Categorized | Religion

Tradition, Antitradition and Countertradition

Most people who are familiar with the giants of the Traditionalist school such as Julius Evola or Rene Guénon understand what is meant by Tradition according to these authors.  In this context, “tradition” has a meaning which is far removed from mere custom or folklore.  Instead, “Tradition” takes on the facets of something which is divine and eternal.  In a word, it calls man back to what Schuon called the “transcendent unity”.  Tradition contrasts with modernity, whose sight is limited in scope, and concerned with quantity, not quality.  Evola describes the Tradition as embodying that which is “solar,” or “heroic” in nature, while anti-tradition is the direct antithesis of that.

Since Modernity is opposed to Tradition, there are two concepts that can be invoked in the description of modern life: antitradition and countertradition.  These may be perceived as the causes and effects of modernity.  In The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, René Guénon characterizes the antitradition as a mere negation of Tradition.  In other words, the characteristic symptoms of modernity, such as materialism, democracy, and secular humanism are a denial of Tradition, merely in the sense of failing to recognize it; they are  a deviation without actually becoming openly hostile.  Countertradition, however is a step further along the path of degeneration.  It is the satanic inversion of true spirituality, leading to the regime of Antichrist.

The two may be thought of as cause and effect, and is consistent with the principle of degeneration. The antitradition weakens and dissolves traditional spiritualities, after which the countertradition sets up a counterfeit in their place. Since Guénon’s time, as is well known, anti-traditional forces have greatly advanced worldwide.  The genesis of the anti-tradition, is within humanism, for as Guénon states, humanism “implies a pretension to bring everything down to purely human elements” (p 193). Guénon further goes on to posit that Protestantism and rationalism are further examples of the early antitradition.  Evola though, is more pessimistic and finds traces of the anti-tradition, which he equates with the presence of an ancient “Telluric,” or “southern,” civilization, in even ancient civilizations.  As an example, he cites the disentegration of the Aryan worldview as the concept of atman and brahman degenerating from a “formless, magical force” into a pantheistic concept which denied the existence of spiritual personality.

The Beginning of the End: For Western Europe, antitradition began with the decline of the Catholic Church

The manifestation of antitradition can be seen in all aspects of the Western world today.  Societies are crumbling, having lost direction and having rejected the aspects of a traditional society.  In political terms the system is democracy and secularism.  This system denies the existence of any divine cause, and regresses the castes in such a way that subjects him to be without a characteristic form.  The materialist outlook, whether it is capitalistic or communistic, is a system which is solely concerned with that of quantity.  Art, music, and culture are now the abstract expressions of soul-less individualism.  None of this is concerned with the spiritual betterment of human beings or any real human problems.  In America, the so-called ‘Land of the Free’, through every medium, man is told he has reached a degree of happiness hitherto undreamed of. He forgets who he is, where he came from, and basks in the present.

While antitradition is fully in force in the West, and has begun to spread to other parts of the world, we can already see countertraditional movements rising to the highest echelons of global political, economic, and religious power.  The existence of these movements would never be possible without the denial of tradition (i.e. antitradition).  The formations of such associations are allowing for a near-theological perspective on the tenets of the countertraditional society.  We can see such religious fervor in the way some in the West conduct themselves and view society.  As an example, there are certain groups which are now protected under the laws of the West, and certain histories, events, and concepts which the average person regards as canon.  In contrast to the anti-traditional attitude, which does not recognize Tradition, these new precepts are often diametrically opposed to the religious principles which, even 100 years ago, were at least paid nominal lip service to.

A clever disguise: In the absense of tradition, the countertradition can quickly take on many forms

At this point, antitradition manifests itself as a number of disconnected social movements.  Feminism, homosexuality, democracy, and liberalism are part of the transitional phase from antitradition to countertradition.  However, the countertradition will ultimately masquarade as a fully-fledged religion.  Both Guenon and Evola assert that the forces of “counter-initiation” are primarily occupied with cutting human beings off from the knowledge of anything transcendent, and then when this has been effectively completed, offering up a “parody” or “counterfeit” of the authentic initiatory experience “vitalized” by energies from the sub-human realm.  In the 20th and 21st century, many new religious movements have arisen: some of them are quite obviously draw their energies from chthonic sources, such as the various branches of Satanism or Luciferianism.  Some movements, such as modern Talmudism (which both rejects Christ and which is an inversion of the original principles of the ancient Israelite faith), are less subtle in their origins.  Still others are able to hide their nature as counterfeit spirituality, and are even being used by globalist powers to sow the seeds of conflict, such as Falun Gong or Baha’ism.

It is in the realm of countertradition, from which the prophesied Antichrist or Dajjal is to arise, because the Antichrist will superficially resemble Christ the Messiah, while doing the work of the Devil.  Thus, Tradition is not merely denied, but it is inverted, as per Guenon’s thesis.  This antichrist will seemingly provide for the needs of the people but deny them ultimate salvation.

For those worried about the coming counter-traditional world, Guenon gives us some words of hope, however:

between the fleeting reign of the ‘counter-traditiod and the final moment of the present cycle there can only be the ‘rectification’, which will suddenly put back all things into their normal place at the very moment when subversion seems complete, thus at one stroke preparing for the ‘golden age’ of the future cycle.

About Dawud al-Sini

Dawud al-Sini the webmaster of He is currently employed as a biomedical researcher and translator working in Taiwan. His technical interests include biomechanics, biomaterials, and nanofluidics. His other interests include both religious studies as well as the theory of history and politics.