Guenon and Marx: the unity of opposites


PI: Discussion about the French traditionalism , Rene Guenon, which began on our website Natella Speranskaya and Arkady Maler, received an unexpected resonance among our readers. Integral traditionalism was, for many young intellectuals the first school of conservatism in the era of the liberal “end of history”, established in Russia and in the world in 1990-ies. Meanwhile, the initiator of the discussion about Genone was the Moscow historian Alexander Eliseev who in his article sent to the editor this summer, Guenon compares with Marx, revealing the paradoxical proximity of these seemingly polar shapes. Follower of Guenon , Julius Evola at the time, proposed the use of a left-wing protest movement to overthrow liberal democracy in the name of “pagan imperialism.” Who knows, maybe the “tiger” of Marxism from the outset wanted to be “saddled” with those who would, in the spirit of our future hero of Oswald Spengler the victory of the people of the life force over the people of spiritual truth? In any case, the Marxism among the many alternative readings of permits and such.


Under the red banner against Modernism

Peru French traditionalist rené alle belongs to the article “genon and Marx”, where we are talking about common between these two thinkers. And this is puzzling – are they antagonists? Rene Guenon – hard critic of the “modern world” who deny the progress and immersed in the world of Tradition. Karl Marx is categorically opposed to religious mysticism and a supporter of further accelerate progress, which will lead to the creation of the new formation, the Communist. What can there be in common?

Meanwhile, Alla indicates that Marx, like guénon, has been a staunch opponent of Modernism. The founder of “scientific communism” advocated the destruction of the modern world and the apocalyptic end of History. And with this we can agree – Marxism and, in fact, the opposite, so to speak, “modernism”. Yes, Marxists have always shared all the values of modern civilization, “progress”, “freedom, equality and brotherhood”, “humanity” etc. But they were not satisfied with how fully manifested the essence of all modern ideas and meanings.

Revolutionary Marxists have sought to penetrate this “weak” the crux of the most deeply – in order to achieve the axiological bottom, which is the most precious pearl. And this was their great mistake, which led to the creation of the world and extremely extensive movement trying to destroy the Modern in the name of Modernism. The Marxists were wrong (and still wrong) is that its essence is not expressed fully. It expressed fully as possible. Yes, it is possible was not all, and this was manifested in the discrepancy between word and deed, by the term and reality. So, absolute equality in the modern world, and moreover, there is a huge, sometimes even the most outrageous inequality. But the equality of stock – in rights and freedoms. Yes, it is relative, but there is nothing absolute in this world and not except the absolute.

However, Marxists want is absolute, what is expressed in their religious-mystical nature, substantially different from the nature of the atheistic-deistic inherent in Modernism. They saw the absolute modern values, and there was even something right, from the point of view of the metaphysical doctrines of the Tradition in which the absolute is not something external in relation to reality, but is inside each of her “things”.

They dived too deep, to the absolute, not even knowing that are committed to him. As a result, these axiological divers struck the bottom of the art Nouveau and floated to the surface of another world, which could only be the world of the Tradition.


“Unconscious” traditionalism

The world was destroyed during the “bourgeois” revolutions of Modernity, however, continued to exist, albeit as ruins. And on these ruins Marxists and began to restore traditional society. And they restored it, they almost without realizing it, and this left a powerful imprint on the entire recovery process.

This “unconsciousness” was a consequence of this decay that has struck the once-world Tradition. He changed himself, and departed from their semantic foundations. The minds of men became inaccessible to these meanings, although very many people, because of its nature was objectively very close to Tradition. The senses came to them, but in a very distorted, weakened form. Therefore, they are not realized, but still absorbed, expressing it in practice — in the “construction of socialism”. Hence – and party-ideocratic dogmatic and autocratic Neomodernism, and a new hierarchy. Of course, the revival contributed to the power of traditional (albeit decaying) wave in a number of countries.

Traditionalists, by contrast, is quite aware of these meanings. But to Express them in public-political practices and could not. The fact is that they are completely and unequivocally denied Modern instead of working with some of its realities, consciously using it for purposes completely opposite to those that put the “modernists”. And without this it was impossible to influence reality, for the much despised “modern world” has already become an integral part thereof (including because the world Traditions have lost the necessary connection with their meanings). At the same time, was quite promising, in principle, projects of the conservative revolution, envisaging the involvement of some elements of Tradition. In the end, to the necessity of this came another classic traditionalism and also a very harsh critic “of the modern world” Julius Evola who offered to “ride the tiger”.


