Dr Nicolas Laos
Partner, R-Techno private intelligence company
Copyright: Nicolas Laos, 2014





Classical Greek Philosophy

True Being, Eternity, and Time




The Heresy of the “Filioque” and the 1054 Schism



Key Bibliography 


    Philosophy is not only a science, like the other scientific disciplines, but it is primarily a state of mind. The very meaning of the word philosophy (derived from the Greek compound philo + sophia  love of wisdom) indicates a special attitude and a special purpose. In particular, philosophy is a free and unprejudiced quest for truth, for the sake of having a vision of truth (i.e. theorizing) and for the sake of the human being whose consciousness is motivated, attracted, and enriched by the quest for truth. Thus, even though philosophy can be considered as a science, its object consists of all the objects that are studied by the other sciences. Moreover, philosophy is the creation of a world of meanings that expresses the spiritual freedom of the human being.

    The main areas of philosophy are the following: (i) ontology (or metaphysics): it is concerned with questions about the nature and the mode of being of the world and of God; (ii) epistemology: it is concerned with questions about the validity of knowledge, and it investigates how we know what we think we know; and (iii) ethics: it investigates how we discern right from wrong, and, also, it is concerned with the meaning of ‘good life’.


Classical Greek Philosophy

    From the perspective of classical Greek philosophy, the intellect (namely, the faculty of abstract thought) should not be identified with the mind, and, therefore, knowledge should not be limited within the boundaries of the intellect. Classical Greek philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle, never attempted to isolate the power of cognition from the powers of sensation and will, nor did they ever attempt to subordinate the powers of sensation and will to the power of cognition. According to classical Greek philosophy, cognition does not produce knowledge by itself, and the type of knowledge that is produced by cognition alone is equated with imagination. Classical Greek philosophers maintain that cognition is a process whereby the mind receives and processes sensibilia. In Plato’s Timaeus, 45d, the soul, like the body, is characterized by “that sensation which we now term ‘seeing’”; and, similarly, in Aristotle’s On Sense and the Sensible, 438b10, the soul operates as the centre of sensation. Therefore, the classical Greek philosophy of vision is founded and centered on an external light that makes people capable of seeing an image without the mediation of one’s mental representations.

    Plato and Aristotle maintain that an image can be seen independently of (and prior to) the images formed in the mind. Thus, the process of knowledge consists in the mind’s transfer from its own world to the external reality of an idea, and not in the transfer of an idea into the mind, where an idea would underpin a representational theory of vision by means of a combination of concepts. From the perspective of classical Greek philosophy, knowledge stems from pure experience, and, therefore, the acquisition of knowledge does depend on the mediation of any mental representations; it is based on a vision that is prior to conceptual thinking. Even though Plato argues that cognition is not based on bodily sensations, he does not, by any means, maintain that cognition is based on representations created by the subject’s mind. On the contrary, Plato maintains that cognition is based on a peculiar mental sensation.

    In the context of Plato’s philosophy, the operation of the mind does not consist in the reproduction of external objects through visualization/conceptualization, nor does the mind create mental models of an external object. According to Plato, the mind participates in the transcendental idea of an external object, and, therefore, it knows an external object by experiencing the light of the corresponding idea. As a consequence of the previous argument, Plato, in his Republic, argues that those artists whose artworks transform truth into a mental representation should be exiled from his ideal republic (since such artworks promote delusion and ignorance).

    When Plato elaborated the term idea (which is one of the most controversial philosophical terms), he emphasized that seeing, or vision, is the most representative sense of man’s mental life. But the medieval Western philosophers were ignorant of that aspect of Plato’s philosophy, and, therefore, the medieval West was ignorant of the fact that, in the context of Plato’s philosophy, knowledge ‒that is, the mind’s relation to truth‒ is primarily a spiritual experience, and, hence, it primarily consists in a psychological state and only secondarily in the discovery of causal relations. As Plato himself argues in his Theaetetus, 184d, the unity of the ‘idea’ as vision makes psychological unity possible: “it would be strange indeed […] if there are many senses ensconced within us, as if we were so many wooden horses of Troy, and they do not all unite in one power, whether we should call it soul or something else, by which we perceive through these as instruments the objects of perception”.

