April 22, 2022


The warped mind behind Russia's war (Tim Black, Apr. 22nd, 2022, spiked!)

'Tradition, wholeness, collectivity.' In many ways, Dugin is an unlikely conduit for such ideas. Born in Moscow in 1962, the descendant of a long line of Russian military officers, Dugin was by all accounts a precocious, rebellious youth, who bristled against the stifling conformity of life in Soviet Russia. 'The Communist Party owned all of us', he was later to reflect. '[It] owned the mind, the spirit, the emotion, the body. Everything was under control, except one thing. The innermost part.' (1) Perhaps in an attempt to liberate 'the innermost part', the young Dugin immersed himself during the 1980s in the dissident bohemia of Moscow's notorious Yuzhinsky Circle. 'They would have wild sex parties, and drinking binges that lasted for multiple days', explains Teitelbaum. 'Their interests were anything anti-establishment - rock music, drugs, alcohol and eventually mysticism was part of that as well.'

It was during this period that Dugin first encountered Traditionalism. This, as political scientist Marlene Laruelle puts it in a 2006 essay on Russia's radical right, remains 'Dugin's main intellectual reference point and the basis of his political attitudes as well as his Eurasianism'.

Traditionalism is a relatively obscure school of thought that originated in the work of a French intellectual called René Guénon (1886-1951). The 'tradition' this thinking refers to consists of supposedly universal truths which are manifest in all the major world religions. It was Guénon's contention that man had fallen away from the truths of revealed religion. As he argued in The Crisis of the Modern World (1927), the past three or four hundred years of modernity represented the very opposite of progress. They were a regression, a late stage in the spiralling decline through the Hindu 'yugas' - a version of Hesiod's ages of gold, silver, copper and iron - towards a new dark age. Modern man, committed to rationalism and materialism, and now thoroughly estranged from the spiritual truth, was entirely lost.

Guénon's deep disillusionment with modernity was far from unusual during the 1920s. Much of Western high culture at the time, from the modernist avant-garde to the dark imaginings of conservative revolutionaries, was shot through with a shared sense of moral, political and spiritual exhaustion. What perhaps separated Guénon from many of his contemporaries (though not all) was his solution - a turn towards non-Western culture, and the religions of the East, which he saw as being closer to 'tradition' and the truth.

Julius Evola, Guénon's Italian follower and an unabashed Mussolini supporter, gave Guénon's otherwise quietist philosophy a political urgency. Rather than seek solace in religions of the East, Evola called for a restoration of spiritual values in the West - and appealed, like many of his fascist contemporaries, to a hierarchical Medieval world as a vision of a future society.

It's clear that the Traditionalist critique of modernity continues to resonate deeply with Dugin. Like Guénon and Evola (whose work Dugin has translated into Russian), Dugin sees the modern world, from the Enlightenment onwards, as a further fall away from the truth, a dark age.

Posted by at April 22, 2022 12:00 AM