Posted by Shadra_Institute 3:25 AM, under | No comments

Modernity, tradition and Primordial Tradition

Rejecting the idea of progress and the enlightenment paradigm, Perennialist authors describe modern civilization as a pseudo and decadent civilization, which manifests the lowest possibilities of the Kali Yuga (the Dark Age of the Hindu cosmology). To the “modern error,” the Perennialists oppose an everlasting wisdom of divine origin, “a Primordial Tradition”, transmitted from the very origin of humanity and partially restored by each genuine founder of a new religion.

Perennialists have a very specific definition of “Tradition.” Tradition implies the idea of a transmission (tradere), but for Guénon and his followers, tradition does not have a human origin and may be considered as principles revealed from Heaven and binding man to his divine origin. Beyond the diversity of religious forms, they discern a single Tradition (with a capital letter), what Schuon called a “transcendent unity”. They claim that the historically separated traditions share not only the same divine origin but are based on the same metaphysical principles, sometimes called philosophia perennis.

So far as can be discovered, the term “philosophia perennis” is modern, first appearing in the Renaissance. Though the term “philosophia perennis” is widely associated with the philosopher Leibniz who himself owes it from the sixteenth century theologian Augustinus Steuchius. But the ideal of such a philosophy is much older and one could easily recognize it in the Golden Chain (seira) of Neoplatonism, in the Patristic Lex primordialis, in the Islamic Din al-Fitra or even in the Hindu Sanathana Dharma.


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