “We, Shiites”, Marcel Granet could well say of himself “We, Chinese” without any intention of irreversible altering his identity from being European to Chinese. In studying Chinese identity, European (or in our case Russian) identity ought, temporarily and in accordance with quite specific anthropological and sociological methodologies, be forgotten, so as to later (insofar as one desires) return to such, being enriched with radically new and previously inconceivable civilizational and even existential experience.

In his approach, Marcel Granet combined the holistic sociology of the Durkheim school and the methodologies of the “annals school”, which resulted in the conceptualization of society as a whole phenomenon and the treatment of the changes in society’s structure over the course of long historical periods not as differing, strictly discontinuous periods, with which conventional historical chronicles usually operate, but as processes of continuous and gradual mutations. The foundations of this methodology were substantiated in detail by Fernand Braudel with his famous concept of the “long durée.”[7] Granet devoted a number of fundamental works to China, namely: The Ancient Festivals and Songs of China, The Religion of the Chinese, The Dances and Legends of Ancient China, Sociological Studies on China, and his two generalizing and most important works, Chinese Civilization and Chinese Thought.[8-13]

Georges-Albert de Pourvourville and the Traditionalists

In addition to Granet, a substantial contribution to the comprehension of Chinese civilization has been supplied by Georges-Albert Puyou de Pourvourville (1862-1939), who wrote under the name Matgioi and studied Chinese civilization from within, spending many years in China. Pourvourville-Matgioi was initiated into the Taoist tradition by a Chinese teacher and passed on his acquired knowledge in his works on Chinese metaphysics, The Rational Way and The Metaphysical Way, in his books The Middle Empire and The China of the Learned, and in his translations of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching and Quangdzu’s The Spirit of the Yellow Race.[14-19] Another outstanding Traditionalist, Julius Evola (1898-1974), subsequently translated the Tao Te Ching into Italian.[20]

Pourvourville formulated his aim in the following words:

“I shall try to reveal to the Western twentieth century this treasure, hidden for five thousand years and unknown even to some of its keepers. But first I wish to establish the main features of this tradition, by virtue of which it is the first and, as follows, the true Tradition, and to mainly determine, by way of the tangible evidence accessible to man which this tradition’s authors have left us, how the relics of this tradition date back to the era when in the forests covering Europe and even the West of Asia wolves and bears were nearly no different from people who, clothed like them in skins, devoured coarse flesh.”[21]

Matgioi thus emphasized that he believed the Chinese tradition to be the most ancient and primordial (similar to how other Traditionalists, such as Guénon and Coomaraswamy, saw the Primordial Tradition in Hinduism). At the same time, Pourvourville-Matgioi did not simply try to prove that the Chinese tradition is comparable to the European but, as can be seen in the preceding passage, he was convinced that in all of its completeness, depth, and antiquity, it was superior to European culture as a whole, not to mention the European culture of Modernity, which Traditionalists univocally regard as degenerate and in decline. 

Pourvourville was close to René Guénon (1886-1951), the founder of European Traditionalism, and was one of Guenon’s main sources of acquaintance with the Chinese tradition. Guénon himself devoted a fundamental work, The Great Triad, to Chinese metaphysics, and therein largely relied on the ideas of Matgioi.[22] Matgioi and Guénon’s works are important in that they approach Chinese metaphysics from within, accepting the religious point of view of the Taoist tradition to the extent that such is accessible to people of European culture. Further important accounts of the Chinese spiritual tradition are contained in the works of the historian of religions and author close to Traditionalism, Mircea Eliade (1907-1986), particularly his work Asian Alchemy,  a considerable portion of which is devoted to the Chinese tradition.[23]

The Han Horizon: The People of the Milky Way

As is the case with any people, in examining the Chinese it is difficult to definitively determine just which layer of identity, which is necessarily multilayered and dialectically changing in its proportions over time, ought to be taken as our point of reference. Without a doubt, we are dealing with a civilization, and this means with a formalized and reflexive Logos embodied in philosophy, tradition, culture, politics, and art. In antiquity Chinese civilization achieved full disclosure, that is to say the Ausdruck stage in Leo Frobenius’ terminology. We can study this Logos, analyze and comment on it by studying and systematizing its elements and layers. In and of itself, this is already an extremely complex task, as Chinese civilization has gone through multiple principal phases entailing qualitative semantic shifts and, as follows, substantial adjustments have been ingrained into the fundamental paradigm of the Chinese Logos.

As we have shown in the volume of Noomakhia dedicated to Geosophy, the Logos of Civilization represents the highest layer of civilizational formation, from the “sowing” of the principal vertical Logoi (of Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele) to its yields and crops in the form of culture. The Logos is the final stage when the yields of culture are harvested over the final stage of the agrarian cycle. At the base of civilization lies a cultural or existential horizon, or Dasein (in this case the Chinese Dasein). The latter precedes the formation of civilization, but is at the same time its semantic foundation. Dasein, as an existentially understood people, as an existing people (whose existing presupposes history, i.e., time) also presupposes Logological structures on which it is founded. [24-25] Therefore, we must study Chinese civilization by constantly taking into account the existential foundations on which it has been erected.

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Yet in order to correctly examine and interpret the Chinese historial, i.e., the forms of the historical being of this people, it is necessary to discern the main horizon to act as the semantic axis taken as the point of reference. This always requires a choice, insofar as every horizon is complex, composite and is co-participated in simultaneously by multiple sub-horizons or layers with often differing noological orientations and trajectories. Thus, from the very outset, we must make a choice and recognize as the main existential core one Dasein which will be the “subject” of this historial. In the case of the Chinese horizon, the Han should be considered this axis as the people embodying the Chinese Logos that built this civilization, this Empire, and its special Chinese world.

The Han people emerged as a self-designation only with the Han Dynasty from 206-220 BC, which replaced the short-lived Qin Dynasty, when the unification of Chinese territories was accomplished. The name “Han” (Chinese: ) literally means “Milky Way”, which points towards the symbolic connection between Han identity, the sky, and cyclical movement.[26] In the Qin and Han eras, different tribes inhabiting the territory China and belonging predominantly to the Sino-Tibetan language group began to recognize their unity – culturally, historically, religiously, and so on. It is also evident that a certain unity of tradition was necessarily characteristic of even earlier forms of tribal associations, such as in the Zhou and more ancient periods, memory of which was imprinted in myths and legends. In any case, it is the Han people that ought to be taken, in a broad sense, as the foundational pole of the Chinese historial. We can define the earlier stages of the Han historial as proto-Han, after which Han identity later began to spread to neighboring horizons both within China and beyond, thereby including in the composition of its Dasein other ethnic and cultural groups. Yet at all of these stages, we are dealing with a semantic whole that is predominant and dominant in the space of Chinese history and Chinese geography. The Han Chinese are the subject of Chinese civilization, and they can be regarded as the main bearers of the resulting Logos, whose noological nature we are tasked with discerning over the course of our study.

Therefore, the phenomenological formula by which we shall be guided should be clarified: moving from “We, Chinese” to “We, Han” reflects our intention to be in solidarity with the Han Dasein in the reconstruction of the Chinese historial and to look through its eyes at the history, mythology, politics, and religion of China.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia: The Horizons and Civilizations of Eurasia – The Indo-European Legacy and the Traces of the Great Mother (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017)

[2] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia: The Logos of Turan – The Indo-European Ideology of the Verticle (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017)

[3] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia: Great India – Civilization of the Absolute (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017)

[4] Dugin, Noomakhia: The Horizons and Civilizations of Eurasia

[5] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia: Geosophy – Horizons and Civilizations (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017).

[6] Ibid. See also: Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – Wars of the Mind: The Iranian Logos: The War of Light and the Culture of Awaiting  (Moscow: Academic Project, 2016)

[7] Braudel F. Écrits sur l’histoire. Paris: Arthaud, 1990. See also: Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia: Geosophy

[8] Granet М. Fêtes et chansons anciennes de la Chine. Paris: Albin Michel, 1982.

[9] Granet M. La Religion des Chinois. Paris: Albin Michel, 2010.

[10] Granet M. Danses et légendes de la Chine ancienne. Paris: Les Presses universitaires de France, 2010.

[11]Granet M. Études sociologiques sur la Chine. Paris Les Presses universitaires de France, 1953.

[12] Granet M. Китайская цивилизация. Moscow: Algoritm, 2008.

[13] Granet M. Китайская мысль от Конфуция до Лао-цзы. Moscow: Algoritm, 2008.

[14] Matgioi. La Voie Rationnelle. Paris: Les Éditions Traditionnelles, 2003.

[15] Matgioi. La Voie Métaphysique. Paris: Les Éditions Traditionnelles, 1991

[16] Matgioi. L’Empire du Milieu. Paris: Schlercher frère, 1900.

[17] Matgioi. La Chine des Lettrés. Paris: Librairie Hermétique, 1910.

[18] Le Tao de Laotseu, traduit du chinois par Matgioi. Milano: Arché, 2004.

[19] L’esprit des races jaunes. Le Traité des Influences errantes de Quangdzu, traduit du chinois par Matgioi. Paris: Bibliothèque de la Haute Science, 1896.

[20] Evola J. Tao te Ching di Lao-tze. Rome: Edizioni Mediterranee, 1997. Other of Evol’s texts on Taoism are collected in the small brochure: Julius Evola, Taoism (Rome: Fondazione Julius Evola, 1988).

[21] Matgioi. Метафизический путь, p. 41 —42.

[22] Guénon R. La Grande Triade. Paris: Gallimard, 1957.

[23] Eliade М. Азиатская алхимия. М.: Янус-К, 1998.

[24] Dugin, Noomakhia: Geosophy – Horizons and Civilizations 

[25] Dugin А.G. Мартин Хайдеггер. Последний Бог [Martin Heidegger: The Last God]. Мoscow: Academic Project, 2015.

[26] It is also possible that the name of the Han Dynasty was derived from the river Hanshui or Han River which runs through Central China. 

Alexander Dugin: “From Sacred Geography to Geopolitics”

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translators: Jafe Arnold and John Stachelski 

Chapter 7 of Mysteries of Eurasia (Moscow: Arktogeia, 1991) / Chapter 6/Part 6/Book I of Foundations of Geopolitics (Moscow, Arktogeia, 2000). 

 ***

Geopolitics as an “Intermediary” Science

Geopolitical concepts have long been the most important factor in modern politics. These concepts are based on general principles which allow one to readily analyze the situation of any country and any individual region. 

In the form in which it exists today, geopolitics is undoubtedly a worldly, “profane”, secularized science. However, among all other modern sciences, it is geopolitics which has preserved the greatest connection to Tradition and the traditional sciences.  René Guénon said that modern chemistry is the product of the desacralization of the traditional science of alchemy, just as modern physics has its origins in magic. Exactly in the same way, one could say that that modern geopolitics is the product of the secularization and desacralization of another traditional science, that of sacred geography. Since geopolitics occupies a peculiar place among modern sciences and is often ranked as a “pseudo-science”, its profanation is not nearly as complete and irreversible as in the case of chemistry or physics. Geopolitics’ relation to sacred geography is rather distinctly visible in this sense. Therefore, we can say that geopolitics occupies an intermediary place between traditional science (sacred geography) and profane science. 

Land and Sea

The two essential concepts of geopolitics are Land and Sea. It is these two elements  – Land and Water – that lie at the root of humans’ qualitative imagination of earthly space. In experiencing land and sea, earth and water, man enters into contact with the fundamental aspects of his existence. Land is stability, gravity, fixity, space as such. Water is mobility, softness, dynamism and time.

These two elements are, in their essence, the most obvious manifestations of the material nature of the world. They stand outside of man: everything is heavy and fluid. They are also inside him: in the body and blood. The same is the case at the cellular level.

The universality of the experiences of earth and water yields the traditional concept of the Firmament, since the presence of the Higher Waters (the source of rain) in the sky also implies the presence of a symmetric and necessary element – earth, land, the celestial vault. All together, Earth, Sea and Ocean are in essence the major categories of earthly existence, and it is impossible for mankind not to see in them some of the foundational attributes of the universe. As the two basic terms of geopolitics, they preserve their significance for both civilizations of a traditional kind and for exclusively modern states, peoples and ideological blocs. At the level of global geopolitical phenomena, Land and Sea generate the terms Thalassocracy and Tellurocracy, i.e., “power by means of sea” and “ power by means of land” – Sea Power and Land Power. 

The strength of any state or empire is based upon the preferential development of one of these categories. Empires are either thalassocratic, or tellurocratic. The former implies the existence of a mother country and colonies, the latter a capital and provinces on “common land.” In the case of thalassocracy, its territory is not unified into one land space, which creates an element of discontinuity. The sea is both the strength and weakness of thalassocratic power. Tellurocracy, on the contrary, boasts the quality of territorial continuity.

Geographical and cosmological logic at once complicate this seemingly simple model of division: the pair of “land-sea”, by reciprocal superimposition of its elements, gives birth to the ideas of “maritime land” and of “land-water”. The maritime-land is an island, i.e., the base of maritime empire, the pole of thalassocracy. “Land-water” or water within land means rivers, which predetermine the development of overland empires. On the river we find the city, the capital, the pole of tellurocracy. This symmetry is symbolic, economic and geographical all at once. It is important to note that the statuses of Island and Continent are defined not so much on the basis of physical magnitude as by the peculiarities of the consciousness typical of their populations. Thus, the geopolitics of the US is of an island nature despite the dimensions of North America, whereas the island of Japan geopolitically represents the continental mentality, etc.

One more detail is relevant: historically, thalassocracy is linked to the West and the Atlantic Ocean, whereas tellurocracy is associated with the East and the Eurasian continent. The above-mentioned example of Japan is explained, thus, by the stronger “attractive” effect of Eurasia.

Thalassocracy and Atlanticism became synonyms long before the colonial expansion of Great Britain or Portuguese and Spanish conquests. Long before the first sea migration waves, the peoples of the West and their cultures had already begun their shift to the East from their centers located in the Atlantic. The Mediterranean was also mastered from the Gibraltar to the Middle East, and not the other way around. Meanwhile, excavations in Eastern Siberia and Mongolia demonstrate that ancient pockets of civilization once existed there, which means that none other than the central lands of the continent were the cradle of Eurasian mankind. 

The Symbolism of Landscape

Besides these two global categories of Land and Sea, geopolitics also operates with more particular definitions. Maritime and oceanic formations can be differentiated among thalassocratic realities. For instance, the maritime civilizations of the Black Sea or Mediterranean Sea are rather qualitatively different from the civilizations of the oceans, i.e., insular powers and peoples dwelling on the shores of the open ocean. More particular divisions also exist between river and lake civilizations with relation to continents.

Tellurocracy also has its own particular forms. One can distinguish between the civilization of the Steppe and civilization of the Forest, the civilization of the Mountains and the civilization of the Plains, the civilization of the Desert and the civilization of Ice. In sacred geography, diverse varieties of landscapes are understood as symbolic complexes linked to the particularities of the state, religious and ethical ideologies of different peoples. Even in those cases where we are dealing with a universalist, ecumenical religion, the concrete embodiment of such in a given people, race or state will be subject to adaptation to the local sacred-geographical context. Deserts and steppes represent the geopolitical microcosm of the nomads, and it is precisely in the deserts and on the steppes that the tellurocratic tendency reaches its climax, as the “water” factor is minimally present. Desert and Steppe empires should therefore logically be the geopolitical springboards of tellurocracy. As an example of a Steppe empire, one might consider the Empire of Genghis Khan. A typical example of a Desert empire was the Arab Caliphate, which arose under the direct influence of nomads. 

Mountains and mountain civilizations are more often than not archaic and fragmentary. Mountain countries are generally not sources of expansion, in fact, they tend to gather the victims of other tellurocratic forces’ geopolitical expansion. No empire has its center in a mountainous region. Hence the often repeated maxim of sacred geography, “mountains are inhabited by demons.” On the other hand, the idea that mountains can conserve the residual traces of ancient races and civilizations is reflected by the fact that it is precisely in mountains that the sacred centers of Tradition are placed. One could even say that mountains correspond to some kind of spiritual power in tellurocracy. 

The logical combination of both concepts – the mountain as a hieratic model and the desert as a regal one – yields the symbolism of the hill, i.e., a small or average height. The hill is a symbol of imperial might rising above the secular level of the steppe, but it does not reach the limit of supreme power as is the case with mountains. A hill is a dwelling place for a king, a count, an emperor, but not a priest. All large tellurocratic empires’ capitals are placed on a hill or hills (often on seven hills – the number of the planets; or on five – the number of elements, including the ether, and so on).

The forest in sacred geography is similar to the mountains in a definite sense. The symbolism of the tree corresponds to the symbolism of the mountain (both the former and the latter designate the world axis). Therefore, in tellurocracies the forest also plays a peripheral function, as it too is the “place of the priests” (the druids, the magi, the hermits), but also at the same time the “place of demons”, i.e., archaic residuals from a vanished past. Thus, a forest cannot serve as the center of an overland empire.

The tundra represents the Northern analogue to the steppe and the desert, although the cold climate makes it much less significant from a geopolitical point of view. This “peripherality” reaches its apogee with the icebergs which, similarly to mountains, are deeply archaic zones. It is telling that the Eskimo shamanic tradition calls for a future shaman to depart alone on the ice, from where the world beyond will be opened to him. Thus, ice is a hieratic zone, the threshold of another world.

Taking into account these essential and most general characteristics of the geopolitical map, it is possible to define the various regions of the planet according to their sacred qualities. This method can also be applied to the local features of a landscape at the level of individual countries or even of individual localities. It is also possible to trace the convergence of the ideologies and traditions of what are seemingly very diverse peoples. 

East and West in Sacred Geography

In the context of sacred geography, cardinal directions possess a special, qualitative nature. Visions of sacred geography can vary across traditions and periods in accordance with the cyclical phases of a given tradition’s development. Hence why the symbolic functions of cardinal directions often vary. Without diving into the details, it is possible to formulate the most universal law of sacred geography with regards to East and West.

Sacred geography, on the basis of “cosmic symbolism”, traditionally considers the East to be the “land of the Spirit”, the paradisal land, the land of perfection, abundance, the sacred “homeland” in its fullest and most complete form. In particular, this idea is mirrored in the Bible, where Eden has an Eastern position. The exact same understanding is characteristic of other Abrahamic traditions (Islam and Judaism), as well as many non-Abrahamic traditions, such as the Chinese, Hindu and Iranian traditions. “The East is the mansion of the gods”, states the sacred formula of the Ancient Egyptians, and the very word “East”, or neter in Egyptian, simultaneously meant “god.” From the point of view of natural symbolism, the East is the place where the sun, the Light of the World, the material symbol of Divinity and the Spirit, ascends, or vostekeat in Russian, hence the Russian word for “East”, vostok.

The West has the opposite symbolical meaning. It is the “land of death”, the “lifeless world”, the “green country” (as the Ancient Egyptians called it). The West is “the empire of exile” and “the pit of the rejected” in the expressions of Islamic mystics. The West is the “anti-East”, the country of the setting of the sun (zakat in Russian), decay, degradation, and transition from the manifest to the non-manifest, from life to death, from wholeness to need, and so on. The West [zapad in Russian] is the place where the sun descends, where it “sinks down” (zapadaet).

It is in accordance with this logic of natural cosmic symbolism that ancient traditions organized their “sacred space”, founded their cult centers, burial places, temples and edifices, and interpreted the natural and “civilizational” features of the planet’s geographical, cultural and political territories. Thus, the very structure of migrations, wars, campaigns, demographic waves, empire-building, etc. was defined by the primordial, pragmatic logic of sacred geography.

Peoples and civilizations possessing hierarchical characters stretched along the East-West axis – the closer to the East, the closer they were to the Sacred, to Tradition, to spiritual abundance. The closer to the West, the more the Spirit decayed, degraded and died. 

Of course, this logic was not always absolute, but at the same time it was neither minor nor relative as it has so wrongly been considered by many “profane” scholars of ancient religions and traditions today. As a matter of fact, sacred logic and the tracing of cosmic symbolism were much more consciously recognized, understood and practiced by ancient peoples than is acceptably believed today. Even in our anti-sacred world, the archetypes of sacred geography are almost always retained in their integrity on the level of the “unconscious”, and are awoken at the most important and critical moments of social cataclysms. 

Thus, sacred geography univocally affirms the law of “qualitative space”, in which the East represents the symbolic “ontological plus”, and the West the “ontological minus.” According to the Chinese tradition, the East is Yang, or the male, bright, solar principle, and the West is Yin, the female, dark, lunar principle.

East and West in Modern Geopolitics

Now we shall see how this sacred-geographical logic is mirrored in geopolitics, which, in the capacity of the exclusively modern science, merely fixates on the factual arrangement of affairs, leaving sacred principles themselves out of its framework and out of the picture. 

Geopolitics in its original formulation by Ratzel, Kjellén, and Mackinder (and later by Haushofer and the Russian Eurasianists) took as its point of departure the peculiarities of different types of civilizations and states in relation to their dependence on geographical disposition. Geopoliticians established the fact that there is a fundamental difference between “insular” and “continental” powers, between “Western”, “progressive” civilization and “Eastern”, “despotic” and “archaic” cultural forms. Insofar as the question of the Spirit in its metaphysical and sacred understanding is generally never raised in modern science, geopoliticians have also brushed it aside, preferring to evaluate situations in different, more modern terms than those of the “sacred”, “profane”, “traditional”, “anti-traditional”, etc. 

Geopoliticians have identified major differences between the political, cultural and industrial development of Eastern regions and Western ones over the past few centuries. The picture thereby derived is the following: the West is the center of “material” and “technological” development. On the cultural-ideological level, “liberal-democratic” tendencies and individualistic and humanistic worldviews prevail in the West. On the economic level, priority is assigned to trade and technological modernization. The theories of “progress”, “evolution”, and the “progressive development of history”, which are completely alien to the traditional Eastern world (and also to Western history in those periods when a rigorous sacred tradition was still in place there, as was the case in the Middle Ages), appeared for the first time in the West. On the social level, coercion in the West acquired only an economic character, and the Law of Idea and Force was gradually replaced by the Law of Money. A peculiar “Western ideology” was gradually cast in the universal formula of the “ideology of human rights”, which became the dominant principle in the most Western regions of the planet – North America, first and foremost the United States of America. On the industrial level, this ideology has corresponded with the notion of “developed countries”, and on the economic level is related to the concepts of the “free market” and “economic liberalism.” 

The whole aggregate of these features, along with the purely military, strategic integration of different sectors of Western civilization, is defined today by the concept of “Atlanticism.” In the previous century, geopoliticians spoke of “Anglo-Saxon civilization” or “capitalist, bourgeois democracy”, but the “geopolitical West” has since found its most pure embodiment in the “Atlanticist” form. 

The geopolitical East represents the direct opposite of the geopolitical West. Instead of economic modernization, here (in the “less developed countries”) traditional, archaic modes of production of the corporative or shop-manufacturing type prevail. Instead of economic coercion, the state more often employs “moral” or simply physical coercion (the Law of Idea and Law of Force). Instead of “democracy” and “human rights”, the East gravitates around totalitarianism, socialism and authoritarianism, i.e., around various types of social regimes whose only common feature is that the center of their systems is not the “individual” or “man” with his “rights” and his peculiar “individual values”, but something supra-individual, supra-human, be it “society”, “the nation”, “the people”, “the idea”, “the Weltanschauung”, “religion”, “the cult of the leader” etc. The East contradicts Western liberal democracy with a diversity of types of non-liberal, non-individualistic societies ranging from authoritarian monarchies to theocracies or socialism. Moreover, from a pure typological, geopolitical point of view, the political specificity of this or that regime is secondary in comparison to the qualitative division between “Western order” (= “individualist, mercantile”) and “Eastern order” (= “supra-individual – based on force”). The USSR, communist China, Japan until 1945 and Khomeini’s Iran have been representative forms of such an anti-Western civilization. 

It is curious to note that Rudolf Kjellén, the first author to coin the term “geopolitics”, illustrated the differences between West and East in the following example:

“A typical pet phrase of the ordinary American,” Kjellén writes, “is ‘go ahead’, which literally means ‘go forward.’ In this is reflected the internal and intrinsic geopolitical optimism and ‘progressivism’ of American civilization, which is the extreme form of the Western model. The Russians, on the other hand, habitually repeat the word nichego [‘nothing’]. This manifests the ‘pessimism’, ‘contemplation’, ‘fatalism’, and ‘adherence to tradition’ peculiar to the East.” 

If we now return to the paradigm of sacred geography, we see a direct antagonism between the priorities of modern geopolitics (such concepts as “progress”, “liberalism”, “human rights”, and “trade order” etc., are today positive terms for the majority of people), and the priorities of sacred geography, which evaluates different civilizational types from a completely opposite point of view (from the standpoint of such concepts as “spirit”, “contemplation”, “submission to superhuman force or superhuman idea”, “ideocracy”, etc., which in sacred civilizations are exclusively positive, and remain such  to this day for the Eastern peoples on the level of the “collective unconscious”). Modern geopolitics (with the exceptions of the Russian Eurasianists, the German followers of Haushofer, Islamic fundamentalists etc.) analyzes and imagines the world from an opposite perspective than that of traditional sacred geography. But in this, both sciences still converge in their description of the fundamental laws of the geographical picture of civilizations.

Sacred North and Sacred South

In addition to the sacred-geographical determinism along the East-West axis, an extremely relevant problem is posed by another, vertical orientation or axis – that of North-South. Here, as in all other cases, the principles of sacred geography, the symbolism of cardinal points, and the continents related to each, have a direct analogue in the geopolitical picture of the world, which is either naturally built up over the course of the historical process, or is consciously and artificially formed as a result of the purposeful actions of the leaders of this or that geopolitical formation. From the point of view of the Integral Tradition, the difference between “artificial” and “natural” is generally rather relative, since Tradition never knew anything in the likes of  the Cartesian or Kantian dualisms which strictly separate the “subjective” and the “objective” (or the “phenomenal” and “noumenal”). Therefore the sacred determinism of North or South is not only a physical, natural, or terranean-climatic factor (i.e., something “objective”), nor is it merely an “idea” or “concept” generated by the minds of individuals (i.e., something “subjective”). Rather, it is some kind of third form that is superior to both the objective and subjective poles. One might say that the sacred North, or the archetype of the North, was over the course of history split into the natural Northern landscape on the one hand, and the idea of the North, or “Nordicism”, on the other. 

