On The Doctrine Of Non-Duality
René Guénon, EDH
René Guénon discards the limitations evoked by dualism when describing the world, as typically in the case of Western philosophy when distinguishing spirit and matter. But there cannot be two ’principles’, as there cannot be two ’infinities’. This metaphysical error is avoided by the doctrine of Non-Duality.
[The doctrine of Non-Duality] places itself at the point of view of metaphysics and which has therefore not received any denomination in occidental philosophy, which is ignoring it. We will call this doctrine "non-dualism" or better still "the doctrine of non-duality", if (one wishes) to translate the Sanskrit term adwaita-vāda as exactly as possible, a term which has no common equivalent in any European language. ...
[The doctrine of] Non-Dualism does not pretend that one of the two terms [of soul or matter] could purely and simply be reduced to the other; [instead] it considers them - one and the other - simultaneously as a unity of a common principle of a more universal order, and in which they are also contained, no longer as opposites, but as complementaries, by some sort of polarization which does not at all affect the essential unity of this common principle.
This way the intervention of the metaphysical point of view has the effect to immediately resolve the apparent opposition, and by the way - [because] here the philosophical viewpoint proves its helplessness - only it allows to really do so. And what is true for the distinction between soul (mind) and matter is also true for whatever [other distinctions there are] among all those which one could establish (even) among the more or less special aspects of Being, which are of indefinite multitude. EDH129
If one is then (by the way) able to consider simultaneously all the indefinity of the distinctions which are in this way possible, and which are equally true and legitimate from their respective viewpoints, [then] one finds oneself no longer enclosed in a system which is limited to one of those distinctions to the exclusion of all the others; and this way non-dualism proves to be the sole type of doctrine which is able to respond to the universality of metaphysics.
The different philosophical systems can generally attach themselves (with some or other kind of relationship) either to dualism or to monism; but only "non-dualism" is susceptible - of which we have just been indicating the principle - to immensely passing beyond the reach of any philosophy, because only it is properly and purely metaphysical in its essence; or in other words, it constitutes an expression of the most essential and fundamental character of metaphysics itself.
[In the text follows here ... a chapter on dualism]
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