Greetings of Peace. This blog contains selections from my correspondence and other sources on a variety of subjects related to religion, philosophy, and spirituality. I hope that they may be of benefit to the interested reader. Concerning the title of the blog, read this entry.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Q&A on the Traditional School

Why do you adhere to the principles of the traditional school?

I was initially attracted to the principles of the traditional school because they provide profound and intellectually satisfying answers to various important questions and problems. I think that this is a legitimate motivation to adhere to any perspective, even if it later proves to be false.

Does this mean that you are an ideologue?

Not necessarily as this depends upon the firmness of one's convictions. While I recognize the intelligence of various teachings of the traditional school, my own adherence is not dogmatic and uncompromising as would be the hallmarks of ascribing to them as an ideology.

How can you expect others to ascribe to the traditional school?

Historically, the school has never been subject to any kind of popularization or propaganda. The exponents explained various subjects to the best of their ability and those inspired by them continued to read and draw practical conclusions from their teachings.

Is one a traditionalist out of faith or intellection?

I believe that one is a traditionalist out of faith or perhaps more appropriately intellectual assent to principles. Once a transition is made from mediate and discursive knowledge to immediate and intuitive knowledge then one has become a gnostic.

Did the exponents of the traditional school indicate the means whereby their assertions may be verified?

Yes. The expositions of the traditional school are based upon the science of metaphysics. Unlike the discursive methods of philosophy, metaphysical principles may be applied in different domains and given a certain degree of rational demonstration but they are not susceptible to proof through dialectical reasoning alone. Within the school, expositions of traditional doctrine are generally considered to be theoretical and propaedeutic to metaphysical realization which is obtained with the support of sacred rites and contemplative disciplines but which ultimately comes from God.

Why do traditionalists sometimes argue with others and engage in polemics and apologetics?

People interested in the traditional school generally discuss and dispute amongst themselves to explore various subtleties of doctrine and method. They also sometimes engage in apologetics to explain their understanding of principles to those who are condemnatory toward them. Most disputes can be reconciled through the reminder that engaging in a path of self-discipline and devotion that leads to knowledge of God is ultimately more important than thinking about it and discussing it.

What is "initiation" and how does it work?

As it pertains to the spiritual life, I think that initiation can be described most succinctly as a catalyzing spiritual influence often transmitted ritually from one person to another. How it works is perhaps best explained by Plato who said that, "after much converse about the matter itself and a life lived together, suddenly a light, as it were, is kindled in one soul by a flame that leaps to it from another, and thereafter sustains itself."

Does a person really need to join a spiritual order as a rule rather than as an exception if they seek to actualize the spiritual reality of being human?

While there are many different possibilities within the domain of spirituality, the phenomenon of initiation always takes place through transmission whether or not this occurs within the context of a particular organization. This is not to say that a catalyst cannot occur independently or individually as in the case of mysticism, but simply that with regard to initiation in a specific rather than a general sense, we are speaking of a transmission that occurs between people usually in association with some kind of direct physical contact or agency.

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