    From the perspective of European rationalism, to know means to be able to give an account, and, hence, knowledge reduces to the formulation of causal relations. Furthermore, European rationalism attempts even to know God through causal relations, specifically through the subject’s syllogistic ascent to the most general concept, which the Western philosophical realists (such as Johannes Scotus Eriugena, Anselm of Canterbury, and Thomas Aquinas) equate with the divinity. On the other hand, Plato’s theory of ideas implies a different approach to the problem of knowledge, one that is founded on a peculiar mental sensation, or spiritual experience. Thus, from Plato’s viewpoint, an individual participates in the idea of humanity due to psychological relations among human individuals, i.e. because he experiences humanity, and not because he can logically conceive the notion of humanity.

    Plato’s theory of ideas is founded the principle and method of participation (Greek: methexis), and not on logical necessities, or categorical imperatives. There are two general forms of participation: the one is passive, and the other is active. The passive form of participation refers to those elements that beings have inherited from their common source and continue preserving them. Thus, this form of participation points to the dependence of beings on their source and/or on one another. The active form of participation refers to a being’s (or a group of beings’) attempt to create a situation that will allow one to transcend one’s current situation. Thus, this form of participation points to identification within the framework of common activities (‘identification’ is a process whereby a being assimilates an aspect, property, or attribute of another being and is transformed wholly or partially). According to the previous terminology, Plato’s principle and method of participation is a simultaneously passive and active process whereby the spirit participates in social relations and the cosmos.

    In general, from the perspective of classical Greek philosophers, knowledge is founded on and derived from the event of communication, and, therefore, it presupposes a sociable psyche. Thus, Aristotle, in his books Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, argues that the purpose of logic, i.e. of the science of correct reasoning, is not to endow the subject with individual rhetorical power, but to underpin correct social relations and to serve the goal of social harmony. By contrast, Western philosophy perceives knowledge as an individual intellectual achievement, and, thus, it perceives logic as a means of individual rhetorical power.

    In the context of classical Greek philosophy, truth is not representational (i.e. it does not depend on mental images). For this reason, classical Greek philosophers do not identify the intellect with the mind. In particular, in his Republic, 511d-e, Plato argues as follows: “I think you call the mental habit of geometers and their like mind or understanding and not reason because you regard understanding as something intermediate between opinion and reason […] and arrange them in a proportion, considering that they participate in clearness and precision in the same degree as their objects partake of truth and reality”. In contrast to Thomas Aquinas’ essentialism, classical Greek philosophy does not subordinate action and will to the coercive logical authority of general concepts (universalia), without, on the other hand, advocating the nominalist arguments that general concepts are mere words and that only individuals are real. 

    In classical Greek philosophy, a being’s action and will are not subordinated to the coercive logical authority of general concepts, because classical Greek philosophers maintain that the image of a being/thing is a type of energy of the given being’s/thing’s essence. In particular, according to classical Greek philosophers, the image of a being/thing is determined by and emanates from the corresponding being’s/thing’s essence, and it is not merely a perception. Hence, according to classical Greek philosophy, the essence of the mind is not a self-regulating rational system. The ‘mind’, being receptive to the light of the metaphysical ‘sun’ of Good (according to Plato’s Republic), is differentiated from the ‘intellect’, which is the rational faculty of consciousness. Plato’s and Aristotle’s philosophies imply that the mind is a spiritual entity in the image of God, and it knows through its participation in the absolute good (i.e. in the ultimate source of goodness, the divinity), which is the ultimate meaning of existence.