The most ancient and primordial layer of Tradition unequivocally affirms the primacy of North over South. The symbolism of the North corresponds to the Source, to the original Northern paradise from which all human civilization originates. Ancient Iranian and Zoroastrian texts speak of the northern country of Airyana Vaeja with its capital of Vara, from which the ancient Aryans were expelled by glaciation sent upon them by Ahriman, the spirit of Evil and opponent of the bright Ormuzd. The ancient Vedas also speak of a Northern land as the ancestral home of the Hindus, the Śveta-dvīpa, the White Land lying in the Far North. The Ancient Greeks spoke of Hyperborea, the Northern island with the capital Thule. This land was considered to be the homeland of the bright god Apollo. In many other traditions, one can detect the most ancient traces, so often forgotten and fragmentary, of this “Nordic” symbolism. 

The fundamental idea traditionally associated with the North is the idea of the Center, the Immobile Pole, the point of Eternity around which revolves not only the cycle of space, but also the cycle of time. The North is the land where the sun never sets even at night, it is the space of eternal light. Every sacred tradition honors the Center, the Middle, the point where contrasts converge, the symbolic place that is not subject to the laws of cosmic entropy. This Center, whose symbol is the Swastika (which stresses both the immobility and constancy of the Center, and the mobility and changeability of the periphery), has acquired different names for each tradition, but it has always been directly or indirectly linked to the symbolism of North. Therefore, we can say that all sacred traditions are, in essence, the projection of the One Northern Primordial Tradition adapted to all different historical conditions. The North is the Cardinal Point chosen by the primeval Logos in order to reveal itself in History, and each of its further manifestations has only re-created this primordial polar-paradisal symbolism.

In sacred geography, the North corresponds to the spirit, light, purity, completeness, unity, and eternity. The South symbolizes something directly opposite – materiality, darkness, mixture, privation, plurality and immersion in the stream of time and becoming. Even from a natural point of view, in polar areas there is one long semi-annual Day and one long semi-annual Night. This is the Day and Night of the gods and heroes, of the angels. Even decayed traditions remember this sacred, spiritual, supernatural Cardinal North, recalling the Northern regions to be the dwelling place of “spirits” and “forces from beyond.” In the South, the Day and Night of the gods are fragmented into human days – here the primordial symbolism of Hyperborea has been lost, and its memories became mere pieces of “culture” or “legend.” The South generally often corresponds to culture, i.e., to that sphere of human activity at which the Invisible and the Purely Spiritual acquire material, hardened, visible outlines. The South is the reign of substance, life, biology and instincts. The South corrupts the Northern purity of Tradition, but preserves its traces in materialized features.

The North-South pair in sacred geography is not reduced to an abstract opposition of Good and Evil. It is rather the opposition of the Spiritual Idea to its coarsened, material embodying. In normal cases, in which the South recognizes the primacy of the North, there exist harmonious relations between these “parties of light”; the North “spiritualizes the South”, the Nordic messengers bring Tradition to the Southerners and lay the foundations of sacred civilizations. If the South fails to recognize the primacy of the North, then thus begins the sacred confrontation, the “war of continents.” In the view of Tradition, the South is responsible for this conflict in breaking sacred rules. In the Ramayana, for instance, the Southern island of Lanka is considered the dwelling place of demons that have stolen Rama’s wife, Sita, and declared war on the continental North with its capital of Ayodhya. 

Thus, it is important to note that in sacred geography, the North-South axis is more important than the East-West axis. But being the more important one, it corresponds to the most ancient stages of cyclical history. The great war of North and South, of Hyperborea and Gondwana (the ancient paleo-continent of the South) belongs to “antediluvian” times. In the last phases of the cycle, it becomes more hidden, more veiled. The paleo-continents of North and South themselves disappear. Thus, the baton of opposition is passed to East and West.

The shift from the vertical North-South axis to the horizontal East-West axis typical of the last stages of the cycle nevertheless saves the logic and symbolic connection between these two sacred-geographical pairs. The North-South pair (i.e., Spirit-Matter, Eternity-Time) is projected on the East-West pair (i.e., Tradition and Profanity, Origin and Decay). The East is the downwards horizontal projection of the North. The West is the upwards horizontal projection of the South. Out of this transition of sacred meanings, one can readily obtain the structure of the continental vision peculiar to Tradition. 

The People of the North

The Sacred North determines a special human type, which can have a biological, racial embodiment, but also might not have such a thing at all. The essence of “Nordicism” consists in the capacity of man to raise each object of the physical, material world to its archetype, to its Idea. This quality is not a simple development of a rational origin. On the contrary, the Cartesian and Kantian “pure intellect” is by its very nature incapable of overcoming the thin border between the “phenomenon” and “noumenon”, whereas it is precisely this ability that lies at the heart of “Nordic” thinking. The man of the North is not simply white, “Aryan” or Indo-European in terms of his blood, language, and culture. The man of the North is a particular kind of being endowed with a direct intuition of the Sacred. To him, the cosmos is a texture of symbols, each of them pointing towards the First Spiritual Principle that is invisible to the eye. The man of the North is the “solar man”, Sonnenmensch, who does not absorb energy, as black holes do, but allots it – the streams of creation, light, strength, and wisdom flow out of his spirit.

Pure Nordic civilization disappeared with the ancient Hyperboreans, but its messengers laid the foundations of all present traditions. This Nordic “race” of Teachers stood at the origins of the religions and cultures of the peoples of all continents and colors of skin. Traces of a Hyperborean cult can be found among the Indians of North America, among the Ancient Slavs, among the founders of the Chinese civilization, and among the natives of the Pacific, among the blonde Germans and black shamans of Western Africa, among the red-skinned Aztecs and among the Mongols with their wide cheek-bones. There is no people on the planet that does not have a myth about the “solar man”, Sonnenmensch. True spirituality, the supra-rational Mind, the divine Logos, and the capacity to see through the world to its secret Soul – these are the defining qualities of the North. Wherever there is Sacred Purity and Wisdom, there, invisibly, is the North – no matter what point in space or time we inhabit. 

The People of the South

The man of the South, the Gondwana type, is directly opposite of the Nordic type. The man of the South lives in a circle of effects, of secondary manifestations; he dwells in the cosmos, which he venerates but does not understand. He worships exteriority, but not interiority. He carefully preserves traces of spirituality, their embodiments in the material environment, but he is not able to proceed from “symbolizing” to “the symbolized.” The man of the South lives by passion and speed, he puts the psychic above the spiritual (which he simply does not know) and worships Life as a higher authority. The cult of the Great Mother, of matter generating the variety of forms, is typical of the man of the South. The civilization of the South is a civilization of the Moon, which only receives light from the Sun (North), and preserves and diffuses it for some time only to periodically lose contact with it (the new moon). The man of the South is a Mondmensch.

When the people of the South stay in harmony with the people of North, i.e. recognize their authority and their typological (not racial!) superiority, harmony reigns among civilizations. When they claim their supremacy because of their archetypical relation to reality, there arises a distorted cultural type, which can be globally defined by adoration of idols, fetishism or paganism (in the negative, pejorative sense of this term).

As is the case with the paleo-continents themselves, purely Northern and Southern types existed only in remote ancient times. The people of the North and the people of the South confronted one another only in the primordial epochs. Later, whole peoples from the North penetrated the Southern lands, sometimes founding bright expressions of Nordic civilization, such as ancient Iran and India. On the other hand, peoples from the South sometimes went far northward, bearing their cultural type, such as Finns, Eskimos, Chukchi etc. The original clearness of the sacred-geographical panorama gradually became muddy. But in spite of all of this, the typological dualism of the “people of North” and the “people of the South” has been preserved in all times and epochs, only not so much in the form of an external conflict between two miscellaneous civilizations, as an internal conflict within the framework of any given civilization.

The type of the North and the type of the South have since some moment in sacred history opposed each other at every turn, irrespective of concrete places on the planet. 

North and South in East and West

The type of the people of North can be projected in the South, East and West. In the South, the Light of North generated great metaphysical civilizations such as the Indian, Iranian or Chinese, which in the situation of the “conservative” South for a long time preserved the Revelation, were entrusted with it. However, the simpleness and clearness of Northern symbolism turned here into complex and miscellaneous tangles of sacred doctrines, sacraments and rites. The further to the South, the feebler are the traces of the North. And among the inhabitants of the Pacific islands and Southern Africa, Nordic motives in mythology and sacraments are preserved only in extremely fragmentary, rudimentary and even distorted form.

In the East, the North manifests itself as classical traditional society founded on the univocal superiority of the supra-individual above the individual, where the “human” and the “rational” are retracted in view of the supra-human and supra-rational Principle. If the South gives civilization “stability”, then the East defines its sacrality and authenticity, the major guarantor of which is the Light of the North.

In the West, the North is manifest in heroic societies, where such a tendency peculiar to the West as fragmentation, individualization and rationalization surpassed itself, and the individual, becoming the Hero, grew out of the narrow framework of the “human, all too human” personality. The North in the West is personified by the symbolic figure of Heracles who, on the one hand, releases Prometheus (the purely Western, titanic, “humanist” tendency), and on the other, helps Zeus and the gods to defeat the rebellion of the giants (i.e. serves for the sake of sacred rules and spiritual Order).

The South, on the contrary, projects itself on all three orientations according to an opposite image. In the North, it gives the effect of “archaism” and cultural stagnation. Even the most Northern, “Nordic” traditions, when under the Southern influence of “Paleo-Asiatic”, “Finnish” or “Eskimo” elements, took on the traits of “idol-worshipping” and “fetishism” (this is characteristic, in particular, of the Germano-Scandinavian civilization in the “epoch of the Skalds”).

In the East, the forces of the South surface in despotic societies, where the normal and just Eastern indifference towards the individual turns into denial of the great Supra-human Subject. All forms of Eastern totalitarianism, both typological and racial, are linked to the South.

Finally, in the West, the South is manifested in the extremely rough, materialistic forms of individualism in which the atomic individual reaches the limit of anti-heroic degeneration, worshipping only the “golden calf” of comfort and egotistical hedonism. That this combination of two sacred-geopolitical tendencies yields the most negative type of civilization is obvious, since it overlaps two orientations which are already in themselves negative – South on the vertical line and West on the horizontal line. 

From Continents to Meta-Continents

If, from the perspective of sacred geography, the symbolic North unambiguously corresponds to positive aspects, and the South to negative, then in the exclusively modern geopolitical picture of the world, everything is much more complex – and to some extent even upside down. Modern geopolitics understands the terms “North” and “South” as wholly different categories than sacred geography does.

First of all, the paleo-continent of the North, Hyperborea, has not existed for many millennia on a physical level, but remains a spiritual reality towards which the spiritual gaze of the initiated yearning for primordial Tradition has been directed .

Secondly, the ancient Nordic race, the race of the “white teachers” who descended from the pole in the primordial era, does not at all coincide with what is today commonly called “white race” based only on physical characteristics, skin color, etc. The Northern Tradition and its original population, the “Nordic autochthones”, have not existed for quite some time as a historical-geographical reality. Judging by things as they stand at present, even the last remnants of this primordial culture disappeared from physical reality some millennia ago.

Thus, ‘the North’, looked at in terms of Tradition, is a meta-historical and meta-geographical reality. The same can be said about the “Hyperborean race” – it is not a ‘race’ in the biological, but rather, in a purely spiritual, metaphysical sense. The topic of “metaphysical races” was developed in detail in Julius Evola’s work.

The continent of the South, ‘the South’ as it exists in Traditionalist terms, and its most ancient population have not existed for quite some time. In a certain sense, the “South” at a certain  moment came to make up practically the entire planet, as the influence of the original polar initiatic center and its messengers dissipated across the entire world. The modern races of the South represent a product of multiple mixtures with the races of North, and skin color in general long ago ceased to be a distinctive sign of belonging to one or another “metaphysical race.”

In other words, the modern geopolitical picture of the world has very little in common with the fundamentally supra-historical and meta-temporal view of the world. The continents and populations of our epoch are extremely far removed from those archetypes to which they corresponded in primordial times. Therefore, today there exists not merely a discrepancy, but an almost inverse correspondence between actual continents and actual races (the realities of modern geopolitics) on the one hand, and meta-continents or meta-races (the realities of traditional sacred geography) on the other.

The Illusion of the “Rich North”

Modern geopolitics refers to the concept of the “North” most frequently alongside the adjective “rich”  – the “rich North,” the “advanced North”. This term refers to an aggregate of Western civilization which attaches fundamental attention to the development of the material and economic side of life. The “rich North ” is rich not because it is more clever, more intellectual, or more spiritual than the “South”, but because it has built its social system on the principle of maximizing the material that can be extracted from social and natural potential, from the exploitation of humans and natural resources. The racial image of the “rich North” is linked to people with white skin, a feature which is central to various versions, whether explicit or implicit, of “Western racism” (in particular Anglo-Saxon racism). The success of the “rich North” in the material sphere was raised to a political and even “racial” principle in those countries which became the vanguard of industrial, technical and economic development, i.e., England, Holland, and later Germany and the US. In this case, material and quantitative welfare amounted to a qualitative criterion, and it is on this basis that the most ridiculous prejudices about the “barbarism”, “primitiveness”, “underdevelopment” and “untermenschlichkeit” of the Southern peoples (i.e., those not belonging to “rich North”) came about. Such “economic racism” was clearly manifested in Anglo-Saxon colonial conquest. Later, an embellished version was introduced in the most coarse and contradictory aspects of National-Socialist ideology. Nazi ideologists often blended vague guesses about pure “spiritual Nordism” and the “spiritual Aryan race” with the vulgar, mercantilistic, biological racism of the English variety. This substitution of sacred-geographical categories with categories of material and technical development was the most absolutely negative aspect of National-Socialism, and the element which led to its political, theoretical and military collapse. Yet, even after the defeat of the Third Reich, this kind of “rich North” racism has not disappeared from political life. Now, the US and its Atlanticist partners in Western Europe have become its primary bearers. In the most recent globalist doctrines of the “rich North”, questions of biological and racial purity are not stressed; nevertheless, in practice, the rich North’s relations with undeveloped and less developed countries of the Third World still advance the “racist” haughtiness typical of both English colonialists and the German National-Socialists’ orthodox Rosenberg line. 

In fact, the “rich North”, in geopolitical terms, refers to those countries where forces directly opposed to Tradition have won out – the forces of quantity, materialism, atheism, spiritual degradation and emotional degeneration. The “rich North” is radically distinct from “spiritual Nordism” and the “Hyperborean spirit.” The substance of the North in sacred geography is the primacy of spirit over matter, the definitive and total victory of Light, Justice and Purity over the darkness of animal life, the arrogance of individual passions and the mud of base egoism. The globalist geopolitics of the “rich North”, on the contrary, means exclusively material welfare, hedonism, the consumer society, the “problem-free” and artificial pseudo-paradise of those whom Nietzsche called “the last men.” The material progress of technological civilization has been accompanied by the monstrous spiritual regress of all truly sacred culture. From the point of view of Tradition, the “wealth” of the modern, “advanced” North cannot serve as genuine criteria of any real superiority over the material “poverty” and technological backwardness of the modern “primitive South.”

Moreover, the material “poverty” of the South is quite often conversely linked tied to Southern regions’ conservation of genuinely sacred forms of civilization. Spiritual wealth is sometimes disguised behind ostensible “poverty.” At least two such sacred civilizations still exist in the Southern space today despite all the attempts by the “rich (and aggressive!) North” to impose its own measures and path of development on the whole world: Hindu India and the Islamic world. In terms of Far Eastern traditions, there are various points of view: some see certain traditional principles that have always been definitive for Chinese civilization, even beneath the “Marxist” and “Maoist” rhetoric. These Southern regions are inhabited by peoples who have maintained their devotion to very ancient, nearly forgotten sacred traditions. Compared to the atheist and utterly materialistic “rich North”, these peoples are “spiritual”, “whole” and “normal”, while the “rich North” itself is “abnormal” and “pathological” from a spiritual point of view.

The Paradox of the “Third World ”

In terms of globalist projects, the “poor South” is de facto a synonym for the “Third World.” This part of the world was referred to as the “third” during the Cold War, a notion which presupposed that the other two “worlds” – the advanced capitalist and less-advanced Soviet – were more relevant and significant to geopolitics than all other regions. The expression “Third World” has a pejorative connotation: according to the utilitarian logic of the ”rich North”, such a definition renders Third World countries tantamount to a “no man’s land”, to little more than human resource reservoirs slated for subservience, exploitation and manipulation. In so doing, the “rich North” has skillfully played on the traditional political-ideological and religious characteristics of the “poor South” by subjugating it to its exclusively materialist and economic interests and structures which are, in terms of spiritual potential, far superior to the “rich North” itself. The “rich North” has almost always succeeded in this subjugation, since the very cyclical moment of our civilization is conducive to perverted, abnormal and unnatural tendencies. This is due to the fact that, according to Tradition, we are now in the latest period of the dark age, the ‘Kali Yuga.’ Hinduism, Confucianism, Islam and the indigenous traditions of the “non-white” peoples are but an impediment to the material conquests and aims of the “rich North”; yet, at the same time, certain aspects of Tradition are often appropriated to achieve their mercantile goals by manipulating contradictions, religious peculiarities or national problems. Such utilitarian appropriations of various aspects of Tradition for exclusively anti-traditional aims have been an even greater evil than the outright denial of all Traditional values, since the highest perversion is for the great to be made subservient to the “nothing.”

In reality, the so-called “poor South ” is only “poor” on a material level precisely because of its spiritual attitudes, having always reserved only a minor and unimportant place for the material aspects of existence. The geopolitical South in our time has preserved a uniquely traditionalist attitude towards the objects of the external world, a calm, detached, and even indifferent attitude which starkly contrasts the obsessions of the “rich North” with materialist and hedonistic paranoia. The people of the “poor South”, by virtue of living in Tradition, to this day have fuller, more profound and even more magnificent existences. Participation in sacred Tradition bestows upon all aspects of their personal lives’ a meaning, an intensity and a saturation, of which the “rich North” has long been deprived. The latter is left hysterical with neuroses, material fears, inner desolation and a completely pointless existence. It is little more than a languid kaleidoscope with pictures as vivid as they are empty. 

It could be said that the correlation between North and South in primordial times has a directly inverse correlation in our present epoch, as it is the South which today still preserves some links with Tradition, whereas the North has definitively lost them. Nevertheless, this statement does not cover the whole picture of reality, since true Tradition cannot abide such humiliating treatment as that practiced by the aggressively atheistic “rich North” against the “Third world.” The fact of the matter is that Tradition has been preserved in the South only in an inertial, fragmentary, partial form. It holds a passive position and can only resist, it is permanently on the defensive. Thus, the spiritual North has not fully transferred itself to the South in the End Times – the South only accumulates and preserves spiritual impulses that once came from the sacred North. No active traditional initiative can come from the South in principle. Meanwhile, the globalist “rich North” has managed to harden its pernicious grasp on the planet due to the specificity of the Northern regions that are conducive to activity. The North was and remains by its very nature the chosen place of power. Thus, truly effective geopolitical initiatives come from the North.

The “poor South” today has a spiritual advantage over the “rich North”, but it cannot serve as a serious alternative to the profane aggression of the “rich North”, nor can it offer the radical geopolitical project capable of subverting the pathological vision of the modern world. 

The Role of the “ Second World”

In the bipolar geopolitical picture of “rich North” vs. “poor South”, there has always existed an additional component of self-sufficient and critical significance. This is the so-called “Second World”, which is conventionally understood to mean the socialist camp that was integrated into the Soviet system. This “Second World” was not quite the “rich North”, since it had definite spiritual motives that secretly influenced the nominally materialistic ideology of Soviet socialism, nor was it really the “Third world”, since overall an orientation towards material development, “progress” and other exclusively profane principles were at the heart of the Soviet system. The geopolitically Eurasian USSR was located both in “poor Asia” and “civilized” Europe. During the socialist period, the planetary belt of the “rich North” was broken in Eastern Eurasia, thus complicating the clarity of geopolitical relations on the North-South axis.

The end of the “Second World” as a special civilization left the former USSR’s Eurasian space with two alternatives: either integration into the “rich North” (that is, the West and the US), or being thrown down to the “poor South”, i.e., to turn into a “Third world country.” One possible compromise would be the separation of some of the regions to the “North” and some to the “South.” As has often been the case over the last few centuries, the initiative of redistributing geopolitical spaces was the prerogative of the “rich North”, which cynically used the paradoxes of the “second world” itself to fix new geopolitical borders and break up zones of influence. 

National, economic and religious factors are regularly instrumentalized by the globalists as tools in their cynical and deeply materialist-motivated operations. It is therefore no surprise that, in addition to false “humanist” rhetoric, almost blatantly “racist” pretexts are now increasingly invoked to incite Russians to demonstrate a “white superiority complex” towards Asian and Caucasian Southerners. This correlates with the inverse process of the former “Second World” being driven finally towards the “poor South” which has been accompanied by manipulations of fundamentalist tendencies, of the peoples’ inclination towards Tradition and of the revival of religion. 

The disintegrating “Second World” is being broken apart along the lines of “traditionalism” (the southern, inertial, conservative kind) and “anti-traditionalism” (the actively Northern, modernist and materialist kind). This dualism, which is only being strategized today but will become the predominant phenomenon in Eurasian geopolitics in  the near future, is predetermined by the spread of the globalist understanding of the world in terms of “rich North” and the “poor South.” Any attempt to save the former Soviet Great Space, and any attempt to save the “Second World” as something self-sufficient and balancing halfway between North and South (in their exclusively modern meaning), cannot be successful without altogether questioning the fundamentally polar conception of modern geopolitics as understood and realized in its actual form, brushing aside deceitful humanitarian and economic proclamations. 

The “Second World” is disappearing. There is no more place for it on the modern geopolitical map. At the same time, the pressure of the “rich North” on the “poor South” is increasing, with the latter left to fend against the aggressive materialistic technocratic society of the “North” in the absence of an intermediate power, such as the Second World was. Any other possible destiny for the “Second World” will only be possible if accompanied by a radical rejection of the planetary logic of the North-South dichotomy in its globalist vein. 

The Project for the “Resurrection of the North”

The rich globalist North is spreading its domination across the planet through the partition and destruction of the “Second World.” In modern geopolitics, this has also been called the project of the “New World Order.” The active forces of anti-tradition are consolidating their victory over the passive recalcitrance of the Southern regions which continue to preserve their economic backwardness and defend their residual forms of Tradition. The inner geopolitical energies of the “Second World” face a choice – either be annexed into the “civilized Northern belt” and decisively lose any connection with sacred history (which is the project of leftist globalism), or become an occupied territory allowed to partially restore some aspects of tradition (the project of right-wing globalism). Events are developing in precisely this direction today and they will continue to in the near future. 

As for an alternative, it is theoretically possible to formulate a different path for geopolitical transformation based on rejecting the North-South globalist logic and on returning to the spirit of genuine sacred geography – to the extent that such is possible now, at the end of the dark age. This is the project of the “Great Return” or, in other terms, the “Great War of Continents.” In its most general features, the essence of this project is as follows:

(1) The rich North will be opposed, not by the “poor South”, but by the “poor North.” The poor North is the sacred ideal of returning to the Nordic sources of civilization. Such a North is “poor” because it is based on total asceticism, on radical devotion to the highest values of Tradition, on utter hatred of the material for the sake of the spiritual. The “poor North” exists (in a geographical sense) in Russia, which, essentially being the “Second World”, has socio-politically resisted the adoption of globalist civilization in its most “progressive” forms to the present moment. The North Eurasian lands of Russia are the only territories on earth which have not been completely mastered by the “rich North.” They are inhabited by traditional peoples and are terra incognita in the modern world. The “path of the poor North” for Russia means refusing to be annexed by the globalist belt and refusing to have its traditions archaized, reduced to the folkloric level of an ethno-religious reservoir. The “poor North” must be spiritual, intellectual, active and aggressive. Potential opposition by the “poor North” to the “rich North” is possible in other regions as well, perhaps manifesting itself in part of the Western intellectual elite radically sabotaging the course of mercantile civilization and rebelling against the modern world of finance for the sake of the ancient, eternal values of the Spirit, Justice and Self-Sacrifice. The “poor North” could thus launch a geopolitical and ideological battle against the “rich North”, rejecting its projects, destroying its plans from the inside and out, combating its stainless efficiency and thwarting its social and political manipulations.

(2) The “poor South”, incapable of independently opposing the rich North, will enter a radical alliance with the poor Eurasian North and begin a liberation war against the Northern dictatorship. It is especially important to strike at representatives of the ideology of the “rich South ”, i.e., those forces which, working for the “rich North”, stand for the “development”, “progress” and “modernization” of traditional countries, which will otherwise lead to a further departure from what remains of sacred Tradition.

(3) The “poor North” of the Eurasian East, together with the “poor South”, will surround the entire planet, concentrating their forces against the “rich North” of the Atlanticist West. These efforts will put an end to the ideologically vulgar versions of Anglo-Saxon racism and praise of the “technological civilization of the white peoples” along with its accompaniment globalist propaganda. Alain de Benoist expressed this idea in the title of his famous book  Europe, Tiers Monde – même combat [“Europe and the Third World: The Same Fight”], which argues for a “spiritual Europe”, a “Europe of peoples and traditions” instead of the “Maastricht Europe of commodities.” The intellectualism, activism and spiritual profile of the genuine, sacred North will return the South’s traditions to their Nordic Source, and raise the Southerners in a planetary uprising against the common geopolitical enemy. In so doing, the passive resistance of the South will form a beachhead in the planetary messianism of the “Nordicists” who radically reject the degenerated and anti-sacred branch of white peoples who have followed the path of technological progress and material development. This could spark a planetary, supra-racial and supra-national Geopolitical Revolution based on the fundamental solidarity of the “Third World” with that part of the “Second World” which rejects the project of the “rich North”.

Over the course of this struggle, the flame of the “resurrection of the spiritual North”, the flame of Hyperborea, will transform geopolitical reality. The new global ideology will be that of Final Restoration, putting a final end to the geopolitical history of civilizations – but this will not be the end which the globalist spokesmen of the End of History have theorized. The materialistic, atheistic, anti-sacred, technocratic, Atlanticist version of the End will give way to a different epilogue – the final Victory of the sacred Avatar, the coming of the Great Judgement, which will grant those who chose voluntary poverty the kingdom of spiritual abundance, while those who preferred wealth founded on the assassination of the Spirit will be condemned to eternal damnation and torment in hell.

Lost continents will arise out of the abysses of the past. Invisible meta-continents will appear in reality. A New Earth and a New Heaven will arise.

Thus, the path is not from sacred geography to geopolitics but, on the contrary, from geopolitics to sacred geography.

