The Fissures in the Great Wall by Rene Guenon

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Chapter 25 of 'The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times'The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times is René Guénon's most prophetic work, which only becomes more relevant with each passing year. Having seen his telling analysis of Western culture, The Crisis of the Modern World, swiftly overtaken by events, Guénon based this his final and most profound critique squarely on changeless metaphysical principles. But to unite social criticism with metaphysics is to beget eschatology, and so, whereas in Crisis Guénon foresaw the end of Western civilization, in Reign he presents us with the end of a vaster world-age, or Manvantara, that began before the dawn of history as we know it.Guénon bases his critique on 'abstract' principles, but his examples are satisfyingly concrete. His chapter 'The Degeneration of Coinage' could easily be updated to include the transformation of money into a web of electronically-stored information, while in its treatment of the occult dangers of metallurgy 'The Significance of Metallurgy' points directly to our own well-founded fear of such man-made elements as plutonium. And his 'Fissures in the Great Wall' gives solid metaphysical grounding to our twentieth-century century demonology, including the UFO phenomenon. The Reign of Quantity presents a vision of the End Times that in no way contradicts traditional eschatologies, but is one key to their deeper meaning. Guénon sees history as a descent from Form (or Quality) toward Matter (or Quantity); but after the Reign of Quantity—modern materialism and the 'rise of the masses'—Guénon predicts a reign of 'inverted quality' just before the end of the age: the triumph of the 'counter-initiation', the kingdom of Antichrist. This text is considered the magnum opus among Guénon's texts of civilizational criticism, as is Symbols of Sacred Science among his studies on symbols and cosmology, and Man and His Becoming according to the Vedanta among his more purely metaphysical works.

Transcript of The Fissures in the Great Wall by Rene Guenon

CHAPTER THr Frssunrs ru rsr

XXV Gr.rer Well

Ifowrvrn far the " solidiGcation of the sensibleworld " may have gone, it can never be carried so far as to turn the world into a " closed system" such as is imagined by the materialists. The very nature ofthings setslimits to " solidification", and the more nearly those limits are approached the more unstable is the correspondingstate of affairs; in actual fac! as we have seen, th point corresponding to a maximum of " solidification" has already been passed,and the impressionthat the world is a " closedsystem" can only from now onwardsbecome more and more illusory and inadequateto the reality. " Fissures" have been mentionedpreviouslyas being the paths whereby certain destructive forces are already entering: and must continue to entet ver more freely; according to traditional symbolism these " fissures " occur in the " Great Wall " which surrounds the world and protectsit from the intrusion of maleficentinfluences coming from the inferior subtle domain.rrs In order that this symbolism may be fully understood in all its aspects,it is important to note that a wall acts both as a protection and as a limitation: in a sensetherefore it can be said to have both advantages and inconveniencesl but in so far as its principal purpose is to ensure an adequate defenceagainstattackscoming from below, the advantages incomparablythe more important, for it are is on the whole more useful to anyonc who happens to 5

OF QUANTITY be enclosedwithin its perimter to be kept out of reach of what is below, than it is to be continuously exposed to the ravagesof the enemy, or worse still to a more or lesscompletedestruction. In any case,a walled space as such is not closedin at the top, so that communication with superior domains is not Preventd' and this state of affairs is the normal one; but in the modern period the " shell " with no outlet built by materialismhas cut off that communication. Moreover, as alreadyexplained, since the " descent" has not yet come to an end, the remain intact overhead,that is, " shell " must necessarily in the direction of that from which humanity need not be protected,on the contrary' only beneficientinfuences " can com that way; the " fissures occur only at the base,and thereforein the actualprotectivewall itself, and the inferior forces which make their way in through them because under such meet with a much reducedresistance no power of a superior order can intervenein conditions order to oppose them effectively. Thus the world is to exposeddefenceless all the attacks of its enemies,the the present-daymentality being what more so because, which threatenit are wholly unperceived. it is, the dangers " In the Islamic tradition these " fissures are those by cycle, the devastatinghordesof which, at the end of the Gog and Magog will force their way in,lr? for they are unremitting in their efforts to invade this world; these " entities " representthe inferior influencesin question. They are considered as maintaining an underground and are describedboth as giants and as dwarfs; existence, with what was they may thus be identified, in accordance said earlier on the subject,and at leastin certain connections, which the " guardiansof the hidden treasure" and fire ", who have, with the smiths of the " subterranean THE REIGN206

