"The prerogative of the human state is objectivity; the essential content of which is the Absolute. There is no knowledge without objectivity of the intelligence; there is no freedom without objectivity of the will; and there is no nobility without objectivity of the soul . . . Esoterism seeks to realize pure and direct objectvity; this is its raison d'etre."
These are the opening words of a work in which the author explains why esoterism is both possible and necessary. It is the intellectual principle capable of explaining the formal contradictions of the various orthodox religions as well as the errors of materialistic and deconstructionist modern thought. In addition, esoterism is the way by which man may realize his connection with absolute Truth or Reality, despite the confusions and obstacles with which technological civilization and its philosophy seek to obscure our vision and weaken our resolve. In the author's words, "Just as rationalism can remove faith, so esoterism can restore it."
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Frithjof Schuon is best known as the foremost spokesman of the religio perennis and as a philosopher in the metaphysical current of Shankara and Plato. Over the past 50 years, he has written more than 20 books on metaphysical, spiritual and ethnic themes as well as having been a regular contributor to journals on comparative religion in both Europe and America. Schuon's writings have been consistently featured and reviewed in a wide range of scholarly and philosophical publications around the world, respected by both scholars and spiritual authorities.
Schuon was born in 1907 in Basle, Switzerland, of German parents. As a youth, he went to Paris, where he studied for a few years before undertaking a number of trips to North Africa, the Near East and India in order to contact spiritual authorities and witness traditional cultures. Following World War II, he accepted an invitation to travel to the American West, where he lived for several months among the Plains Indians, in whom he has always had a deep interest. Having received his education in France, Schuon has written all his major works in French, which began to appear in English translation in 1953. Of his first book, The Transcendent Unity of Religions (London, Faber & Faber) T.S. Eliot wrote: "I have met with no more impressive work in the comparative study of Oriental and Occidental religion."
The traditionalist or "perennialist" perspective began to be enunciated in the West at the beginning of the twentieth century by the French philosopher Rene Guenon and by the Orientalist and Harvard professor Ananda Coomaraswamy. Fundamentally, this doctrine is the Sanatana Dharma--the "eternal religion"--of Hindu Vedantists. It was formulated in the West, in particular, by Plato, by Meister Eckhart in the Christian world, and is also to be found in Islam with Sufism. Every religion has, besides its literal meaning, an esoteric dimension, which is essential, primordial and universal. This intellectual universality is one of the hallmarks of Schuon's works, and it gives rise to many fascinating insights into not only the various spiritual traditions, but also history, science and art.
The dominant theme or principle of Schuon's writings was foreshadowed in his early encounter with a Black marabout who had accompanied some members of his Senegalese village to Switzerland in order to demonstrate their culture. When the young Schuon talked with him, the venerable old man drew a circle with radii on the ground and explained: "God is in the center, all paths lead to Him."Language Notes:
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French
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Book Description Sophia Perennis, 1982. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110900588233