András László and Metaphysical Traditionality
by Ferenc Buji
A truly significant man, whatever he is thinking
about, in fact, he is thinking about himself.
Exactly at that critical historical moment, when modernity, becoming universal and total, was about to triumph over the traditonal order of values of the »old man«, in the form of the »traditional school«, a new view appeared on stage, which was not only able to save the values of the archaic type of man for this utterly antitraditional world, but was also a serious intellectual challenge to modernity as a whole. Moreover, even as the isolated units of traditionality were already fighting a rearguard action against the numerical superiority of modernitiy, the traditional worldview - with a sudden transposing of forces to another sphere - was even able to turn its ever weakening defence into an offence, thus proving that even if the truth of traditon can die away in time, following from its essential atemporality, somehow, it always manifests itself in the world of temporality: since there will always be men who keep guard over the sacred flame and pass it on to those who consider themselves worthy of taking it.
The traditional view and the school holding this view in the present overindulgence of views and schools - without any exaggeration - has a unique position: for while other schools, whatever their attitude towards the modern world or towards certain manifestations of it may be, criticise and attack it from a more or less common platform, the platfrom of the school in question is devoid of modernity; in other words, whereas all the other trends, schools and views attack certain aspects of modernity from inside modernity, the traditional school settled outside modernity-as-a-view-and-attitude, and beyond its having been formulated for modern men in a modern age, there is nothing modern in it. That is to say, metaphysical traditionality is the only view which is capable of looking at not only all modern phenomena, but also the totality of the modern world from the outside - and in the sense of having a view of it from above -, and judging it by a perennial scale of values the ultimate source of which is the Metaphysicum Absolutum itself, that is God.
TRADITIONALITY VERSUS MODERNITY
As the life and view of the »old man« - independently of whether Precolumbian America, Tibet at the turn of the century or Ancient Egypt is in question - was essentially defined by the same principles despite all the cultural differences making the traditional world a coherent unity, in just the same way the modern world - independently of whether we examine present day Greece, Canada or South-Korea - is similarly defined by a circle of principles, making the world a more and more coherent unity. Indeed, between these two stable and prevailing eras, there lies the world of history: the historical periods of the past centuries, which came one after the other with an ever increasing speed, were transitional periods leading from prehistory, in the sense of what is above history, towards posthistory, in the sense of what is below history.
There are different interpretations and symbolisms at hand if we are to define the difference, or rather the opposition, between traditionality and modernity. First of all - to follow the previous train of thought - whereas it was the very principles of the traditional world which branded it with a stamp of unity, it is the very principles of the modern world which brand it with a stamp of uniformity. It is but multiplicity which differentiates unity from uniformity, that is it connects the manifold: not only does it bear, but also demands multiplicity. The traditional world was culturally, religiously as well as doctrinally unbelieveably multifarious, and more often than not peoples living side by side were separated from each other by insurmountable cultural differences. Inspite of this - or in a sense, exactly because of this - those essential and formative principles, which, under given circumstances, resulted in a wide range of applications, were the same. Modern time, however, may not be characterized by unity for the simple reason that it gradually eliminates - and for the most part has already eliminated - one of its indisputable conditons, namely multiplicity: wherever man should direct his view today, he sees the same, and the prevailing differences can be attributed to the past alone, which has not been completely eliminated yet. The principles to which the modern world has committed itself can only make a more or less coherent unity of the world if, at the same time, they tailor outer forms to the same pattern, and physically connect those domains which originally were not connected. Thus modern globalism is not in the spirit of »universality«, as is the unity of the traditional world, but in the spirit of »generality«, which is merely a poor substitute for the former. Since the universal, as it is not bound to numerical conditions, is par excellence of a qualitative nature; unifying, that is the material connection of separated parts is only necessary where there is a lack in unity in principles. And this is what shows that the principles of modernity are not of the same rank as the principles of traditionality, since they are bound to the surface of the world of forms.
However in connection with the active and operating faculty of the principles of modernity there is another basic problem, which one cannot leave unnoticed; this not only shows the phenomenal »inrootedness« of these principles, but also their being in oppositon to normality. When we talk about the coherence of normality, this in fact is a rather fragmentary coherence. It is necessarily so, for perfect coherence being realised by modern principles would indeed lead to the total disintegration of the modern world. The modern world is bound to apply some characteristically premodern principles - naturally in a fairly weakened state -, otherwise it would have already become unable to operate, and what is more - in the words of René Guenon - »in all probability it should have miserably faded away long ago«. Modern principles for the most part, since they are in se the embodiments of destruction, if they are consequently applied also undermine themselves. And it is enough to mention but one characteistic feature of modernism here, namely its general relativism manifested in numberless domains, and which necessarily - but in exact opposition with the aims of modernity - relativises itself too.
The most oustanding opposition between the traditional and modern/antitraditional world can be illustrated by way of a two-grade linear symbolism. First of all what is obvious at first sight is that while the previous is characterised by a kind of »verticality«, the latter is characterised by a kind of »horizontality«. For tradition and the world of tradition derives itself- its totality - from above, and adjusts itself to it: that is, for it the top of the hierarchical order of being is not only the Source, but the Norm and the Organising Principle as well. And what is more, since according to metaphysical tradition the top of the hierarchical order of being is the source and norm of all things, it is at the same time the ultimate goal of everything. Source - Norm - Goal: for tradition these are God. In this manner, tradition is no other than a vertical-principled system of dependence, in which everything adjusts itself to and strives for what is above it, and ultimately to God. Against this »verticality« modernity manifests itself as »horizontality«: expansion, conquering of the world, space-travel, profit, consumption, welfare, world-market, science, technology, sport, entertainment, comfort, rather than adjusting upwards; pragmatism, functionalism, instrumentalism, relativism, humanism, socialism - all of which are manifestations of the principle according to which »everything is measured by itself«. God may exist, but Its importance is exclusively restricted to the domain of private life, and for modernity or for the world of modernity it is neither Source nor Norm nor Goal. Modernity, however would not stop at mere horizontality: this horizontal expansion - or rather sprawling - of the modern world serves only to conceal its continuous vertical but descending movement in the hierarchical order of being. Since the source and norm of antitraditional modernity is down at the bottom of the hierarchical order of being, at the base of the world pyramid - and exactly because of this, in the sense of a dark ideality, its goal is there as well. Everything derives from below, be it organic life (evolutionism) or social life (progressivism). The starting point is forever primitive. It aims to define everything from below and to adjust what is above to what is below (democratism). That which comes to being does not come to being by way of a descension, as in the traditional view, but develops from a lower form of being. And since every »world« has an elementar attraction towards the form from which it derives itself - that is its source -, the innermost aspirations of the modern world also point to the source of this world: downwards. The »horizontality« of modernity is no other than the preparation and veiling of this »verticalism« which is with a negative sign and with negative tendencies - so it could be said that the intensity with which the modern world is expanding is the intensity with which it is continuously sliding downwards.
