The Reign of Quantity gives a concise but comprehensive view of the present state of affairs in the world, as it appears from the point of view of the ‘ancient wisdom’, formerly common both to the East and to the West, but now almost entirely lost sight of. The author indicates with his fabled clarity and directness the precise nature of the modern deviation, and devotes special attention to the development of modern philosophy and science, and to the part played by them, with their accompanying notions of progress and evolution, in the formation of the industrial and democratic society which we now regard as ‘normal’.
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.
For Guénon, history is only the reflection of a vast cosmic process taking its source in a metaphysical dimension (according to his metaphysical doctrine). From the traditionalist perspective, the temporal, phenomenal world is an outflow and manifestation of an unseen metaphysical reality that forms the origin and basis of the material, historical reality human beings perceive with their five senses.
The poet Charles Upton writes that:
in the Reign of Quantity, Guénon sees history in terms of the Hindu concept of the manvantara, the cycle of manifestation composed of Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron ages; […] This cycle is an inevitable descent from the pole of Essence (or forma) toward the pole of Substance (or materia). […] Essence is qualitative while substance is quantitative; As the cycle progresses or descends, the very nature of time and space changes.[…] In earlier stages, time is relatively eternal, as the cycle moves on, however, time begins to take over and accelerate, but this constant acceleration of time can’t go on forever. Time, the “devourer” ends by devouring itself. At the end of time, Time will be changed into space again. […] This ultimate timeless point is simultaneously the end of the cycle of manifestation and the beginning of the next.[…] Before this ultimate transformation, in the latter days of the present cycle certain final developments must take place. Since quantity has particularly to do with matter, the Reign of quantity must also be the reign of materialism. The age of miracles ceases, the world becomes less permeable to the influences of the higher planes of reality.
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.
Table of Contents
Introduction—Quality and Quantity—Materia Signata Quantitate—Measure and Manifestation—Spatial Quantity and Qualified Space—The Qualitative Determinations of Time—The Principle of Individuation—Uniformity against Unity —Ancient Crafts and Modern Industry—The Twofold Significance of Anonymity—The Illusion of Statistics—Unity and ‘Simplicity’—The Hatred of Secrecy—The Postulates of Rationalism—Mechanism and Materialism—The Illusion of ‘Ordinary Life’—The Degeneration of Coinage—The Solidification of the World—Scientific Mythology and Popularization—The Limits of History and Geography—From Sphere to Cube—Cain and Abel—The Significance of Metallurgy—Time changed into Space—Toward Dissolution—The Fissures in the Great Wall—Shamanism and Sorcery—Psychic Residues—The Successive Stages in Anti-Traditional Action—Deviation and Subversion—The Inversion of Symbols—Tradition and Traditionalism—Neo-Spiritualism—Contemporary Intuitionism—The Misdeeds of Psychoanalysis—The Confusion of the Psychic and the Spiritual—Pseudo-Initiation—The Deceptiveness of ‘Prophecies’—From Anti-Tradition to Counter-Tradition—The Great Parody: or Spirituality Inverted—The End of a World
- Man and His Becoming according to the Vedanta
Man and His Becoming according to the Vedanta is Guénon’s central exposition of traditional metaphysics, companion to his other two great works in this genre: The Symbolism of the Cross and The Multiple States of the Being. Guénon held that Hinduism embraces the most ancient, profound, and comprehensive expression of traditional metaphysics we possess, which can in some ways function as a key to every other traditional form, and this work has been called the first reliable exposition of Hindu metaphysics in any Western language. Before Guénon, the West’s image of Hinduism was a hodge-podge of translated scriptures lacking traditional commentary, fragments of doctrine reported by Jesuits and other missionaries, random impressions of merchants, imperialists, and adventurers, unreliable Eurocentric constructions of the orientalists, and the fantasies of the Theosophical Society and their ilk. To this day, Man and His Becoming remains one of the best (if not the best) expositions of the doctrines of the Vedanta, an exposition entirely free from the modernizing and Westernizing tendencies that first infiltrated the Indian subcontinent under the British Raj, and have not yet abated. This text is a veritable bible of traditional metaphysics and anthropology. In his Studies in Hinduism and Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctines, Guénon treats historical and cosmological aspects of Hinduism in further detail. Read here
The Multiple States of the Being
This text, René Guénon’s most comprehensive work of ‘pure’ metaphysics, is written as if nothing at all is, but That which is in its own essence. And, in truth, what else is there? Being is multiple and comprises many states, both manifest and unmanifest; but the unmanifest has precedence, what is seen being effectively nothing in the face of what is not seen. To realize this is to realize the contingency of the human state and the set of its inherent possibilities; to realize the contingency of the human state is to be liberated from it; to be liberated from the human state is to assimilate the principle by which the being can be liberated from all states. This is the end of the spiritual life, and also of the human form: ‘end’ both as telos and as annihilation. And since all beings in manifestation exist equally and simultaneously in all the planes and states of the Unmanifest, to know Infinite Possibility is precisely to become what one is. Read here
Here also important books on European Tradition:
And the very important Book East and west translated by Martin lings