A LIGHT IN THE END OF THE TUNNEL: THE DEATH OF THE WEST AND HOW WE SHOULD TRANSITION AWAY FROM HARD TIMES
PART 1 – THE ONTOLOGY OF AN AUTHENTIC TRADITIONAL RESTORATION
I. THE DECLINE OF THE WEST
To those of us who have been acquainted with Europe’s distant past, its distant realities and the bygone days of its former glory, before the current American hegemony, one must be sure of the fact that Western civilization has not only seen much better times, but that right now it is entering under a period that might well represent its termination.
The decline of the West was predicted by nobody else than Oswald Spengler, who is rightfully deemed the prophet of our times. He wrote from the standpoint of a man who foresaw himself as being in the end of an era, and his writings are important to us especially today.
Today, all that Spengler has realized in the past has come to occur: he could perhaps, from his deeply Western, Conservative and German perspective, count himself lucky to bear not witness the deep troubles that the postwar period has brought not only to his country, but to all of Europe and Western civilization. But it is as if he himself had predicted this state of affairs.
The nihilism of Western civilization, after 1945 – and this is taken from none less than the esteemed Fr. Seraphim Rose – has resulted in none less than the destruction of all norms and standards of behavior, of civility, of culture, of polity and civilization. But it is not in any way sensible to say that the seeds of this mighty debacle, which now has finally come down to its material dimensions with the final political and economic decline of Western Europe, NATO, the United States, have not been foreshadowed before in its intellectual, cosmological and ethical dimensions way before our time.
All of this was foreseen before. And all of this points to a dark future, especially if we still insist in holding dear those Western values that are already naturally dissolving in our day and age. It remains to those who are still stuck at the depths of this decadence, to try consciously to write the values of a New Age, which shall succeed the present Aeon that now finds itself within its closing stages.
II – THE WESTERN WORLD IS ROTTEN AND CORRUPT
The dimension of intellectual decadence in the Western world, a decadence that has reached unprecedented levels, shows to us to what an extent this civilization has been corroded.
Ever since Nietzsche and Heidegger, who foresaw the extent of nihilism and its destructive reach upon each and every aspect of culture and life, the Western world has been engulfed in a mania of deconstruction, which finds a parallel only in a mania of individualism and a cultural atomism which are completely intolerable, from any healthy and sound perspective.
Modernity is the age of ontological chaos. The dimension of Being, being lost, has led man to immerse himself in the turbid and chaotic BECOMING, and being stuck within a purely subjective and individualist view of the world.
Such ontological decadence was one of the great premises of Modernity since its inception, and has led to nothing but the collapse of the organic superstructures of the Western tradition. This tradition, which has long given way to a vacuous state of decadence and nihilism, and on an atomized society founded upon individualism, permissiveness and hedonism, inevitably led to the acceleration and rotting of many of the most basic societal conventions and beliefs that have been a part of our society.
Our society no longer holds anything dear, and within this calamitous desert of post-modern decay, there seems to lie little hope in recovering what is genuinely authentic, organic, vital and metaphysical. Man, in forgetting the dimension of Being – as Heidegger says – has sunk to his own selfish pleasures, leaving a life that is detached of any greater meaning. This has become the norm for the vast majority of human beings, who now – as a consequence of their atomization and alienation must be lifted from their state of blindness.
Thus, as Heidegger outlined, the restoration of our society comes solely through the restoration of the lost dimension of Being, of the recovery of the ontological and metaphysical outlook that was buried in early Modernity, and then its application on all fields of society to ensure their restoration.
III - THE OVERCOMING OF NIHILISM AND THE RECOVERY OF METAPHYSICS THRU THE EFFACING OF THE MODERN PARADIGM OF KNOWLEDGE FOUNDED UPON THE CARTESIAN SUBJECT
In order to realize this fundamental dimension of transcendence, we must be aware of the limitations and constraints which have prevented us from having a far reaching view on this subject, chiefly caused by the constraints placed by modern epistemology.
Today and nowadays, to believe in a religious system of any kind – including these that are most individualistic and alienating – has become a sort of massive superstition. The post-Enlightenment mind cannot tolerate anything that it considers superstitious, even at a price of a deep forgetfulness of its own roots, founded as they are on the Western ontological tradition.
This forgetfulness of the ontological roots, together with the dimension of forgetfulness of Being, has led to the massive undertaking expecting us in our times. We must, by all means, through the process of DESTRUKTION outlined by Heidegger, revert man’s ontology and epistemology to the days of the Pre-Cartesian man, who was not yet an individual, and who lived with a deeper integration with his own surrounding cosmological reality.