 

Alexander Dugin: NOOMAKHIA – The Noology of the Ancient Chinese Tradition

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Chapter 4 of Noomakhia – The Yellow Dragon: The Civilizations of the Far East (Moscow: Academic Project, 2018)

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The Ontology of Breaths: The Yellow Dionysus

The Yin-Yang formula, its dimension given in the Tao, and its dispensation in the calendar and map of the five elements, taken together, describes the structure of the specifically Chinese ontology which fundamentally differs from all other ontologies. Chinese ontology is based on elements and approaches which correspond to a special noological model. The essence of this model lies in that it is not merely dominated by the Logos of Dionysus, but the Logos of Dionysus is the only known and accepted element within it, while all the other noological zones “undergo” this Chinese “Dionysianism” without ever acquiring autonomous fixation. Here, in the Ancient Chinese tradition, the Logos of Dionysus is complete, and the balance which constitutes its essence is unmoved in any direction of the other Logoi – neither towards Apollo, as is the case in the majority of Indo-European forms of Dionysianism [1] , nor in the direction of Cybele, as in many cultures of a chthonic and titanic orientation.[2] Yin-Yang and Tao cannot be correlated with the Platonic model of the Apollonian Logos, in which the center is eternal heaven and the middle level is the realm of living temporal phenomena, nor with the materialist doctrines of the Great Mother and Titanism, which fasten phenomena and things to the harsh sect of space and time or the figure of the material demiurge, i.e., the Black Logos of Cybele.

The Chinese Logos unfolds exclusively and absolutely in the middle sphere, in the intermediary world which is conceived as the main and only one. Neither Heaven and Yang nor Water and Yin, that is to say neither the Apollonian heights nor the Cybelean depths acquire autonomous ontologies or a particular Logos. There are no extremes, there is only the center between, which constitutes them over the course of a subtle dialectical game. The gods, people, the elements, Empires, rites, animals, luminaries, cycles, and lands all represent the unfolding of the middle Logos and are but traces of the dynamic, rhythmic pulsation of the Center always situated equally in the middle between two poles which are void of autonomous being and which intersect one another by virtue of great harmony. This middle world unfolding around the absolute center can be imagined as a ship which has raised the anchors tying it to Heaven and the Underworld. The phenomenal world of Yin-Yang ontology has no archetypal ideas and paradigms, nor does it hold material presence as a necessary condition for manifestation. Chinese ontology is principally and fundamentally light, as indicated by Marcel Granet in his term “the magic of breath.” We can thus speak of an “ontology of breaths” moving in a rich rhythm away from Heaven and the earthly Base in a free soaring. Heaven and the Underworld are contained within the Center and represent its projections, never completely detached from its viviparous matrix.

In its essence, this structure is remarkably reminiscent of Heidegger’s fundamental ontology which, as has been noted by numerous scholars, is either indicative of a similarity of approaches or the possibility that Heidegger himself borrowed a number of central motifs from Chinese philosophy (perhaps by way of Japanese culture in its Zen Buddhist version).[3] The Chinese Center, being neither above the world nor below the world, corresponds as accurately as is possible to the Heideggerian Dasein and its specific phenomenology which we have previously identified unequivocally as the Logos of Dionysus. Moreover, the Chinese tradition presents this point in a pure and extremely structured form which propels us to search for that Other Beginning of philosophy of which Heidegger spoke, and to turn to the “ontology of breathing” of Chinese culture.[4] Something similar as to the fundamental importance of Chinese philosophy to the reconstruction of the Primordial Tradition was expressed by René Guénon.[5]

If we correlate the peculiarity of the ontological zone of Dionysus in the Chinese tradition with the three states of consciousness of Indian philosophy, we can note that the intermediary, middle world corresponds to the realm of dreams. Above this world Hinduism places the world of the pure spirit (Svarga, Heaven, and kāraṇa-śarira, the “causal body”) and below it the images of corporeal forms (Bhur, Earth, and shthūla-śarira, the “gross body”).[6] On the basis of this model, the proposition can be made with regards to the existential peculiarity acting as the dominant of Chinese culture that Chinese culture is the culture of dreams, the field of the middle world in which Dasein resides in a state of intense rhythmic uncertainty or “subtle suspension” whose structure is organized along the rhythm of Yin-Yang. The “Yellow Dasein” is not merely sleeping, but excludes the very possibility of awakening. Awakening is conceived not as an alternative to sleep, but as a transition to another dream, just as winter transitions into spring.

Chinese thought rejects any exclusivity: slumber is not abolished by reality, but reality is included in slumber on equal grounds. Zhuangzi’s butterfly metaphor dreamed by Zhou thus acquires further meaning. If earlier we used the metaphor of sleep to describe transformation, then now this metaphor of transformation can be employed to describe the ontology of the dream. Transformation is a synonym for dreaming, and the dream is the common denominator of both sleeping consciousness and waking consciousness. The structures of many other cultures, particularly those of the monotheistic religions and the civilization of European Modernity, are based on the conviction that waking consciousness is the common denominator, that which exists always and “objectively” and whose conditions are merely cognized differently depending on whether a person is asleep or awake; if he is awake, then he perceives this “objective reality” in terms of contrast; if he is asleep, then he merely ceases to feel such, but this does not change “objective reality” itself. In this view, we are convinced that the only right judgement is one made by an awake person over a sleeping one, and by no means by a sleeping person over a wakened one. Hence why wakefulness is taken to be the common denominator of “reality.” But this is merely a property of the philosophy of the Great Mother and a form of her cultural domination which imposes its perception of things from precisely this angle. The Apollonian Logos (as in Platonism, the Avesta, and the Upanishads) sees the common denominator as the inner contemplation of ideas by consciousness, which can be clear in sleep but vague in waking and vice versa. The latter is of secondary importance, insofar as the most important of all is transcending sleep and and wakefulness to where resides being and that which resembles “reality” most of all (corresponding to the world of ideas or the enneads in Neoplatonism). The Chinese tradition, as the culture of the Yellow Dionysus, takes as its fulcrum not wakefulness and the worlds of eternal paradigms, but dreaming, which is “change” or “alteration”, in Chinese “i” . This “alteration” is the essence of Chinese existence. Yet this “change” is not “becoming” insofar as there is no goal, no accumulation or loss which would be asymmetric. Hence the idea that in each dynasty only one of five virtues could dominate – associated, once again, as always, with the five elements. The remaining four were always sent into exile into the periphery of China, where they remained until the dynasty exhausted its virtues and began to degenerate. Afterwards, a new virtue would be asserted in the Center along with a new dynasty, with the former sent into exile. Virtues, peoples, and elements – none of these and nothing whatsoever disappears; rather, everything is transformed, put to sleep, and awakened all in the structure of the multileveled, non-integrable equation of slumber and dreaming.

Hence the lightness of Chinese style in music, painting, language, and architecture. This is the lightness of transformations and dreams bearing their own precise order yet remaining fundamentally open to the infinite sets of saturated and unexpected variations. This is not the eternal return of the same (a la Nietzsche [7]), but the eternal return of something different every time and for all time.

The Experience of the Dragon

In the Chinese tradition, the figure of the Dragon (Lun ) plays a major metaphysical role. The Chinese theory of the five elements professes strictly correspondences to two types of animals: ordinary (the pig, dog, sheep, chicken, and cow) and sacred-mythological (the Black Turtle or Snake, the Yellow Dragon, the Red Phoenix, the Yellow Unicorn, and the White Tiger). If the ordinary animals are situated on the external border of the circle or square of the calendar-map, then the sacred animals belong to the realm beyond this border. Insofar as Chinese metaphysics does not allow transcendence in any form, this “beyondness” of the sacred animals is nevertheless included within the system of the Chinese worldview on the grounds that, while being outside the world, dragons and phoenixes are maximally distant from the Center, but still within the border. As a rule, the structure of the sacred combines within itself both the extremely distant and the extremely close, the extremely big and the extremely small.[8] Therefore, what is furthest from the Center still reveals its presence in the Center itself, albeit in its hidden dimension. This is what makes the Center sacred.

The circle of sacred animals is apportioned according to the logic of the five elements: the Black Turtle or Snake is associated with Water and the Underworld (the land of the Yellow Springs); the Yellow Dragon with Wood, the East, and the Spring Equinox; the Red Phoenix with the South and the Summer Solstice; the White Tiger with Metal, the West, and the Autumnal Equinox; and the Yellow Unicorn (qilin) with Earth and the Center. All of these sacred beings, however, are described as having a whole complex set of properties, such as horns, the tails of snakes or fish, wings, paws, scales, etc. In other words, all of them are pantheria, or “all-beasts” featuring elements of other animals. They are proto-animals, spirits, and sacred symbols containing the powers of the fivefold rhythm of the dispensation of Yin-Yang. In some sense, they might be called “gods” or “onto-logoi” insofar as they exhibit the most general synthetic powers conjugated with each of the elements; but as living and personified beings, they embody these powers in a concentrated form drawn towards a single pole. Appealing to the pantheria is a kind of spell of the elements which, in order for it to be possible to be evoked, must have personal traits.

In a narrow sense and in its most archaic roots, the Dragon represents the pantherion associated with the element of Water, i.e., it is an entity bearing the traits of both the snake, the fish, and the turtle. In this understanding, the Dragon was one of the pantheria or spirit-gods of Water, the Underworld, and the element of Yin symmetrically opposite to that of the Red Phoenix, i.e., the pantherion or spirit/god of Fire, Heaven, and Yang. However, this strict opposition, as reflected in the myth of the battle between the spirit of fire, Zhurong, and the spirit of water, Gong-Gong, was resolved in the deep dimension of the Chinese tradition in a Dionysian spirit, as the rhythmic circulation of the elements – Yin, Yang, and Tao – presupposes constant transformations. Thus, the sacred snake grew wings and gained the ability to soar to the Heavens, and the sacred bird acquired bestial paws and a fish tail as well as the ability to dive into rivers and seas. Thus was born the figure of Lun, the Dragon in the broadest sense so fundamental to China, as being able to be black (in the element of Water), green (in the element of Wood and Spring), red (in the element of Fire), white (in the element of Metal and Autumn) and, finally, yellow (in the element of Earth). The Yellow Dragon is situated in the Center: it makes the Center the Center. Thereby its primary image becomes the Yellow Unicorn, which bears all the characteristics of the Dragon. As follows, the Dragon Lun can be interpreted as the universal Chinese pantherion, the all-animal combining the characteristics of Yin-Yang, the five elements, as well as the extreme periphery and the most secret Center itself. The Dragon is a “god” in the Chinese context: it expresses the pure element of sacrality. The sacrality of the Yellow Dragon Lun lies at the heart of the cult of the Sacred Emperor, the worship of China as a special, sacralized territory, as the pole of the power of all the local cults of sacred mountains, rivers, and woods in which the Chinese fulfilled rites and ceremonies of the most different shades. Hence why the Emperor was believed to be the embodiment of the Dragon or the Son of the Dragon, and why legends frequently attribute the Emperors with being born from the Dragon, its traces, seeing it in dreams, contemplating it from a distance, and so on. China was conceived to be the Land of the Dragon, and the Chinese themselves as embodiments of the Dragon, the people of the Yellow Dragon. Although the connection between the Dragon and water, rain, floods, and riverbeds constituted one of its most stable traits, no less attention was paid to the Dragons’ flight, dances, battles, and invasions of human and political life. Some of the sacred Emperors of Ancient China bred Dragons, others ate dragon meat, still others tamed them. In any case, the Dragon Lun was the fundamental factor in the structure of the ontology of breaths.

If we turn to the ontology of dreams discussed above, we can determine the status of the Dragon in the Chinese picture of being. This status is supreme in all senses. The Dragon Lun is supremely “real”: it is a reliable, necessary, and evidential being and existence precisely by virtue of its embodiment of the quintessence of dreams: it is because it is a dream, and insofar as it is the most pure and full dream, it stands closest of all to the Tao, to the secret code of the ontological rhythm of Yin-Yang.

To understand China means to experience the Dragon and to become acquainted in practice with the structures of its oneiric presence.

It should be noted that in this context the Gestalt of the Dragon is fundamentally different from its interpretations in the structures of the Logos of Apollo and the Logos of Cybele. For Apollonian culture, the Dragon is always the enemy, the titan, a chthonic force of the Great Mother against which the solar god or hero wages an irreconcilable struggle. Here the Dragon is subject to radical exclusion and in this capacity is endowed with exclusively chthonic features embodying aggressive emancipated femininity and the Underworld rising up against Heaven. For the civilization of Cybele, the Dragon is accepted as a matriarchal figure, a consort of the Great Mother, as her offspring and partner. In the latter, the Dragon is associated with the generative function of Earth, water, and chthonic forces. Hence the legend of the Nagi princess who becomes the wife of the hero and the first king.

In the Chinese horizon, this connection between the Dragon and the chthonic layers of ontology radically changes. The Chinese Dragon is just as much Yin as it is Yang, just as chthonic as it is celestial; it is a Snake just as it is a Bird, and both of these sides are not merely assembled together, but rather precede any division. The Dragon is primordial to the serpent, the eagle, man, and spirit. The Dragon embodies the thinking, living being par excellence, at once phenomenal and ideal. In this lies the essence of the Yellow Dragon’s being fully identical to the Yellow Unicorn or Yellow Emperor, i.e., the figure of the Absolute Center.

***

Footnotes:

[1] Hence why, in speaking of Indo-European cultures, religions, and philosophies, we have frequently used the expression “Apollo-Dionysian structure.”

[2] When it comes to the drift of the center towards Cybele, we are speaking of the “black double of Dionysus”, Adionysus and the Gestalt of the Titan.

[3] Ma Lin, Heidegger on East-West Dialogue: Anticipating the Event (London/New York: Routledge, 1996); May R., Heidegger’s Hidden Sources: East Asian Influences on His Work (London/New York: Routledge, 1996). That Heidegger was indebted to Japanese ideas was insisted upon by the Japanese philosopher and Sinologist Tomonubu Imamichi (1922-2012), who argued that Heidegger borrowed the notion of “being-in-the-world”, In-der Welt-Sein, from the Book of Tea of Okakura Kakudzō, in which he interpreted the ideas of the Taoist sage Zhuang. See: Tomonubu Imamichi, In Search of Wisdom: One Philosopher’s Journey (Tokyo: International House of Japan, 2004).

[4] See: Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Three Logoi: Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele (Moscow: Academic Project, 2014).

[5] Another example of the Other Beginning of philosophy outside of the context of the Western European tradition might be the thought of Nagarjuna, who committed to the radical pivot (Kehre) of the Buddhist tradition which, originally nihilistic, in Mahayana was raised to a non-dualist (Advaita) synthesis. See: Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – Great India: Civilization of the Absolute (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017).

[6] See: R. Guénon, The Great Triad.

[7] In German: Die Ewige Wiederkunft des Gleichen.

[8] See: Alexander Dugin, Sociology of the Imagination: An Introduction to Structural Sociology (Moscow: Academic Project, 2010). 

Alexander Dugin – NOOMAKHIA: The Logos of Turan – “Turan as an Idea”

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Introduction to Noomakhia – The Logos of Turan: The Indo-European Ideology of the Verticle (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017)

***

Turan and Eurasia: Similarities and Differences between Concepts

The space of North-Eastern Eurasia upon which Russia has established itself as a state and civilization over the past 500 years represents a special existential horizon. We can call this the Eurasian Horizon and speak of a specific Eurasian Dasein. This territory acquired the name Turan in Iranian sacred geography, and this name can by all means be seen as an analogue to the notion of “Eurasia.”[1] Insofar as we will examine Russian civilization and its Logos in a separate volume, and given that in Russian civilization the Eurasian element is largely predominant, it is natural to apply the notion of Eurasia to the study of the Russian Logos, as did the Eurasianist philosophers, such as N.S. Trubetzkoy [2], P.N. Savitsky [3], G.V. Vernadsky [4], N.N. Alekseev [5], L.N. Gumilev [6], etc. In this case, the civilizations of Eurasia, united by a common horizon preceding the emergence of Russia as an historico-cultural axis, can be integrated into the concept of Turan.

In Noomakhia, by Turan we mean the civilizations and cultures which took shape on the territory of North-Eastern Eurasia (with the exception of Russian civilization which is examined in a separate study). This, of course, is a rather conditional division, as Russian civilization itself can be studied from different angles of view, whether as part of the Slavic world, as a most important component of the Byzantine Orthodox space, as something self-sufficient and unique (samobytnoe, in the likes of “Continent Russia” [7]), or as one historical expression of the existential horizon of Turan. In the present volume of Noomakhia, we will focus on those peoples who took shape on the territory of Turan before and/or parallel to the Russians. In this case, establishing a correspondence between the Logos of Turan and the Russian Logos might be the next important step allowing for a better understanding of both.

Yet another important consideration to be taken into account is that, originally, we planned for this volume of Noomakhia to examine all the civilizations either belonging to the Eurasian group or figuring under Eurasian influence. Thus, as we have just said, for us Turan and Eurasia were to function as synonyms. However, over the course of working on this subject, we have found that such might be divided into two components: firstly, we can speak of the Indo-European (and only Indo-European!) nomadic cultures that formed on the territory of Eurasia, more precisely in the space of the Great Steppe, in the period from the fifth millennium BC to the first millennium AD; secondly, we can consider those non-Indo-European peoples, on whom the influence of the nomadic Indo-European societies of the Great Steppe was decisive and fundamental, and who subsequently inherited the Indo-Europeans’ mission starting in the first centuries AD, with the invasion of the Huns, and continuing up to the 19th century.

Thus, we have divided our study into two volumes. In the first, present book, The Logos of Turan, we focus exclusively on the Indo-European peoples who arose in the Great Steppe and spread their influence across virtually the whole territory of the Eurasian continent. In the second volume, The Horizons and Civilizations of Eurasia: The Indo-European Legacy and the Traces of the Great Mother, we follow the transfer of this steppic, nomadic, martial tradition to other, non-Indo-European peoples, first and foremost of the Altaic family, and we study the influence of Indo-European culture on other neighboring civilizations, such as the Siberian (and Paleo-Asiatic), the Tibetan, the Finno-Ugric, and the Caucasian.[8] For the sake of clarity of exposition, we have thus had to divide our preliminary conceptualization of the shared identity of the notions of Turan and Eurasia into two postulates: we understand “Turan” to be the civilization created in the space of the Great Eurasian Steppe by the Indo-European peoples and then transmitted directly to other nomadic peoples (first and foremost the Altaic); by “Eurasia”, we mean the much wider spectrum of existential horizons, including Turan – as the core of the Eurasian continent, both Indo-European as well as post-Indo-European (Turko-Mongolian) – and the totality of civilizations and cultures that formed around the periphery of the Great Steppe which were influenced (both directly and indirectly) by Turan and the Indo-Europeans.

Thus, Turan should be considered the core, center, and heart of Eurasia, and Eurasia itself as the broader geosophical context including both Turanian and non-Turanian elements, both Indo-European and non-Indo-European cultures. This situation is further complicated by the fact that, moving throughout the space of Eurasia, some Indo-European cultures lost their primordial, axial identity (for example, the ancient Lydians and Phrygians in Anatolia, or the peoples of Western Europe in Modernity), while at the same time some non-Indo-European peoples (above all the Altaic peoples, as well as the Tibetans, the Uralic peoples, the peoples of the Caucasus, and even some Paleo-Asiatics, such as the Kets) adopted and laid such at the foundation of their cultures.

It is precisely with regards to this dialectic that the title of the second volume of Noomakhia dedicated to the question of Turan and Eurasia features an appeal to the gestalt of the Great Mother. If the Logos of Turan is at the center of the Eurasian continent and represents pure Apollonianism, then on the (noologically) opposite pole is the Logos of Cybele.[9] In the projection of this noological structure onto the geographical map we can see that the Logos of Cybele exerts decisive influence around the periphery of the Eurasian continent, i.e., it is built into the geosophical structure of Eurasia. If the Logos of Apollo dominates in Turan (the Great Steppe), then in the periphery traces of another civilization can be noted, one in which chthonic motives, Titanism, and matriarchy predominate. Turan (Apollonianism) exerted its influence, embodied first and foremost and most lucidly of all in the Indo-European nomadic, warrior cultures, on all the peoples and cultures of Eurasia, but its strength diminished insofar as it neared the coastal zones of the Eurasian continent where, on the contrary, the Logos of Cybele has been proportionally strong. This constitutes the main geosophical map of Eurasia and the dialectical essence of the Eurasian horizons. But in order to be convinced of this thesis, we need to study and dissect first the structures of the Indo-European civilizations and cultures of Turan, in order to determine their noological nature, and then, with the achieved results, turn to surveying other peoples and societies. The conceptual difference between Turan and Eurasia will be fully clear upon acquaintance with these two volumes of Noomakhia, which represent a whole, or two parts of one and the same study.

As follows, it bears recalling that the methodological foundation of Noomakhia was expounded in the first two volumes, The Three Logoi: Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele and Geosophy: Horizons and Civilizations,[10] and the examination of individual societies and cultures belonging to the circle of the Indo-European horizon has already been undertaken in the individual Noomakhia volumes dedicated to the study of the Germanic, French, Latin, and Greek Logoi, to the civilization of Great Britain, the Semitic world, and the Indian and Iranian cultures.[11-18] All of the latter volumes of Greater Noomakhia are of principal importance to adequately understanding the Logos of Turan just as, in turn, this volume and its closely adjoined companion, Horizons and Civilizations of Eurasia,[19] can be considered key to the above-cited. Taken together, all of these works constitute a most important cornerstone of the Geosophy of Eurasia.

The Turanian Proto-Culture á la Oswald Spengler

As the special space of a self-sufficient civilization, Turan has only rarely been the subject of what have been rather narrowly specialized and thematic studies. One exception to this is the work of Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), who discerned Turan to be a particular civilizational field of principle significance to mankind as a whole. Spengler developed his theory of Turan in his unfinished work under the working title The Epic of Man, fragments of which have been published and made accessible to scholars only recently.[20-21] In this work, Spengler describes the voluminous field of history as consisting of four main stages or phases: A, B, C, and D.

Phase A lasted from the undetermined time of the first signs of Homo sapiens to the Upper Paleolithic. Spengler generally adheres to the concept of evolution, but he imparts such with a particular cyclical dimension. For our part, we categorically reject this theory and appeal to such exclusively from the standpoint of describing cultures while discarding any genetic continuity, much less hierarchy between societies built on notions of “more ancient vs. more modern”, where “more modern” is seen as more developed, perfect, and differentiated than “ancient.” The first signs of reasoning man might appear in one or another epoch only to disappear in another. Everything depends on how we understand “reason”, a question which is in itself conditioned by a specific culture and mythology. Therefore, no universal criteria can be accepted here, and all the more insufficient are any attempts at building a progressive sequence from “less rational” types of society and man towards “more rational.” If we engage in such, we are simply projecting the criteria of our own society (e.g., modern Western or Western-centric) onto all types of society in general, which is in itself illegitimate and incorrect ethnocentrism. Therefore, for Spengler, Phase A is purely a conditionality meant to inform us that we know nothing for sure of this epoch and can advance no hypotheses on this matter.

Phase B, according to Spengler, is situated in the interim from 20,000 to 6,000 BC and is characterized by man’s discovery of the “inner world”, the soul, and the phenomenon of death. Spengler metaphorically likens this period to his beloved crystals and minerals. Phase B, according to Spengler, means the presence of self-consciousness, distinguishable by the modern scholar, and identifiable in the traces of ancient cultures. Although Spengler and many of our contemporaries in general conceive of such “self-consciousness” as “simpler”, this does not mean that it really was such.

Spengler calls both Phase A and Phase B “non-organic”, and the two following, C and D, “organic.” Spengler compares the third phase, C, to the slowly but autonomously moving simplest animal, the amoeba.[22] In this phase, proto-cultures are formed which will later, in Phase D lasting up to the present day, lie at the heart of all the historically known historico-cultural types. Spengler enumerates three “proto-cultures”, three “civilizational amoebas” at stage C: (1) the Atlantic, (2) the Kushite, and (3) the Turanian.

The Atlantic culture, in Spengler’s view, claimed the Western parts of Europe and Africa, and was distinguished by a heightened concern with the post-mortem worlds. In classical archaeology, the pre-Indo-European population of Europe, to which belonged the Minoans, the Pelasgians, the Basques, the Sicels, the Iberians, and the Leleges (to which some would also add the Picts, and so on), is generally considered to be the bearer of this Atlantic culture. This is the “culture of the otherworld.” Hence the immense monuments erected for the deceased, the cult of the “otherworld” and its divinities, and the cyclopean constructions typical of this culture, such as the megaliths. This culture was preoccupied with questions of genetic identity, blood, which connects the living to the world of the dead. Hence the beginning of mummification, embalmment, and luxuriant burial rituals. The Atlantic culture was the culture of “living death.”[23]

The second proto-culture of epoch C was the Kushite culture, whose center Spengler situates in the South of Eurasia between India and the Red Sea. This proto-culture was typified by a preoccupation with the of idea of “fate”, as if such were a mathematical law of the world embodied in the Sky to which all processes on Earth are subject. The Kushite culture was indifferent towards death and life, instead concentrating all of its attention on the study of the mathematical patterns of the world. In Phase D, the Kushite style would be most fully of all expressed in Assyrio-Babylonian civilization.

The third type of proto-culture is that of Turan, and it is here that we arrive at ideas which resonate with both Noomakhia and some of the philosophical and historical intuitions of the Russian Eurasianist thinkers. The proto-culture of Turan, according to Spengler, represents a pure “heroic style.” At its center stands the battle of the hero against the forces of death and fate. The hero and his “I” are put in the forefront and recognized to be a divine element. The world is full of the forces of life and is the field of endless battle. Neither fate (of the Kushite style) nor death (in the Atlantic style) are higher values for the man of Turan. Immortality is achieved only through battle, and a dignified life was believed to be one lived with a high-raised head. The gods of the martial civilizations of Turan embody this archetype: they are warriors, fearless, and indomitable. Spengler considers the chariot to be the most important symbol of the Turanian style. The identification of the chariot with the Indo-Europeans is not only Spengler’s hypothesis, but is the common ground of archaeology. Indeed, the most ancient traces of chariots are to be found in Eurasia, in the South Urals around 2000 BC, and the first whole chariots were found in the Sintashta cultural circle dated to the end of the 21st century BC. Around 2700 BC, the first  traces of carts, which preceded the first war chariots (the Maikop culture), are also to be found in Turan. It is from the South Urals that chariots began to disperse throughout the surrounding regions, including all the way up to the Caspian and Aral Sea, and across Eurasia in both directions – to Western Europe, all the way up to the Atlantic, and to the Far East.