But from another perspective the difference between traditionality and modernity may be approached by way of a circular symbolism. According to this - in a static sense - the former represents the centre or the reference to the centre, while the latter the periphery; or - in a kinetic sense - the former represents the centripetal striving towards the centre, while the latter the centrifugal drifting towards periphery. While the aspiration towards the centre or the normative relationship with the centre solder all the aspirations into an essential unity - as there is only one centre -, the movement towards periphery has numberless possibilitites and in these motions there is only one common element: the moving away from the centre. And while the centre is the true Principium Principiorum of all the principles deriving from it, the »peripheral principles« - that is the principles of modernity connected to the world of forms - necessarily represent a divergence and disintegration: they lead and attract towards endless divergence. If we take a rotating circle as a basis of our symbolism, the centre is the symbol of immobility and immutability, motor immobilis, and this is what the archaic world represents. That, which is usually interpreted as archaic staticity, is in fact an unbelievably dynamic force, which was more or less able to fix the world thrown into and flowing with temporality into stability. Since in a river with a strong current he who lets himself be taken by the current cannot be considered dynamic, but he who, against the power of the current, is able to stay at one place. For this is not static, but an utmost dynamic deed, even if man, from the outside, seems to stay in the same pace. This striving for stability of the archaic world, in fact, represents the permanence of eternity in the temporal world: archaic man aimed at triumphing over time with the slowing down of time and with the stopping of time - with the direct means of the cyclical view of time; since linear time, which is flowing away, compelled into cycles periodically returns to the beginning and in this way loses its historicity. Modern man is at war with time too, but with an utterly different strategy: not by slowing down, but rather with an ever increasing speed does he try to overcome time. Therefore, the real symbol of the modern world is speed. Time, however, cannot be overcome by an ever increasing acceleration and speed, and it is shown very well by modern man’s constant lack of time: despite his better and better time saving devices and procedures he is abnormally and forever pressed for time.
But between the two eras not only in the aspect manifested outwards is there an insurmountable distance, but in the inner aspect as well - and this is exactly metaphysics itself and that which is the most closely connected to it: spirituality. Religiousness of today’s man - if one can still consider it religiousness - in its attempt to meet the demands of the age, on the one hand has sunk to a miserably low level and has become a religiousness which serves a type of man who is not the least interested in transcendence; on the other hand this »slightly-religion« has lost its influence on man and the world to the extent that it can practically be regarded as an appendix: an appendix of the modern world, the loss of which would no longer incur any kind of conflict, for it would simply mean the loss of something superfluous (which indeed can easily become dangerous). It is merely an ornament on the frontpiece of the modern world. As a reaction against this slowly and totally earth-levelled and »liberated« religiousness there appeared on the one hand - as a kind of »Bolshevistic« deformation - a convulsive pseudo-religiousness, namely sectarianism, which is a grotesque counter-image of the religiousness of the »former«man, the home religiosus. At the same time, another counter-effect of flattened mass religiousness is the popularisation and vulgarisation and in some cases the perversion of the esoteric, gnostic spirituality of the former man, which has always been open only to the most excellent ones - since the mass falsifies these truths even if it only talks about them. As opposed to this, the religiousness of the »old man« appearing on the folk level not only did permeate the individual himself but organised the totality of the cultural, social and state sphere into a true order and at the same time its esoteric-gnostic spirituality insured a possibility for the most excellent ones to transcend cycles and order, to attain freedom.
Well, 20th century metaphysical traditionality as a »philosophical school« is the repository and representative of the world-view and life-conduct of traditional man. »The traditional view, interpretation, inspection and evaluation of tradition: this is what is related to the 20th century traditional school« - says András László; since up to now, tradition has only been inspected from a side which is foreign to tradition or is openly against it. This school totally absorbed all the essential and universal elements of the view of former man, and the quintessential view distilled from it is what, with András László’s expression, we could call »metaphysical traditionality«. Metaphysical traditionality as a view and school under the aegis of traditionality realised the synthesis of spirituality and intellectuality - since the synthesis of spirituality and intellectuality cannot be realised under the aegis of a view different from traditionality. The synthesis of spirituality and intellectuality: this exactly is metaphysics - and true metaphysics, metaphysica vera could not be other than metaphysica traditionalis: traditional metaphysics. One of the outstanding representatives of this traditional school is the author of the present book: András László.
A biography consisting of but the simple facts is of some value only in case of such persons who have not much to say. In other words, the more excelling one’s endeavours in the realm of spirituality, the less relevant the mere data of one’s life will be. Of course, this also applies to András László.