However, the traditionalist segment remained indifferent to this. He continued to deny completely Modern at the same time and finding some niche in the it space. As a result, not the world of the Tradition subdued “the modern world”, but the Modern reformatted traditionalists, quite imposing modernist Renovationism”.


Linear cyclical

At first glance, Marx, and Guenon are dominated by a certain linearity in the views on development. The first prevails in the ascending line, the second – descending. Marx sees history as the sequential ascent through different formations, the highest – Communist. Guénon insists that there is a “caste degradation, and humanity itself is heading inexorably towards its end, which is the end of a cosmic cycle.

Shown being removed from the fundamental principle, from the Source, resulting in the “hardening” of the world, increases its closeness of the spiritual influences (and, conversely, openness to Inferno). The quality comes the quantity: “The downward movement of manifestation and, therefore, Express cycle, carried out from the positive or essential pole of existence to its negative or substantial pole, leads to the fact that all things should look less and less qualitative and more quantitative; that is why the last period of the cycle, in particular, need to bow down to the approval itself, as the “Kingdom of number”.Ultimately, when we say that it should be with all things, we understand it to be not only the way they are treated from a human point of view, but also a real change of the “environment”; every period of human history, exactly meet a specific “space time”, you should be correlated by state of the world or with what is called “nature” in the ordinary sense of the word and, more specifically, with the ensemble of the earth’s environment and of humanity, the existence of which, obviously, this environment is due to“. (“The realm of quantity and the signs of the times”).

Here, genon is in the paradigm of Hinduism, or rather idati Vedanta. The very Indo-Aryan tradition it is considered primordial, though, and professed Islam. Hence the rigid determinism of involution, it is consistent with the Hindu picture of the changing South from the Golden age of Satya-Yuga to the cosmic nights of Kali-Yuga.

It would seem that the downward movement from Genoa dominates, and clearly. But it’s not so simple. The fact that the end of one cycle means the emergence of a new cycle. That is, the downward movement is movement upward. Hence a kind of heroic optimism of the traditionalists, who believe in the “eternal return of the same”. Being, having its source in the transcendental Principle, in the end, beyond any annihilation.


Circular linearity

Also, all difficult and with Marx. His ascension means a kind of return to basics, to the morning of human history. This morning is “primitive communism“, which was characterized by an absence of social inequality, community of property and distribution of the “needs” (albeit meager). Marx and the Marxists, of course, emphasize the primitive original communism, but for them it is a kind of a type of communism “developed”. Not casually in his famous “Philosophical-economic manuscripts of 1844” Marx as “blurts”: “The positive abolition of all alienation, i.e. the return of man from religion, family, state, etc. to his human, i.e. social existence“.

Note that Marx says it is about “return“, thus, voluntarily or involuntarily, pointing to the retrospective nature of the communism doctrine has arisen in the Modern era. Of course, this return to the new techno-economic level. But then it turns out this “amusing” thing. By and large, primitive communism is different from communism “non-primitive” technology. (By the way, not by chance Marxists are all about the development of “productive forces”.) And structural the plan for the coming communism should be all the same original social system, characterized by – a community of property and class equality.

And no matter how stressed Marxists primitive original communism, but their succession from him is obvious. By the way, very pathetic it was evident early in the novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky “Return. Noon. XXII century”. At the end of Eugene Slavin exclaims: “You know, Leonid, my imagination was always struck by Lenin’s idea about the development of society in a spiral. From primitive communism, communism, the poor, the poor in body and spirit, through famine, blood, war, crazy injustice to communism incalculable material and spiritual wealth. With communism people started to communism and back, and that return starts a new branch of the spiral, such that to think dizzy. So entirely different branch, not similar to what we passed“.



Cybernetic reincarnation of “primitive communism”

“The construction of socialism” was aimed at the creation of a brand (again search of the absolute!) – managed economy that would function as a single enterprise (Lenin compared socialism with a factory). Assumed full elimination of market factors that engender spontaneity, the “economic anarchy”. And if you think about it, the whole economy (country or planet) was seen as a single economic unit, completely transparent to the gaze of the owner.