Around 1200 BC, waves of warlike peoples on chariots descended towards the Mediterranean and founded new types of cultures. The Achaeans flooded Greece and settled in Mycenae. The Hyksos invaded Egypt, and the Kassites seized Babylon. In the very same period, Indo-European warriors on chariots advanced into Hindustan and built the Vedic culture of India on top of the remains of the ancient Mohenjo-Daro and Harappan cultures (which, in Spengler’s view, belonged to the Kushite type). In China, the bearers of the Zhou civilization also arrived on chariots and conquered China. Thus, almost simultaneously, the bearers of the Turanian element (the “civilization of amoeba C”) founded the three “high cultures” of Phase D: the Chinese, the Indian, and the Hellenic (in parallel with the Turanian invasions of the Babylonian and Egyptian civilizational zones). Thus, according to Spengler, the Indo-European peoples of Turan and their heroic style exerted decisive influence on the birth of the majority of the classical civilizations of the Old World, in whose shadow we continue to live to this day.

Lev Gumilev and the Study of Eurasia and the Nomadic Empires of Turan

The study of the nomadic civilizations of Eurasia, less known to European scholarship, constituted the core of the historical works of the Russian historian Lev Gumilev (1912-1992). Developing the particular approach of the Eurasianist philosophers, Gumilev devoted increased attention to the nomadic empires and ethnoi of Turan, demonstrating their fundamental influence on both the formation of Russian statehood and the histories of other civilizations. In his works on the Huns, the Ancient Turks, the Mongols, the Sarmatians, and other ancient nomadic peoples, Gumilev showed that the latter were not “barbarian tribes”, but rather the bearers of a special cultural code associated with a particular value system, worldview, and ethics peculiar to the inhabitants of the steppes and the warrior nomads of Eurasia.[24-26] This ethical model was established in the Great Yasa Code of Genghis Khan and was addressed towards a particular type of people: “the people of long will.”[27]

According to Gumilev, Eurocentric perspectives hinder full appreciation of the dignity of the civilization of Turan: for the historical Europeans, such was seen as the territory of “barbarians”, from which the danger of attacks and invasions emanated from time to time. Perceiving the space of North-Eastern Eurasia in such a manner, Europe thus considered this land to be the “periphery of civilization”, where one could find only scattered and incoherent relics taken from more developed cultures of the Mediterranean or India. But Gumilev demonstrated that if we look at the surrounding peoples and civilizations from the standpoint of Turanian man, through his own eyes, then we are revealed an entirely different picture, one saturated with nuances and hints, with a fully-fledged and complex historial, and with a special identity and numerous overlapping cultural circles in need of attentive and scrupulous study.

The civilizations of Turan were predominantly nomadic, and this is their distinctive trait. In the eyes of the sedentary civilizations, the culture of the nomadic peoples was constantly perceived to be hostile and alien. Moreover, nomadic conditions were not conducive to the development of literary and architectural objects, which necessarily poses difficulty to any study of this culture’s content. Gumilev nevertheless called for overcoming both Eurocentrism and the cliches of the settled civilizations, and urged us to attempt to reconstruct, on the basis of the data we have in myths, chronicles, legends, travelers’ accounts, etc., the structure of Turanian identity as it remained unchanged at its core, independent of the numerous peoples who subsequently or simultaneously became its bearers.

Leo Frobenius: Telluric Culture and the Feminine Sun

The theories of the German historian and anthropologist Leo Frobenius (1873-1938) might also be of use for identifying the typology of the civilization of Turan. Frobenius associates every culture (in his terminology: paideuma) with earth, land and the organization of landscape.[28] Relations with and approaches to land therefore determine the essence of a given human culture. Thus, Frobenius proposed the following formula:

Культура есть земля, ставшая организмом через посредство человека.

Kultur ist durch den Menschen organisch gewordene Erde

Culture is earth that has become organic by means of man. [29]

On these grounds, Frobenius constructed a dual topography of culture using the metaphor of plants. According to Frobenius, the paideuma can be seen as a plant, having roots and a stem with branches and leaves. Such is the composition of the two halves of one organism: one part moves into and under the earth, which Frobenius called the “chthonic element”, while the other draws upwards from the earth – this is the “telluric element.” Both are tied to earth, to land, but in different ways: the chthonic is drawn to that from which it came, while the telluric strives towards the other, away from the soil from which it emerged. Both trajectories constitute the life of a culture.

Thus, according to Frobenius, cultures (paideuma) can be divided into two types or poles. One pole, the chthonic, is tied to the matriarchal element and exhibits centripetal tendencies, being drawn towards contraction, being closed or self-absorbed. The second, telluric pole is associated with the patriarchal element, with centrifugal motion, the feeling of expansion, overcoming limits, dynamism, and striving to break away from roots. Turan, in Frobenius’ account, is the principal space of telluric culture.

While matriarchal cultures are inclined towards creating dwellings in caves, pits, and in dugouts, then patriarchal cultures erect homes and, at times, “great homes”, which reflect the aspiration to create something large and gigantic. Such “great homes” served religious aims, initiations, and ceremonies among archaic peoples. Patriarchal societies are also constructed along a vertical geometry: the child reaches upwards from the earth, and society and social institutions are conceived as the branches of a tree, the point of a spear or an arrow, and become symbols of the axis around which hunting, war, and rituals are organized. Patriarchal cultures appreciate that which strives upward, especially fire. Hence the rites of cremating bodies. Death is understood as a prelude to new birth, like the seeding of plants. Matriarchal, chthonic cultures, on the other hand, value above all the material, the corporeal, and the maternal, and all that is associated with the lower levels of the universe, with that which is hidden within earth. Hence the social practices of gathering roots, berries, and mushrooms.

Both poles of culture envision space differently, on which point Frobenius emphasizes:

Теллурическим является покой неограниченного простора; хтоническим – тесное место, исполненное беспокойством.

Tellurisch ist Ruhe im unbegrenzten Raum. Chthonisch Unruhe im begrenzten Raum.

The telluric is the peace of unlimited space; the chthonic is the unrest of confined space. [30]

In Frobenius’ view, it is the polarization of these two types of culture and their subsequent impositions upon one another that established the social architecture of civilizations with which we have to deal up to the present day. The territory of Turan, and more specifically the steppe zones of Eurasia, the Great Steppe, were the primordial hearth of the centrifugal cultures of the telluric (patriarchal) type, while the coasts of the Mediterranean and South Asia represent the zones of centripetal matriarchal cultures. The expansion of mobile, masculine cultures into the territories of the chthonic zones led to the emergence of the “great cultures” of India, West Asia, the Aegean zone, Rome, France, and England. Moreover, in Frobenius’ view, these patriarchal cultures carry strength and vital life forces, while the matriarchal element imparted them with plastic forms. It is in this synthesis, in this dialectic between the telluric and chthonic that Frobenius sees all of world history. The telluric impulse, according to Frobenius, ceaselessly emanated from the territories of Turan.

Also of extreme importance to discerning the civilizations of Turan is Frobenius’ study of various symbols, which he proposed to differentiate between types of society. Alongside the chthonic and telluric, Frobenius drew attention to another detail: the gender of the two celestial luminaries, the Sun and the Moon, across the languages and mythologies of all the world’s peoples. Working through an enormous mass of linguistic and mythological material, Frobenius discerned an extremely interesting pattern, according to which all cultures can be distinguished as belonging to one of three basic groups with relation to the following symbols:

  1. The masculine sun and feminine moon, envisioned in the form of man and wife or as brother and sister (joined in incestuous, but not explicitly censured marital bond).
  2. The feminine sun and masculine moon, or Lunus, envisioned only as brother and sister, whose incestuous relationship is explicitly taboo. The violation of this taboo (generally by the moon) is understood to be a catastrophe and drama.
  3. The masculine sun and masculine moon as two brothers.

The systematization of such an enormous mass of materials on the basis of all the sources available to him led Frobenius to construct a series of maps designating the zones dominated by each of these three forms. One is immediately struck by the fact that these zones represent stable poles which remain uninterrupted by the borders running between ethnoi, cultures, peoples, and civilizations. Moreover, the commonality of this symbol can even be found among cultures which otherwise lack anything similar and are even to be found on different civilizational levels.

The map of the distribution of the masculine sun and feminine moon looks thusly: we can clearly follow an uninterrupted strip running from England in Northern Europe through the Northern Mediterranean, Anatolia and the Middle East to India, South China, Polynesia, and up to Central America and the North-Eastern coast of South America. All of the indigenous cultures of these regions exhibit stable attributions of the male gender to the sun.  According to Frobenius, cultures of this type are of a matriarchal orientation and cultivate everything associated with space.[31] To a significant extent, sacrality is derived from the number 4 (as in the four directions/orientations of space).[32]

Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 7.40.48 PM.png
Map of distribution of the languages and myths of the masculine sun and masculine moon

The following map delineates the distribution zone of cultures in which the sun is depicted as female and the moon as of male gender[33]: 

Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 7.40.57 PM.png
Map of distribution of the languages and myths of the feminine sun and masculine moon

Here we can see that the territory of Turan is the core of the cultural space of the male moon and female sun. This space is distinguished by its patriarchal orientation, and at the center of its attention are time and symbolic and religious systems in which the number 3 occupies the central place. Thus, the telluric character of Turan is confirmed in its distribution of the pair of the male moon and female moon as well as by the predominance of the symbolism of time and the number 3.[34]

René Guénon: The Culture of Abel and the Civilization of Mantras

Insofar as Turan is principally the zone of nomadic civilizations, the symbolism of nomadic societies is crucial to the study of Turanian identity. The French Traditionalist philosopher René Guénon (1887-1953) drew attention to the symbolic peculiarities between the structures of nomadic societies (nomadism) and settled peoples (sedentarism). According to Guénon, in the Biblical context the figure who most generally represents nomads and pastoralists is Abel.[35] Guénon writes: “They [Cain and Abel] are the types of the two sorts of peoples who have existed since the origins of the present humanity, or at least since the earliest differentiation took place, namely that between the sedentary peoples, devoted to the cultivation of the soil, and the nomads, devoted to the raising of flocks and herds.”[36]

According to Guénon, the notions of Iran and Turan also reflect this dualism, even etymologically: in Guénon view, the term arya, from which is derived the word Iran or Aryana, the “land of the Aryans”, originally referred to someone engaged in agriculture – in this case from the Indo-European root *ar-, hence the Latin arare (“to plow”), arator (“plowman”), and arvum (“field”).[37] The Ancient Jews were nomads and shepherds, and therefore their sacred texts unequivocally take the side of Abel as the victim of Cain. Abel is considered to be the righteous, while Cain is the brother-killer and cursed.

Guénon believed that pastoralists and nomads conceptualized the principle of time as unfolding in front of them, as their priority object, their element, all the while as they enjoyed the quality of unending space. Settled peoples, who conversely embody the permanence (or synchronism) of space, have time as their main object.  Settled societies live in a fixed place, and therefore time is “closed” and constant. Living long cycles in the same place, settled cultures begin to attentively observe time, study its structures, and investigate its patterns. They thereby conceive themselves to be the historial and an historical phenomenon, i.e., something “lasting”, uniting past and future.

Nomadic peoples, for their part, do not create anything “solid” or “long-term.” They live in open space, which is their existential element. They unfold their potential in space, while time remains a secondary matter. They do not devote extensive attention to time or the method of its dimension. In Guénon’s view, settled cultures therefore embody the principle of “compression” or “squeezing”, while nomadic ones exhibit “stretching” and “expansion.” The fact that nomads are primarily engaged in the herding of cattle symbolically corresponds to their mobility. Cereal and plant cultivation, conversely, are peculiar to settled cultures which, like plants, are immobile and tied to one place. Thus, settled cultures assign priority to the development of visual forms of sacred art, such as paintings, sculptures, architecture, etc. In Hinduism, such sacred images are called yantra. For nomadic peoples, meanwhile, visual depictions are often taboo, whereas the symbolism of sound is considerably more developed, as is the case with the Hindu mantras. In Guénon’s analysis, vision is related to space, while hearing is tied to time. As follows, settled cultures develop “plastic” forms of art, while nomadic peoples tend to develop sonorous forms, such as music, poetry, etc.

As a concept, Turan is undoubtedly the field of nomadic civilization, the civilization of Abel. This does not exclude the presence in Eurasia of significant enclaves of settled societies, but the dominant identity of Turan is none other than nomadism. Hence the dominating factor of space, the scarcity of visual monuments, the absence of developed writing, and many other traits specific to Turanian culture. Turan, for Guénon, is the civilization of mantras.

The Turanian Factor: The Vertical Diurne

By correlating these introductory considerations, we can obtain a preliminary picture of the object of our study. Turan is the horizon of North-Eastern Eurasia coinciding with the Great Steppe, stretching from Transylvania in the West to Manchuria in the East. In terms of culture, this horizon is primarily the zone of inhabitance of nomadic peoples. We are dealing with a nomadic civilization dominated by the militaristic and patriarchal element, i.e., a culture of the telluric type. The influence of Turan is associated with expansion (as in accordance with Guénon); indeed, historically, Turanian expansion to the South and West repeatedly led to the establishment of new states, cultures, and developed civilizations, in which the peoples of Turan became the ruling class, the legislators of patriarchal style and, quite frequently, the bearers of the dominant language. The civilizations and polities of Rome, Greece, Anatolia (the Hittite kingdom, the Mitanni state, Urartu, etc.), Iran and India, Western Europe, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and others were created under the direct cultural and linguistic dominance of the Indo-European peoples of Turan as they expanded beyond the Great Steppe.

The role of this Turanian factor in the origins of historically known states is veritable with numerous historical examples, in which nomadic peoples subjugated settled populations and only jointly thereafter established political structures resembling or being states in the full sense of the word. The nomadic peoples assembled city-fortresses as centers for the storage and the protection of tribute exacted from the conquered farmers. They also became the core of the military aristocracy of socially differentiated societies. In this sense, the Turanian factor is a state-forming factor. On this note, it is telling that neither nomads nor farmers create states on their own, and any forms of intertribal associations among themselves are short-term and unstable.[38] This principle was first conceptualized by the Arab scholar Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), and in the 19th century this theory was developed in detail by the Polish-Austrian philosopher and sociologist Ludwig Gumplowicz (1838-1909).[39-40]

The civilization of Turan is founded on the basic envisioning of open space and, in accordance with Frobenius, Turanian civilization cultivates the symbolism of the number 3. Moreover, in many of the myths and languages of the peoples of Turan, we theoretically ceaselessly encounter a male gender for the moon and a female gender for the sun.[41] The telluric character of the Logos of Turan is expressed in its foremost and rigidly, emphatically vertical orientation. The horizon of Turan structures the world along a vertical axis. This is expressed in the religion, cosmology, socio-political hierarchy, and psychological mode of Turanian societies. In the terminology of the sociology of the imagination [42] as developed by the French sociologist Gilbert Durand (1921-2012), this type of society corresponds to the psychic regime of the diurne. This regime is typified by:

  • A high degree of strict divisions
  • An attraction towards light and crystal clarity
  • An aspiration towards cleansing itself from materiality and corporeality
  • The sacralization of the Sky, luminaries, and elements of flight
  • High speed, rapidity
  • Militancy and heroism
  • Challenging death
  • Masculinity (virility)
  • Cutting and piercing weapons
  • Dualism, pairs of opposites
  • Hierarchies founded on subjugation and force

All of these considerations allow us to suggest from the very onset that, in the horizon of Turan, we are dealing with the predominance of the Logos of Apollo. This follows from everything that we know about the roots of European civilization and from theories on the Indo-European languages and cultures. We are tasked with determining to what extent this equivalence is convincing, justified, and legitimate, whether or not there are exceptions among the Indo-European cultures and, if there are, what has conditioned them.

***

Footnotes:

[1] See: Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Iranian Logos: The War of Light and the Culture of Awaiting (Moscow: Academic Project, 2016).

[2] N.S. Trubetzkoy, Nasledie Chingiskhana (Moscow: Agraf, 1999). In English: The Legacy of Genghis Khan and Other Essays on Russian Identity (Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic Publications, 1991).

[3] P.N. Savitsky, Kontinent Evraziia [Continent Eurasia] (Moscow: Agraf, 1997).

[4] G.V. Vernadsky, Nachertanie russkoi istorii (Moscow: Algoritm, 2008).

[5] N.N. Alekseev, Russkii narod i Gosudarstvo [The Russian People and the State] (Moscow: Agraf, 1998).

[6] L.N. Gumilev, Ot Rusi do Rossii [From Rus to Russia] (Moscow: Ayris-press, 2008); Ibidem, Drevniaia Rus’ i Velikaia Step’ [Ancient Rus and the Great Steppe] (Moscow: Mysl, 1989); Ibidem., Tysiacheletie vokrug Kaspiia [The Millennium around the Caspian] (Moscow: AST, 2002).

[7] See: Alexander Dugin, “Continent Russia” in Absolutnaia Rodina (Moscow: Arktogeia, 2000).

[8] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Horizons and Civilizations of Eurasia: The Indo-European Legacy and the Traces of the Great Mother (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017).

[9] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Three Logoi: Apollo, Dionysus, Cybele (Moscow: Academic Project, 2014).

[10] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – Geosophy: Horizons and Civilizations (Moscow: Academic Project, 2016).

[11] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Germanic Logos: Apophatic Man (Moscow: Academic Project, 2015)

[12]  Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The French Logos: Orpheus and Melusine (Moscow: Academic Project, 2015)

[13] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Latin Logos: The Sun and the Cross (Moscow: Academic Project, 2016)

[14] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Hellenic Logos: The Valley of Truth (Moscow: Academic Project, 2016); Ibidem, Noomakhia – The Byzantine Logos: Hellenism and Empire (Moscow: Academic Project, 2016)

[15] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – England or Britain? The Maritime Mission and the Positive Subject (Moscow: Academic Project, 2015).

[16] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Semites: Monotheism of the Moon and the Gestalt of Ba’al (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017)

[17] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – Great India: Civilization of the Absolute (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017)

[18] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Iranian Logos: The War of Light and the Culture of Awaiting (Moscow: Academic Project, 2016)

[19] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Horizons and Civilizations of Eurasia: The Indo-European Legacy and the Traces of the Great Mother (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017)

[20] Domenico Conte, Catene di cività: Studi su Spengler (Napoli: Ed. Scientifiche Italiane, 1994).

[21] Anton Mirko Koktanek, Oswald Spengler in seiner Zeit (Munich: 1968).

[22] Heidegger devoted heightened attention to amoebas, the very existence of which he tried to conceive in philosophical terms in his cycle of lectures on boredom. See: Martin Heidegger, Die Grundbegriffe Der Metaphysik (Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1983). It is suggestive that Heidegger spoke of amoebas with a certain “tenderness”, as when he called amoebas “little animals” or Tierchen.

[23] The Lithuanian scholar of Ancient Europe, Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994) believed this culture to be matriarchal and bearing the cult of the “Great Goddess.” Gimbutas called the cultures belonging to this type “Old Europe.” See: Marija Gimbutas, Tsivilizatsia Velikoi Bogini [The Civilization of the Great Goddess] (Moscow: Rosspen, 2005).

[24] L. Gumilev, Hunnu [Xiongnu] (Moscow: Izd. Vostochnoi literatury, 1960).

[25] L. Gumilev, Drevnie tiurki [The Ancient Turks](Moscow: Nauka, 1967).

[26] L. Gumilev, Tysiacheletie vokrug Kaspiia [The Millennium around the Caspian] (Moscow: Harvest, 2008); Ibidem., Otkrytie Khazarii [Discovering Khazaria] (M. Di-dik, 1996); Ibidem., Drevniaia Rus’ I Velikaia Step’ [Ancient Rus and the Great Steppe] (Moscow: Mysl, 1992).

[27] L. Gumilev, Chernaia legenda [Black Legend] (Moscow: Ayris-press, 2008).

[28] See the discussion of Frobenius in: Dugin, Noomakhia – Geosophy: Horizons and Civilizations.

[29] Leo Frobenius, Das unbekkante Afrika: Aufhellung der Schicksale eines Erdteils (Munich: C.H. Becksche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1923), 67. Frobenius is also responsible for the following formula: “Human culture should be seen as an independent organic being.” [Menschliche Kultur ein selbständiges organisches Wesen sei] – L. Frobenius, Paideuma: Umrisse einer Kultur- und Seelenlehre (Munich: Beck, 1921), 39.

[30] Frobenius, Das unbekkante Afrika, 75.

[31] Leo Frobenius, Von Kulturreich des Festlandes (Berlin: Wegweiserverlag, 1932), 53.

[32] If in Eurasia and the Pacific this model of Frobenius’ overall coincides with the geosophical map which we have constructed in Noomakhia, then with regards to Central America and South America we have arrived at diametrically opposite conclusions. See: Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Civilizations of the New World: Pragmatic Dreams and Split Horizons (Moscow: Academic Project, 2017).

[33] Frobenius, Von Kulturreich des Festlandes, 55.

[34] Once again, with regards to Eurasia, the Geosophy of Noomakhia coincides with Frobenius’ theses, while contradicting them entirely when it comes to North America. See: Noomakhia – The Horizons and Civilizations of Eurasia: The Indo-European Legacy and the Traces of the Great Mother.

[35]  René Guénon, Le règne de la quantité et les signes des temps (Paris: Gallimard, 1945), 295; René Guénon, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times (Hillsdale: Sophia Perennis, 2004).

[36] Ibid., 145.

[37] Ibid., 146.

[38] See: Alexander Dugin, Etnosotsiologiia [Ethnosociology] (Moscow: Academic Project, 2014). In English as: Alexander Dugin, Ethnos and Society (translated by Michael Millerman, London: Arktos, 2018); Ibidem., Ethnosociology: The Foundations (London: Arktos, 2019).

[39] Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History, 3 vol. (New York: Princeton University Press, 1958).

[40] L. Gumplowicz, Die soziologische Staatsidee (Graz: Leuschner & Lubensky, 1892); Ibidem., Der Rassenkampf: Soziologische Untersuchungen (Innsbruck: Wagner, 1928).

[41] This is explored in: Alexander Dugin, “Russia and Virgo Solar” in Mysteries of Eurasia.

[42] Alexander Dugin, Voobrazhenie: Filosofiia, sotsiologiia, struktury [The Imagination: Philosophy, Sociology, and Structures] (Moscow: Academic Project, 2015)

[43] G. Durand, Les Structures anthropologiques de l’imaginaire (Paris: Borda, 1969).

Alexander Dugin & Sergey Kuryokhin – Manifesto of the New Magi

Authors: Alexander Dugin and Sergey Kuryokhin

Source: Open Revolt , Arktogeia (1996) 

***

1. We are facing a crisis of art, a lack of vitality, and the domination of pure mechanicism. Post-Modernism – the very syndrome of degeneration – is itself deformed. Interest in art today is either tackiness (in theatre, cinemas, and rock concerts), or das provozierte Leben (“the provoked life” in Gottfried Benn’s words), that is the occupation of a narrow and closed circle of “vampiric intellectuals” who have completely lost all orientations, but have not lost the need for food, social status, and vanity.

2. We are facing a crisis of politics, a lack of thought and fresh ideology, and the degeneration of politics since the splash of Perestroika. Politics has totally lost all logic and life. Politics today is either a pathological conjunction (in the center) or a pathological caricature (in the periphery). Politics is always and everywhere equally uninteresting.

3. The critical low points in the degeneration of art and politics have now been reached simultaneously, all at once. This is not always how things go, but it is none other than the case now. The lowest points of the two sinusoids have coincided.

4. In such moments in the cycle of decline, a new impulse must be acquired for development, one which lies generally outside of the sphere of the process itself. Sometimes politics spurs art, and sometimes vice versa. But now both spheres are in decline. Impulse must be sought elsewhere.

5. This new realm is MAGIC. Magic studies not events, things, and objects, but their causes, which magic does not simply describe but actively operates. Magic precedes art and politics. Art and politics became autonomous only upon being detached from their magical source. This source has not disappeared, but has merely slipped away to the periphery from where it exerts indirect influence. Secret societies, lodges, and orders have governed history and inspired artists.

6. Yet indirect influence has not been enough, as politics and art have forgotten the necessity of constantly appealing to magic. Only the direct, total replacement of art and politics with MAGIC can save this situation.

7. Today’s politicians and artists have outlived themselves. Nothing can save them. They are incapable of nourishing themselves with magic and alivening. They ought to be written off and discarded. They are totally uninteresting. A new type should replace them.

8. This new type is not a politician or artist dealing with magic, but the NEW MAGUS engaged in politics and art.

9. All forms of art and all political ideologies have their occult parallels in operative magic. Paintings emerged as worldly depictions of the gods and symbolic signs. Political ideologies are secular expressions of metaphysical and religious doctrines, e.g.: capitalism is, according to Max Weber, secularized Protestantism, while socialism and fascism are variations of Indo-European, Aryan traditions in which, according to Georges Dumézil, there is no caste of merchants. The source has gradually been lost sight of. In modern politicians and artists, we are dealing with incurable, inveterate idiots. Degree of talent and ideological success now directly depend on degree of acquaintance with occult doctrines.

10. This fact must be recognized and accepted as an inevitability.

11. Instead of a separate art, separate politics, and separate magic, a new synthetic discipline should be introduced, that of MAGIC, which directly establishes its own politics and its own art. The new hermeneutics is that historical context and aesthetic peculiarity should be discarded: it all comes down to occult paradigms. Goethe and Breton, Lenin and Churchill can all be boiled down to the magical paradigms (of the Masonic-Occultist and Hermetic-Rosicrucian bent) which they represented. All the rest can be discarded. Along with the new art and new politics will come a new approach to the study of art and a new political science.

12. The new scholars of art and the new political scientists will not be separate people from the new artists and new politicians. They will be one and the same figure. And this figure will be none other than that of the NEW MAGI.

13. Art thus becomes not the imitation of ritual or the imitation of the manufacture of fetishes, amulets, and idols, but the ritual itself, the manufacturing of amulets, fetishes, and idols.

14. Politics thus becomes not the captured “remake” of collective orgies or the realization of vaguely, indirectly perceived metaphysical projects, but the direct myth-making and occult architecture of the masses.

15. All of this is being carried out and conceptualized by the NEW MAGI.

16. Magic is an operative science. It demands real results, real metamorphoses – of objects, phenomena, and the operator himself. MAGIC is an experimental science that does not allow “obscurantism” and demagogy. The result, not the project, is the assessment. Without concrete “eidetic realization”, there is no magical act. If everything remains essentially as it was before the magical act, then we are dealing with either failure or charlatanism. Idiots and intellectuals shall not pass.

