Author: René Guénon
Description: The very title of the present volume calls for some initial explanation, if what it means is to be clearly understood and all misrepresentation prevented. Many no longer doubt the possibility of a world crisis, taking the latter word in its most usual acceptation, and this in itself marks a very noticeable change of outlook: by sheer force of circumstance certain illusions are beginning to vanish, and we cannot but rejoice that this is so, for it is at any rate a favorable symptom and a sign that a readjustment of the contemporary mentality is still possible— a glimmer of light as it were— in the midst of the present chaos.
For example, the belief in a never-ending ‘progress’, which until recently was held as a sort of inviolable and indisputable dogma, is no longer so widespread; there are those who perceive, though in a vague and confused manner, that the civilization of the West may not always go on developing in the same direction, but may some day reach a point where it will stop, or even be plunged in its entirety into some cataclysm. Such persons may not see clearly where the danger lies— the fantastic or puerile fears they sometimes express being proof enough that their minds still harbor many errors— but it is already something that they realize there is a danger, even if it is felt rather than understood; and it is also something that they can conceive that this civilization, with which the moderns are so infatuated, holds no privileged position in the history of the world, and may easily encounter the same fate as has befallen many others that have already disappeared at more or less remote periods, some of them having left traces so slight as to be hardly noticeable, let alone recognizable.
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Author: René Guénon