András László was born in Budapest, in 1941. Having finished his secondary school studies, he read Calvinist theology, but soon after starting he had to stop it because he was arrested. At first he was accused of »having played an initiating and leading role in organizing a movement to overthrow the popular-democratic political system«. Later his term was greatly reduced, so he was imprisoned only for four months. In the meantime - in 1959 - he got in touch with the only legal Hungarian organization that was able to satisfy the interest of those for whom theology in itself was not enough: The Buddhist Mission. In the beginning he was a student, then a lecturer of the Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Buddhist Seminary (later named Institute of Buddhology) between 1964 and 1968 - which functioned within the frame of the Mission. It was then that he got acquainted with Béla Hamvas, and for the coming five years - Hamvas died in 1968 - they had friendly and spiritual relationship with one another. The sixties, however, proved to be - for both of them - a trying decade from an existential point of view. László, for example, tried to make a living at some twenty workplaces: he worked for the Éttermi és Büfé Vállalat (Catering and Buffet Company), for the Aszfaltútépítő Vállalat (Asphalt Road-building Company), he was a handyman as well as a vanguard. In the meantime once again he did try to go on with Calvinist theology, but being dissatisfied with the atmosphere prevailing there he did not even finish the first year. Instead, he took up Catholic theology. As a laic student he finished the otherwise six-year curriculum in four years, between 1971-1975. Naturally he also kept in touch with the Buddhist Mission. In the year of 1975 he acquired his doctoral degree - from the West-German Province of the Mission - with a treatise titled Licht des Alls in Menschenwesen the Hungarian version of which - A mindenség fénye az emberben - was published in the very same year. Having graduated, he became a full-time professor of the Institute of Buddhology, where, until 1983, he continued to teach philosophy of religion - which, as a matter of fact, in his case meant lecturing on traditional Weltanschauung. In 1983 he broke contact with the Mission, and from then on he started holding public lectures - at first in private rooms only. Then, from 1988, when the political situation made it possible, he held public lectures and seminars so that he could present his ideas. He expressed and expresses his notions - in Budapest, Szentendre, Sopron, Nagycenk, Debrecen, Nyíregyháza, just to mention some of the places - about almost every question of utmost importance as far as human knowledge and orientation are concerned. Let us mention just a few of these: the relation of being and consciousness in the view of Oriental metaphysical traditions; the cosmic and metaphysical origin of man and his anthropological structure; the field of death and immortality; the mutual connection between cognition and action; the problem of transforming cognition as a function of consciousness; the conceptual foundation of metaphysical practice; the questions of spiritual deviations; the examination of the multifarious aspects of modernity as to religion, culture, science, society, way of life and functions of consciousness; the connection between the right-wing attitude and traditionality; the questions of liberty, democracy and liberalism; the relation of society and state, faith and knowledge; Tantric yoga; the metaphysics of sexuality; the relation of Christianity and universal tradition; the relationship between world crisis and crisis of consciousness; the metatheology of Sophia and Logos; the traditional concept of the arts; the metaphysical principles of Buddhism; the path from super-historicity through historicity onward to subhistoricity; problems of time and eternity as connected to metaphysical theory and practice.
SOLIPSISM - KALI-YUGA - RIGHT-WING ATTITUDE
András László’s traditional Weltanschauung has three key issues: »solipsism«, »kali-yuga«, i. e. dark age, and the »right-wing attitude«.
Solipsism does not sound too well in the European history of ideas - it is made up of the Latin solum (»alone«) and ipsum (»myself«). In fact, there are several kinds of solipsism, but all of them originate from two basic types: ethic solipsism and ontological solipsism - or, from another approach, practical solipsism and theoretical solipsism. While ethic-practical solipsism covers sort of a super-egoistic attitude, ontological-theoretical solipsism - starting from the epistemological perception that every existing or seemingly existing thing is verified by experience - comes to the following conclusion: the empirical world exists only in experience, ergo in the experiencing subject. There is one point, however, that connects both versions of solipsism - this at the same time separates them from the solipsism of András László - namely, that both have the same subject: the individuum. The subject of metaphysical solipsism is not the self-confined individuum but the Individuum Absolutum, in which the individuum separatum is rooted. This final, universal Subject - who is actually I myself - in fact happens to be God himself: i. e., God is the final Subject of each and every subject, and, consequently only by this Subject can each and every subject be a subject in its own, particular form. Thus, there is an equality sign connecting God with my final Myselfness - God and Myself are related to each other as in microphysics when the corpuscular and the wave-like nature of electrons are compared: it depends on the way of contemplation what we call it. Just as Meister Eckhart put it: »the eyes with which I can see God are the same as those through which God sees me. My eyes and God’s eyes are the same eyes, the same vision, the same cognition, the same love.« In other words, this does not only mean that - thinking in the first person singular - God is after all the final, one and only Ego of my own existence, but it also asserts that the factual Myselfness happens to be the God of my own, actual identification. This is the strange situation that made King Sikhidhvaja say - as is written down in Yoga Vasistha - the following paradoxical sentence: »I have the honour of respectfully bowing my head to my own true Self.« However, this does not only mean that the roots of God and those of the individuum are the same (autotheism), there is another point, too, namely that there exists but one Being, the being of this Absolute. Consequently, it would be absurd to raise the question of other beings beyond this one and only one (theomonism): »The true being, i. e. the existence of God, is such a being that appears as non-being, while the imaginary being, i. e. the existence of the world is such a non-being that appears as existence« - says the Sufi Nasafi of Aziz exactly in the same sense as it was phrased by Plato, who thinks that the former »exists forever, and has nothing to do with the genesis«, while the latter »always keeps on coming into being but never exists.« So, solipsism is the logical conclusion of the coexistence of autotheism and (theo)monism - and this conclusion has been clearly and quintessentially defined by András László: »The heteron (the »different«) is the unrecognized auton (»myself«)«. It goes without saying that under such circumstances there is no point in referring to egoism and not even to traditionally interpreted unselfishness either. After all - as Ramana Maharsi puts it - »if one could recognize the truth that everything he gives to others is actually given to his own self by himself, what could one say then about moral men, about those who help others?! As everybody is identical with one’s own final Self, whatever you do to somebody, you actually do to yourself.« This also clarifies the fact that metaphysical solipsism is not simply a question of philosophical viewpoint, not just a matter of intellectual comprehension, it is a living experience obtained by fully going along the metaphysical path, and this very experience is the source of all metaphysícal schools - be they the Hindu advaita vedanta, the Buddhist vajrayana, the Muslim wujudi-school or the Greek-Christian neoplatonism - that are preoccupied, either implicitly, or explicitly, with the basic issues of solipsism.