17. The NEW MAGI affirm their art and carry out social coups. They specialize in geopolitics, large-scale science, and they subjugate the elements; they tame the Atlantic Leviathan and feed the continental Behemoth. The minimum social scale of the NEW MAGIC is a country, people, state, or legions of human masses. Ascetics and marching bands of degenerate sects are of no interest to anyone. The NEW MAGIC deals with the phenomenon of the GIGANTIC, the GIGANTIC-NEW (a la Martin Heidegger).

18. Our aims will become clear only when people begin to participate in our practice, whether actively or passively, as subjects or objects. Magic solves all gnoseological problems through Praxis (like Marxism).   

19. From the outside, the crisis of art and politics may seem to be something objective. But do not build illusions, for it was organized by US, in order to clear the path for the NEW RACE, the race of magic kings.

20. We operate with abysses. For us, the invisible has its own geography. Black is not simply the absence of light, but a huge gamut of shades which earthly optometry has not even dreamed of.

21. Abyssus abyssum invocat –

22. In voce cataractarum.

Alexander Dugin – The Three Logoi: An Introduction to the Triadic Methodology of NOOMAKHIA

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold 

Chapter 2 of Noomakhia – The Three Logoi: Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele (Moscow: Academic Project, 2014).

***

Noomakhia and the Three Philosophical Countries

In the book In Search of the Dark Logos [1], we approached the existence of the Logoi as three views of the world or three fundamental paradigms of philosophy. We defined them as such:

  1. The Light Logos = the Logos of Apollo
  2. The Dark Logos = the Logos of Dionysus
  3. The Black Logos = the Logos of Cybele

These three paradigms can be provisionally placed along a vertical axis between the “here” (ενταύθα) and the “there” (εκείνα), between Earth and Heaven, between cause and effect, between the yield and the source, and so on. Each Logos builds its own universe and presents itself as the master and “demiurge.” Therefore, from a noological point of view, we are dealing not with one world but three whose paradigms conflict with one another and each encompass an infinite number of cosmic layers, hierarchies, and life cycles. It might be said that the Noomachy unfolds between these three Logoi in their vying for domination, and the reverberations of this primordial struggle are projected within these three noological universes, thus giving rise to internal battles, conflicts, splits, and oppositions. By virtue of implosion, this paradigmatic “three-way war” collapses each of the Logoi, immersing their content, structures, and “populations” into a funnel of fundamental catastrophes. Studying Noomakhia therefore demands a more careful dissection of these three Logoi. Each of them can be presented as a philosophical country, organized in accordance with certain rules with their own extended geography and topology of central and peripheral zones, and with a number of internal levels and both common and local hierarchies. These three noological countries are the country of Apollo, the country of Dionysus, and the country of Cybele (the Great Mother).

Gilbert Durand’s Three Regimes of the Imagination: The Diurne

The Three Logoi under discussion can be visually correlated with the three regimes of the imagination described in the theory of the French sociologist and culturologist Gilbert Durand [2]. We devoted a separate work to Durand and his ideas, Sociology of the Imagination: An Introduction to Structural Sociology [3], in which we rather thoroughly examined these three regimes: the diurne, the dramatic nocturne, and the mystical nocturne. Developing Henry Corbin’s central philosophical focus on the “imaginal” – that is the world of active imagination, the intermediate world between the corporeal and the spiritual, or the alam al-mithal of the Islamic tradition – Durand proposed the theory of the imaginaire, that is the “anthropological trajectory” of the structures located between the subject and object and organized in accordance with the prevalence of one or another dominant reflex. The imaginaire is structured in early childhood and later on determines the fundamental points of personality formation. Although the imaginaire necessarily encompasses all three regimes, one of them is always dominant and represses the others, thereby erecting the structure of consciousness in accordance with its own geometry and topology.

The domination of the postural reflex (which pushes the child up into the upright, vertical stance) organizes consciousness in accordance with the diurnal regime. This regime is dominated by diaeretic operations, such as division, dismemberment, the establishment of clear limits, contemplation, vertical hierarchy, severe logical laws, and is characterized by the concentration of identity towards one end (i.e., the construction of a consolidated subject) in parallel to the dissection (down to miasma) of the subject of perception at the opposite end (e.g., analyzing an object, dismembering a sacrificial animal, etc.). In the diurnal regime, the subject recognizes itself as a hero confronting time and death, with which it wages endless war. Vertical symmetries, images of flight (and fall), and masculine symbols such as the straight line, the sword, the scepter, the axis, arrows, light, the sun, and the sky are predominant in this mode. The diurnal regime fully corresponds to what we call the Logos of Apollo. This is the solar, masculine, heroic, noetic universe.

The Mystical Nocturne

The second mode of imagination, according to Durand, is completely opposite to that of the first. Durand calls this the mystical nocturne, and associates it with the nurturing reflex, with memories of the intrauterine state. When the imaginaire is captured by the structures of this mode, it perceives the world under the sign of the Night and the Mother. This regime is marked by the absence of clarity, as consciousness enjoys the continuous and unlimited tissue of hardly distinguishable things. Sensations of digestion, saturation, napping, comfort, stillness, gliding, and slight immersion are dominant. The prevailing elements are water, earth, and warmth. The relevant symbols are the cup, the Mother, twilight, reduced objects, centripetal symmetries, the infant, the blanket, the bed, and the womb. This is the feminine, maternal regime. The mystical nocturne is based on radical feminization and is an antiphrasis. In this mode, dangerous and ominous phenomena (death, time, evil, threats, enemies, and misfortune, etc.) are given softer or contradictory names:

Death = dormition (literally falling asleep) or even birth (resurrection);

Time = progress, becoming, improving;

Threat = a game resolved in peace and bliss;

The enemy = a friend who is not dangerous, and to whose side one must necessarily cross as soon as possible (Stockholm syndrome)

Misfortune = happiness (a temporary challenge designed for something good), etc.

A person with a dominant mystical nocturne is prone to seek compromise, is distinguished by conformism and hyper-conformism, is peace-loving, easily adapts to any conditions, is feminine, is drawn towards serenity, and sets comfort, satiety, safety, and harmony above all else, believing that the best is guaranteed to come naturally. Here we can unmistakably recognize the structures of the Black Logos, the noetic world of Cybele, the Great Mother, and the chthonic worlds of the womb.

The Dramatic Nocturne

The third regime of the imaginaire is also nocturnal, but is dramatic, dynamic, and active. It can be placed between the diurne and the mystical nocturne. It is built on a copulative dominant, on rhythm, movement, and dual symmetries. Its symbol is the bisexual being, the Androgyne, a pair of lovers, choreia, the circle, dance, rotation, repetition, the cycle, motion returning to its origin.

The dramatic nocturne does not struggle with time and death like the diurne, and does not cross over to the side of time and death as the mystical nocturne does. It closes time in a cycle and keeps death in a chain of births and deaths regularly replacing one another (reincarnation). In this regime, the subject is reflected in the object and vice versa, and this game of reflections is reproduced in an infinite sequence. If the diurne is the masculine regime, the realm of the day, and if the mystical nocturne is the maternal realm of the night, then the dramatic nocturne correlates with twilight (dusk and dawn) and the male/female pair (sometimes united into one). While the diurne rigidly divides one from another (diaeresis) and the mystical nocturne unites everything (synthesis), the dramatic nocturne unites the divided and divides the united – never entirely, but retaining differences in their merger and sameness in division.

Those who have a dominant dramatic nocturne exhibit developed artistic abilities, psychological flexibility, eroticism, lightness, mobility, the ability to maintain balance in motion and to perceive events in the external world as a never-ending, shifting alternation of dark and light moments (the ancient Romans’ dies fastus/dies nefastus).

Durand’s dramatic nocturne perfectly fits the description of the Dark Logos, the noetic universe of Dionysus, the god who fuses opposites in himself – suffering and dispassion, death and resurrection, male and female, high and low, and so on. Hence precisely why the “search for the Dark Logos” led us to Dionysus and the broad complex of his situation.

The Three Worlds in Mythology

Mythology, in particular Greek mythology, provides us with abundant material for composing the three noetic spaces. The realm of the Light Logos corresponds to Olympus, the heavenly world, and the king of the gods, the thunder-god Zeus, his wife, Hera of the air, the solar Apollo, the warrior Athena, the goddess of justice Dike, and other analogous figures. This is the highest horizon of the celestial Olympian gods in the maximal purity in which the Greeks tried to imagine the gods free from chthonic or archaic elements. This series of gods can be called the diurnic series, for their primary realm of rule is the that of the day, wakefulness, the clear mind, the vertical symmetries of power, and purification.

The second realm of myth, corresponding to the mystical nocturne, is that of the chthonic deities associated with Gaia, the Great Mother. This includes the “Urania” of Rhea, the deputies of the titan Cronus and the mother of Zeus, all the generations of the Titans overthrown by the gods, as well as other creatures of the Earth, such as the Hundred-Handed Ones (Hecatoncheires), the giants, and other chthonic monsters. To this category also belong some of the gods for one reason or another expelled from Olympus, such as Hephaestus. In this zone are situated the underworlds of Hades, and below it Tartarus. Here we should pay particular attention to the Titans, whose very nature reflects the characteristic attributes of the mystical nocturne. Moreover, the Titanomachy (like the Gigantomachy) can be seen as a mythological analogue of the “wars of the mind” by which we understand Noomachy. This Kingdom of Night also has its own philosophical geometry and is fundamentally opposed to that of the Day.[4] In Plato’s dialogue The Sophist, the philosophical aspect of the Gigantomachy is described in extraordinarily expressive terms:

Stranger: We are far from having exhausted the more exact thinkers who treat of being and not-being. But let us be content to leave them, and proceed to view those who speak less precisely; and we shall find as the result of all, that the nature of being is quite as difficult to comprehend as that of not-being.

Theaetetus: Then now we will go to the others.

Stranger: There appears to be a sort of war of Giants and Gods going on amongst them; they are fighting with one another about the nature of essence.

Theaetetus: How is that?

Stranger: Some of them are dragging down all things from heaven and from the unseen to earth, and they literally grasp in their hands rocks and oaks; of these they lay hold, and obstinately maintain, that the things only which can be touched or handled have being or essence, because they define being and body as one, and if any one else says that what is not a body exists they altogether despise him, and will hear of nothing but body.

Theaetetus: I have often met with such men, and terrible fellows they are.

Stranger: And that is the reason why their opponents cautiously defend themselves from above, out of an unseen world, mightily contending that true essence consists of certain intelligible and incorporeal ideas; the bodies of the materialists, which by them are maintained to be the very truth, they break up into little bits by their arguments, and affirm them to be, not essence, but generation and motion. Between the two armies, Theaetetus, there is always an endless conflict raging concerning these matters. [5]

The third kingdom, situated between Olympus and Hades (Tartarus), is the domain of the intermediate gods. The undisputed king of this mythical realm is Dionysus, who descends into Hades as Zagreus and rises to Olympus as the resurrected Iacchus of the Eleusinian mysteries and Orphic hymns. Here should also be included the psychopomp god Hermes, the goddess of harvest and fertility Demeter, as well as the countless series of lesser gods and daimons – the nymphs, satyrs, dryads, silens, etc. Some of the Olympic gods, such as Ares and Aphrodite, also gravitate towards this intermediary zone. It is also here that the titans (such as Prometheus) break through in certain situations and strive upwards. Yet the most important aspect for our sake is that it is in this mythological kingdom that we find those people whom the Orphics believed to have emerged from the ashes, or from among the titans struck down by Zeus for dismembering and eating the infant Dionysus. The nature of people is therefore simultaneously titanic and divine, Dionysian. On the upper horizon, this nature touches the realm of the daytime gods of Olympus. On the lower horizon, it descends into the underworld, the nocturnal region of the titans.

Thus, we have acquired a mythological map of the three noetic worlds of interest to us. On the basis of carefully interpreting different tropes, histories, traditions, and legends, we can glean a vast amount of data relevant to our study of Noomakhia.

Philo-Mythia and Philo-Sophia

Insofar as from the very onset we have substantiated the necessity of distance from the “contemporal moment”, we can consider the zone of myth wholly and without any reservations as a reliable basis for our quest. We can treat philo-mythia (a term coined by the Brazilian philosopher Vicente Ferreira da Silva [6]) as a parallel scholarly field alongside philo-sophia. Nothing hinders us from reversing the progression from Mythos to Logos and studying the chain from Logos to Mythos. Moreover, it would be even more productive to consider the logological and the mythological as two equal types of narratives, especially since in Ancient Greece both terms, λέγω и μυθέω, meant discourses of different semantic shades. On the level of the paradigm of thinking, as considered outside of the classical version of the historial, the equal consideration of all types of discourses is wholly legitimate. In fact, this is precisely what we see in the works of Plato and the Neoplatonists, who easily transitioned from one method to another in order to be most understandable and convincing. The “contemporal moment” demands that we approach the logological side of Plato seriously (even descending to the level of his “naive” idealism) and that we leave the mythological dimension aside, insofar as such simply reflects the “remnants and superstitions of the era.” But upon establishing distance from the contemporal moment, this whole interpretive system collapses, and we can and should turn to the Mythos and Logos simultaneously, on common grounds, in search of what really interests us.

Moreover, on the basis of the Neoplatonic language systematically developed by Plotinus, we can propose the following terminological model. The basic paradigms of thinking (and that means the sources of philosophy) are to be placed not in the realm of the Logos, but in the realm of the Nous (νοῦς) which can be seen as the common source of both Logos and Mythos. The noetic precedes the logological as well as the mythical. The Nous contains the Logos, but is not identical to it. The Logos is one specific manifestations of the Nous. The Mythos can also be considered another specific manifestation of the Nous. Therefore, they are parallel to one other on the one hand, and have a common source on the other. We are interested in precisely the noetic section, those layers of thinking and being where this divergence has not yet established. Therefore, the parallelism between philo-mythia and philo-sophia is fully justified. Noomakhia can be described and cognized both as portrayed in the picture of Titanomakhia as well as in terms of the rational polemics of philosophical schools.

With regards to the interpretation of myths and describing the relationship between the “new gods” and “ancient titans”, it is also necessary to assume a correct position from the outset. Based on the fact of the eternity of the Mind, the νοῦς (or its analogue, the spirit, the Source, etc.) as the grounds upon which all non-modern (=traditional) and non-Western (=Eastern) doctrines and religious systems are built, the diachronic structure of myth can be considered a symbolic conventionality. We ought to understand the indication that the “Titans” existed (and reigned) before the gods, sub specie aeternitatis, either as a logical continuity, or as an indication of their place in the structure of the synchronic topology of the noetic cosmos. The Titans always existed, just as the Black Logos of Cybele or the regime of the mystical nocturne. “Before” means either “higher” or “lower” depending on the viewpoint of the zone of the noetic Universe where we stand. For Mother Earth, with respect to the Titans, “before” means “better.” For the Olympians, the converse is true, since they think of themselves as the “new gods” who have won eternity in contrast to the endless cycles of the Titans’ self-closing duration. From the standpoint of the Logos of Apollo, the Titans are “ancient” because they did “not yet” know eternity, and they dwell below because they will never know it. The discrepancy between the interpretation of the “before” and “after” is not simply the consequence of relative positioning, but an episode – and a fundamental one – of the Titanomachy, which is an expression of nothing more nor less than the choice of side in the never-ending battle of eternity against time. The war of the gods and titans is a war for the position of the “observatory point”, a war to control it. Those who determine the paradigm, the grille de la lecture, will rule. We thereby find ourselves in the very epicenter of the wars of the mind. The titans seek to overthrow the gods of Olympus in order to assert their Logos as the exemplary and normative one, while the gods insist on the triumph of the diurne. Therefore, the nature of any mythical figure or account depends on from what sector of the noetic cosmos we view such, and to which army we ourselves belong. And it is this belonging to an order of one or another divine leader that Plato lays out in his Phaedrus, where Socrates explains to Phaedrus that in the person we love, we see the figure of the divine leader which our soul follows in its heavenly hypostasis. In the one we love, we love God and at the same time, in God, our higher “I.”

It would be highly naive to suppose that all people choose the camp of the gods, the Logos of Apollo and the solar regime of the heroic diurne. If this was the case, the Earth would be Heaven. Some tend towards the chthonic forces of the Earth, in solidarity with the worlds of the Great Mother. Some intuitively or consciously see themselves as warriors of the army of Dionysus. As follows, we have the right to expect from such different treatments of myths, philosophical notions, and corresponding figures of Love between the three human types.

The Geometry of the Logoi

Let us imagine this picture as a whole in a diagram.

This mythological snapshot of the world can be interpreted in the most diverse ways. From a synchronic point of view, it is a map of three simultaneous regions of the world, each corresponding to the model of one of the three fundamental zones and three modes of the imagination. In this case, the Three Logoi represent three primordial positions of viewing the map of the Universe: from above (by Apollo and Olympus), from below (by Gaia, Cybele, and Tartarus), and from an intermediate position (that of Dionysus, Demeter, and humanity).

At the same time, it can be said that the basic figure of the Universe will change depending on the arrangement of this or that “observatory point.” The Logos of Apollo believes itself to be the center, the foundation, the top of the triangle or the peak of Mount Olympus (Parnassus). The view from here is a view looking down upon the base of the triangle. The descending vertical of the solar Logos sets at the opposite end of itself its opposition – the flat, horizontal Earth. Hence the Delphic formula “thou art” and “Know thyself”.  The “I” is the “I” of Apollo, the peak of Olympus. And just as is the case with the path from the “I” to the “not-I”, so should the path from the “not-I” (the earthly surface, the horizontal, and expanse) to the “I” be strictly vertical (the path of the hero up Olympus). The highest point in this logological and mythological geometry is deliberately given: all the rest is positioned as away from itself, and the solar rays it emits fall to rest upon the plane of Earth. In this picture, the Earth is necessarily flat, as it is seen from the peak of the world mountain.

The intermediary world of Dionysus is structured differently. Its height rises up to the heavens and its depth reaches down to the center of hell. Dionysus’ center is in himself, while the above and below are the limits of his divine path – formed not by themselves, but over the course of the dramatic mysteries of his tragic, sacrificial death and victorious resurrection. The Logos of Dionysus is dynamic; it embodies the abundance and tragedy of life. Dionysus’ universe differs radically from the Universe of Apollo, insofar as their different views yield different worlds. The Logos of Dionysus is a phenomenon, a mutable structure of his epiphany. It is far from chaos, but it is not the fixed order of Apollo. It is a kind of playful combination of both, a sacred flickering of meanings and minds constantly threatening to plunge into madness – a madness which is healed by the impulse towards the higher Mind. It is not the fixed triangle of the mountain, but the pulsating, living heart that composes the paradigmatic canvas of thinking.

The geometry of Cybele’s Universe is completely different. On the one hand, in her we can see the inverted image of the Universal Mountain turned upside down into a sort of cosmic funnel. The symmetry between hell and heaven was vividly described by Dante. The Ancient Greeks believed that there is a black sky in Tartarus with its own (suffocating) air, its own (fiery) rivers and (foul) land. Yet this symmetry should be not merely visual, but also ontological and noological. The world of the titans consists of the refusal of the order of the diurne. The horizontal thus acquires the dimension of a downwards vertical, a horizontal of the depths. Differences fuse while identities are split asunder. Light is black, and darkness blazes and burns. If in the world of Apollo there is only the eternal “now”, then Cybele’s world is reigned by time (Kronos – Chronos), where there is everything but the “now”, and instead only the “before” and “too late”, where the main moment is always missed. The torture of Tantalus, Sisyphus, and the Danaids reflects the essence of the temporality of hell: everything is repeated to no end. The inverted triangle, as applied to the worlds of Cybele, is most akin to an inverse “Apollonian hypothesis” – and thus indeed Apollo understands this opposite to himself. Mother Earth thinks otherwise: she has no straight lines, no clear orientations. Attempts to separate one from the other cause her unbearable pain. Her thinking is muffled, gloomy, and inconsistent. She cannot break away from the mass which de-figures and repeatedly dissolves all forms, decomposes them into atoms and recreates them again at random. This is how monsters are born.

Therefore, the three views of the universe from these three positions represent three conflicting worlds, and it is this conflict of interpretations which constitutes the essence of the war of the minds.

The Philosophical Season

Looking at this model in static terms, we can also propose a kinetic interpretation. It is easily noticeable that the three synchronic worlds of this model can be taken to represent the calendric cycle: the upper half (the kingdom of Apollo) corresponds to summer, the lower world of Cybele to winter, and the intermediary worlds of Dionysus to autumn and spring. The latter can be interpreted as the cardinal points of the drama of Dionysus, his sacrificial killing, dismemberment, resurrection, and awakening. The fixed positional zones of the tripartite cosmos thus come to life and motion. The changing of the seasons becomes a philosophical process of intense thinking, a manifestation of cosmic war, in which the Logoi attack their opponents’ positions. In winter, the earth strives to swallow light, to capture the sun, and to turn flowing waters into blocks of ice. In summer comes the celebration of order, fertility, creation, and life. The cycles of the Dionysian festivities mark the key moments in this drama: the withering and the new flourishing.

The Logoi thus enter into a dialectical confrontation, the spatial topography of which is embodied in a temporal sequence. Thus, the changing of seasons is revealed to be a process of philosophizing. The natural cycle is habitually considered to be the direct opposite of history, which consists of momentary, non-repeating events. The historial manifests itself where the cycle opens – this is the axiom of “axial time.” Therefore, the symbolism of the season is seen by “school philosophy” as the direct antithesis of philosophy as such. But this axiom is valid only and exclusively from the standpoint of the “contemporal point”, a view which is only possible if we recognize historicism as a dogmatic truth. By overturning this construct in the spirit of the revolution proposed by the Traditionalists, we can propose an alternative interpretive model: history can be seen as a great seasonal cycle with its own winters and springs, and as follows, its own intersections of the ontological territories of hell and heaven. There are epochs of Apollo, Dionysus, or the Great Mother which replace one another with a certain continuity, in each of which dominates one or another paradigm, one or another Logos, one or another “philosophical season.” The eras of Apollonian rule wield an orientation towards eternity and being, towards sacred tradition and the heroic architecture of life and consciousness. These are vertical epochs, in which the cosmic fire kindles itself (Heraclitus). There is no history in these eras, there is only the event – the epiphany of constant heavenly eternity.

The era of Dionysus balances between eternity and time. It celebrates sacred time in festivals, mysteries, initiations, and ecstatic rapture. This is open time – time from which one can step into eternity. But here there is already a notable dualism between periods of joy and periods of grief (the Triterica). Half of time passes amidst the “concealment” of god, his apophenia. God dies in order to be resurrected in the Great Dionysia. He is resurrected again and resides among people (epiphany), bestowing upon them the horror and dizziness of sacred being.

The epoch of Cybele knows neither Apollonian eternity nor the ecstatic enthusiasm of the dying and resurrecting god. It is monotone and solid. It contributes to all that is gigantic and super-dimensional in a material sense but which is deprived of flight and free movement. It is in precisely this era of winter that lasting, “dragging” time is born, that which is incapable of transcendence. Here begins the reign of temporality.

Applying this theory of the philosophy of seasons to the foundational historial of modern Western philosophy, we reach an interesting conclusion. Is this “Western culture”, built on the very principle of temporo-centrism, not a sign of precisely this titanic earthly cycle? If we take into account the materialism and heightened and clearly unhealthy fixation of modern people on things and atomic (and ever more microscopic) phenomenon, the reign of quantity over quality, earthly over heavenly, and mechanical over organic, the preponderance of individualist fragmentation, including the aesthetic norms of contemporary art, then the notion that we find ourselves under the rule of the Black Logos seems to be a wholly probable supposition.

In this case, philosophy is revealed to be not a radical rupture with nature and its repetitive cycles (as the evidencia of the contemporal moment suggests), but the common, fundamental, and ontological matrix of the seasons themselves. Nature and its universal laws are thus but one form of the manifestation of the Nous and its conflicting Logoi – alongside geometry, philosophy, mythology, religion, culture, and “history.” The Nous organizes everything – both the structures of eternity and the structures of time, both natural transformations and human thinking, the trajectories of the flights of the gods and the counter-attacks of the titans. Thus, the calendar and its symbolism can by all means offer a philosophical reading. If this is a correct reading, then calendric symbolism can serve as a hermeneutic key to the comprehension of history, as has been nobly substantiated by the Traditionalist school. Guénon, Evola, and other representatives of Traditionalism univocally identified our epoch as that of the “Kingdom of Night”, the Kali-Yuga, the final age which corresponds on the synchronic, ontological map of the states of being to hell and its population. Something similar with respect to the meaning of modernity is affirmed by virtually all sacred traditions and religions. As soon as one refrains from interpreting Tradition and religion from the standpoint of the “contemporal moment”, and instead strives to determine the “contemporal moment” from the position of Tradition and religion, then everything immediately falls into place, and the anomalousness of our epoch is revealed in all of its volume. We live in the center of winter, at the bottom point of the Untergang, of descent. In this situation, it is easy to guess which Logos dominates over us, what “deities” are ruling us, and which mythological creatures and religious figures are leading today on a global scale in Noomakhia, in the wars of the mind.

The Philosophy of the First Logos: Platonism

Now we are left with pursuing the parallels between philo-mythia and philo-sophia to their logical end and proposing a systematization of the types of philosophy in terms of the mythological and seasonal maps of their paradigmatic universes. The choice of temporal sectors is more than broad enough to render this possible. However, we ought to act conventionally and therefore take as our point of departure that period which Heidegger called the “First Beginning of Philosophy”, that of classical Greece. On the basis of the synchronism of our reconstruction of the Three Logoi, we should attempt to identify three philosophical schools which to one degree or another resonate with these three corresponding paradigms.

The philosophy of the diurne, of Apollonianism, and the heroic, light ascent is, without a doubt, to be found in Plato and Platonism. Here we have the highest form of this approach, the axiomatic formulas of the vividly expressed Light Logos. Plato’s philosophy is built on the Apollonian triangle, from top to bottom, and represents the most perfect model of the embodiment of diurnic thinking. Plato himself was associated with the figure of Apollo (as was the founder of Neoplatonism, Plotinus, several centuries later). Plato was born on the day of Apollo’s festival (May 21 / Targelion 7, 428 B.C.E.) and died on the very same day in 348 at a wedding feast.[7] To this Apollonian line should be also added the ontological philosophy of the Eleatics (Xenophanes of Colophon, Parmenides, and his student Zeno), as well as Pythagoras and his school.

