Author: Andras Laszlo
The terms Tradition and Traditionality convey an ancient, primordial spiritual knowledge about the Origin, the Beginning and the Non-beginning since the very beginning of the manifest existence of the world; Tradition sustains this timeless knowledge in time as a permanent, incorruptible spirituality. When we use the terms Tradition and Traditionality, this is what we mean and not what is typically meant by them in a conventional sense.
The other term we need to address is the present age in a broader sense and its relation to traditionality; here I need to refer to certain doctrines that deal with cycles and cyclicity. As we know, Hesoid speaks about Golden Age, Silver Age, a third one that’s called Bronze Age or sometimes Ore or Copper age and finally about Iron age that some authors, like Scaligero, call Lead Age.
This corresponds with a process of involution. When we treat certain doctrines, we often emphasize that in the manifest world we mostly don’t encounter evolution but, in many respects, a process of decline; actual superiority doesn’t correspond with a world defined by technocratism. Superiority means that we are, or rather that I am closer to my Origin, to my Beginning, to my Non-beginning, to the Spirit and to God and ultimately to Myself. In this sense we’re dealing with primordial factors (to use this word again) and these refer to essentially more superior levels of existence which, in terms of epochs, often point to antiquity, even to archaic times.
In order to truly grasp this, we must posit the possibility of involution and regression – an admittedly unconventional position today; in other words, we must allow the possibility that, in the process of its unfolding, the world in many respects severs its ties with its divine and spiritual origin; it doesn’t get fully disconnected, but it’s shifting further and farther away from it while it manifests the very tendencies that drive it away from the essential, from the state of the Self, from the Divine, from God. Again: these factors, these powers and forces manifest themselves in the world and they do so with increasing strength and intensity. The stronger they connect to space and time, to consistency, to matter, the stronger and more intensely this shifting away from the origin takes place.
The world of tradition sustains sophia perennis, an eternal wisdom and knowledge on all levels of existence. Sometimes it becomes lackluster or gets out of sight but essentially it always subsists. When we talk about the world of tradition what we mean is a world where to a great extent traditional-spiritual principles prevailed. In the world of modernity the prevalence of these principles becomes minimal and it seems that life is unaffected by them; destructive, dissolving tendencies, powers and forces manifest themselves in existence, distracting man even more from the fundamentals and from superiority, from absolute supremacy, from the hierarchical structure of existence, from eternal values, exposing his mind, soul and spirituality to fully temporal contingencies.
When it comes to relating modernity to specific eras, we have ample opportunities at our disposal. We may date the moment of drifting away from the Spiritual to the 7th, 6th and 5th Centuries BC., and it is likely that in times before this it would have been impossible for materialistic and atheistic views to emerge. All spheres of life were permeated by spiritual powers, which were impossible not to notice and which thus focused attention on where the manifest world descended from, on unconditioned, pure Existence, on the Absolute. Obviously, the world of 2500 years ago still can’t be called modern, but something had already happened then and with the progression of time, if we look at the period of the lastest millennium, we can notice a definitive shake-up in terms of spirituality in the 1200’s and 1300’s. This was a period when strong influences had surfaced which diverted attention and views, as well as the powers these manifested away from the Principle of principles. This diversion of attention appeared to a large extent in Reformation where it’s impossible not to notice a contra-spiritual tendency; it also appeared in the “renaissance”, where the powers of death were much more prevalent than the powers of re-birth; it appeared in the phenomenon of darkening, which the anti-traditional mentality calls “enlightenment”, since this “enlightenment” is a pronouncedly darkening process from a spiritual point of view. The view that turned from God to Earth was called light. In our terminology this is a darkening process. We must recognize these preparatory tendencies in what we call modernity – and modernity is one of the synonyms of anti-traditioanlity and anti-spirituality. In fact, these tendencies were more than just preparatory in nature, since they had also carried that which was to a large degree directly related to darkness.
By modernity we don’t mean the technical nature of the current world, although it is related to it; we focus on something else. Modernity means a world without tradition, a world against tradition, a world without spirituality and against spirituality; it means forgetting Myself – to put it in first case singular- to forget my connection to the Spiritual, to the Essential, to the Unconditional, to the Absolute.
The modern world depicts a distance. From whatever point of view we may consider the modern world to be more developed than the world of previous eras, it never means a superiority based on essential factors. Rather, we must consider what human consciousness shifted away from, what we drifted away from and what I have distanced myself from; then it will become evident that I have distanced myself from the Essential. Whatever may I have gained in this age, is insignificant in comparison to the loss the world has experienced. The world has entered into an anti-spiritual age; it is not fully void of the spirit, but it is tendentially preparing for anti-spirituality. When did this happen? In many respects centuries ago, in many respects in the 20th Century, in many respects in the 21st Century. Consider the French Revolution which carried very dark tendencies, or the revolutions of the 19th century or consider the current Century. It would be correct to say that we entered this state in during WWI, perhaps at its conclusion, or that it happened during the time of the Bolshevik revolution or perhaps at the beginning of WWII or when it ended. All these are adequate considerations.