There is one point, however, that lends a unique and particular trait to the solipsism of András László, and this is that he lays special emphasis on the basic importance of the so-called own-person. It is significant because the different forms of philosophical solipsism universally took and take the view that another person has the same right to see and interpret the world solipsistically as the given solipsist has - i. e. solipsism, as far as perception and reality are concerned, has got more subjects. It is clear that such a solipsism can be taken for solipsism only in a very relative sense, since it postulates many ipsum - or rather ipsus/ipse and ipsa (masculine and feminine ipsum) - and thus, solipsism itself would be hurt in case of each and every person, i. e. every person would make a hole in the balloon of solipsism letting out its air continuously. As opposed to the philosophical solipsism, of course, metaphysical solipsism of traditions had not made this mistake, yet it was András László who, by introducing the concept of the »own person« clearly defined the connection between the person(s) and the Universal Subject. Because one’s own person is not simply one person of the many but a basically different one from all the other persons. Not in the sense that this person is mine while all the other persons are not, but declaring that all the other persons belong to themselves (since in this case the number of one’s own persons would be equal to the actual number of existing persons, and the subject of their own persons would always be different). Instead of this, he makes us understand that all the other persons are rooted in one’s own person, and only through one’s own person do they belong to the final Subject of being. Thus, opposed to both the multitude of persons - and, in a certain sense, to that of the one-and-onliness (sic!) of the Subject - there is but a single own person - or to put it differently: there is but one ego: »mine«. The other egos are actually not I but you or he - i. e. the heteron (which is of course an unrecognized auton). Like the other persons, the own person is also part of the maya (= the universal enchantedness), but that particular part through which the entirety of manifestation, including all the persons - though not according to his own identification (see aphorism 290) - can return to Himself/Myself (atma). And as in every dream where the source and the creator of the dreamworld and of its characters is after all the dreamer himself, however this creating process is effected through the dreamer’s dreaming self, and, similarly, waking up can only happen if at first the dreamworld and its characters are integrated into one of the participating persons of the dream, the same holds for the awaken world together with its numberless persons can only be generated and return back to their source of origin through the own person - i. e. through my own person. Thus, the concept of »the own person« - both in the individual dreamworld and in the universal enchantment of being - becomes extremely significant, and it is easy to note that this solipsistic theory, in its entirety, invokes such a metaphysical practice whose essence is reductio itself, in the original meaning of the word - i. e. leading back. Because, he who wants to wake up has to »come back« to Himself, and once you have come back to Yourself, everything will return to you.
The second cardinal point in András László’s Weltanschauung is the doctrine of kali-yuga, i. e. the present dark age or in a wider sense the cyclic descent. Because metaphysical tradition takes a standpoint by which the constant descent of history is declared, and that the descent has just reached its nadir. In point of fact the reason for descent is due to the beginning’s superiority; as for the superiority of the beginning, the reason is the superiority of the Source: God - for essentially and ontically the farther something gets from its ultimate Source - the Non-manifested Manifestor - the lower it descends. Hence descent is a universal law of being which concerns the totality of existence as well as its particulars (for sooner or later everything perishes, deteriorates, disintegrates...) - and against which only free and conscious will is able to initiate a counter move. That is the reason why Tradition turns towards the past: not to the past but to the Source through the past, for Tradition does not regard old things as a norm but considers that norms are manifest in old things. Obviously modern men radically refuse this thought - and in fact the refusal of this very thought makes them modern. Because the essence of modernity is anti-traditionality, that is the opposition to tradition, and the basis of this agressive praxis is the theory that considers »old things« necessarily more worthless than »new ones«. This opinion - that is the irrational faith in evolution and progress - is in fact stucturally atheist because it implies that the beginning is inferior, and if there were something which were the source of the beginning it would be even more inferior. The logical analogy or the very opposite of tradition’s Metaphysicum Absolutum is the hypothetic Physicum Nihilum of modernity, the substantial root of our world, the materia prima, the potentia passiva pura. The god of modernity is Nothingness.
When someone says that »how can we speak about descent when the age of modernity shows an incredible progress both in science and technology« by this assertion he just proves what he wanted to disprove: for he regards mere material development (science, technology) as the standard for human progress; that is he regards something which is purely instrumental as a standard and in this way its value comes from only that purpose of which it is the instrument. In this manner progress in the modern sense cannot be regarded other than satisfying more inferior needs in a more superior way - and »if we spiritually valorize the jet-plane carrying a hundred persons we must realize that it is not of more value than a merry-go-round. Rather less« (Béla Hamvas). Naturally no one has the slightest intention of querying the progress in the field of science and technology, but the traditional school treats precisely these fields as something of slight importance in respect of the true object of humanity, and in this way it does not even attach crucial importance to deciding the problem of progress. Because the real object of humanity is not horizontal expansion in the human state but the vertical transcending of it: developing from human condition towards superhumanity and divinity - and the collectivum must be ordered by such principles which does not prevent but help this vertical movement of the individuum in being. On the contrary, modern man - as Werner Heisenberg put it - more and more resembles to a ship whose compass does not point towards the North Pole but its own »iron body« (cf. human-ism) - nevertheless we know that for Tradition the North Pole, the boreal region, and the North Star representing the hyper-boreal region with its immobility and axiality, represent exactly that extra-samsaric point from which the world can in fact be turned inside out.
