THE CRISIS OF THE MODERN WORLD
It is no longer news that the Western world is in a crisis, a crisis that has spread far beyond its point of origin and become global in nature. In 1927, Guenon responded to this crisis with the closest thing he ever wrote to a manifesto and ‘call-to-action’. The Crisis of the Modern World was his most direct and complete application of traditional metaphysical principles—particularly that of the ‘age of darkness’ preceding the end of the present world— to social criticism, surpassed only by The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, his magnum opus. In the present work, Guenon ruthlessly exposes the Western deviation’: its loss of tradition, its exaltation of action over knowledge, its rampant individualism and general social chaos. His response to these conditions was not ‘activist’, however, but purely intellectual, envisioning the coming together of Western intellectual leaders capable under favourable circumstances of returning the West to its traditional roots or, under less favourable ones, of at least preserving the `seeds’ of Tradition for the time to come.
“It is certainly no accident that so many people at the present time should be obsessed with the idea of the ‘end of the world’, but anyone wishing to appreciate the true character of the present period must possess at least a certain amount of data on the subject. We shall begin therefore by showing that its characteristic features correspond with the indications supplied from time immemorial by the traditional doctrines regarding the cyclic period of which it forms a part.” —Preface