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The Crisis of the Modern World

(Critique du monde moderne #2)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  908 ratings  ·  89 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 120 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by Sophia Perennis et Universalis (first published 1927)
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Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Frenchy destroys modernist soybois in 3 easy steps.
1. Reject modernism
2. Return to God
3. Bring back the monarchy
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Guenon is a largely ignored writer due to his thought being foreign to presently acceptable academic philosophy. This should make you want to read him. His political leanings are often cited as a reason for people not to read him, as he's a right-winger, but that doesn't stop anybody from reading Heildegger - excuse me, Heidegger.

I'm rating this book four stars, because it's not an outstanding work (I've heard that The Reign of Quantity is his magnum opus), but it does what it sets out to do fai
Dina Kaidir
Mar 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Most translated works are difficult reads, but this topic resonated deep with me. It made me re-think the way that I see life. How can we call straying far from God "progress?" Everything in this world has become so secular (perhaps with the intention of finding neutrality), but everything is so profane. We live in a world that actually is suspicious when we say the name of God. I bow in deep respect for this author and for his poignant and sober literary expression. Also, for his perennial phil ...more
Zeineb Nouira
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Those who have Conservative tendencies may think:" She liked the book...So that means that she is a hardcore Conservative fangirl of the Burke our Lord and Saviour!"
This is my answer: "I do not seek political conversion.I seek knowledge." (Do not quote me on that).

This book is VERY interesting, for it completely shatters the conceptions upon which our modern world is erected.
This is a crude approximation of what happened within this book:
Guénon enters with the aegis of Hinduism shielding him fr
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever been intimidated or paralysed by a book? beacuse I AM right now.

This is a book that shocks and shakes.

If you're ready to abandon everything you've studied about modernism, democracy, and intellectualism, then read this book ATTENTIVELY.
Tengku Ahmad Hazri
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
The scholarly world is never too short of what is in vogue as `critiques of modernity' that another addition to this stock would have been redundant. Guénon's The Crisis of the Modern World however, is not simply `another' of this but is distinguished by its profound wisdom, transcending conventional approaches that either diagnosed the symptoms and not the real disease or carried from an exclusively `philosophical' viewpoint, oblivious to the fact that `philosophy' itself is among modernity's o ...more
Nuruddin Azri
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Rene Guenon wrote this magnum opus (1927) when he is at the peak maturity of his age, 41 years old. Spengler also wrote The Decline of the West at 38 years old. Surprisingly, Guenon intentionally wrote this book in a meditation and reflection method (without lacking any depth of research) in order to synthesis his criticism rather than bombarding bundle of facts for analytical purpose – and he managed to convey the message wittily.

According to Guenon, the world during that time (also reflected i
Tariq Fadel
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Now this book has a radical idea that I didn't hear of before. I simultaneously agree and disagree with the author. The modern world is very flawed. People are materialistic, democracy is causing the foolish to govern and everywhere the wise are being ridiculed by the ignorant. Till here I agree completely. But then it goes something like: as mentioned in the hindu sacred texts, civilization shall degenerate and true knowledge shall be replaced by buffoonery. And here I completed disagree. It's ...more
Christina Stenstrom
Apr 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Bleak, honest and delightful. So very, very ahead of its time/prescient. Must revisit soon.
May 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
A strange book. The author deserves a prize for pedantry. His mouth 'runneth over'. The language is not technical, obscurantist, or difficult but he simply takes needless pages and pages to articulate rather simple, commonsense concepts which could be succinctly summed up in a paragraph or two. Here's an example: 'the East has a tradition of spirituality, the West has a tradition of industry'. (Jeepers, really? Gosh-golly..) 'The East has a tradition of contemplation, the West has a tradition of ...more
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Regardless of the fact that this could be a cult book, by far one of the most interesting insights into our human current human condition and why and how we got here.
Jacob Senholt
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, english
I have had this book on my 'to-read list' for quite some years, after first encountering Guénon's name in relation to Traditionalism more than a decade ago. I never got around to reading the author himself until now.