It is not only here that constant descent is demonstrated but also in an area which exerts even more influence on contemporary man’s views and existential niveau (which is often in reverse ratio to material wealth) than technical achievements - and this is culture. Obviously the value of culture cannot be defined from a quantitative point of view: How many books on average does someone read in a year? How many performances is he allowed to attend? How many television channels can he watch? - and so on. The value of culture and the cultural niveau of any age are defined by that inherent quality which dominantly characterizes culture, and which inevitably leaves its mark on the totality of society. If we examine the dominant influence of culture, the insignificant minority, which has superior criteria when choosing what they give a role in their life, will be of no interest to us for the very reason that the overwhelming majority of cultural intelligentsia does not even belong to this cathegory! The decisive word is on the side of mass-culture. Mass-culture is a consuming-oriented ancillary culture and this mere fact alone would be enough to characterise its general niveau on the one hand and its general tendency on the other hand. In this mass-culture which desires to satisfy every level of aspiration the culturally unambitious essentially feeds on the same things as the connoisseur, even if there is an almost irreconcilable distance between these two cultural levels in the mode and fastidiousness of formulation. While the »popular« version of mass-culture appealing to the lowest instincts oscillates between stone-hard brutality and mawkish sentimentality - taking of course much care to give a place to crime or criminality - the »high« version of the very same thing almost in its every manifestation suggests the unreality, the non-existence and the absurdity of the counter-world and counter-values of the world depicted by the »popular« version - and it does this with increasingly greater efficacy and, at the same time and from a certain point of view with increasingly firmer grounding. Since modern man is not aware of beauty and noble in the classical sense any more (because these there is no roomfor these in the pragmatical consumer-informational world indeed) starting from his own principle he thinks that in fact such values do not even exist, they have never existed, and descriptions informing us about such things are nothing other than fairy tales.
It is obvious that a consuming-oriented ancillary culture could not serve the normal purpose of culture: it cannot be a supportive culture. On the contrary, it necessarilly generates constant inflation. And for the person who is able to see the cultural tendency of thousands of years from above it is doubtless that while archaic-traditional culture and art had had an exalting character, and the following culture and art had a reflective character, modern and particularly postmodern culture and art have a destructive character - not only when we examine their popular manifestations, but often when we examine their most excellent productions.
The third point, which is highly significant in András László’s philosophy and therefore must be touched upon, is the right-wing attitude. Traditionality is a complex Weltanschauung covering all aspects and levels of human existence. Nevertheless, we may well say that tradition as the world concept of ancient people, and traditionality as the approach of contemporary anti-modern people, has two pillars. One of these is spirituality, which being an instrument, a method, and a path at the same time, renders man surpassing himself towards his own ultimate divine totality possible; the other is politics in the widest sense, which organizes people into a hierarchically social and governmental structure. Spirituality bears the mark of Freedom, for its ultimate aim is to surpass conditional bonds, that is, to make man recognize himself as the Absolutum, the unconditional totality of being. Politics, on the other hand, is characterized by Order, the terrestrial reflection and image of the celestial world, the mission of which is to secure such conditions for the human world, both at the collective and at the individual level, which enable life to harmonize with divine principles; for the terrestrial Order must in all respects adapt itself harmoniously to the celestial Order. Accordingly, the normative goal of a society or a collective must always coincide with and serve the normative purpose of an individual. And it really happens every time, for as the sacred pervades all aspects of life in the ideal traditional society, thus consumption penetrates everything in the »ideal« modern society.
In the archaic era, or generally speaking, in the age of tradition, man lived, nearly spontaneously and without objectifying of any kind, according to what we can call a right-wing attitude in the original sense of the word. That which is called a left-wing attitude today, however, is hardly older than a few hundred years; it appeared in the late period of the disintegrating Tradition and since its appearance it has become increasingly dominant, gradually shifting the relative and actual political centre to the left (the absolute centre, of course, never changes). This kind of shifting to the left is still in progress in spite of the fact that every notable political party today is almost completely leftist. That which is considered to be a right-wing attitude today, or the party which defines itself as being on the right wing, can only very relatively be considered right-wing from the traditional point of view. The same refers to the present parliamentary right wing and ultra-right wing as well as to the ultra-right-wing movements of the first half of the 20th century, since they were - and still are - contaminated with left-wing ideas to such an extent, that if we had to designate their place between the absolute right-wing and the absolute left-wing attitude, they would all rather be nearer to the left-wing extremity than to the middle line of the two extremities, which is the absolute centre (see the illustration below).
The right-wing attitude in the traditional sense, therefore, cannot be identified with that which is called the right-wing attitude today, because the former, being much more right-wing than the latter, is a maximally right-wing attitude uncontaminated by left-wing ideas. The right-wing attitude does not belong to qualities and values which are optimally ideal, but to those which are maximally ideal. Therefore, the term »extreme-right-wing attitude« is in fact contradictio in adiecto, because the right-wing attitude cannot have extreme variations. Only that can have extreme variations which possesses an optimum-point and then swings over that point. Today what is called an »extreme-right-wing attitude«, if the term »extreme« can be applied to it at all, is extremist not because of its right-wing attitude, that is, not because it over-represents right-wing values, but because of other reasons (aggressive anti-left-wing attitude, violence, populism, demagogy, etc.).
ALA APC ARA
rla2 rc2 rra2 <-------------- rla1 rc1 rra1
[today] [in the past]
The relationship between the absolute right-wing and left-wing attitude
and the relative right-wing and left-wing attitude.
ARA: absolute right-wing attitude / APC: absolute political centre / ALA: absolute left-wing attitude / rra1: relative right-wing attitude in the early period of the disintegrating tradition / rc1: relative centre in the early period of the disintegrating tradition / rla1: relative left-wing attitude in the early period of the disintegrating tradition / rra2: the relative right-wing attitude today / rc2: the relative centre today / rla2: the relative left-wing attitude today / <---: the direction of the movement of the relative centre in history.