Before the Cartesian paradigm became effective, the “individual” as such did not really exist. In its place, the ontological paradigm of the Person dominated, in every culture that was truly organic and traditional, even that of the West.
With the coming of Modernity, the rupture of man with the cosmos and his consequent alienation within the strict limits of his individuality, of his narrow ego and subjectivity, has resulted in the consistent atrophy and decay of the genuine spiritual faculties of man – whose presence now suddenly gives way to that which is purely sentimental, in one hand, and to that which is wholly technological and material on the other.
Thus the conception of man as an individual is the starting point to the notion of man as a homo economicus, as an “Economic Man”, one of the fundamental basis of modern Liberalism and also of Marxism. It is also the starting point of Nihilism and ontological alienation, for now man is totally cut aside from Being – and instead what we find is subjectivity, ergo a subjectivity thinking itself and stuck within itself.
This fundamental epistemological inversion – whose essence consists, fundamentally, as Tomas Melendo puts it - “an inversion in the relationship between Being and Consciousness” - essentially places Being as a surreal phantom, and as a mere product of consciousness. As such here in the very roots of the Cartesian inversion we begin to find and tackle the problems that were later so intensively and brilliantly exposed by Heidegger, namely of nihilism as closely interlinked with technology, and the unhinged subjectivity giving rise to an age of materialism, followed by an age of technological dehumanization.
IV – LIBERALISM AND THE CARTESIAN PARADIGM
Thus the direct outcome of Cartesian philosophy and Enlightenment thinking on one ground, is the ideology of Liberalism: of the detached, atomized individual as a virtual reality, actualized by brute force through the effective effacing of every organic, community and otherwise vital link between himself, the others around him and the cosmos, with all of this process fundamentally aided by a Nihilistic episteme that seeks to reduce everything to the perspective of the thinking subject, and thus centering man disproportionately upon his mere narrow individuality.
As such, Liberalism is one of the modern theories and dogmas which by itself cannot be conceived apart from a Cartesian perspective, and which becomes fatally meaningless without the fundamental groundwork of a person deeply stepped into this Cartesian perspective and into the modern metaphysics of subjectivity. But for one not “entrapped” within these categories, as Heidegger would say, Liberalism, atomism, individualism and such – being fundamentally alienated from man’s perspective as a character infused with the reality of Being – must be effaced in exchange for that which is truer and deeper on genuine ontological foundations.
On the other hand, since such an overcoming exists merely within the confines of a few enlightened minds, who have decided to break away from the chains of modernity or who have never lost it, through being the guardians of a genuine and authentic Tradition – even deeply within the boundaries of the modern West, as it happens with Catholics and their own peculiar mean – we must conclude necessarily from this and these observations that most people have since gone the opposite direction, towards what amounts – really – to a perspective which is much more limited and much more rooted in mere subjectivity.
These are the small men, and Liberalism means their triumph – inasmuch as small men, whose semblance we here link with the Nietzschean conception of the “Last Man”, they have shut down every door to transcendence and every sound perspective of reality in return for an existence rooted within a superficial criterion of material comfort. This criterion overpowers every higher consideration, leading man towards a view of the world resting upon mere physiological grounds which becomes so unquestionable as to turn every one who dissents this line into a weird heretic, a reactionary, an anachronism or worse. Thus the church of Scientism, which is a liberal cult above all, is born.
V – THE RETURN TOWARDS AUTHENTIC TRADITION, NOT JUST ANY TRADITION, MARKS MAN’S RETURN TO NORMALCY AND ORDER
We must be then aware, dimly and well aware, of the deep dilemma brought in by nihilistic libertarian individualism and its self-effacing consequences in the long term. We must be keenly aware of that which differentiates the goals of the common man, the man of our times, and the goal of the enlightened man who actively seeks Wisdom. WE must by all means proceed with the restoration of Traditional values, the effacing of the Cartesian paradigm of subjectivity, and the return to a state of normalcy and the rule of law. That can only happen when the offshoots of Cartesian dualism – the ideology of Liberalism being its main, surviving cosmological form – when these offshoots are effectively effaced from Earth.
Liberalism remains as a lawless byproduct of an ideology that was very specifically Western and Protestant in character. Its dominance in our times can only be classified as a sort of deformation of the most inane sort, the byproduct of the “Dark Age” as described by Rene Guénon and Julius Evola in which – at the end of the age – only the most negative phenomena dominate society. Therefore, the end of liberalism remains paramount to those who seek to extricate themselves from the morass caused by the fall of Western civilization, and its decomposition into a formless global polity and deformed cosmopolitanism, a dystopia of true Huxleyan dimensions, a “Brave New World” and nothing else.