A Serpent Oil Salesman: Alexander Dugin from Eastern Orthodox Perspective
No, not Alexander Dugin again … yet Kali’s gotta do what the Kali has got to do. This time around we present an Eastern perspective. Mihai Marinescu makes an appeal to the faithful of Eastern Orthodox Churches – especially those living in the West – to take a good, hard look into just what kind of ideological snake oil they might have been buying from the Beardling, without a second thought.
There are times when complexity of language is mistaken for profoundity of thought and also when preoccupation with lofty and difficult concepts, arguments and complex debates serve as a sort of smoke screen that prevents us from fully grasping the crux of the matter. Other times we find ourselves running through labyrinths completely forgetting our initial purpose.
It is for this reason that I propose to take up Ariadne’s thread that will lead us out of the serpentine corridors and towards the most basic and elementary principles.
Namely this is mostly addressed to all Eastern Orthodox Christians (in the West especially, but not only) who are somewhat attracted to the figure of Alexander Dugin, who promote his views or who may simply feel that they have a common cause with him and are willing to look up to him as a guide in current affairs.
There have been many articles recently (or podcasts) posted on Kali Tribune regarding the figure of Alexander Dugin, all of them laying out pretty damning evidence against his case. The article Against the gnostics should be, I believe, read carefully more than once by anyone who wants to understand this subject thoroughly.
However if you, like me, have never read Heidegger nor have the necessary time at your disposal to properly study Dugin in the diverse contexts, nor follow his elaborate works and essays, you may find all this material a little hard to digest. You may also hesitate and not know what to ultimately think of Dugin. He is admittedly a very intelligent person and he expounds his ideas with great ability: often just when one is prepared to pronounce the negative judgment on his ideas an afterthought prevents one from doing so because there is something there that still holds the appearance of some higher, existential truth.
Fortunately, if your are in this category, there is a much more easier path to tread. Truth is at once lofty and difficult as well as obvious and accessible.
So this is my attempt to bring forth the truth in this matter by a simple appeal to the most basic principles of the Orthodox faith.
Now, in his book on the Forth Political Theory, Alexander Dugin has an essay entitled The metaphysics of chaos. Here are a few quotes:
The European philosophy was based on the logocentric principle corresponding to the principle of exclusion, the differentiating, Greek diairesis. All this corresponds strictly to the masculine attitude, reflects the authoritative, vertical, hierarchical order of being and knowledge.[…]
Nowadays all this logocentric philosophy has come to an end and we should think about the other possibility of thinking not in the logocentric, phallocentric, hierarchical and exclusivist way. If Logos does not any more satisfy us, fascinate us, mobilize us, so we are inclined to try something else and to address the Chaos. [….] In fact Logos can not save us from the conditions installed by itself. The Logos is of no use here anymore. So only the preontological Chaos can give as a hint how to go beyond the trap of the Post-Modernity. […] So the only way to save us, to save humanity and culture from this snare is to make a step beyond the logocentric culture, addressing to the Chaos.
So the all inclusive Chaos includes also what is not inclusive as it and more than that what excludes Chaos. So the Chaos doesn’t perceives the Logos as the other as itself or as something non-existent. The Logos as the first principle of exclusion is included in Chaos, presents in it, enveloped by it and has a granted place inside of it. So the mother bearing the baby bears in herself what is a part of it and what is not a part of her at the same time. The man conceives the woman as external being and seeks to penetrate her. The woman considers the man as something internal and seeks to give him a birth. The Chaos is eternal nascency of other, that is of Logos.
Only the Chaos and the alternative philosophy based on inclusivity could save the modern humanity and the world from the consequences of the degradation and decay of the exclusivist principle called Logos. The Logos has expired and we all can be buried under its ruins unless we make the appeal to Chaos and its metaphysical principles and use them as basis for something new.
As stated above this is mainly addressed to Orthodox Christians who either promote, support or are simply mildly inclined to be sympathetic to Dugin’s cause. I encourage you to read that chapter from Dugin’s book in its entirety. I have quoted here only the essentials.
Now just yesterday I attended the usual Sunday Divine Liturgy and, as all Orthodox surely know, just a few moments before the sanctifying of the Gifts the whole congregation recited the words of the Creed. (at leasts this is how it is in my local tradition, I know that in other places only one person recites it, but anyway..). In that Creed we say, among others, that we believe:
… in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light; true God of true God […]
We also know (from the Gospel of John first of all) that Jesus Christ is also the Word of God or the Logos through Whom and for Whom all the Aeons were made. And that:
He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Of course these are basics of our faith that are known by all.
So if I just take the Creed and the beginning of the Gospel of John, without even going further into any other Patristic material I immediately see that the Logos is begotten of the Father, not of “mother chaos”. In fact “mother chaos” is no where mentioned: not in the Creed, nor in the Gospel and, until now, I have failed to find any trace of it in any Liturgical text or chant, or in the Scriptures or in the Patristic tradition.