    Plato, in his Timaeus (45b: “light-bearing eyes”), argues that ‘seeing’ means that the light of one’s eyes coalesces with the light of the seen body, which, according to Plato’s Meno (76d), “is an effluence of figures, commensurate with sight and sensible”. The encounter between the previous two lights takes place in the context of a third light, namely the daylight (for more details, see: N. Laos, The Hesychastic Illuminism and the Theory of the Third Light, London: White Crane Publishing Ltd). According to Plato, sight is possible due to a slim stream of light that has the same essence with sunlight, it is emitted from the eyes, and it is interwoven with daylight. Thus, in Timaeus (46b), Plato argues the following: “owing to the fire of the reflected face coalescing with the fire of the vision on the smooth and bright surface”.

    Aristotle, in his work On Senses and the Sensible (437b11 ff.) and in the second book of his work On the Soul, criticizes Plato’s optics and argues that the eye’s light is not fire, since the eye’s major component is liquid. But Aristotle’s theory of vision does not substantially contradict Plato’s theory of vision. Both Plato and Aristotle argue that we see through the soul by means of the organ of sight and that the intellect is inextricably linked to sensation. In particular, both Plato and Aristotle treat the intellect as the deepest layer of sensation and not as a totally different process. In his works On Senses and the Sensible and On the Soul, Aristotle agrees with Plato’s thesis that we see through the soul (Plato, Timaeus, 45d: “distributes the motions of every object it touches, or whereby it is touched, throughout all the body even unto the soul, and brings about the sensation which we now term ‘seeing’”). But, because, contra Plato, in Aristotle’s philosophy, the soul is united with the body as its form and entelechy (actuality), Aristotle proposes the theory of the ‘transparent’.

    In Aristotle’s philosophy, the ‘transparent’ is that which is between the sense organ and the sensible; it receives the information about the species of the sensible and transfers this information to the sense organ. In the second book of his work On the Soul, Aristotle maintains that, by the term ‘transparent’, he means what is visible, but not visible in itself, since it owes its visibility to the colour of something else; of this character are air, water, and aether. According to Aristotle’s On the Soul, sight is the entelechy, or energy, of what is transparent, and, therefore, both the soul and the body participate in the process of knowledge. Moreover, in his work On Senses and the Sensible (439a15), Aristotle describes the soul when it exercises sight. In the context of perception and especially during the process of seeing, the soul is the center of the senses (each faculty of sense perception is connected with the soul), it operates within the eye (Aristotle, On Senses and the Sensible, 438b10), and it needs an inner light, while the eye needs an external light. Thus, from Aristotle’s perspective, the cause of sight is light (and not the fire of the eyes). Additionally, according to Aristotle, light is the entelechy of what is transparent (Aristotle, On the Soul, 419a11). As a conclusion, according to Aristotle’s philosophy, when a light actualizes what is transparent, we perceive the mental reality of the visible bodies.

    From the perspective of Aristotle’s optics, the eye is not light in itself, but it becomes the organ of sight through and due to the actualization of what is transparent. When we receive light, what is transparent inside and outside the eye is immediately actualized (in other words, it becomes light, too), and, therefore, it transfers the information about the species of the visible object to the eye, enabling us to see. Hence, Aristotle has adopted Plato’s notion of the third light. In his Republic (507d-e), Plato writes about the significance of the third light: “he will see nothing and the colours will remain invisible unless a third element is present which is specifically and naturally adapted for the purpose […] What you call light”. In his work On Senses and the Sensible (439a15-23), Aristotle adds that sight (which is the entelechy of the eye) and light (which is the entelechy of what is transparent) presuppose a common power, specifically a light that generally exists in what is transparent and is actualized in the coloured figure of the visible object as light sense.