I enjoyed this shorter but well thought through introductory work to Guénons approach to Traditionalism and general analysis of the crisis of the modern world, which is just as relevant as it was when it was originally written in the 1920ies. Although I had some reservations about t
Akash Salve
As a " Eastern" reader of this book, the "western" authors, seem to glorify the hierarchy, but they miss an essential point. Hierarchy based on caste becomes Hereditary. It only leads to uplifting of few "enlightened" people. Again there is question of deciding who is worthy?
Alex Kartelias
Jun 27, 2014 rated it liked it
I agreed much with what Guenon had to say concerning scienticism, the degradation of the Intellect, progress and materialism. However, I can't rap my mind around his disapproval of democracy. He says much the same thing that Plato says about it in The Republic- claiming it's the leadership of the incompetent. Guenon would agree with Plato in claiming that the leader should be a, "philosopher king" of sorts. The problem I have with it though is that a leader needs a lot more skill for being a lea ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great overview of the problems with modernity caused by individualism, materialism, and so on. Guenon is more optimistic than he would have been if he lived to witness the Second Vatican Council as well as the encroachment of Western Liberalism in the Eastern world following World War II. Still, the information contained within this book is necessary for an understanding of the traditional spirit's place in a metaphysical hierarchy and as a preparatory tool for what's to come.
Sep 30, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed East & West more, but this one was still great. ...more
Mohammed Irfan
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
"Modern man, instead of attempting to raise himself to truth, seeks to drag truth down to his own level."
Feb 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Criticisms of modernity are often quite accurate and are vindicated with the passage of time (90). The causes of and relationships between different problems are also worth reading. However, the ideas of an 'elect', 'traditional' and 'spirituality' are A Bit Odd.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
I picked up this worrying little diatribe because I had heard Steve Bannon was taught this in his Catholic college and he remains a fan.

The author, Rene Guenon, hates the present world and he wants it to change. He yearns for the Middle Ages, when Kings rules the masses, the Catholic Church ruled the Kings, and life had clear reason and meaning (for him).
He wants to send us all back there (and he may yet have his wish).

The reason he hates the present world (circa 1927, and final edition in 19
Anonymous Writer
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
The crisis of the modern world-Rene Guenon-The book is a caustic critic of the modern Occidental world. Guenon adopts a traditional approach in his writings. He claims that the Sacred tradition of the main religions are obviously from a divine source and that the fall of man represents the separation from the divine and the birth of individuality. Consequently, the more far away from the divine-inspired Tradition, the written sacred word, the society is, the more fallen the human condition is. T ...more
My opinion of this book is pretty negative but I put 3 stars because of the importance Guénon has for the Traditionalist movement (I'm definitely not a traditionalist so I am biased)

I came across this text while reading Devil's Bargain, the analysis of the Bannon-Trump relationship during the 2016 election. It is referenced as a strong influence on Bannon and I thought this would be good literature to see what lies behind modern day cultural conservatism. As with any philosophical work, there ar
Goofy Gazzar
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Although Renen wrote that book in the 1920s , but he actually nailed it. As if he is here today. The book is an answer to the question that every body is asking, What is wrong with this world ?! Indeed, Renen the great philosopher and the metaphysical scintest illustrate his answer with a strong logic. It is not easy to follow him, and he is a bit arrogant but indeed based on a strong argument. THe book is very sencere and neutral in illustrating its point. The concept of the four cycles is very ...more
Roger Norman
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
a dense, dry, demanding book of profound interest and great illumination. if you cotton to him (many will not), there's quite a lot more where this one came from. a life-changer.
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In spite it was written a long time ago, this book shows us all the problems of the modern world. A must read for people concerned with our future.
Zakaria Bziker
Dec 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Some books are just interesting from the start.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant analysis of the spiritual and metaphysical crisis of western civilization and the value shift that western culture found itself in following the so called enlightenment era.
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Tiago Faleiro
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was surprised by this book and it was a pleasure to read. It was published in French 1927 by René Guénon, in which he argues for the decay of the modern world. It is in some sense the long prophetic vision of the apocalypse, but rather than "literal" destruction of the material world, it is instead of the death of culture.

He encapsulates this trajectory in the cycle known as "Manvantara" from Hindu doctrine, which is divided into 4 periods. He claims we are in the fourth age, the "Kali-Yuga"
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don't suppose it's fair to takeaway from this pioneer of perennialism simply because those that came later (Evola, Yockey, etc) put together what I feel were more clear, well developed works on the subject. Guénon does a great job of laying out the perversion of our history that our literal/temporal obsessed modern world has accomplished. There are times where it seems as though (and perhaps this can be chalked up to translation to an extent) Guénon struggles to reach a clear point, and subseq ...more
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René Guénon (1886-1951) was a French author and intellectual who remains an influential figure in the domain of sacred science,traditional studies, symbolism and initiation.

French biography :

Other books in the series

Critique du monde moderne (3 books)
  • East and West
  • The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times

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