What are the criteria of the maximally right-wing attitude? Putting it negatively, it is the denial of any components of left-wing ideas:
be it democratism, i.e. the principle of people’s sovereignty which represents the dominion of quantity at the social level, and which can manifest itself in the form of bourgeois democracy (»government by the mob«-says Plato) as well as of communist dictatorship (which, owing to its lack of effect and its seemingly near-conservative nature, had to disappear from the political arena);
be it socialism which is but humanism at the social level, that is, a kind of »social narcissism« when society focuses on itself;
be it nationalism and internationalism, the aims of which are first to disintegrate the old order and then to form a new counter-order;
be it egalitarianism which disqualifies the individuals, or liberalism, the theory and practice of universal deprivation of values and ideas, which while announcing free competition among ideas maintains the position of an outside director for itself;
be it revolutionary ideology, whose fundamental principle is that if two factors are hierarchically arranged above or below each other, the one in the higher position will surely oppress and exploit the subordinate one, on account of which the latter is forced to resort to »revolutionary violence« in order to shake off the former’s yoke;
be it relativism, this par excellence samsarian theory, which aims at making every truth relative, except its own;
be it rationalism, which appears when the totally instrumental and essentially executive intellectual faculty (ratio) - knowing only the question »how?« - shakes off the »shackles« of the supra-rational intellect (intellectus), -which always considers a particle in relation to the whole, and which is only competent to answer the questions »what?« and »why?«-, and either becomes independent or directly enters the service of sub-rational powers;
be it secularized messianism, that is, utopianism (inseparable from both forms of the left-wing attitude) which the more systematically works for the sake of the »Noble Cause«, the more it tries to conceal the real nature of »the end of history« and the »woeful role of the last man« in it;
be it self-service religiousness, which, instead of lifting man up, is continually degrading the level of religion;
be it the squirrel’s-wheel of production and consumption, the only cycle known by modern man, which is forced to move at a more and more furious pace;
and finally we must not forget that both basic forms of the left-wing attitude go hand in hand with both materialism as dogmatic ideology (social democratism) and materiality as mentality (liberalism).
The left-wing attitude also manifests itself at the psychological level, for while the general aim of today is that instincts should be liberated and reach a dominant position, that inhibitions should cease, and that continuously increasing desires should search for newer satisfaction, what actually takes place is that what is supposed to stay down below and in detention is allowed to well up and rule (one of the most frightening word for a modern left-wing and post-Freudian person is »repression«). This principle having become the basis of 20th century psychology is but the invasion of the left-wing attitude into the sphere of psychology. The left-wing attitude, without exception, makes the most of the political conjuncture determined by kali-yuga, in other words, the left-wing attitude does not control changes (as is believed by certain theoreticians such as Friedrich A. Hayek), it only serves a blind mechanism. Generally speaking, the left-wing attitude - at least in its liberal, solely progressive variation - likes things to organize themselves, allowing them to follow their own ways (»self-adapting systems«, laissez faire), which of course results in continuous inflation, »nivellation« and the loss of values in every field, be it economics, culture, religion, etc. If, however, this process does not reach the desired pace, or if the given category has already reached its natural level and is expected to sink no more by itself, the left-wing attitude often tries to »organize« - but rather disorganize! - things, which process leads even to their further lowering.
Putting it positively, the pure right-wing attitude takes such a world concept as its starting point, at the summit of which is positioned God. Analogously, it tries to organize every field of life in such a way that it should be harmonious with this Principium Principiorum (cf. »Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven«), and adjusts the low to what is higher and what is higher to what is above it, continuing until it gets to the Supreme Being who is above all and ultimately determines everything. Thus, the right wing is theocratic in principle, according to which this divine dominion can only be realized by monarchical and aristocratic (feudal) political formations. At the point of intersection of heaven and earth stands the king, the man par excellence, who has fully realized the human character, not in the sense of given conditions but of possibility, and who is the embodiment of the central principle, which pervading the whole world »below heaven«, specifically manifests itself according to the given field. The right-wing attitude does not separate the State and the Church, the profane and the sacred spheres, because, essentially, they both point toward the same ultimate Point, toward their origin.
The slogan of the right-wing system in traditional society has always been Order based on a higher organizing principle (Sanskrit dharma). Tradition has always been aware of the fact that what the people or the masses need is not freedom but Order. As José Ortega y Gasset has excellently pointed out, inertia, and not the numerical majority of people makes mass the mass. The mass can always be mobilized. Knowing that, tradition has always been conscious of the fact that the people and the masses, being inert and consequently apt to sinking, have to be controlled from above. Obviously, if the maintaining power of Order weakens or ceases to be, the mass starts sinking by virtue of the force of inertia of its own weight (this is the »power« of the people: its own moment of inertia). Meeting with secular culture and civilisation, traditional people almost immediately start to go downhill and get ruined in the end, because the bonds, which have always held them relatively high up, break. This mere »reinlessness«, which was a characteristic feature of the transitional period between traditionality and modernity, has been crowned by the activation of special degrading forces in the modern, and particularly in the post-modern age.
This, naturally, never means that the traditional world has rejected freedom; on the contrary, only the traditional world held freedom in dignity becoming to its rank. Freedom, as a faculty and virtue, was the privilege of the few - the prominent people -, while Order was the task of everyone. The »ancient man« was aware of the fact that Freedom cannot be democratized, for virtus, manly virtue attached to high qualities in the original sense of the word, cannot, practically, be shared out. Freedom is not a basis to be provided for people but a faculty to be achieved. Neither the trade union, nor the Parliament, nor women’s rights movement can obtain freedom for people, because the freedom they secure is never a real freedom. The one who needs to be liberated is a servant; and a servant having been liberated is still a servant: a liberated servant. Only the winner is free; only the one who is able to control, and first of all, who is capable of self-control can be free. As self-knowledge is the basis of every cognition, thus self-control is the basis and crowning of every type of control. Besides Freedom, control is closely connected to Order, that is, choosing Order already implies Freedom, is an important step towards Freedom, for Freedom can only be gained by surpassing the realized and maximalized Order. It would be nonsensical to think that freedom can be realized without strength and power - or to be more precise, without personal strength and power -. It would similarly be unreasonable to believe that any other than the superior can be free; the inferior can never be free for the very reason that it is - even in the prime of its political power - always down below. Only that one can be free who is up above, likewise, maintaining power can only be possible from above.