    In the context of Plato’s and Aristotle’s theories of vision, ‘shadow’ is in essence an unilluminated object, an object that is deprived of light, and it is treated as a negative substance. Shadow signifies lack of light due to the presence of a non-transparent object, which does not allow the rays of the source of light to progress and enter into it, and, thus, it causes lack of light. Therefore, a shadow cannot be seen, not because we cannot identify its figure, but because our eyes’ light cannot encounter a light deriving from a shadow, and, therefore they cannot look at each other. In other words, ‘shadow’ signifies lack of communication, and an entity that remains closed towards the rays of the source of light. Thus, evil is often associated with lack of light, since an evil entity is one that remains closed towards the rays of the metaphysical ‘sun’ of Good, and, therefore, the essence of evilness consists in the lack of communion between an entity and the source of goodness.


True Being, Eternity, and Time

    The ancient Greeks used the term logos in order to refer to the event of ‘disclosure’ (or truth). Disclosure proclaims and speaks about the existence of an entity in the world, and, additionally, it refers to a conscious being that is aware of the event of disclosure. Hence, as Martin Heidegger has pointed out, from the perspective of the Greeks’ notion of truth (Greek: aletheia), truth emerges from the relationship between a disclosed entity and the viewer of this disclosure (see: M. Heidegger, Being and Time, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1962). According to classical Greek philosophy, true being consists in a harmonious, meaningful, and decent order, specifically in the common logos, which is manifest in the cosmos.

    The Greek word aletheia is a combination of the prefix a-  (signifying lack) and the Greek word lethe, meaning forgetfulness. According to Heidegger (ibid), for the ancient Greeks, truth means un-forgetfulness, un-concealment, and disclosure. Ancient Greeks managed to endow their life with a transcendent scope –namely, the scope of harmonizing oneself with the cosmic logos. In this way, they managed to bridge the gap between history and eternity. According to Plato’s Timaeus and Plotinus’ On Time and Eternity, time is an image of eternity. This does not mean that, for Plato and Plotinus, time consists in a deterministic cycle of the world of becoming, but it means that the image –in this case, time– points to and leads to the creative archetypal good (the “sun” mentioned by Plato in his Republic, 514a ff.). Plotinus argues that we must release time from the shackles of the physical world (e.g. space) and seek the origin of time in the nature of the soul (see: N. Laos, The Metaphysics of World Order: A Synthesis of Philosophy, Theology, and Political Theory, Eugene, OR: Cascade Books - Wipf and Stock Publishers).

    In his book On Time and Eternity, Plotinus argues that ‘eternity’ is the radiance of the substratum of the mental principle, and it is continually in a state of changeless timelessness. Moreover, following Plato, Plotinus (ibid) argues that time consists in the activity of the soul in the world, and it is an image of eternity. According to Plotinus (ibid), the term ‘being’ refers to eternity, and ‘real being’ in its absolute ideal state is unmanifested, whereas the term ‘existence’ means the manifestation of being in the world of becoming. Hence, time, being guided by eternity, manifests a tendency towards perfection, and eternity manifests the participation of beings in the state of the intelligible world, precisely in a state of ontological completeness.

    Aristotle, in his Physics (265a25 ff.), maintains that the divinity is the direct object of the love (universal magnetism) of the eternal physical beings, i.e. of the celestial spheres, which, through their harmonious motions, imitate the divinity’s perfect life. Thus, according to ancient Greek philosophers, the harmony of the cosmos is a manifestation and a visible image of the divine logos, and man can actualize his divine potential only by participating in the cosmos (i.e. by being sociable). The Greek philosophy of participation underpins a process of socialization, in the sense that it teaches man to be in harmony with the cosmic rhythm, and, simultaneously, it underpins a process of individuation, in the sense that it urges man to seek and actualize his own divine potential. When the ancient Greek person became aware of the previous process of individuation, he was faced with an existential stalemate, because he realized that he did not know exactly how to preserve the divine justice of the cosmos (which underpins reality) and simultaneously to experience the divine element that lies within him and is manifested in the freedom of will. In other words, at the zenith of Greek philosophy, the ancient Greek person was faced with the following challenging, ultimate questions: Which are the specific criteria by which the divine Logos acts? How exactly can man, as a historical being, know God and actualize his divine potential? Christianity offered satisfactory answers to the previous ultimate questions of ancient Greek philosophy, and, for this reason, Christianity was adopted by the Greeks and defeated Paganism.



