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The Crisis of the Modern World

(Critique du monde moderne #2)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  701 ratings  ·  55 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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4.22  · 
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 ·  701 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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Dina Kaidir Elsouly
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
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
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
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
Riff Denbow
Sep 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: terrible-rubbish
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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 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.
Zakaria Bziker
Dec 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Some books are just interesting from the start.
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.
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
Chelsea Miller
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
The premises upon which this book stands are poorly justified within. As such, the book as a whole falls flat. I have been told that this book is the second in a trilogy. The category of "the East" is poorly defined. He should do more to illustrate the relation between what he terms "primordial tradition" the extant traditions of the world, and thereby, his understanding of how these extant traditions relate to one another.

Relevant to this is the following quote:
In any case, one thing is certa
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
Difficult to rate this. Why would I even? Why did I read this? Well, I would describe myself as gnostic, not agnostic, so there you have it, both the author and I are concerned with truth. Additionally we find the modern world often quite problematic. Fine, however, this is no excuse for the complete lack of reflection on his own epistemologies, his vagueness concerning his own concepts (Truth, Learning, East, West) and his rather unconstructive, merely critizising and deconstructive voice. It d ...more
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rene's critics on the modern way of understanding the world might be not understandable for those, who are lost within the modernity and are incapable of thinking outside of the borders of it. A very bright man with very bright life. All of his books are recommendable.
Nasser Farhat
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: masterpieces
This is a true gem, an escape from the illusions of modernity, and one of the deepest insights by the genius.
Oct 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
Derivative, half-baked, pseudo-intellectual right-wing propaganda. Its no wonder the American Fascist Steve Bannon fell for this tripe.
Tvrtko Balić
The book is well written and I agree with Guenon's general world view if we focus on what we should strive for, I definitely admire him as the founder of the traditionalist school. What I don't like is that after setting up a premise he moves on to pure esotericism. We should always look up and look for something greater than ourselves so we can know what ideals to serve, but ultimately we are stuck in the material world for the duration of our lives and the traditionalists like to simply ignore ...more
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
Jan 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: okay
TLDR; Interesting ideas + bad writing = The Crisis of the Modern World

While the book it's not altogether bad , Rene Guenon has the tendency of putting irrelevant things in many words , while expressing his good and interesting ideas briefly.
For example the first 40 pages could easily be summed up into two sentences such as : "the East has a tradition of spirituality while the West has a tradition of industry" and "The East has a tradition of contemplation while the West has a tradition of actio
Pieter-Jan Beyul
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-shelf
A short yet interesting look from a traditionalist perspective on the modern world as an anomoly in world history.
The latter, I find, cannot be disputed by any historian. Modernity is indeed a phenomenon that has received a lot of attention in the disciplines of history and sociology as to how it came to be and what it exactly entails. Guénon here brings an original outlook on a subject that is too often approached in the academia from either a marxist or a liberalist angle. People looking for
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Clear cut, timeless - though it was written in 1927, the themes of secularization, nominalism and the havoc this wreaks on the social fabric reads like a current commentary. Something things just don't change - human nature remains the same, resisting efforts to rationalize it away. 120pg, highly recommended.
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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
“What men call chance is simply their ignorance of causes; if the statement that something had happened by chance were to mean that it had no cause, it would be a contradiction in terms.” 26 likes
“Those who might be tempted to give way to despair should realize that nothing accomplished in this order can ever be lost, that confusion, error and darkness can win the day only apparently and in a purely ephemeral way, that all partial and transitory disequilibrium must perforce contribute towards the greater equilibrium of the whole, and that nothing can ultimately prevail against the power of truth.” 10 likes
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