Also, it seems that Christ the Logos is the true bringer of light in the world and the creator of order and harmony, not the author of disintegration and dissipation as Dugin’s essay has it.
I also failed to find Dugin’s eight-pointed chaos star anywhere in our iconography and mural paintings and I also have a feeling that Dugin’s twisted and hard to follow description of gender in The Fourth Political Theory is at odds with traditional views on this matter. (Dugin explicitly states in this regard that “4th PT here as usual suggests to make a step forward” Question: if the modern world has been going, until now, in a disastrous direction, towards the precipice, what does that tell us about Dugin’s additional step forward; is it the step in the same direction?).
But it is not necessary to go into it, the paragraphs on Logos and “mother chaos” will suffice.
We should not go on without also mentioning that Dugin’s thought sounds suspiciously similar to ideas expressed by some openly satanist currents about the tyrannical, demiurgic Logos who seeks to imprison portions or sparks of the “divine light of chaos” and trap them in the abominable world created by this Demiurge: a world of three-dimensional space and one-dimensional time, in opposition to the “lawless freedom” of the accausal chaos. (search for example Dragon Rouge, the Temple of the black light and other similar self-avowed, left-hand path, satanical currents).
In my opinion these points are more than enough to at least raise the alarm of any Christian – not only Orthodox – even a one with only some rudimentary knowledge therein. The fact that Dugin should be promoted, without even the slightest hesitation, by intelligent and knowledgeable Orthodox Christians is unthinkable.
In my mind, he should be immediately and without appeal rejected; at the very least, even the most naive will have at least some prudence or second-thoughts regarding him.
Perhaps some will say that we exaggerate, that Dugin is only a fringe phenomenon. Perhaps it is so, for now. But one should not take any chance whatsoever. Even if there is only a slight chance that this may become mainstream (though at the time being it is not at all self-evident) one should not waste any time in denouncing the fraud. There are ascetical texts who speak of that, in the fight against temptation, one should crush the serpent’s head in the same moment it attempts to enter into the inner cell of the heart. If you let it come in with his whole body, the fight will be so much more difficult and will likely lead to defeat.
It is needless to say that a subversion of the Church from the inside is an indefinitely larger and more dangerous problem than the exterior attacks of nihilism, liberalism, cultural marxism and any other such thing. In the case of the latter the threat is visible, obvious and external and no matter how many will yield through intimidation there will always be enough who will have the strength to resist and fight on.
But a subversion from the inside, a trojan horse, can be an insurmountable problem and can lead many astray without them even realizing (at least when you yield to external threats out of weakness you realize what is happening, no matter what you do to justify yourself).
A trojan horse we may indeed have on our hands, especially when reading Dugin’s early essay “The Gnostic”.
These two paths [that is the right and left-hand paths] are not two different religious traditions. Both are possible in all religions, in all confessions, in all churches. There are no external discrepancies between them. They appeal to the most intimate features of a person, his secret essence.
From the underlined text it follows that Dugin has no qualms in posing as a pious Orthodox Christian while being in reality a left-hand path gnostic.
Of course, the objection might be raised that this is an old essay and that Dugin has changed his views in the meantime. But its simple existence, corroborated with his recent musings on “mother chaos” (the 4th Political Theory was published in English in 2012) are more than enough to raise any sensible person’s guard and vigilance.
In conclusion to everything said above, I make this appeal to any Orthodox Christian – who might be reading this and might be attracted to Dugin – to be extremely careful whom he upholds as a role model. Dugin is a dangerous individual and even accepting him selectively – that is promoting what is good and rejecting what is bad – is an extremely dangerous game. In my country, this type of strategy is described as “making friends with the devil until you cross the bridge”. But, of course, there is no telling who has the upper hand in this and you may well find out that long after the bridge is crossed the devil still refuses to depart and has become, in fact, impossible to send away.
Besides, what is bad in Dugin’s ideology does not at all look like an honest mistake, but outright subversion, which means that what we have here is not simply 50% truth and 50% error. We have 50% truth in the service of 100% lie.
We can well understand what is happening today: the sheer amount of degeneracy promoted by the liberal-nihilist establishment has made us desperate to seek allies and to hold on to any straw that may be offered us. But that is a trap.
As I’m writing this, it is the 30th of January – the day we in the Church celebrate The Three Hierarchs: Basil, Gregory and John Chrysostom, all three acknowledged in both East and the West as great fighters against heresies and defenders of orthodoxy.
So it is an excellent day to make an invitation to discernment.
At the very least, we should revisit those Gospel chapters about wolves in sheep clothing and false prophets.
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