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Perennial Traditionalism

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What westeners call civilization, the others would call barbarity, because it is precisely lacking in the essential, that is to say a principle of a higher order
—René Guénon, found on an Islamic website[1]

Perennial Traditionalism (or the Traditionalist School) is a school of religious thought, based primarily on the writings of René Guénon, a French philosopher who claimed that all religions and cultures had a tradition of esoteric initiation that went back to "time immemorial." Guénon believed that the West had become largely void of these esoteric components due to the new tradition of "intellectualism."

There are three postulates of Traditionalists: the existence of a "Primordial Tradition," the idea that modernity is incompatible with that Tradition, and that with spiritual effort (usually grounded in so-called "Eastern" techniques) one can reconnect with that Tradition.

Though originally attracting people from a wide field of religions like Hinduism and Mahayana-Buddhism, Guénon started a trend by immigrating to Cairo and becoming a Sufi imam. He was followed by people like Frithjof Schuon — turning Traditionalism into a form of Sufism.

Traditionalism took another direction under Julius Evola and was slowly turned into a tool of the European far right, being popular amongst the French Nouvelle Droite.

Traditionalism is an important aspect to the writings of Mircéa Eliade, scholar of religion and mythology, who believed all religions and myths were in some important way, not only a retelling of the same universal sets of stories, but that they harken back to a philosophia perennis — a shared religion or religious understanding of the world in our earliest ancestors.

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