The structure of Plato’s philosophy meets all the requirements of the Apollonian Logos. At the top of his theory is the One, surrounded by eternal ideas. This is the peak of the divine, celestial world, illuminated by timeless light. The highest principle is the Good, which exudes its abundance firstly upon the world of ideas (paradigms) and then, through the good Creator-Demiurge, on the created cosmos. Plato described all three of these world zones in his Timaeus, in particular distinguishing the realm of paradigms (the observatory point of the gods, the Father), the realm of models, or “copies” and “icons” (the Son), and the mysterious khora (χώρα), the space or country which Plato likened to the Nurse or Mother. In describing the khora (which was later identified by the Neoplatonists with the mother), Plato’s dialogue loses its crystal clarity, thus lending towards the strange assumption that this element can be comprehended only by means of a “special Logos”, which Plato called “bastard” or “illegitimate” (νόθος λόγος) [8]. The vision of the celestial god thus reaches the surface of the earth, the lower limits of the world of copies, but here is confronted with its limits, as it can no longer see anything amenable to clear Apollonian discernment. At the border of the day, the realm of night-dreaming flickers. Timaeus (Plato) restricts himself to only a few suggestions and postulates the khora (space) to be a flat intermediary, beyond which there is nothing, and which is impossible to understand, insofar as there is nothing to properly understand in it. This khora is the view of the back of the Great Mother, a limit unreachable by the Apollonian, where hell begins. Alexander the Great, the disciple of Plato’s disciple, Aristotle, repeated the same gesture when he erected at the Caspian Gates a copper wall which symbolically closed the gateway of the cosmos (=the ecumene) to the wild hordes of North Eurasia, e.g., Scythia, which in Greek sacred geography was considered to be under the control of the titans, hence the legend that the titan Prometheus was the king of the Scythians.

The Neoplatonists extracted all possible gnoseological, ontological, and theological consequences from Plato, thus crowning the nearly millennial existence of Plato’s Academy with a complete and unique monument to Olympic, divine, heavenly thought. In a certain sense, Platonism is eternal, and has continued in both Christian theology by Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, John of Damascus, Dionysius the Areopagite, Maximus the Confessor, Michael Psellos, John Italus, and Gemistus Plethon in the East, and by Boethius and John Scotus Eriugena in the West), as well as in the Renaissance and even amidst modern philosophy.

Aristotle: The Teacher of the “New Dionysus”

The second Logos, the philosophy of Dionysus, can be discerned in Orphism, in the teachings of the Greek mysteries (especially the Eleusinian), and manifests itself most fully in Aristotle. If hardly any doubts arise with respect to the Apollonian qualification of Plato’s philosophy, then the convergence between Aristotelianism and Dionysianism might seem, in the very least, strange and unwarranted. This is so only because Dionysus and Dionysianism are currently treated predominately through poetic, artistic, and aesthetic lenses or only with regards to the Bacchic orgies and ecstatic processes. If anything at all is established as corresponding to Dionysus, it is likely either the “philosophy of life”, biologism, or, in the worst cases, hylozoism. This means that we are not at all ready to take Dionysius seriously as a philosopher and we do not accord full consideration to his structural function in the philosophy of the world. The point is that Dionysus, on the philosophical map of the Three Logoi, belongs to the middle world below the higher paradigms, models, and ideas and above the dubious and difficult to ascertain (for the Apollonian Logos) worlds of the Great Mother. This means that Dionysus rules the world of phenomena. In this case, his philosophy should be a phenomenological philosophy. We are dealing with the notion of “phenomenon” as from φαίνω, whose root can be traced back to the meanings “light” and “reality.” The very same root is used to form aπόφασις (“concealment”), επιφάνια (“revelation”, “epiphany”), as well as λόγος αποφαντικός, which Aristotle employed to express the “declaratory expression”, the fundamental element of his logic. Dionysus is also closely associated with the cycles of “phenomena” and concealments, the rhythms of changes which compose the structure of religious life and, accordingly, the paradigm of sacred time of his adepts. But the main point is that Aristotle’s philosophy, which rethought Plato’s doctrine of ideas, discarded it, and began to construct its theories on the basis of none other than the “phenomenon” located on the border between form and matter, between μορφή and ύλη. On one side, the phenomenon rises up the divine vertical of the eidos (είδος), but unlike the Platonic idea, the eidos here is conceptualized as being closely linked to its material foundation and not outside of it. Thus, we are dealing with a genuinely “intermediary philosophy” situated strictly between the Logos of Apollo and the Logos of Cybele, one which unfolds in the zone now relinquished to the mythology (philo-mythia) of Dionysus, and which claims to have a completely autonomous structure capable of making judgements on what is higher and what is below it on the basis of its own criteria. Heidegger’s great interest in a deep, fresh reading of Aristotle was most likely inspired by precisely this clear consciousness of the fact that besides Aristotle the Logician, beyond the creator of the first ontology (metaphysics) as is customary to qualify him in the theories of the Western European historial, there is another Aristotle: Aristotle the Phenomenologist. This Aristotle tries to overcome something similar to the initiatives of Husserl and Heidegger with regrds to Plato – only not two and a half millennia after Plato, but immediately. We will attempt to illustrate this in greater detail in a separate chapter.

For now we can point out the close association between Aristotle and his royal student, Alexander the Great. According to the beliefs of devout Greeks, Alexander’s father was Zeus himself, who laid with his mother Olympia, a priestess of the cult of Dionysus, in the form of a snake (as with Persephone, the mother of Zagreus) during the Bacchic orgies, as a result of which Alexander was venerated as the “New Dionysus.” It cannot be ruled out that Alexander’s march to India was the product of his own personal faith in this astonishing tale. It is no less surprising that such an initiative – extremely difficult and dangerous in military terms – was ultimately crowned with unprecedented success, as Alexander the Great, the New Dionysus, indeed succeeded in establishing a colossal Empire which united East and West into a single cultural and civilizational space.

Another, somewhat later model of Dionysian philosophy can be discerned in the Hermetism of Late Antiquity, which represented its own kind of synthesis of fragments of Egyptian, Chaldean, Iranian, and Greek cultures with a whole number of ideas and models borrowed from Orphism and the arsenal of mysteries. Hermes, like Dionysus, was a god, but unlike many other gods was distinguished by an ontological mobility, polyformity, and the ability to rapidly and dynamically move throughout all levels of the world – from the heights of Olympus to the depths of Tartarus. The Greeks believed Hermes to be a psychopomp, the “driver of souls”, the one who drove the dead into hell and the heroes up Olympus. The philosophy that was angled around Hermes’ element was also distinct for its hybrid diversity, dynamism, and dialectical poly-semantism characteristic of the middle world. Hermetism can be seen as a shadow of Aristotelian logical phenomenology: here philo-mythia, paradigmatic qualities, the figures of the mystery cycle, and the mysterious metaphors of the planetary-mineral cycle are all employed more eagerly than the procedures of conscious reason which Aristotle and his followers would employ with such priority. The substantive difference in stylistics, however, should not hide from us the commonalities of the fundamental, paradigmatic approach of these two types of philosophizing: they belong to one and the same noological level, like two brigades of one and the same army, acting in solidarity over the course of Noomakhia. We can see this tendency towards synthesis on the part of the Hermetic spirit and Aristotelianism in the Stoa and later in the Middle Ages in Scholastic Aristotelianism (that of Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon, and Thomas Aquinas) and in the shadow duplicated by the alchemical treatises (whether correctly or not, nevertheless tellingly) attributed to the classics of rationalist scholasticism.

The Philosophy of the Castrates

What, then, will be the third philosophy corresponding to the Black Logos of Cybele? In the solar Platonic vision, we can obtain only an external, “celestial” view, which sees as its bottom the khora (Χώρα), the space of the subtle film of the chaotic movement of scattered particles not yet formed by the ordering demiurge. Χώρα comes from the same root as mythological “chaos”, χάος, meaning “yawning”, or literally “opening the jaws”, “freeing the empty space.” Instead of the voluminous “chaos” that creates the three-dimensionality of unordered void, Timaeus sees a film that resists comprehension by the classical Apollonian logos and whose comprehension demands falling into slumber, losing clarity and rigor, and degeneration.

Aristotle paid much more attention to “matter”, ύλη. The latter becomes a necessary component of being, without which, as without the “subject” (ὑποκείμενον), there can be no being (unlike Platonic ideas, which are that which is: το ὄν). Accordingly, matter acquires a certain positive ontological dimension that is fundamentally superior to its status in Platonism. The thing as phenomenon stands in the forefront of Aristotle’s system, and all of its traits are conceived as appendices to its actual presence, the essential role in which is played by matter. As follows, in the spirit of the Logos of Dionysus we have drawn substantially nearer to the zone of matter and the Mother. It is this particular, implicit materialism in Aristotle that was taken up by the Stoics who, combining this doctrine with those of the Pre-Socratics, constructed a developed model of rationalist materialism in which even the Logos is assigned the status of a material element. The early and late Stoa (with the exception of the middle, specifically Panaetius and Posidonius, who sought to combine Stoicism with Platonism, thereby departing from the main system of this philosophy) can be considered the borderline scenario of Aristotelian philosophy, in which the center of attention is shifted to matter as its lower limit. Yet still the form, the eidos, remains the fundamental pole of the phenomenon and, as follows, therefore cannot claim the role of being the philosophy of Cybele. Instead, the latter corresponds to a different philosophical tradition, one born in the Thracian city of Abdera and transmitted from Leucippus through Democritus to Epicurus and the Epicureans, up to the Roman philosopher Lucretius Carus. This constellation of thinkers stands closest of all to the structures of the Black Logos.

Democritus built his doctrines on the complete negation of the Apollonian vertical order, thus moving not from top to bottom (as the Platonists), but from bottom to top. Democritus’ philosophy was based on two notions: the minimally indivisible particle (the atom), and emptiness, or the “Great Void.” Such is the pillar of being underlying all phenomena formed out of the interplay of atoms moving chaotically according to the laws of isonomy, i.e., in any possible direction and in any possible combination. The blind rampage of sputtered particles turns into vortices which constitute organizational ensembles, but order itself, including the eidoi, figures, bodies, and processes, is shaped by the aleatoric laws of random combinations.

Thus, Democritus argued that the gods are essentially a hallucinatory cluster of atoms and, as such, are not eternal, but are capable of appearing in dreams to inform a sleeping person of minor events or simply to frighten them. There is no harmony or immanent logic in the world, everything is utterly meaningless. Seeing the world as an insignificant accident, Democritus laughed at anyone who treated being seriously and solemnly, thus earning himself the epithet “the laughing philosopher.” Here we can see the typical depiction of the birth of Gaia as a grimacing, worm-like monster imitative of the human consciousness of a condensed phantom (εἴδωλον). The inhabitants of Abder considered Democritus to be insane. Democritus spent all of his free time – and all of his time was free, as he was a parasite living off of his inheritance – at the cemetery or in city garbage dumps. In the spirit of his general system, Democritus did not believe in eternity, the soul, or immortality, but solely in accident and the Great Void of the dead and alienated Universe.

Here we can see a vivid example of the mystical nocturne, the shift of consciousness towards the opposite side, towards identification with the blind, unseen, or ghostly forces of matter, disorder, and chaos, i.e., the philosophy of Night. Plato was completely right to see in Democritus and his atomists existential enemies, the bearers of the chthonic, titanic element. It is telling that Plotinus directly compared the atomists to the castrated priests of the Great Mother (the Galli) and emphasized that the eunuch is the only truly sterile: while woman can serve as the habitat of the ripening of a fetus, the castrate embodies ultimate vanity and absolute impotence. 

Similar ideas were developed in Epicurus’ philosophy, which reduced all of reality to the sensual world and recognized the doctrine of atoms, thereby rejecting not only the being of Platonic ideas, but also the forms/eidoi of Aristotle. For Epicurus, who believed in many worlds, the gods are like perfect cohesions of atoms in complete isolation from people (between worlds) which have no influence on anything. Epicurus believed happiness to be complete indifference (ἀταραξία). Insofar as the gods are happy, they must be indifferent towards everything and, as follows, they do not participate in the life of the universe, nor the being of peoples, and therefore their presence, completely unmanifest, is essentially identical to their absence – hence the notion of deus otiosus, or the “lazy, idle god” attested in different religious and mythological systems. People are usually inclined to quickly forget such gods.

In this case, man’s soul is as mortal as his body. Epicurus believed in the evolution of species, postulating that material forces develop from the simplest forms towards the emergence of more organized beings. Moreover, Epicurus considered the goal of life to be pleasure. A full exposition of Epicurean views was presented in the poem of Lucretius Carus, who synthesized the philosophical aspects of the Black Logos with a number of chthonic myths concerned with the origins of people, the less perfect yields of the Earth which preceded them, and the forms which have not yet evolved within the span of the animal and plant world known to us.

In Democritus, Epicurus, and Lucretius Carus, we have a developed panorama of the philosophy of the Titans which shaped the Logos of the Great Mother and systematized its procedures and basic concepts. This is the intellectual headquarters of the Titanomachy active on the philosophical, religious, and cultural levels. This is one of the three main poles of the war of the minds, the Noomakhia. In this army of thinkers of the mystical nocturne, we can also see that this is not even what Gaia herself thinks, but rather the products of her parthenogenetic self-fertilization, products of her creation, mobilized into her army, generated by privation, poverty, and deficiency, i.e., the basic qualities of the material element.

The Neoplatonists saw the castrate philosophy of materialism to be a gross violation of healthy sense and related its main principles to the final four hypotheses of Plato’s Parmenides pertaining to the denial of the existence of the One. Thus, we are dealing here with a philosophy of the universe which, from an Apollonian point of view, simply cannot exist – cannot and should not.

The Relevance of the Three Philosophies

Having examined the vertical, synchronic view of the philosophical schools of classical Greece, we have divided such into three types and poles corresponding to the Three Logoi. The main figures of these three headquarters of Noomakhia are represented by Plato (and the Platonists), Aristotle, and Democritus (and Epicurus).

Platonists stand for the verticle when it exists, and they struggle for its restoration when it has been shaken. Their philosophy can change its superstructure depending on the state of the world in which the Platonist finds himself, and depending on the nature of the philosophical season. If Apollo, Zeus, and the Olympian gods hold firmly to power over the city, the people, the country, and the civilization, then Platonists act as conservatives. If Platonists are put in the context of the shifty, flickering, dramatic Logos of Dionysus or Hermes, they will be inclined towards restoration, towards raising Dionysus and preventing him from descending again. Finally, under the reality of hell, under the control of the Black Logos of the Great Mother, Platonists will fulfill the role of radical revolutionaries, philosophical extremists who challenge the suggestive magic of material lies.

Aristotelians, meanwhile, can theoretically harmoniously exist in idealist systems or accept certain positions of materialism. The Stoa demonstrates to us the limits of what is achievable.

Finally, the sensualist atomists will play the role of revolutionary nihilists in a Platonic order, and they will gravitate towards materialist interpretations of intermediary “Dionysian” systems (emphasizing the similarities between Dionysus and Hades in Heraclitus in accordance with the logic of “he went down to hell and staid there”). In the zone of chthonic culture, on the contrary, they will find themselves with the status of apologists, defenders, and guardians of the order of things.

The general system of the culture of classical Greece was built on the implicit recognition of the Olympian element and, accordingly, Apollonian philosophy (including Platonism, the Eleatics, the Pythagoreans, etc.). However, even then this trend, beyond its conservative features, bore restorationist and even partially revolutionary elements, such as in the political ideas of the Pythagorean union or the reforms which Plato proposed to the tyrant of Syracuse, Dionysus (as well as his son). To a considerable extent, they represented vanguard revolutionary projects aimed at returning full power to the solar gods who had somewhat drifted towards more mundane and less perfect powers.

After Aristotle, philosophy came to be dominated by the Stoics with their phenomenological approach and significant share of materiality (insofar as matter was considered to be the vital substance of “pneuma” and even the Logos itself). The Stoics were the first to clearly articulate the philosophy of the Empire of Alexander and then of Rome. Although atomism and Epicureanism were never dominant tendencies in classical Greece, they developed freely and drew a significant number of nocturnal minds in search of pleasure to the “philosophy of the garden.” 

The Middle Ages saw Aristotelianism prevail, with both Platonism and materialism, sensualism, and atomism displaced to the periphery. In this sense, the debate on universals in Catholic Scholasticism reflected the essential sense of the Medieval balance of forces of Noomakhia: Aristotelian Thomism/Realism prevailed over the Idealism/Platonism of Scotus Erigena on the one hand and the Nominalism/Materialism of the Franciscans (Johannes Roscelin and William of Ockham) on the other.

Modernity was distinguished by the gradual rise of the Logos of Cybele. Galileo and Gassendi revived atomism, and nominalism became the basis of the scientific method. Materialism thus gradually became the criterion of scienticity. Eternity was rejected and replaced by the absolutization of time, historicism and, finally, the idea of progress. As in Epicurus’ philosophy, god first becomes “idle” (Deism) and “logical” (the “god of the philosophers”), and then yields to pure atheism (Nietzsche’s “God is dead”). The human soul is thought to be mortal and then comes to be regarded as the “psyche”, that is the sublimated continuation of the physical organism. The doctrine of the atomic structure of matter came to be laid at the foundation of the physical map of the world of Modernity, and the opening of this vacuum brings us back to the Great Void of Democritus. Space becomes isotropic and Democritus’ principle of isonymy thereby becomes dogma.

Modernity, thus, is the onset of the philosophical winter, marked by the domination of the Great Mother of Matter. The Titans storm the abode of the gods. Night triumphs over day. The mystical nocturne subjugates the ranks of the heroic diurne. Thus arises the era of the masses, of gravity (Isaac Newton’s universal gravitation) and – in René Guénon words – the “reign of quantity.” In the context of Noomakhia, this is the shift of the center of attention from the paradisal mountain to hell’s funnel, from the peak and the top to the bottom of the cosmic well. In such a situation, Platonism and its echoes, i.e., the remnants of the army of the gods, the partisans of Olympus, go underground, into the realm of peripheral mysticism, of “secret societies”, “Conservative Revolutionaries”, and “conspirators conspiring to restore the Golden Age.” In the 20th century, their programmatic manifesto was articulated in René Guénon’s books, first and foremost The Crisis of the Modern World and The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times (as well as other of Guénon’s works) [9], and Julius Evola’s Revolt Against the Modern World, The Mystery of the Grail, and Ride the Tiger (as well as the rest of Evola’s oeuvre) [10].

We find the Dionysian Logos in Modernity in Hermeticism and European Romanticism, such as in Schelling’s Dionysiology or Hölderlin’s Christian Dionysianism, as well as in the many mystical circles and secret organizations which became closely interconnected in the circumstances of existence within a common underground in the face of the domination of a common enemy – the Titans. In the 20th century, this was most clearly manifested in such a phenomenon as “soft Traditionalism” (Mark Sedgwick’s term), which seeks not so much to oppose as to reconcile earthly reality with the heavenly Logos. A paradigmatic prototype of this approach can be said to be represented by the group of thinkers associated in one way or another with the Eranos seminars formed around Carl Jung, Mircea Eliade, Louis Massignon, Henry Corbin, Gershom Scholem, T. Suzuki, Karl Kerényi, and later Gilbert Durand and others. Russian religious philosophy, and primarily Sophiology, belongs to this type. In European philosophy, this current includes phenomenology, and especially Martin Heidegger. Nietzsche’s call to appeal to the figure of Dionysus was thus heard by representatives of different currents in philosophy.

Under the dictatorship of the Titans, the Logos of Apollo and the more flexible and subtle Logos of Dionysus (the Dark Logos) find themselves in a subordinate position. The main blows are dealt to direct opponents, such as Platonists, but also to representatives of the Dionysian element which, having a natural share in the Divine, are also subjected to the aggression of the sons of Earth. After all, Dionysus-Zagreus was dismembered by the Titans, and they continue to tear him apart to this day.

The synchronism and cyclical diachronism of this noological map and calendar thus allow us to discern Tradition and Modernity both as coexisting spatial zones of ontology and as successive, agonal types of domination of one or another paradigm. In the Noomachy, there are starting positions, base areas, and theaters of military operations where control over one or another height changes hands over the course of dramatic and dynamic battles. Insofar as, according to Plato, “time is the image of eternity”, time consists of both eternity’s likeness and its unlikeness. The latter consists of the diachronicity of the order of the unfolding of the philosophical seasons, of the concrete dynamics of military operations, and of the shifts in the episodes of Titanomachy (as well as the Gigantomachy and, more generally, the Noomachy). Eternity’s likeness is at its maximum at the height of Olympus, where time merges with eternity, and is at its minimal at the Great Midnight, where there is only time. This point of the Great Midnight is the culmination of Noomakhia, the moment of the Endkampf, Ragnarök, the final battle, the place and time of the Decision (Entscheidung). It is here, in the zone furthest removed from the kingdom of Zeus, in the period of the abandonment by Being (Seinsverlassenheit), during the Night of the Gods (Gottesnacht), when the gods have fled (der Flucht der Götter) and when Olympus, according to the final Oracle, has fallen, that the final mystery of Dionysus is revealed – the mystery of the only god capable of penetrating to the very bottom of hell. Heidegger spoke of the Untergehende, the one who descends into hell without being hell himself, who enters into time and is torn by it but remains, in essence, a drop of eternity. This is the heart of Dionysus saved by Athena – it is all that is left in the wake of the successful realization of the diabolical plan of the Titans.

Time prevails over eternity completely, purging it, becoming only its unlikeness, its simulacrum, a copy without an original – but only for a moment. It ceases to last once it loses its resemblance to eternity whose image it is. Of course, time denies this and tries to portray its privative being as self-sufficient. Such is the essence of the uprising of the Earth and its monsters against the dwellers of the Sky, of Heaven. The semantics of the End Times and the battle for the End Times, i.e., the battle for the “end of time”, is constituted by this proportion between autonomy and dependency.

And here it is time to remember Dionysus’ name: “The Midnight Sun.” Such is a paradox, for Night is Night because there is no sun. But where is the sun at night? Where are warmth and life during the season of philosophical winter? Where is the sky when Earth wins? Where do the gods flee? This is the question of Dionysus, his concealment, his epiphany, his essence, and his heart. This is the main question of Noomakhia.

***

Footnotes:

[1] Alexander Dugin, In Search of the Dark Logos: Philosophico-Theological Outlines (Moscow: Akademicheskii Proekt, 2012).

[2] Gilbert Durand, Les Structures anthropologiques de l’imaginaire (Paris: Borda, 1969).

[3] Alexander Dugin, Sotsiologiia voobrazheniia. Vvedenie v strukturnuyu sotsiologiiu (Moscow: Akademicheskii Proekt, 2010).

[4] Alexander Dugin, “Noch’ i ee luchi”, in Radikalnyi Sub’ekt i ego dubl’ (Moscow: Eurasian Movement, 2009).

[5] Plato, The Dialogues of Plato. Translated by B. Jowett (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1892). Russian edition: Platon, “Sofist” in Fedon, Pir, Fedr, Parmenid (Moscow: Mysl’, 1999).

[6] Vicente Ferreira Da Silva, Transcendencia do mundo (Sao Paulo: E Realizacoes, 2010).

[7] According to legend, Plato’s tomb in the Academy bore the inscription: “Apollo begat two sons, Asclepius and Plato, the one to save the body and the other the soul.”

[8] See: Alexander Dugin, Martin Heidegger: Vozmozhnost’ russkoi filosofii (Moscow: Academic Project, 2011).

[9] See: René Guénon, The Crisis of the Modern World; Ibidem, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times

[10] See: Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World; Ibidem, The Mystery of the Grail; Ibidem, Ride the Tiger.

 

NOOMAKHIA: GEOSOPHY – The Horizons of Cultures: The Geography of Logoi

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Chapter 1 of Noomakhia: Wars of the Mind – Geosophy: Horizons and Civilizations
(Moscow: Academic Project, 2017)

***

The Horizons of Cultures: The Geography of Logoi

Virtually all of the books of the Noomakhia series are dedicated to what might be called “Geosophy” or “plural anthropology.”

In the first volume of Noomakhia, The Three Logoi [1], we offered a most general representation of the Three Logoi as three basic paradigms within the framework of which one can interpret the semantic structures of any culture and civilization. In the very least, we have proceed from precisely such a possibility as our initial position, allowing for the possibility of this tripartite reading in each and every society with numerous overlaps and combinations. As we proceed to examine different civilizations, we are faced with either accepting the conviction that such an approach, upon which all of Noomakhia is based, is indeed competent or, upon encountering insurmountable obstacles, recognizing the limited applicability of this noological methodology. The triplicity of the fundamental Logoi constitutes the essence of Noomakhia, and we will pursue this in the most diverse historical, religious, and social contexts. The main substance  which we understand by the “Three Logoi” described in the first volume will be further refined as we examine the most diverse civilizations and cultures, first and foremost the Hellenic and Byzantine, where the corresponding figures of Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele attained their clearest and most generalized expression. We have taken the latter to be a universal structural template, a paradigm. Thus, the two volumes of Noomakhia dedicated to the Greeks are of great importance to any correct and complete understanding of the foundational paradigms on which our study is based.

In the present work, we will examine yet another aspect of the plurality of Logoi. In the first book, we described – in the most general contours and primarily based on the example of the Hellenic cultural circle which determined the destiny of Western Europe for the last two and a half millennia – the structure of the three fundamental paradigms of thinking corresponding to three types of philosophy, religion, mythology, ritual, symbolism, gnoseology, ontology, and anthropology. The three paradigms which we distinguished – those of Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele – can be considered the main constituent moments of the vertical topography. In our point of view, these three paradigms comprehensively exhaust all the possible variations of the concretization of the Mind (Νοῦς) in the Logos and logological structures. Although we limited ourselves to the Hellenic zone, it is theoretically possible to arrive at an analogous model on the basis of other cultural templates, be they developed and detailed like Indian and Chinese philosophy, or altogether archaic, such as in the case of shamanic complexes or the most elementary mythological systems.

