Monday, March 22, 2021

New book on Schuon's thought, including his views on Islam

Patrick Laude has just published a guide to Schuon's thought, Keys to the Beyond: Frithjof Schuon's Cross-Traditional Language of Transcendence (Albany: SUNY Press, 2020; $34.95). Laude, who is himself a Traditionalist, knows Schuon's thought well, and does a good job of explaining and synthesising it, though those without preparation may still find the book hard.

The book's first section has four chapters, starting with a chapter on "Ātman, Māyā and the Relatively Absolute," which explains Schuon's basic metaphysical framework. Then comes "The Avatāric Mystery," Schuon's understanding of "descent" in various contexts. "Upāya: Religion as Relatively Absolute" covers Schuon's understanding of religion as such, and "The Nature of Things and the Human Margin" covers esotericism

The following section consists of two chapters, "Trinitarian Metaphysics" and "Necessary Sufism and the Archetype of Islam." These deal with Schuon's understandings of Christianity and Islam

Then come three chapters on three special topics: "The Divine Feminine." "The Yin-Yang Perspective and Visual Metaphysics," and "The 'Tantric' Spiritualization of Sexuality."

Finally, a chapter on "Esoteric Ecumenism" indicates the place of Schuon within current academic approaches to religious pluralism

One of the most interesting chapters is that dealing with the difficult topic of Schuon's relationship with Islam. Laude's argument is that it is wrong to understand Schuon's thought in Sufi or Islamic terms, even if this is how Seyyed Hossein Nasr tends to see it. "The fact that Schuon himself led most of his adult life within the ritual forms of a particular tradition [Islam] does not in the least invalidate” the fact that on an esoteric and metaphysical level he was supra-confessional (p. 191). He emphasised that esotericism is independent of the various traditional forms (religions), and often critiqued "the intrinsic limitations of the perspectival and theological forms of Abrahamic religions" (193), including Islam.


Charles upton said...

"Supra-confessional" is accurate. However, since Schuon claimed that he had received no new Revelation, his authority remains on the level of individual inspiration and insight, consequently it carries no Divine sanction such as every true "confession" must carry. Many of his insights were profound, but he was no avatar, no prophet, and -- insofar as he did not remain within the Islamic fold -- no Sufi Shaykh. As Charles LeGai Eaton maintained, he was an individual genius, "the last of the 19th-century (style) geniuses, a genius in the field of religion." It remains for us to take what we can from the sometimes profound insights he offered, but he certainly founded no true Tariqa, no true spiritual Way. Such a Way requires Divine sanction, not simply individual talent or indications based on individual spiritual experience, unless this experience be that of a God-chosen prophet. Did Schuon ever claim prophetic status? Not to my knowledge. Comments?

Anonymous said...

As the dust settles down, decades later, it becomes clear how f.o.s people are. It also becomes patently clear how gullible humans are, especially those who are overly sentimental; their innate passion drives them to want to believe anything and everything. Schuon is not the first "guru" who, despite his scandalous private life, still possesses seemingly devotional followers, eager to brush his sullied name clean. This stuff happens all the time. Just look at Osho with his taste for fine cars...

This is why it's always important to have a technical attitude, the same that Guenon had, it was never about individualities, even "legitimate" founders of religions like the prophet of islam, it was always about the nature of man and how to become aware of it, here and now. Most creatures are too weak, cowardly and insincere to take on such a task and thus desire something or someone to believe in, even in esoteric circles!

Through all this, the concepts highlighted by Guenon alone remain interesting, these other people, from Schuon to Valsan to Nasr, to Upton, all of them have nothing remotely unique in terms of a source or as a concept, they just repeat and redress what was said by Guenon.

A reminder too: it is only Guenon that ever mentioned the King of the World and the Supreme Center, these others never did and if they did, it was clearly out of imitation. Who else among them can claim to have a direct connection to the King of the World himself? None, it's always the same boring religious platitudes, the same speculations, the same "philosophies" (all these bozos label Guenon a philosopher, which is absurd) and so on. None have real knowledge, none have real connections, most merely want to lecture you and make a quick dime by selling their books and grift along with them. They do this by making it seem that Guenon founded a "traditionalist school" and therefore set a precedent upon which they can gain a following, get women and make money. That they belong to that "school" and are the successors of it, so we should all bow our heads and listen to them. Always coming up with inane neologisms, such as "supra-confessional". One also wonders who decides what is a "divine sanction" and what is not; in the end, it always comes down to military might. All the "orthodox traditions" were "divinely sanctioned" because they shed the most blood, had the most brutality and got the most influence. This goes for hindu-type traditions too, since the Kshatriya messed up whoever the Brahmin told them to, until they got sick of taking orders and just messed everyone up including the Brahmin themselves. "Divine sanction" seems to always be determined by bullies on the battlefield...

A complete and utter take-down of these scammers is done by a Frenchman on his blog here:

Mark, I'm sorry if posting links is illegal, but I think we need to stop this nonsense of stringing along Guenon with these conmen and set things clear once and for all. I of course don't even agree fully with Guenon (he was a good manipulator, who even admitted that in the end, all traditions are just conspiracies, something that angered Schuon a lot...) or with the blog I just referenced, but at least for the purpose of historical accuracy, to point out what actually happened, I think that blog does a fairly decent job at it.

Anonymous said...

Are you M. Koslow?

Anonymous said...

No I am not, but why ask me that? Also, do you disagree with anything I said in my first comment? If so, point it out and state why. Before you do, I think you ought to consult another resource, that sheds some light about what happened behind the scenes with all this esoteric stuff, here it is:

read that document, if you haven't already, then we can chat. The thing that matters in the end is the truth after all, now is the time to unearth everything honestly.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for Mr. Upton, though it may not directly be relevant to this post, it is relevant to Tradition as a whole.

To Mr. Upton, respectfully, what do you think about the incoming "great reset" that the so called elites of the world announced last year? Do you think it is a prelude to the global counter-traditional empire that Guenon spoke of in the Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times and that you have spoken of in some of your books?
If so, it is a bit frightening how quickly things are moving!

It would be nice if you did a post on that, in video form or on your website.