It would, no doubt, a revival of primitive communism on a completely new basis. For this reincarnation, of course, would have required a particular level of development of productive forces. However, during the actual practice of socialist construction the followers of Marx did not focus so much on technique (and hence techniques), how much bureaucracy. The reasons are many and that being said, a topic for another conversation. One factor was the necessity of forced industrialization in a mobilization regime. When the need has disappeared, then there was a question about who will be the new subject of management? The choice was either necessary to resort to the “invisible hand of the market”, or to rely strictly on technology, i.e. automated control systems. Won, in the end, the supporters of the market who logically carried out the restoration of capitalism in 1991.But even before that they won a preliminary victory in 1965, when started the so-called “Kosygin reform”, which dramatically increased the role of the value (essentially, market) factors.

However, the “market socialism” had its own, relatively speaking, “cybersocieties” alternative. And in 1963 the management even decided on it. Then came the Decree of the CPSU Central Committee and USSR Council of Ministers, which was planned to create a Unified system of planning and management (ESPOO) and the State network of computing centers. Then for the Soviet Cybernet invented a new name – the National automated system of planning and management in national economy (OGAS).The country’s leaders were ready to implement large-scale project Director of the Institute of Cybernetics of the Ukrainian SSRVictor Glushkovproposed to transfer management of the national economy on the electron-cybernetic framework. (In addition to the automated control systems of Glushkov developed a system of mathematical models of the economy and cashless individuals.) In fact, it was about how to do planning is not just policy, but truly scientific. Academician offered a completely new management model, which is based not on commodity-money relations, but on a strictly scientific calculation of the balance of the needs of society.

Glushkov knew of the economic life of the country. So, in just one 1963 he visited about one hundred companies, personally tracking the chain of transmission of statistical data. Academician have put forward a very interesting theory of “information barriers”, which gave Marxism a completely technocratic dimension. According to <url>, the mankind has experienced in its history two global crisis management.

The first occurred during the disintegration of primitive society (“primitive communism”). Then the complexity of social relations and increase the flow of information has led to the emergence of commodity-money relations and hierarchies.

But in the twentieth century came the second crisis, the relationship has become complicated enough that people had just become unable to perform all the necessary control functions. So, according to the calculations of academician, everyone had (if without the help of technology) to execute up to a billion transactions per year. It turned out that even in the modern period on the planet had accommodation for 10 billion people.

Glushkov said: “From now on, only “machineless” effort to control a little. The first information barrier, or threshold, humanity was able to overcome because invented commodity-money relations and stage management structure. Computer technology – this is a modern invention, which will enable to transcend the second threshold. There is a historical twist on the famous spiral development. When will the state automated management system, we will easily cover a single glance the whole economy.At a new historical stage, with the new technology, the new increased level, we would “float” above the point of the dialectical spiral, below which…lay period, when their subsistence economy people easily viewed with the naked eye1.

Obviously, Glushkov directly appeals to the original “natural” state of the economy, offering to go back, but only on a cyber level. Under Khrushchev, who sincerely believed possible imminent building of communism (and openly promised to 1980), this model took hold, moreover, that attitude was in highly technocratic, in connection with futurism. However, the new leadership in any communism is no longer believed, it was thinking about how to put into the body of Soviet socialism to Western capitalism, eliminating the disadvantages without losing the advantages. Therefore, began to carry out reasonable reform designed to dilute the “administrative-command system by market relations. The Soviet leaders have shown themselves to be useless Marxists, they have overshadowed the actual “productive forces”, first put forward the distribution of material resources.

In the end, these resources were distributed among functionaries of the system – the cost of the liquidation of the Soviet Union.

Obviously, Marxism (wider – communism, it is because it is non-Marxist) objectively coincides with the traditionalism granovskogo plan. He also focused on the “Golden Age”, although the rejection of religious and mystical foundations makes traditionalism Marxists “blind”, the unconscious. But who knows, maybe the current and upcoming transformations, opening new-old “abyss”, will lead to a conscious connection both “opposites”.


  1. Pikhorovich V., “the Relevance of basic principles of OGAS” // “Propaganda. Popular science magazine”

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