This vertical topography of the Three Logoi can be envisioned as a perpendicular angle constructed upon and penetrating each geographical (or, more precisely, geocultural and geosophical) zone of the world. Every cultural space (cultural-historical type, civilization) by definition can possess Apollonian, Dionysian, or Cybelean dimensions as three dimensions of  its (cultural) space, i.e., height (the Light Logos), breadth (the Dark Logos) and depth (the Black Logos). We say “can”, for this does not mean that each of these Logoi will necessarily be present, much less predominate. The diversity of cultures and societies on earth lies in that every culture and every society presents its own kind of projection of the three vertical Logoi in different proportions and different relations. One of the Logoi might dominate in one place while the others remain in a virtual state; elsewhere, the picture can be more complex. The Three Empires of the Logoi are projected onto each culture not only in terms of this geometrical schema, but always also from different angles, just as one and the same projected image can, taking into consideration different folds, curvatures, breaks, dips, etc., yield different shapes on different surfaces. When reflected upon the sea, the sun’s rays are transformed from straight lines into curved lines, and their constancy gives way to a rhythmically repetitive sinusoid. Light disappears on a dark surface; it is reflected in a mirror, and so on. If we add to this understanding the fact that cultural fields are not strictly horizontal with relation to noetic topography, but are reflected at certain angles which differ from culture to culture, then we can appreciate and estimate just how diverse and multidimensional cultural geography can be, just how multifaceted the field of geosophy is, and, as follows, we can appreciate the richness of anthropological pluralism. The very identification of the presence of three Logoi and the discernment of the dramatic war between their Empires fundamentally enriches our understanding of the structures of the Mind, imparting vital and intense volume. Taking into account the diversity of the projections onto the horizontal plane of human cultures which these Logoi and Noomakhia can yield, turns the whole picture into a grand panorama of qualitative intellectual plurality, a fertile and substantive pluriversum.

In the first book of Noomakhia, we primarily busied ourselves with the vertical symmetries and oppositions of noology, as well as the philosophies and mythologies which express such. Now we shall transition to horizontal symmetries and approach the study of the diversity of the Logoi among civilizations and cultures. In the following books of Noomakhia, we intend to present a number of developed illustrations of how the Logoi independently and distinctly manifest themselves in the most different civilizations, both those close to Europe and those distant. This qualitatively complicates the overall picture of noology. We will see how, in addition to or beyond the war between the Three Empires, the oppositions and conflicts between these Empires are projected onto the horizontal plane, as well as the internal polycentrism and historical dynamics inherent to these projections. This will explain many aspects of inter-civilizational relations and inter-cultural ties, but still the resultant field of geosophy will present itself as an extremely complex model, even in its mere static structure, without taking into account temporal (whether cyclical or unilinear) dynamics. Taking into consideration the dynamic changes in cultural systems which are organized along primordially different lines and represent a field of intense battle between the Three Noetic Empires, promises to transform history, philosophy, religious studies, anthropology and cultural studies into such a complex picture, simultaneously containing such a multiplicity of layers and levels, that it should come as no surprise why no one has undertaken such before. After all, the hands of the most courageous and resolute scholar can waiver in the face of such an abundance of materials and the sheer quantity of relevant factors. Thus, all previous undertakings which, no matter what, pursued something similar, will be made all the more valuable to us.

Yet the horizontality discussed in this volume of Noomakhia is such only in correlation with the verticality of the model of the Three Logoi. Horizontality in itself is multidimensional and polycentric. It harbors not only the static layers of culture that are discernible independently of time and which constitute the structure of permanent identity, but also historical dynamics, over the course of which the very proportions of relations between these layers dialectically change. Thus, in each and every civilization (culture), we must inscribe history into the unchanging synchronic model of identity, as well as situate space in the structure of civilizational time. On this matter, Martin Heidegger posed the followed fundamental question in his Ponderings (The Black Notebooks):

Не является ли пространство временем народа?

Ist das auch der Raum als die Zeit für ein «Volk»?

Is that also space as time for a “people”?

Пространство и время не нечто рядоположенное, что было бы «дано», но прорыв и начало бытия, которое должно быть отвоёвано.

Raum und Zeit nicht das Nebeneinander, das es so «gibt», sondern Ausbruch und Anbruch des Seins, das ersrtitten warden muss.

Space and time not the juxtaposed, which is simply “given,” but instead the opening and upsurge of being, which must be striven for. [2]

Heidegger’s use of the two words Ausbruch and Anbruch is important as a formula for expressing being in both space and time. Both are formed by the common root brechen, that is “to smash”, “to sever”, “to break through”, “to split.” Space corresponds to the Ausbruch of being (Sein or Seyn), and time is the Anbruch of being (Sein or Seyn). Ausbruch can be interpreted as an “invasion”, “breakthrough”, “acute unfolding”, or “upsurge.” Being unfolds as space (living space, the space of the people) and thereby “surges” into existence, making it present. Time begins the being of Anbruch, that is “opening”, “revelation”, “discovery.” Space and time therefore form a common, but differentiated horizon of ontology based on a fundamental trauma – that of the “breaking”, “splitting”, the “glaringness of the abyss”, of the “primordial differential.” The Romanian philosopher Lucian Blaga called this the “divine differential” that lies at the heart of the cosmogonic act [3]. It is on these grounds that Blaga based his analysis of cultural and epistemological forms which he interpreted through the analysis of spatial and temporal horizons.[4]

Time and space, that is to say the dynamism and stasis and of every culture, together compose the intertwined edges of a common semantic horizon which we conceptualize as a horizon only by force of the fact that we are examining it in light of the noological vertical of the Three Logoi. In and of itself, a “horizon” is not flat, but simultaneously contains several dimensions – both spatial and temporal.

Therefore, we can envision the structure of this horizontal topography which is of priority interest to us in this work as a spatial-temporal whole. If we evaluate it from the synchronic perspective, then it can be seen as qualitative space or “living space” (Lebensraum a la Friedrich Ratzel [5]), i.e., a field which harbors events and meanings (Raumsinn or “spatial meaning” [6]) The discipline of Geopolitics as it developed over the 19th and 20th centuries was founded on this principle, yet this view can also be detected – indeed, like virtually everything else – in ancient Hellenistic culture, especially in the Neoplatonists and above all in Proclus.

If we approach this horizon from a diachronic point of view, then we will have to deal with the phenomenon of “history” in the form of a chronological sequence strung out along a semantic axis. History here opens up as a semantic sequence. Heidegger called this understanding of history “onto-history”, Seynsgeschichte.[7] Proceeding from this Hedeiggerian methodology, a closely related concept was proposed by the French philosopher and historian of religions Henry Corbin, who coined the notion of l’historial, or “existential-semantic time”.[8] Insofar as here we are dealing with a semantic chain, the diachronic order of unfolding cannot be free from the structure predetermining it, which in a religious context is usually referred to as “Providence” or “Predestination.” In the historial, everything is determined by the structure, which dictates not so much events themselves as the uniqueness of their interpretation (and, further, their tripartite significance, if we evoke the Three Logoi). The present volume of Noomakhia is devoted to substantiating this methodology. In this study, the phenomenon of culture or civilization is put at the center of attention as the most precise expression of a horizon. The highest form of this refinement is what we call a “Logos of Civilization”, or “Horizontal Logos” (insofar as such represents a shaped and reflected expression of the horizon itself).

The plurality of Daseins

The boundaries and characteristic signposts of different cultural spaces or civilizations can be defined in terms of the most diverse criteria which ultimately yield different results. We should clarify that we do not draw a terminological distinction between “culture” and “civilization”, unless otherwise specifically stipulated, in the spirit of that proposed by Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) [9]. Insofar as there exist many definitions of culture and civilization and many authors who study such, we cannot rely on any established unambiguity in definitions, interpretations, and theoretical generalizations. Therefore, we shall explain right away just which rules we intend to be guided by in the composition of our geosophical map.

First of all, we naturally do not claim to present any complete and detailed description of the Logoi of all different cultures, which is even theoretically impossible. The examples which we have taken for examination are rather arbitrary and are evoked only to illustrate the general approach to the plurality of Logoi which we have developed over the course of Noomakhia. For this reason in some cultures and societies we have chosen only that which interests us as a priority and that which most explicitly resonates with the three Logoi that we have distinguished. We consider the very notion of a “cultural Logos” or “Logos of a given culture”, i.e., the Logos of a people, religion, society, or civilization, to be a projection of the three universal (vertical) Logoi onto a given horizon (whose complex nature we have hitherto emphasized). Thus, the Horizontal Logos (the Logos of Civilization) is unpacked into three vertical, noological vectors. In other words, every concrete culture is a most complex code consisting of three fundamental elements.

Secondly, between all the different criteria for “culture” and intellectual expression, we primarily aspire to emphasize and take into consideration the existential dimension. Such a conceptualization is founded on the theory of the plurality of Daseins which we have outlined in our other works, first and foremost those dealing with Martin Heidegger [10]. This means that we believe that the basic, phenomenological level of the “thinking presence” of man in the world differs in its deepest roots, and this difference is the foundation upon which the structures of culture, society, philosophy, politics, knowledge, science, and art are built. We consider the Dasein of each civilization, in its approach to death, to be unique, and it is this existential plurality that determines differences in secondary significations and configurations.

Dasein is the root structure of man’s presence in the world, the fundamental backdrop of his existence. Although Heidegger himself, as befits a true European, was ethnocentric and believed the fate of Western European civilization to be the fate of all of humanity and the European Logos to be the universal Logos, we can nevertheless attempt to isolate Heidegger’s deep insight into the essence of the existential roots of man, taken as “thinking presence” (Dasein), from such claims to universality. In such a case, we acquire the concept of the plurality of Daseins as several existential poles corresponding to the nomenclature of civilizations. Consequently, we have the following picture:

I. At the heart of every civilization lies a special “thinking presence”, Dasein.

II. This “thinking presence”, Dasein, determines the structure of a given civilization’s Logos, that is to say it lies at the basis of the metaphysics which can subsequently be built upon the root structure of the Dasein.

III. The “thinking presence” of Dasein is responsible for both the basic structure of the Logos that is a result of its unfolding as well as this Logos’ transformation over the course of the whole cycle of a civilization’s historical being. We can see this in Heidegger’s analysis of the onto-history, Seynsgeschichte, of Western civilization, as well as in Henry Corbin’s concept of the historial [11].

IV. The plurality of “thinking presences” can be postulated both outside of a concrete civilization (as an other Dasein), as well as, with certain nuances, within it. Accordingly, in Mediterranean civilization, Hellenic, Roman, as well as Egyptian, Semitic, Chaldean, and Anatolian poles were all present, as are Germanic, Celtic, Latin, and other poles present within European civilization. Each of these poles can be analyzed on the basis of its existentials.

V. From the point of view of Noomakhia, the Logos of a given civilization (even in the form of its own inter-civilizational versions) can be subjected to spectral analysis with the aim of identifying the proportions between the three fundamental types of noology – the Logos of Apollo, the Logos of Dionysus, and the Logos of Cybele – the proportions of which can, theoretically, differ in any possible manner within any given civilization.

VI. Hypothesis: The differences in the concrete spectral structure of the Logoi of civilizations must be rooted in the differences of their root foundations, the “thinking presence” of their Daseins.

VII. Thus, on the basis of an Heideggerianism that has been expanded in all directions, and on the basis of Hedeiggerianism’s experience of the “destruction” of Western European metaphysics and the Western European historial, we can develop a methodological foundation for building a plural anthropology and a geosophical map of civilizations, where the Logos of each civilization corresponds to a special Dasein.

On these grounds, we can correlate the model of Heidegger’s existential analysis of the history of the Western Logos with those of other philosophies and civilizations – not to accept such as universal, but with the aim of seeking those possible homologies or, on the contrary, differences which, by virtue of the developed state of studies on European civilization and the relatively underdeveloped state of other civilizational studies, might turn out to be extremely useful and substantive. We have already accomplished something of this sort in the book The Possibility of Russian Philosophy [12] where, in trying to apply the Dasein’s existentials to the Russian “thinking presence”, we developed an extremely substantive and impressive framework qualitatively differing from the one which Heidegger cited as the quality of the existentials of Dasein in Sein und Zeit [13].

martin_haydegger_vozmozhnost_russkoy_filosofii

Thus, it has been revealed in practice that, when speaking of Dasein, Heidegger was in fact dealing with the European, Indo-European, Hellenic, Apollonian, and Germanic Dasein. The Russian Dasein looks significantly different, and it is completely obvious that the Russian Logos, when we try to reconstruct its main features, should also look completely different, for such explains to us the differences between civilizations and, indeed, justifies those intuitions as to the uniqueness and originality of Russian civilization advanced by the Slavophiles, Danilevsky, the Eurasianists, Spengler, and many other authors. It is only obvious that such differences should also be found in the existential structure of the “thinking presences” of other civilizations as well. Accordingly, the Heideggerian methodology for studying Dasein, ingeniously applied by Heidegger himself to his own civilization, can, given appropriate corrections and generalizations, be successfully applied to others (as the first approximation of the Russian Dasein has shown [14]).

The observant reader who has attentively read the first book of Noomakhia, The Three Logoi, could remark at this point: If we have correlated the philosophical phenomenology upon which Heidegger based his views of Dasein with the Logos of Dionysus, then would it really be justified for us to take precisely this Logos – as one of the vectors of the common noological map, as the intellectual jurisdiction of only one of the three Empires of the Mind) – to be the main quality of a cultural unit? This objection is well founded, but we would like respond to it thusly: The Logos of Dionysus to which phenomenology indeed corresponds, is in a certain sense intermediary between the two other poles of Noomakhia; therefore, we can correlate this Logos with the “middle world”, that is the horizontal section located strictly between the Logos of Apollo and the Logos of Cybele, between Heaven and Hell. Thus, we very well can begin precisely with this Logos as the phenomenological fixation of civilization (cultural space). This does not mean that, upon defining (however roughly) the zone of a concrete Dasein, we must stop there. On the contrary, we are faced with discerning the very structure of the correlation between the Three Logoi projected upon a given area, their balances and proportions. In other words, proceeding from an existential analysis, we will try to reconstruct both the Uranic (the Apollonian, the celestial) and the Chthonic (the maternal, the subterranean) dimensions of the cultures under examination. Of course, in some cases we will have to deviate from this application, such as if the Apollonian element or Cybelean Logos clearly predominate and clearly define the morphology of the Dasein. One example of this is the strictly Apollonian Iranian logos [15] or, conversely, the titanic Logos of the Semites [16], in which the intermediary, Dionysian dimension is weak, secondary, or derivative.

Thirdly, we do not wish to pass any final judgements regarding the scale which we have employed. We know some civilizations, such as the European and Russian, much better for a number of quite understandable reasons, hence logically follows our more detailed description of their particular points, such as our discernment in the field of European civilization multiple versions of this Dasein and their pronouncements in particular dimensions of the Dasein of the cultures of North and South America. We know much less about Asian and African cultures and the cultural circle of Oceania, so in examining them we have restricted ourselves to rather approximate generalizations, a point which concerns our own cultural limitations and does not reflect any simplicity or schematics of the cultural worlds under examination. In all of their regions, Asia, Africa, and Oceania present an astonishing ethnic, cultural, intellectual, and existential originality and a most wealthy plurality not only of shades, but also of colors, figures, thoughts, and theories.

The ensuing compilation of this map of geosophy can be continued in this direction to any and all points of the Earth’s space inhabited by people – among technologically developed cultures as well as among the archipelagoes of archaic societies, ethnoi, and tribes whose wealth, diversity, and originality were discerned by the new anthropology of the “cultural school” of Franz Boas, the “social school” of Bronisław Malinowski , and the “structural school” of Claude Lévi-Strauss.[17] 

Ethnocentra and Ethnocentrism

The notion of a connection between thinking and geography can be found among different peoples in Antiquity. Various ethnoi explained the extraordinary qualities of (as a rule, their own) cultures in terms of special geographical conditions. This is the subject of what in the 20th century came to be defined as the field of “sacred geography” and, in its more pragmatic application, Geopolitics [18]. The Ancient Chinese, for instance, were convinced that their country lies in the center of the world, and it is precisely on these grounds that the Chinese called their state the Middle Empire or Middle Kingdom. In the view of the Ancient Jews, Israel, the “promised land” is also to be found at the center of the world, with its center in Jerusalem. It is telling that, according to Judaism, Jerusalem is home to the gates leading both down below the earth, to Sheol, to hell, as well as up to Heaven, are located. The Greeks also placed the region of their Mediterranean resettlement at the center of the Earth, and Proclus argued that the people of Attica were, unlike the populations of the hotter and colder countries, predisposed towards philosophy by virtue of the influence of this temperate climate. The Ancient Persians were convinced that the territory of Iran (Iranshahr) stood at the center of the Earth. The name of the city Babylon meant “Gate of God” and thereby implied a chosen point in space through which the gods enter and exit, i.e., the middle place between the sky and the underworld. In the Temple of Apollo in Delphi to this day rests the Omphalos, the sacred stone whose location was held to determine the center of the world. In the Christian era, the Byzantines believed the center of the ecumene to be Constantinople, the New Rome with its spiritual center in the Hagia Sophia. In the Scandinavian Eddas we find the term Midgard, or “Middle Earth.” We also find such views among the Ancient Slavs, the Irish (who saw Ireland as the island at the center of Earth), the Japanese, and so on. These perspectives are religious reflections of what we propose to represent as the projection of the vertical noetic topography onto the horizontal. Every culture (civilization) conceives itself as being the middle plane in the vertical model of the three worlds. But this vertical centrality is valid for all points on Earth and, as follows, for all ethnoi and cultural zones and, according to the logic of the ethnocentrum, is affirmed along the horizontal plane in contrast to other surrounding, differing cultures and peoples (hence the phenomenon of “ethnocentrism”). This is in line with the stable mythological practice of placing the dwelling place of a people in the center of the horizontal space of Earth, a theme which we invariably encounter in the views expressed by both great civilizations as well as small and archaic tribes.

If in the vertical sense this topography can be recognized as justified, with the nuance that different cultural spaces (in different periods), while existing on one “physical” plane, can find themselves under the preeminent influence of one or another Logos which renders their common vertical “centrality” more differentiated (some contemporary civilizations may be located closer to the subterranean zones of the Great Mother, while others closer to the celestial worlds of the Apollonian Logos), then in the horizontal sense this gives rise to the problem of situational relativity. The center is defined as a special space endowed with special and unique characteristics in comparison (contrast) with those of surrounding territories. Thus, the question of the plurality of horizontal centers raises the problem of “cultural relativity”, or the plurality of ethnocentra. Every culture proceeds from the fact that it itself is in the center of the intellectual universe. Consequently, every culture is built upon the presumption of its own uniqueness, universality, and “singularity.” Its Logos and the less obvious Dasein at its heart are taken as a point of reference and paradigm. This is how the ethnocentrum is formed. Man believes the Logos of the ethnocentrum to which he relates (which is almost always his own ethnocentrum or, in some cases, the ethnocentrum which he believes to be normative, e.g. the “Europe” of Russian “Westernizers” or the “Europe” of Asian “globalists”) to be “universal”, “obvious,” “self-evident”, and the “best.”

Here we arrive at the main methodological quality of geosophy. In order to correctly interpret the structures of a given civilization (culture), we must deliberately, consciously refrain from projecting our own ethnocentric views. Here we should turn to the phenomenology of philosophy, deconstruction, and apperception to bracket our own “ethnocentrism” which leads us to believe that the methods and criteria for evaluating our own civilization are a universal scale for interpreting all other cultures. In contrast to the semantic structure of the ethnocentrum which structures space, and departing from its exceptionalism and implicit superiority, we must consciously allow for the plurality and qualitative equality of ethnocentra, we must recognize every ethnocentrum to have the right to its own cultural topography, and we must share this topography to the extent that we wish to conceptualize the roots of its existential structure.

One advocate of the phenomenological method in the history of religions, Henry Corbin, who devoted many years to the study of Shiism and its philosophy, in some of his texts arrived at a complete identification with the society he studied, even using the phrase “We, Shiites.” While himself a Protestant Christian by confession and a phenomenologist in the field of the comparative study of religions, Corbin recognized that studying another religion is fully possible only if one abstracts himself over the course of study from his own established dogmatic and confessional positions – otherwise, we will be left with a variety of apologetics and insistences on the universality of our ethnocentrum. However, this need not entail an irreversible change of confession and cultural code. Corbin himself remained a Christian even though in his studies of Shiism he adopted the positions of another ethnocentrum for the sake of fuller understanding, and as a result of which his works were rendered more weighty, authoritative, and foundational. The point is not to leave the zone of one ethnocentrum only to enter another, but to accomplish the process of transparent philosophical apperception, to conceptualize one’s “natural”, “historical” position as ethnocentric and, without departing from one’s loyalty to such, to recognize that other studied cultures are just as ethnocentric and just as well claim “universality”, “exclusivism”, and “obviousness” as our own.

We cannot abolish the ethnocentrum, for in such a case we would be left without any philosophical territory, without any place for situating ourselves and our study; we would be left outside of the phenomenon we are examining. The only solution is to consciously accept the plurality of ethnocentra as founded on the plurality of Daseins, to accept that each and every one is built on the implicit recognition of its own (and not someone else’s or any outsider’s) centrality and exclusivity. In order to break through to cultural codes, we must recognize their existential rules. If not, we will remain within the confines of our own ethnocentrum and will not be able to travel beyond it. Even if we decide to act strictly impartially, still the Dasein embedded deep inside us will make itself known, albeit indirectly. And if we attempt to uproot it without accepting a new one, then we will simply disappear as a “thinking presence.” All that remains is to enter ethnocentra by accepting their structures, while also preserving consciousness of the fact that we are dealing not with anything “universal”, but with “relative universality” – not with a universum, but a pluriversum, in which any “exclusivity” and “self-evidence” are in essence no more than established protocol necessitated for the sake of free intellectual movement throughout a given cultural zone.

***

Footnotes: 

[1] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia: Wars of the Mind – The Three Logoi: Apollo, Dionysus, and Cybele (Moscow: Academic Project, 2014)

[2] Martin Heidegger, Überlegungen II-VI (Schwarze Hefte 1931-1938) (Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 2014), p. 18. English translation from Martin Heidegger, Ponderings II-VI (Black Notebooks 1931-1938), translated by Richard Rojcewicz, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016), p. 14.

[3] Lucian Blaga, Les differentielles divines (Paris: Librairie du savoir, 1990).

[4] Lucian Blaga, Trilogie de la culture (Paris: Librairie du savoir, 1995); Ibidem, Trilogie de la connaissance (Paris: Libraire du savoir, 1992).

[5] Friedrich Ratzel, Anthropogeographie, Bd. 1-2 (Stuttgart: J. Engelhorn, 1882-1891).

[6] Friedrich Ratzel, Politische Geographie (Munich/Leipzig: R. Oldenbourg, 1897).

[7] Martin Heidegger, Geschichte des Seyns (Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 2012).

[8] Corbin employed the archaic French term historial in 1938 in his French translation of the fifth chapter of Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit to convey the difference between the German words historische (in French historique) and geschichtliche (historial). The first – historische or das Historische – denotes the totality of historical facts and their correlations, while the second – geschichtliche or das Geschichtliche (l’historial being the French substantive) bears the meanings of existence, fate, and predestination.

[9] Oswald Spengler, Zakat Evropy. Obraz i deistvitel’nost’ (Moscow: Nauka, 1993).

[10] Alexander Dugin, Martin HeideggerVozmozhnost’ russkoi filosofii [“The Possibility of Russian Philosophy”] (Moscow: Academic Project, 2012).

[11] Alexander Dugin, Martin Heidegger: The Philosophy of Another Beginning (Moscow: Academic Project, 2010)/ (Arlington: Radix/Washington Summit Publishers, 2014).

[12] See footnote 10.

[13] Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit (Tubingen: Max Niemeyer, 1972).

[14] See footnote 10.

[15] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Iranian Logos: The War of Light and the Culture of Awaiting (Moscow: Academic project, 2016).

[16] Alexander Dugin, Noomakhia – The Semites: The Monotheism of the Moon and the Gestalt of Baal (Moscow: Academic Project, 2016).

[17] Alexander Dugin, Etnosotsiologiia [“Ethnosociology”] (Moscow: Academic Project, 2011). Partially in English: Ethnos and Society (translated by Michael Millerman, London: Arktos, 2018). 

[18] Alexander Dugin, Geopolitika (Moscow: Academic Project, 2011).

 

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NOOMAKHIA: Wars of the Mind

“Traditionalism as a Theory: Sophia, Plato and the Event” – Alexander Dugin (2013)

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Chapter 8 of In Search of the Dark Logos: Philosophico-Theological Outlines

(Moscow: Academic Project/Department of the Sociology of International Relations, Faculty of Sociology, Moscow State University, 2013).

***

 

Mark Sedgwick and his hypothesis on Sophia Perennis

In his book, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century [1], the contemporary scholar and historian of Traditionalism, Mark Sedgwick, based on research into the philosophical sources of the worldview of the founder of Traditionalism, René Guénon, advanced the hypothesis that the Traditionalist movement, in its assertion of Sophia Perennis (Philosophia Perennis) and the “Primordial Tradition” as its foundational theory, is based not on some “mythical”, exotic, “Eastern” sources, but on none other than the Western philosophical tradition, whose roots can be traced back to the Renaissance Platonism of Gemistus Plethon, Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Agostino Steuco, etc. The current which took shape in this circle elevated the figure of Sophia and the corresponding notion of “Primordial Theology” (as in Steuco’s Prisca theologia), and the content of this “primordial theology” boiled down to Platonism, Neoplatonism, and Hermeticism, which were rediscovered in Western Europe thanks to translations from Greek of a broad spectrum of these currents, whose texts were brought by the Greek Gemistus Plethon from Byzantium in the final period before its final fall. Although Sedgwick’s thesis has seemed to many Traditionalists to be “disrobing”, overall this analysis of the intellectual circles of the Renaissance Neoplatonists and their ideas demonstrates a considerable convergence with Guénon’s views and those of his followers. 

In turn, the works of the English Dame Frances Yates dedicated to these very same intellectual currents of the European Renaissance and Modernity [2] have shown just how enormous of an influence Platonism exerted on the formation of the philosophical, scientific, and political views of this transitional epoch. Both Sedgwick and Yates show how a significant number of the founding fathers of the modern scientific view of the world were in fact largely inspired by mystical-religious ideas and Neoplatonic theories, even though only one side of their works – that tied to empiricism, rationalism, mechanism, etc. – would make it into the scientific canons of Modernity, while the mysticism and “Perennialism” of the Renaissance would be left “behind the scenes” or alternatively interpreted in naturalistic, pantheistic, or deist directions. A prominent example of this is Issac Newton, who was both an alchemist and a Kabbalist on the one hand and, on the other, the founding father of mechanistic physics and rationalist, empiricist natural science. The historian of religions Mircea Eliade, who in his youth participated in the Traditionalist movement, developed this perspective with the proposal that we view the rational-scientific and progressist topography of the philosophy of Modernity as a product of the secularization of European Hermeticism. 