What the left-wing/liberal masses consider freedom is but liberation and »breaking loose«: emantipatio. This is not the result of personal power and victory but of a deprivation of restraints - which even an external institute can carry out. While freedom requires power, breaking loose, on the contrary, requires weakness and reinlessness. The mass cannot maintain itself because maintenance always needs an inner controlling power; the mass can only be maintained from above: it lets itself go by nature. Therefore, when the controlling and maintaining power of Order ceases to be, the mass will come to the state of reinlessness. This is what liberation and »breaking loose« mean. The mass feels free only when it is released from above and it can at last abandon itself to the lowering force of its own weight, the ontological gravitation which always acts upwards from below and pulls down what is above. The freedom of the mass, therefore, is not the freedom of man having won over his own force of inertia so that he can ascend freely, but of man being in free fall. Thus, what is glorified as freedom today is the diametrical - and at the same time parodized - image of real freedom.
As Julius Evola has sharply noticed, a modern left-wing person is essentially drawn towards slavery and dreads real freedom. This is clearly shown by the fact that the reason that archaic times are considered to be the age of yoke and slavery is that modern man identifies himself with those who were inferior and not with those who were their superiors and free at the time. With surprising honesty, Francis Fukuyama, the celebrated theoretician of liberal democracy says the same by declaring the liberal citizen of today to be the spiritual descendant of the liberated slave, and indeed it can easily be detected in the self-interest paired with slave-mentality in the characteristic behaviour of modern democratized mass-man. That freedom does not pervade modern man’s lifestyle is clearly shown by the fact that under the term »freedom« he can almost only mean the freedom of choice - or in terms of politics - the freedom of election. For the freedom of choice in most cases - be it about political parties, goods or travelling goals - is but to choose the thing which has the most charm on man. In other words, in freedom of choice, man can »freely« choose the thing that is most fascinating for him. Therefore, during his »free« choice the average man nearly always infallibly chooses the greater slavery instead of the lesser one. The masses having been cheated »have their own desires: they infallibly stick to the ideology by which they have been subdued« - says Theodor W. Adorno, who cannot really be accused of being right-wing. It is far from freedom, not to mention free choice, when man yields to the strongest, the most attractive allure among several other ones. Freedom of choice, therefore, is the choice of the seemingly most favourable possibility, although a really free choice implies that man is not restricted to choose only from the offered alternatives but by rejecting all of them he is able to create new ones. The free choice of homonculi produced on the assembly line by modern liberal ideology can hardly go beyond the free choice of the man who can -freely - choose between being imprisoned for thirty days and paying a hundred-thousand forints fine. As far as political elections are concerned, the control of processes in modern democracy is not in the hands of the parties and politicians representing the so called persona of the frontal zone of politics and possessing only very little freedom of movement. It is in the hands of the background powers that are incognito, be they lobbies above the parties at any rank who enforce their will »from above«, or be they the so called »opinion-formers« who, by forming public opinion, do the same from below and who, therefore, make »democratic elections« a mere »play« that has already served for the illusion of the disqualified man’s freedom. Thus, freedom is almost unknown in the modern liberal world, and only on the rarest occasions does it become an issue at all. Instead of freedom, man chooses Tahiti or Haiti to be sun-tanned by the same Sun of God; Mercedes or Volvo by which he can go there; the political party which he believes will provide the greatest welfare, and so on. To sum it up, he chooses slavery instead of freedom, the greater slavery instead of the lesser on, the lesser freedom instead of the greater one, in a word, he chooses that which satisfies his increasingly material desires and which more and more embeds him in the »being-serviced = being-at-someone’s-mercy« dependence system.
Actually, the problem does not lie in the fact that freedom of election is the freedom to choose among the »superiors« (and usually the »superiors« who have been chosen rather compels the elector to do greater service and makes him more like a servant); the problem is that the thing which became the »master« of the elector does not serve the elector. One manifestation of this process is, as Gábor Czakó puts it, when man »proceeds« from the state of being subdued to people to the state of being subdued to things; or when, according to Adorno, instead of having matter imbued with soul (animism) they choose to have souls imbued with matter (industrialism). Zeno of Citium, the founder of the stoic school - contrary to the horizontal psychological typologies - classified people according to a vertical, qualitative typology into two groups: to the worthless and to the suitable, or according to another translation, to the vulgar and to the outstanding. But who are the worthless? In modern times the infallible sign of worthlessness is when man, rebelling against the tension having arisen between his own actual state and his higher state or possibility, doubts, lies about and »misinterprets« his higher state and lower it to his own level (depriving himself the chance of rising higher). The worthless in ancient times were able to live together with this tension and with their own inability to rise higher - which also proves their superiority to their offspring -, while the worthless today, setting out from their democratic »dignity« (Dignity for all!) and practising a specific form of the old revolutionary violence, pull down all they can see up above them to their own level. But the nature of worthlessness and vulgarity can come to light precisely when it is compared to suitableness, for the suitable are not those who are experts in, say, arts, professions or sports, but those who are suitable for and outstanding in surpassing themselves ad indefinitum and ad infinitum, who can win total freedom for themselves. They are described by the well-known guide of the shallow, the Arrived, the Buddha: »Look at the happiness of the Arhats! You cannot see any trace of desire in them. They have cut off the thought of »I am«, they have broken the net of illusion. They are motionless, beginningless, immaculate, real Persons, they are those who have become God, they are great heroes, the sons of Awareness, imperturbable in any situation, free of the compulsion of reincarnation, they are those who stand above their conquered »ego«, they have won their own battle in the world, they voice the »roar of the lion«; those who have woken up are truly incomparable«. But is there any hope of reaching freedom and surpassing - if not oneself - at least his own vulgar nature for one who makes himself vulgar together with millions day by day? Is there a more effective means of making oneself vulgar than by watching, listening to, reading, and doing the same as, that is, having the same cultural nourishment as hundreds and hundreds of thousands of others?