Fact is that this process began long time ago and gradually, in the last century with increasing speed, has reached the state of existence that in the strictest sense determines our days; the current age means the last 100-150 years since the characteristics that manifested themselves after the Second World War had already been present in a germinal state much earlier. Someone who is sufficiently alert to really give attention to the spiritual processes, can identify distinct stages in the darkening process every 5 years or so. The 1950’s for example were, in a lot of respects, much more terrible then the years afterward, but people still had a mentality that was hoping for change, hoping that the previous value system may be reinstated [translators note: this refers to the special situation in Hungary in the 1950’s.] It is precisely this mentality that becomes weak and that eventually ceases to exist in this world. As specific generations leave the sphere of human existence, we can identify, even withing the world of darkness, a very specific darkening process. Hope won’t die in the current age or in the future, but its perspectives are increasingly marginalized to eschatological levels only: hope may only have eschatalogical perspectives. It seems that the well known principle of Omnia vincit veritas may only be true in exchatalogical perspectives, that this unconditional truth could not prevail in the sphere of strictly earthly events. However, truth has a supra-temporal, eschatological validity and this always subsists, incorruptibly. Hope in the strictly temporal, historical sphere, on the other hand, is becoming weaker and dimmer and with good reason: precisely because the truth is not prevalent.
The goals of a spiritually oriented man can’t be defined within earthly, worldly pespectives; goals that are projected to earthly existence may only be transitory. If the objective is to reach the summit of a mountain – the summit being an analogy to the ultimate, super-human, transcendent goal -, earthly goals may only represent intermediary summits from which I must continue my journey. Even such worldly goals, which, although never equaled the ultimate goal, but were at least oriented towards it, have become hopeless in the age of darkness; when at least some values were still manifest, an adequate, hierarchical structure prevailed and people were in their proper place, performing the role they were born to do, irrespective of whether or not it was comfortable or pleasant. When dark, let’s say satanic influences came to dominate the world, this meant first and foremost upsetting the fundamental order: confusing the order of hierarchical structures so that it was no longer possible to know what and who is superior, what are the functions of people, what must be done in order for earthly life to reflect a spiritual order.
Earth may only represent heaven to some degree, it can’t replace it; this representation is what disappears in the modern world or in the current age in a broader sense. This disappearance is a process, it has been happening for a long time and it will continue to do so, probably for a considerably long time. Whatever its outcome may be, true hope that points beyond the human world, toward transcendence, may only be rooted in me: in the fact that I am connected to transcendence, that my spiritual soul belongs to transcendence.
Whatever is possible, must be of course done in order to create order, knowing that this is not the ultimate goal and knowing also that in the Iron Age of Hesiod or in the Dark Age not only are all such hopes dim and constrained in general, but even the specific hope of realizing these general hopes to some degree, are more or less lost.
It is adequate to maintain hope for a better world, but the validity of such faith is conditional; the unconditional validity that never disappoints can’t be realized in Earthly conditions. The modern world tends to forget this and it can’t give attention either to Alfa or to Omega; it can’t orientate itself to the Origin, to the Beginning or to the Non-beginning; in fact, it is part of its nature that it’s not oriented to these. Some people may be oriented to these in some exceptional cases, but this is so extremely rare, that we can’t deal with them within the scope of general tendencies, be they prevalent or failing. It is likely that these cases have always been rather rare, but in the present age, although they still exist, they are extremely rare. I repeat: it is justified that one orientates himself and strives toward a better world. But only those things have incorruptible validity that are connected to the transcendence of earthly-human existence.
Not only was in the world of tradition such a transcendent orientation within the frame of earthly-human existence legitimate, everything was organized accordingly. By its natural dynamism, by providence and by conscious effort, the world was structured in such a way that it maintained, helped, strengthened and supported this spirituality, surrounding it with protective bastions, so to speak, and keeping it alive so that it could, even if not perfectly, significantly eliminate destructive tendencies. The world of anti-tradition, which is the world of modernity in a broader sense, stands in opposition to all of this. It inhibits, blocks, and limits true spiritual initiatives, while it fosters and supports the manifestation and prevalence of demonic, satanic powers, subordinates itself and others, as well as the world and the general structure of life to these. Yet, we must not forget that we live in this world, where observable (not in the sense of proof, but in the sense of manifestation) tendencies that accelerate decline, dominate. We may consider other worlds with more ideal structures, but we must stay pragmatic and can’t forget that we live in this one. With the dominance of destructive tendencies with must stand our ground in the earthly domain and find ways and possibilities for maintaining an orientation that doesn’t lose sight of the ultimate goal.
In this age, in the current age of anti-traditional modernity, in the domain of activities aimed at dissolution and destruction, in the general process of darkening, we may experience an undeniable challenge; we may. Since the greater the darkness, the bigger the challenge (and this is valid all the way to an extreme stage, beyond which not even this is valid anymore), the challenge we’re facing is stronger than it has ever been in history. In certain individuals, the greater the darkness, the bigger the need for the spirit. “Blessed are the poor in spirit” means that they recognize the world devoid of the spirit and a yearning for the spirit is burning in their soul. They are poor in some respect and they want to eliminate this. What this means is an opening of the dimension of possibilities in the Dark-age. Facing the void and the challenge on the one hand, and a world filled with the power of darkness on the other. We must see this and face this and perceive this as a challenge: no matter how strong the powers of illusion, distraction and degradation are, I am going to face them. The stronger they are, the stronger my opposition will be since I am aware that if I don’t do this, I set myself up for a fall.
It’s not enough to realize that following an age filled with light we are now in a darker age, but we also need to see that we really are in this one and the paradigms of a bright past, although indispensable, are not enough for determining a future; for this we need to find possibilities in the current age even if everything seems to be against this, keeping in mind that there is always a way out even from the greatest or nearly greatest darkness: precisely when what we perceive, we perceive it in the sense of a challenge. Thus, in this sense, in this spiritual view, we must evaluate the relationship between tradition and modernity in a special way, recognizing that this relationship is atypical; however, the recognition of this must not result in tear-filled nostalgia for the past (however justified a nostalgia by itself may be) but it must awaken an inner mental and spiritual activity. The past may have pragmatic validity for the future and the present situation appears in the sign of the sharpest and most extreme challenge – as long as we’re able to perceive it with utmost awareness.