These considerations led Sedgwick to reconsider the influence of Traditionalism on philosophy, science, and to a certain extent politics in the 20th century. This movement, lying at the heart of Modernity and appearing in new form as the philosophy developed by René Guénon, Julius Evola, and a broad circle of thinkers on which the former had decisive impact, was much more significant and important than can be judged on the basis of mere superficial familiarity with the subject. At the same time, they appear to be somewhat more modest and even, to a certain extent, marginal. At the source of Modernity lies Platonic universalism, which became the ideological grounds for proclaiming the universalism of the rational philosophy of post-Medieval Europe. Gradually, the bulk of attention came to be drawn towards the technological side of this movement, towards pure empiricism and rationalism, while the metaphysical dimension was neglected and written off as one of the costs and remnants of “Medieval irrationalism.” However, following this scheme, it turns out that with the exhaustion of the technocratic, rationalist philosophy, Baconist scientism, and Cartesian dualism of the epoch of Modernity, this second side, which had long since receded to the periphery, began to make itself known again. Guénon’s Traditionalism became its developed manifesto. Hence the growth of Traditionalism’s significance in correlation with the ever broader and deeper consciousness of the “crisis of the modern world.” Thus, in the transition to Post-Modernity, Modernity has once again remembered its “occult roots.” The Enlightenment, now called into question, has turned towards its “Rosicrucian” beginning. 

This hypothesis of Sedgwick and Yates, shared by a number of other authors, is productive. In the very least, it raises the status of Traditionalism to that of one of the most important philosophical currents to emerge in the critical moment of the exhaustion of the agenda of the classical scientific rationality of Modernity and with the formation of the first Post-Modern theories subjecting Modernity to deconstruction. If we recognize that at the very heart of Modernity, which claimed rationalism and the theory of progress to be the foundations of its universalism, there lies a set of irrational views that appeal to deep antiquity for substantiation, i.e., the Platonic-mystical and Hermetic universalism of the Perennialist and Sophiological shade, then Modernity itself appears under a completely different light, and Post-Modern critics thereby acquire yet another argument, namely, that Modernity was not at all what it claimed to be, but was merely a poorly disguised, masked version of the traditional society which Modernity sought to overcome, annul, and dismantle. 

On the other hand, Traditionalism itself thereby appears to be a phenomenon that is critical of, but nonetheless related to Modernity. It is not simply the “continuation of Tradition” by inertia, but an altogether specific and original critical philosophy which refutes Modernity and subjects the latter to merciless critique on the basis of a special, complex set of ideas and theories which, taken together in their sum, constitute a “Perennialism” or “universal esotericism” which, it ought to be noted, does not coincide with any one single really existing historical tradition. Thus, we are only one step away from recognizing Traditionalism to be a “construct.” The revolutionary, critical, and modern potential of Guénon’s philosophy was rightfully noticed by the Traditionalist René Alleau, who proposed to consider Guénon alongside Marx as one among the constellation of radical revolutionaries and critics of modern civilization.[3] 

From Prisca theologia to René Guénon

A number of various, altogether interesting conclusions can be extracted from Sedgwick’s analysis.[4] Here we will fixate on merely one point, that of the conceptual unity of 20th century Traditionalism (Guénon, Evola, etc.) and Renaissance Platonism (Plethon, Ficino, Steuco, etc.). Both of these philosophical currents can be generalized with the notion of “Perennialism.”

If we can historically trace Guénon’s philosophical inspirations back to the Renaissance, which Guénon himself harshly criticized for misunderstanding the sacred civilization of the Middle Ages, and if we can find there the first formulations of Sophia Perennis or the Prisca theologia which compose the foundation of Traditionalist philosophy, then in it becomes completely obvious that these currents came to Western Europe in the Renaissance from the much deeper past and, to a certain extent, from a different cultural context (more specifically, the Byzantine-Greek). Of course, Platonism was well known in Medieval European Scholasticism, but it had long since yielded to Averroism and Aristotelianism enshrined virtually dogmatically in the realism of Thomas Aquinas. Hermeticism had existed in the form of alchemical currents and esoteric fraternities, but in the Renaissance these tendencies surfaced in rather vivid and magistral form, such as in the forms of open Neoplatonism and philosophically-formulated Hermeticism (with numerous direct or indirect polytheistic elements), which claimed to be not merely a secret tradition parallel to the dominant Scholasticism, but a foundational, universal worldview. Renaissance Platonism and Hermeticism directly opposed Catholic Tomism and formulated the agenda of Renaissance Humanism. This humanism was magical and sacred: man was understood to be the “perfect man”, the Platonic philosopher, the Angel-Initiator. 

The Renaissance Platonists appealed directly to the works of Plato, Plotinus, Hermes Trismegistus, and the broader corpus of Neoplatonic and Hermetic theories, many of which were freshly translated from Greek. Platonic humanism was reformed into a conceptual, theoretical bloc and began its offensive against previous philosophical and theological constructs. The Neoplatonists justified their claims to truth by emphasizing the antiquity of their sources and by claiming to propose a philosophical paradigm which could generalize different religious confessions, and as such was more universal and more profound than the Catholic religion of Europe. This synthesis came to include, in the very least, Byzantine Orthodoxy, but the reform program of Gemistus Plethon was even broader, proposing a restoration of “Platonic theology” as a whole and a return to certain aspects of polytheism. Platonism, like Hermeticism, was seen not simply as one philosophical or religious tendency among many others, but as “universal wisdom” capable of serving as a key to the most diverse philosophies and religions, as a common denominator. This idea of a meta-religious generalization became the most important notion of the Rosicrucian movement and, later, European Masonry (as shown by Yates). 

This universalism was substantiated by references to “Perennialism”, to the existence of some kind of exclusive instance in which all of world wisdom, independently of historical peripeteia, is present and preserved in its “paradisal”, primordial state. This “perennial wisdom”, Sophia, was the point of departure that allowed one to examine specific religions and philosophies as individual and historically conditioned constructs, thus laying claims to a universality transcending any and all individualities. This Sophia was knowable and, as follows, he who participated in her, loved her, and identified with her received access to “absolute knowledge.” Renaissance Humanism was therefore Sophiological. Sophia was treated as the Angel of humanity, the latter’s living and eternally present, eternally youthful archetype or eidos. 

It is by all means possible that European Modernity’s claims to the universalism of its values are to be sought in precisely this source. As Catholic ecumenism was abandoned, the cultural messianism of the West demanded new substantiation, and such was found in “Perennialism”: the new Europe, post-Medieval Europe, conceived itself to be the privileged region of the revealed, eternal Sophia, and on these grounds the Europeans of Modernity acquired their mandate to newly master and conquer the world, seeing themselves as not merely raptorial colonizers, but as the bearers of higher universal knowledge. This explains the special incandescence of the era of geographical discoveries and (Francis Bacon’s) call to discover Atlantis not only in the new colonies, but in the Old World itself. Thus, Renaissance Platonism and its corresponding Perennialism ought to be considered a most important factor in the formation of the structure of Modernity as a whole. The profane universalism of progressist and rationalist Europe has its roots in the sacred super-rationalism of the Renaissance Platonists oriented towards eternity and deep antiquity. 

The construct of Sophia 

The “constructivist” character of Renaissance Neoplatonism is obvious to us. We can easily trace how and on what sources it was constructed. The Hermetic Poimandres and Asclepius attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, as well as the cosmological and anthropological dialogues of Plato (the Timaeus, the Republic, the Laws, the Symposium, etc.) were taken to be universal and interpreted in the spirit of the Neoplatonic systematizations of Plotinus and his followers. Neoplatonism situated Sophia as its main content, its systematized philosophical hologram. And it is through this prism that other religions and philosophical systems were interpreted as individual cases of a generalized perennial(ist) paradigm. René Guénon acted in approximately the same manner as he employed a system of definite metaphysical, cosmological, and anthropological views to examine various traditions, religions, and the modern world itself as a denial of these views and, in its final phase (the opening of the egg from below) a parody of them. Not a single religion, theology, or philosophical system contains the paradigmatic matrix with which Guénon operated. But it is with the aid of this matrix, taken from somewhere else, that historical religions, theologies, and philosophers were altogether successfully treated and interpreted by him. Guénon based himself on the “Primordial Tradition”, sanātana dharma, or Sophia Perennis, and he drew his knowledge directly thither. The Renaissance Platonists acted in precisely the same way. 

With Sophia, both the Renaissance Platonists and Guénon in the 20th century deconstructed everything else. The very algorithm of their deconstructions was, in turn, represented by a construct: the construct of Sophia.

The “Dark Logos” of Neoplatonism

The artificial character of Renaissance Perennialism is rather transparent. But here the question should be posed: how does this Renaissance Platonism, which lies at the origins of 20th century Traditionalism, relate to the Platonism on which it was constructed? In other words, was this constructivist nature a quality of the Renaissance anticipating Modernity, or did the very material upon which Renaissance Sophiology was constructed lend any definite grounds to this approach and display any convergent qualities?

With regards to Neoplatonism (from Plotinus and Porphyry through Iamblichus to Proclus and Damascius), this is nearly obvious: Neoplatonism presented a construct developed on the basis of the main ideas of Plato, but in synthesis with other Hellenistic and Middle Eastern philosophical, religious, and mystical systems. This Neoplatonism was distinguished by its extraordinary inclusivity: it selectively incorporated Platonic re-interpretations of Aristotle (and accordingly, a re-thinking of the Stoa), Orphism, Pythagoreanism, Egyptian Hermetism, cults from Syria and Asia Minor (theurgy, the Chaldean Oracles), and Iranian dualist doctrines and Chaldean astrology. On the basis of Plato’s Parmenides and his main hypotheses, Proclus constructed an elaborate “Platonic theology” which was carried on and substantially re-interpreted by Damascius. The latter’s commentaries on the Timaeus thoroughly and in great detail described a synthetic cosmology built on the principle of noocentrism. 

The system that the late Neoplatonists of the Hellenistic era built with their open metaphysics and apophatic, dialectical Logos can, without a doubt, be fully considered to be an earlier version of the “Perennialism” which we encounter in the Renaissance. In Proclus’ works, particularly his exegeses, we can see the skeleton of all the later derivations of Neoplatonism, both religious and philosophical. His theories and methods can unmistakably be sensed in the Areopagites and, further, in the whole tradition of “mystical theology” which became so widespread in the West (from Scotus Eriugena to Meister Eckhart, Henry Suso, and Jakob Böhme) as well as in the East. We can find the dialectic of the uncreated One developed by Proclus in the works of the Islamic thinkers of Al-Falasifa, in Ibn Arabi and the Ishraq school, whereby it defined the dramatic picture of Ishmailite theology and eschatology. Moreover, the classical method of Kabbalistic interpretations of the Zohar and early Kabbalah fully reproduced Proclus’ fixation on certain words and phrases (and their numerological equivalents) in Plato’s dialogues which at other times seemed only secondary. Henry Corbin rightly noted that the Parmenides was for Proclus the Theogony, on the basis of which he would later develop his Platonic Theology. Plato’s Parmenides was a kind of Bible or Sacred Scripture for negative, Neoplatonic, apophatic theology.[5] Every word of Plato’s was subjected to detailed and comprehensive hermeneutics. The idea that Plato was the “sail” of the Divine became a Neoplatonic dogma in its own right.

Neoplatonism conceived itself to be a universal tradition on the basis of which one could interpret all existing religions and philosophical systems. It was the religion of the Logos, a noocentric cosmology and apophatic metaphysics claiming the ability to interpret any and all forms of polytheism, symbolism, and theurgic rites. Following the Greek Neoplatonists, this idea penetrated other religious environments as well, such as in the works of al-Farabi and Ibin Sina, the Sufis, the philosophers of the Ishraq school, the initiatic verses of Rumi and the diaries of Ruzbehan Baqli, to the synthetic doctrines of Haydar Amoli or Mulla Sadra. Something analogous can also be encountered in Kabbalah, as well as in Christian mysticism (with some reservations). Everywhere we look, we encounter the idea of Sophia Perennis and spiritual universalism, reproducing in one form or another the noocentric, and at times paradoxical and dialectical, “Dark Logos” of the Neoplatonists. This Logos is “dark” because it postulates the pre-existential nature of the Principial (the One), the vertical of the Logos is opened upwards, and because it constantly and repeatedly upturns the strict laws of Aristotelian reason with its foundational principles of triumph, denial, excluding the third. Instead of logical clarity, we are dealing here with a paradox, an aporia, or a super-rational ambiguity (amphibole) which is evasive, demanding of the high art of dialectics, and which leads the “philosopher” (whether the Sufi, the adept, or the initiate) through the dizzying chain of insights and initiations, upon each new link of which consciousness collapses and is recreated anew. 

Having established this state of affairs, we can easily extend the history of Renaissance Platonism and its Perennialist construct of Sophia even further back than a millennium. Gemistus Plethon and his Neoplatonic reform in Mystras on the eve of the fall of the Byzantine Empire can be seen as a link in the direct transmission of this tradition from the last Diadochi of the Athenian Academy expelled by Justinian, to Michael Psellos, to the unsuccessful Neoplatonist deemed heretic John Italus, and to the Florentine circle established by Marsilio Ficino around Prince Cosimo Medici. In addition to the Greek branch, we can also consider the “Islamic trace”, where the Dark Logos of apophatic “Platonic theology” became the common denominator of a wide range of different currents representing the heights of Muslim philosophy, theology, and culture. Another route ran through Jewish Kabbalah, which was structured according to the very same algorithm. Finally, in the Latin world, we can see the numerous streams of Hermeticism, alchemy, mysticism, as well as all Gnostic sects and millenarian currents (in the spirit of the doctrine of the Three Kingdoms of the Calabrian Joachim de Flore) which flowed into the revolutionary ocean of the Reanissance. Still further from the Renaissance, following Sedgwick and Yates and numerous other authors studying modern mystical and occult orders, lodges, and sects, we can trace the line of the dark Logos through even more reliable and well-researched material, from Giordano Bruno to the Rosicrucians, Masons, mystics, and the representatives of “occultism” among whom Guénon discovered it and laid it at the heart of his completely original and extremely influential Traditionalist philosophy. 

Thus, tracing the genesis of this construct of Sophia leads us to the history of the Logos  as it has unfolded in the periphery of Western European culture and, as Corbin has shown, in the center of the Islamic spiritual tradition (where the “Dark Logos” was not exclusive and one, but was adjacent to and sometimes sharply rivaled rationalist kalam, Asharite atomism, Fiqr, and Salafist purism). The difficult reception of Kabbalah in the Jewish world and its nearly full and final acceptance as a flawless orthodoxy make up yet another page in this history. Jewish Kabbalah fell into the sphere of interests of the Renaissance Neoplatonists, and in the works of Pico della Mirandola and Reuchlin (and later of Knorr von Rosenroth) we can detect the outlines of a project to establish a “Christian Kabbalah.” Further, once again through Masonry and Hermeticism, Kabbalah reached Fabre d’Olivet, Eliphas Lévi, Papus, Saint-Yves d’Alveydre, and Guénon himself. In Guénon and in his “revolutionary” Perennialism, all of these numerous streams come together to compose the most modern, capacious, and systematized worldview. 

Theory as Homeland

Now we are left with posing a final question, namely: To what extent did the Neoplatonists of the first centuries of our era create something completely unique and original out of the texts, ideas, and traditions associated with the name of Plato, and to what extent can we find something similar in the works of Plato himself? Here the works of the great scholar of Plato, Neoplatonism, and Hermeticism, the French curé André-Jean Festiègere, come to our aid.[6] Festiègere draws our attention to the meaning imbued in the notion of “Theory” (θεορία) in Plato’s era and in his own philosophy. Originally, this notion meant an “inspection”, “survey”, “contemplation”, “meditation”, or “observation.” In Ancient Greece, in philosophical milieus, it bore two subtle terminological nuances: 

  1. A “theory” was a survey of the cultures and societies of different peoples, among whom the philosopher should travel and dwell as part of his preparation for a new life (hence why we constantly read of the travels of philosophers to other countries: “traveling” is a purely philosophical occupation). 
  2. By analogy with the survey of different nations, societies, and their religious and ritual systems, a “theory” was a survey of different systems and ideological connections leading to a higher principle.

This connection between traveling and theoretical contemplation is extremely important. Theory is the contemplation of that which is different, taken to culminate in a common, universal model. Plato’s doctrine of ideas itself is directly associated with contemplation. The contemplation of ideas is active “theorizing”, or the distinguishing of common and unchanging paradigms as well as constantly changing phenomena. Just as the Hellenic philosophical traveler studies the religions and customs of different Mediterranean societies, seeks correspondences with the Greek religion and Greek traditions, establishes analogies and, when necessary, replenishes his own religious views and his language, so does the Hellenic philosopher contemplate ideas, the universals of the infinite order of things and phenomena. There are many societies, religions, and cults, and the contemplative traveler strives to deduce from his survey that which is common, that which he has already identified in the places he has been and in the new, still unknown countries and lands in which he finds himself. The case is strictly the same with immersion into the world of ideas and in the process of comparing them with the world of phenomena. Contemplation and theory are the construction of the common, the culmination of a model. 

In Plato, this acquires a distinct and salient character. Theory as construction is simultaneously illumination, enlightenment, and absorbing the rays of the Good. Ideas are indifferent to things, but they are not indifferent to those who strive to theorize, whom they passionately rush to meet, in excelsis. The field of theory thus transforms into the space of epiphany, where ideas are not only reflected, but acquire a specific being and are embodied in the theoretical existence of the philosopher. By traveling to temples and shrines to various gods and by being present at different rituals, the theoretician (the one who contemplates) prepares to meet with the real God for whom all the different gods of different cults serve as masks, names, and messengers (angels). In different rites and sacred ceremonies, the philosopher rushes to the main philosophical rite, the rite of rites, where the main realization to be accomplished is the discerned merger of the noetic cosmos with the aesthetic cosmos, the “fulfillment of all fulfillments”, the magical meeting of God with the raging sea of multiplicity. Later, this ritual of all rituals would be conceptualized by the Neoplatonists as theurgy. 

Plato’s Theory is therefore not simply a preparation for something – for political activism or sacred rites – but is a higher form of reality, the ultimate expression of concentrated praxis. Contemplation is thus the work of the gods, and is their blissful rest and the source of higher pleasure. Theory is the place where being, dispersed into multitude and elusive in difference, is tied together into the knot of intense concentration, finding in itself elastic unity and bright clarity. The contemplative philosopher stands above the priest and the king, for he rises to the zone of pure divinity, un-diluted by any additional functional burdens and completely free from multiplicity, both temporal (the change of moments) and spatial (the change of places). The culmination of this journey is the return to the philosophical Homeland, where there is no more time or relative forms. Theory is the Homeland. None other than nostalgia for it pushes the philosopher to travel through both countries and the networks of light-like ideas in search of the point of Sophia, whom the philosopher loves with all his being. 

This understanding of Theory illustrates how Plato’s philosophy was that very synthetic universalism which generalizes different philosophical systems and knowledge just as the traveler generalizes the experience of the societies he witnesses. Plato’s works therefore present not one point of view to one or another question, but always several; they become material for contemplation and, like steps, they lead to a higher synthesis. At the peak of this synthesis, ideas begin to live beyond the discursive Platonic text and reveal themselves directly to those who have followed Plato and the personages of his dialogues to the very end, where the stairs leading to the sky end. There dialogue ends, but theory does not. Now the philosopher must take one more step, this time without Plato and texts – this is the step of thought, the step of illumination, the step of contemplation. The step into the sky. Only there does real Platonism – the “secret doctrine” – begin. It has not been transmitted to anyone; it can only be discovered independently, through the sacred experience of theory.

Open Philosophy 

As the formulator of theory, as the guide to the geography of ideas, Plato created a consciously open philosophy, in which the main point is not uttered, but must be sought and experienced independently. Hence the term “philo-soph”, or “lover of Sophia”, of Wisdom. If the question at hand was simply who bears this Wisdom, we would be dealing with a closed system, that is, something individual. Wisdom cannot be learned, it is not a given. One can only break through to it upon enormous labor and at the cost of incredible efforts. Philosophy is the realm where minds and hearts gather together in passionately thirsting for Wisdom, whey they are fallen in love with Sophia and are excited contenders for her hand. No one has any guarantees. There is only Love. Led by Her, they embark on their journey, towards contemplation, towards theory. They settle in the vicinity of Sophia and inch ever closer to her. They seek the universal, and thereby themselves become more and more generalized, eidetic, and less and less individual. Philosophers construct themselves in the vicinity of Wisdom. Purifying themselves in Her rays, they reveal evermore distinct contours. 

In the case of Plato, this means that we are dealing with the Logos as such, for the Logos is in its nearly original form, is still undefined, and is open to being opened or closed, understood in one way or another, or conceived and outlined in one or another vector. In Plato, philosophy is the sharp impulse of nearing Sophia Perennis, the leap into the ocean of eternal light, it is contemplative and divine praxis. In this sense, philosophy is higher than religion and myth, insofar as religions and myths are but testimonies to the main actor – Saint Sophia. Therefore, Plato himself can be called a “Perennialist” and, correspondingly, a Traditionalist. It does not matter whether Plato adhered to Greek civil piety and offered sacrifices to the gods and heroes of his polis. Such was part of a much more important and significant philosophical cult: the cult of Sophia, the cult of the pure Logos. 

Plato as an Event

Let us pose the final question. Did “Perennialism”, Traditionalism, universalism, and the philosophical cult of Sophia all begin with Plato’s Theory? With his doctrine of ideas? With his Timaean cosmology? 

For Guénon and Traditionalists, such a personification would be a scandal. But upon fully recognizing Plato’s direct connection to the “Primordial Tradition”, Traditionalists would undoubtedly begin to see Plato as a link in the golden chain of initiates which stretches back to the dawn of creation, to the earthly paradise, and which has become increasingly difficult to access, closed, and exclusive in our time, the Kali Yuga, the “end times”, the era of the “great parody.” Traditionalists understand “perennialism” literally and even somewhat naively. Such can by all means be seen as a symmetrical response to the just as literal and even more naive historicism which predominates in Modernity. Yet in the vicinity of eternity, “before” and “after”, “now” and “then” are not so important. Indeed, they have no meaning. What is important is what. Plato, like Zarathustra in Iran, might have been both an historical figure and a sacred personage, like al-Khidr or the Angel-Initiator. Perhaps there are multiple Platos. And this means that Plato’s spirit can be called upon (as Plotinus did in the temple of Isis); he can be appealed to. His return can be awaited, for there is no irreversibility in eternity. In eternity, everything is reversible – everything has even already been reversed. In the most rationalized form, one could accept that Plato merely transmitted knowledge that he had acquired along the chain of initiation, and in this sense was their ordinary re-translator who became world famous only by virtue of the importance of the truths he voiced, as a kind of philosophical prophet. 

Yet Plato can be approached in other ways as well, for example, as an Event in the spirit of the Heideggerian Ereignis. This would distance us from both the “Perennialists” and the “historicists.” Plato happened and philosophy happened. Sophia was designated and the philosophical geography was marked. If this was supposed to have happened, then it would have happened no matter what – whether by way of Plato or someone else, should we be reproached on this matter. But perhaps it would be better to think differently: if Plato did not exist, there would be nothing else. In particular, there would be no notes in the margins of his texts. There would be no philosophy. If Plato was in fact divine, then he cannot be subordinated to any mechanical necessity. Nothing can oblige him to be. Further, if he had not risked everything to become Plato, his philosophy would have been negligible. Thus, Sophia might not have been. Or in other words: instead of Sophia, instead of the secret bride of the order of lovers, something else could have been revealed to Plato.

Plato’s exceptionality (although perhaps this is just as wrong and does not correspond to the truth) is more existentially attractive and productive than his link in the chain, even if it is the golden one. Plato’s divinity lies in that he was human.

Modern Traditionalism is, of course, more adequate than profane academic philosophy and is more prosperous than Post-Modernity. But all the signs of Traditionalism’s transformation into a convention, a routine, into a “scholasticism”, of its conscious quenching of any living movement of the soul or heart, are glaring. Here it is discovered that “Perennialism” is a construct and always was such from the very beginning. The appeal of a Traditionalist towards really existing tradition decides nothing, just as Plato’s reverence for his paternal gods did not exhaust his philosophy. 

Traditionalism is something other than tradition. It is a breakthrough to that which is the tradition of traditions, the secret grain, the theory. But being a theory, a construct, it needs to be continuously recreated. A construct is not so bad if the matter at hand is something rooted in the light nature of man himself. By creating, man creates himself. Therefore, Traditionalism must either happen or disappear. Its claims are too enormous and its bar has been set too high by Guénon and the Sophiologists on whom he constructed his doctrine. “Perennialism” means that Sophia is Perennis: she is here and now. But how can we relate the fact of the Kali Yuga, our God-forsaken “now” and the dustbin of the modern Western-centric global world, our vile, desolate “here”, with the rays of the Angel-Initiator, the light of Great Love, and the nature of man as a winged divine being? The Gnostics offered a dualist answer which often seems to be the only one acceptable and applicable to us. But is this not simply a recognition of our own weakness, of our own personal inability to transform the “Cover” into the “Mirror”, Absence into Presence, apophany into epiphany, and occultation into revelation? Is this not the signature on the warrant for the death of the Logos, the insuperability of Western nihilism, or the recognition of the closed, self-referential world to be the only possible and real? 

Traditionalists frequently speak of the “great parody” that is the modern world. This is true, but are they themselves not a parody? After all, not only Guénon, but the Neoplatonists, and Plato himself can all be parodied. 

The discrepancies between Traditionalism and Heidegger did not hinder Henry Corbin from engaging Neoplatonism in Islam with love and delicate refinement over the course of his life. Such is the behavior of a living person who responds to Sophia’s whisper no matter where it resounds.

Today this whisper is more silent than ever. But it cannot be so quiet as to be indistinguishable at all. We must learn to listen to silence, for silence sometimes conveys extremely meaningful things. 

 

Footnotes:

[1] Mark Sedgwick, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

[2] Frances Yates, The Art of Memory (Saint Petersburg: 1997); Ibidem., The Rosicrucian Enlightenment (Moscow: Aleteia, Enigma, 1999); Ibidem., Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2000). 

[3] Réné Alleau, De Marx à Guénon: d’une critique ‘radicale’ à une critique ‘principielle’ des societés modernes (Paris, Les dossiers H., 1984).

[4] Some aspects of this question have already been treated in Alexander Dugin, Postfilosofiia (Moscow: Eurasian Movement, 2009).

[5] Henry Corbin, Le paradoxe du monothéisme (Paris, 1981).

[6] André-Jean Festugière, Contemplation et vie contemplative selon Platon (Saint Petersburg: Nauka, 2009).