FISSURES IN THE GREAT WALI, it may be recalled,an exceedinglymaleficentaspect; in all such symbolismsthe samekind of " infra-corporeal " subtle influences are rea)Jy alwaysinvolved.tre If the truth be told, the attemptsof these" entities " to insinuate themselvesinto the corporealand human world are no new thing, for they go back at least to somewhere near the beginning of the Kali-Tuga, a period far more remote than that of " classical antiquity, by which the " horizon of profane historians is bounded. In this connection, the Chinesetradition relatesin symbolicalterms that " Niu-Koua (sister and wife of Fo-hi, who is said to have reigned jointly with him) melted stones of nve coloursrrr in order to repair a tear in the sky made by a giant " (apparently,though it is not made quite clear, the tear was situatedon the terrestrial horizon);tro and this took placeat a period not more than a few centuries after the beginning of the Kali-Tuga. Nevertheless,although the Kali-Tuga as a whole is intrinsically a period of obscuration,so that ,,fissures" have been possible ever since it began, the degree of obscurationpervading its later phases far from having is been attained at once, and that is why " fissures,' could be repairedrelatively easily in earlier times; it was none the lessnecessary maintain a constantvigilance against to them, and this task was naturally among those assigned to the spiritual centres of the varioqEtraditions. Later on there came a period when, as a consequence the of extreme" solidification" of the world, thesesame.. fissures " were much lessto be feared,at least temporarilyi this period corresponds the first part of modern times, to the part that can be defined as being characteristically mechanisticand materialistic,in which the .. closedsystem " alluded to was most nearly realized, at least to the207


OF OUANTITY extent that any such thing is actually possible. Nowadays,that is to say, in the period which can be called the secondpart of moderntimes and which hasalreadybegun, conditions are certainly very different from the conditions obtaining in all earlier periods: not only can " " fissures occur more and more extensivel6 and be much more serious in charactel, becausea greater proportion of the descending course of manifestation has but also the possibilitiesof repairing been accomplished, not the sameasthey usedto be; the actionofthe them are spiritual centres has indeed becomeever more enclosed, because the superior influences which they normally transmit to our world can no longer be manifested externally, since they are held back by the " shell " alluded to above; and when the whole of the human and cosmicorder is in such a condition, where could a means of defencepossibly be found such as might be effective in any way against the " hordes of Gog and Magog " ? But that is not all: what has been said so far coversso to speakonly the negativeside of the growing dificulties encounteredby all attmPts to oPPosethe intrusion of maleficentinfluences,among these dificulties is a sort of inertia resulting from the general ignorance of such matters, and from " survivals" of the materialisticmentality and of the outlook it engenders; this inertia may endure longer than it otherwise would lecause the outlook in question has become more or less instinctive in the modernsand is now incorporatedin their very nature. Of course a majoriry of " spiritualists" and even of such, " traditionalists", or of peoplewho call themselves are in fact quite as materialistic as other people when matters of this kind are in qucstion' so that the situation is madeevenmore irremediableby the fact that thosewho 208





most sincerely want to combat the modern spirit are almost all unwittingly affectedby it, and all their efforts are thereforecondemnedto remain without any appreciable result; for these are matters in which good-will is far from being sufficient; effectiveknowledge is needed as well, indeed it is more needed than anything else, But effective knowledge is the very thing that is made impossibleby the influenceof the modern spirit with all its limitations, even in the caseof those who might have some intellectualcapabilitiesof the required kind if conditionswere lessabnormal. But apart from all these negative elements,the dificulties now under review have an aspectwhich can be called positive,and it may be taken to include everything in our world as we know it actively favourable to the intervention of subtle influences of an inferior kind, whether its work be done consciouslyor unconsciously. The logical sequncehere would be to consider in the first place the more or less " determining " part played by the actual agentsof the whole modern deviation,since the intervention of inferior influencesreally represents a new phasein the said deviation, and fits in exactly with the sequence the " plan" by which it is brought about i of it would clearly be necessary seekin sone such directo tion for the conscious auxiliariesof the maleficentforces; neverthelessthe xtent to which they are individually consciousof what they are doing may actually differ greatly in particular cases. As for the other auxiliaries, those who act in good faith and, becausethey know nothing of the true nature of the forces involved (thanks to the recently mentionedinfluenceof the modern spirit) they are never anything but mere dupes, though this does not prevent thir activity from being proportional200

OF QUANTITY to their sincerity and to their blindness; theseauxiliaries and they can be placed are alreadyvirtually numberless, ranging from the ingenuous adherin many categories, " ents of all sorts of " neo-spiritualist organizationsto " intuitionist " philosophers,by way of the " metathe psychic" scientistsand the psychologistsof the rnore recent schools. This matter need not be pursued any farther for the moment, for to do so would be to anticipate what will come latri in the meantime some examples " must be given of some of th ways in which " fissures can actually be brought about, also of the " supports" which the inferior order of subtle or Psychic influences (for the terms " subtle " and " psychic" applied to a dornain are for present purposessynonymous)are able to find in the cosmicenvironmentitsel( to assistthem in bringing their action to bear on the human world and therein. to enablethem to propagatethemselves THE REIGN