Modern spirituality strays to a very dangerous path if it has an aversion to, or rather, if it looks down on politics and believes in the incompatibility of spirituality and politics, of spirit and power, because apoliticism almost inevitably leads - unless the undifferentiated denial of politics is preceded by a sharp differentiation (cf. aphorism 445) - to being at the mercy of the background-radiation of the prevailing politics. In present-day Hungary this process manifests itself in an aggressive extreme-liberal »undifferentiationism«, which aiming at the disintegration of everything valuable and allowing radicalism only for its own use, deprives other approaches from their own radix, from their own root and from their vivid connection with their own source (which always results in the slow wasting-away of the given organism). Obviously, the spirituality that has come into being under the aegis of this political background-radiation will thoroughly bear the stamp of its characteristics and will lose its own which made spirituality what it was in the age of tradition, and which makes spirituality what it is in every circumstance. Accordingly, modern pseudo-spiritual man, instead of choosing a heroic spiritual battle, gives himself up to the drawing force of obscure and indefinable powers, and instead of rising higher he would like to abandon himself to something, although he does not know exactly to what. It is not surprising at all then that »meditation« in the thoroughly unmanly, self-service consume-spirituality is not the » battle royal« (Ramana Maharsi) performed by ancient man proceeding upon the spiritual path, but in fact relaxation. The »glory« of the modern age is that it has made meditation - which used to be the privilege of the most prominent people - one of the forms of relaxation available for anyone. As we all know well, when a fully materialized - too heavily-grown - man who has been cut off his higher life-context »starts to relax«, only the lowest point can set a limit to his sinking.
The meaning and real depth of András László’s maxims is gradually revealed to the reader in their completeness; and as the first maxim introduces it: even this can only be achieved by those whose eyes are covered with little dust. Those whose eyes are covered with much dust will necessarily find these maxims incomprehensible or meaningless or uninteresting. And there will certainly be people - and not a few - who will think that they do not need these sorts of thoughts since their eyes are not covered by dust at all…
What does it mean that this book speaks only to those whose eyes are covered with little dust?
András László represents the total metamorphosis of thinking and of Weltanschauung, because this is the fundamental basis of the total metamorphosis of the thinker, and beholder, that is of the subiectum. Only the potential spiritual élite, the number of which should be low according to the law of quality-and-quantity reciprocity, can accomplish this. Since the metaphysics represented by András László is based on the synthesis of spirituality and intellectuality (spiritus and intellectus), it assumes intense intellectual faculties and considerable inclination towards gnosis besides a spiritual orientation. While spirit without intellect necessarily proceeds towards the line of least resistance; either to sentimental moralism or to stray pseudo-spiritually, intellect without spirit lacks even the smallest normative - upward pointing - orientation. Those who are opened towards the different flattened and distorted forms of spirituality are the victims of minimalism with almost no exception. The spirituality of the church, which tends towards sentimentalism in most cases, the cheap New-Age-type »esoteric spirituality«, or the westernized forms of the religions of the Far East which incline towards either moralism or pseudo-esoteria, are typical examples of spiritual distortions. Almost nobody has any chance of becoming not only a potential but a real member of the category of nobility, which is described by Ortega as nothing other than the »constant aptitude for surpassing oneself«, without the symbiosis of spirituality and intellectuality, and especially without a symbiosis realised under the aegis of traditionality.
He whose eyes are covered with stiff dust has no problem in seeing some thing, he does not disclose his blindness regarding some spiritual teaching, rather towards his very self: the metaphysical importance of himself. A man like this is measured by himself and has been found light. He does not take Himself seriously and he does not consider his life as a spiritual task since he can not see the wholeness of his life. From a different perspective, one could say that he considers his life only as a set of more or less accidental happenings. This is just what the parable of the talents is about: when the master returns and calls his slave to account for how he made the most out of the borrowed talents he does not speak about the worldly use of the metaphysically unimportant talents - as the secular interpretation of the parable believes - but he is making his inquiry into the exertion of the single, central talent: the capacity of surpassing oneself.
One of the remarkable characteristics of András László’s Maxims, which is closely connected with the above, is that many of his maxims are worded in the first person singular. The importance of this cannot be exaggerated. It means that their subject is not simply somebody, or people in general, but it is myself in the strictest sense. This is so because certain things cannot be expressed or are simply not true in the third person singular (or plural), or with the use of a general subject (»one«). These aphorisms are sharp not only in their content but also in their phrasing, which is why they can escape both the dry objectivism of theological-philosophical terminology and the dangers of the didactic moralism of religious language.
András László and his words represent real esoterism. This is not because his style is enigmatic, or he wraps his message in hardly decipherable symbolic language, or he discloses teachings of the Far East kept secret in the past, but because he formulates his thoughts on such a high intellectual level that they are inevitably available only to the most superior ones. These maxims contain all the quintessential knowledge which is worth knowing. András László can thoroughly enlighten with the exceptional intensity of his compositions and with the illuminating power of his aphorisms questions that were covered by a veil of darkness up until now. His maxims have the power to inflame an understanding which belongs to the world of intuition. The unusual weight of spirit that manifests itself in the flash of understanding now and again confuses and mesmerises the appreciative reader, which is the beginning of real wisdom according to Platon… Orientation, this is what András László offers, absolute orientation. András László collected the knowledge of the past, and also added his own wisdom to this. He distilled this until it purified and condensed into these quintessential maxims. Those who have had the chance to review the authors of philosophical-spiritual literature and their opus treating these topics know that one can hardly find any comparably essential and central knowledge anywhere else. All that can be known and is worth knowing can be found in these aphorisms. We can quote the words of Angelus Silesius that from here on only one path leads further:
»It is enough now, my friend. If you ask for more,
go and be yourself the Word and the Essence.«
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