Quite paradoxically, it is sometimes more difficult tofind a title than to write a book; one always knows whatone wishes to say, but one does not always know what tocall it. It is true that the difficulty does not result from thenature of things, for one could follow the example ofRumi and entitle a work A Book Which Contains What ItContains (Kitab fihi ma fihi); but we live in a world which islittle inclined to accept such a defiance of usage and whichobliges us to remain within a relative intelligibility. Thuswe will choose the title of the first chapter: "To Have aCenter," which introduces in its way the subsequent chapters, treating of anthropology at all its levels and also, further on, of metaphysics and spiritual life.
There is the order of principles, which is immutable,and the order of information--traditional or otherwise--of which one can say that it is inexhaustible: on theone hand, not everything in this book will be new for ourusual readers and, on the other hand, they will nonetheless find here precisions and illustrations which may havetheir usefulness. One never has too many keys in view ofthe "one thing needful," even if these points of referencebe indirect and modest.
We acknowledge that this volume contains subjectswhich are very unequal: one will find a chapter on the artof translating, another on vestimentary art and anotherstill on a question of astronomy. But in spirituality everything is related: one always has the right to project thelight of principles onto subjects of lesser importance, andit is a matter of course that one often is obliged to do so.As the Duke of Orleans said: "All that is national is ours"which we paraphrase in recalling that all that is normallyhuman, hence virtually spiritual, enters ipso facto into ourperspective; and "it takes all kinds to make a world."
After what we have just said, the question may be askedwhether the sophia perennis is a "humanism", the answerwould in principle be "yes," but in fact it must be "no"since humanism in the conventional sense of the term defacto exalts fallen man and not man as such. The humanism of the moderns is practically a utilitarianism aimed atfragmentary man; it is the will to make oneself as useful aspossible to a humanity as useless as possible. As to integralanthropology, we intend, precisely, to give an account of itin the present book.
Excerpts from To Have a Center
"Man possesses a soul, and to have a soul means to pray.... The great lesson of prayer is that our relationship with the world depends essentially on our relationship with Heaven." --from "Fundamental Keys"
"What we wish to suggest in most of our considerations on moderngenius is that humanistic culture, insofar as it functions as an ideologyand therefore as a religion, consists essentially in being unaware ofthree things: firstly, of what God is, because it does not grant primacyto Him; secondly, of what man is, because it puts him in the place ofGod; thirdly, of what the meaning of life is, because this culture limitsitself to playing with evanescent things and to plunging into them withcriminal unconsciousness." -- from "To Have a Center"
"When God is removed from the universe, it becomes a desert ofrocks or ice; it is deprived of life and warmth, and every man who stillhas a sense of the integrally real refuses to admit that this should be reality; for if reality were made of rocks, there would be no place in it forflowers or any beauty or sweetness whatsoever." --from "Primacy of Intellection"
"Every human being must, through love of God, strive to 'be what he is'to disengage himself from the artificial superstructures that disfigurehim and which are none other than the traces of the Fall, in order tobecome once again a tree whose root is liberating certitude and whosecrown is beatific serenity. Human nature is predisposed towards theunitive knowledge of its Divine Model." --from "Fundamental Keys"