    In the Pagan world, the ontological underpinning of civilization was cosmic logos.  In Christianity, the ontological underpinning of civilization is the idea of a society of persons whose archetype is the Holy Trinity. From Christianity’s perspective, true being is not equated with cosmic logos, but it is a personal Logos, who is God and has revealed His personal mode of being in Jesus Christ.

Saint Gregory of Nyssa has emphasized the difference between the terms ousia (essence) and hypostasis. The distinction between essence and hypostasis corresponds to the distinction between what is common (Greek: koinon) and what is particular and proper (Greek: idion). In summary, the Cappadocian Fathers (namely: Saint Basil the Great, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, and Saint Gregory of Nazianzus) have developed the following conceptual correspondences:

Essence = common = species (according to Aristotle’s terminology: universal or secondary substance)

Hypostasis = proper = individual (according to Aristotle’s terminology: primary substance). 

    In order to understand God’s hypostatic mode of being (i.e. the Trinitarian doctrine), let us consider a metaphor about the poet Alexander Pushkin. Pushkin’s poetry is his logos, or word, it proceeds from Pushkin’s nous (mind), and it provides the readers of Pushkin’s word with his ‘spirit’, which is a special culture and a special sense of participation in Pushkin’s personal world. Pushkin’s spirit remains with the readers of his word even when they do not have his poems in front of them. By analogy, God the Father is the Nous, or Mind, of God; God the Son is the Logos, or Word, of God; and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. However, in the case of the Holy Trinity, the Nous of God (Father), the Logos of God (Son), and the Holy Spirit are not attributes or functions of a being, but they are distinct Persons (hypostases) of the same Divine Nature/Essence. Therefore, God is a communion of three hypostases. According to the Nicene Creed, the relationship between the Father and the Son is called generation/birth: the Logos (i.e. the Son) of God is born from the Divine Nous (i.e. from God the Father) “before all ages”, that is, before creation, before the commencement of time, in an eternally timeless existence without beginning or end. Moreover, according to the Nicene Creed, the relationship between the Father and the Holy Spirit is called procession.

    Saint John of Damascus, in his book entitled The Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, defined ‘nature’ as the principle of motion and repose, and, thus, he identified ‘nature’ with ‘substance’. Moreover, in the same book, he endorsed the distinction –central to Aristotle’s Categories– between primary and secondary substances, but he reformulated it with the help of a non-Aristotelian concept, that of hypostasis, which had previously been elucidated by the Cappadocian Fathers. His originality with regard to the Cappadocian Fathers lies in the fact that he gave primacy to hypostasis over nature in accordance with the priority of primary substances in Aristotle’s Categories. Thus, according to Saint John of Damascus, reality is fundamentally hypostatic in the sense that everything exists as, or in relation to, hypostases.

    Saint John of Damascus emphasizes that hypostasis possesses common as well as individual characteristics of the subject, and, furthermore, it exists in itself, whereas nature does not exist in itself, but is to be found in hypostasis. Given that Orthodox Christianity emphasizes God’s hypostatic mode of being, the God of Orthodox Christianity is substantially different from the God of pantheism, since the God of pantheism is part of the natural cosmos and needs to be hypostasized through the souls of natural beings. Additionally, the God of Orthodox Christianity is substantially different from the God of general, abstract monotheism, since general, abstract monotheism emphasizes the unity of God’s nature, whereas the God of Orthodox Christianity emphasizes God’s hypostatic mode of being.

    The hypostatic mode of God’s being implies that God is not constrained by His nature and that the mode of God’s being is freedom. In the second book of his Answer to Eunomius, Saint Gregory of Nyssa wrote that “God has created everything by His will and without any difficulty and pain the divine will became nature” (P.G. 46, 124B). Thus, God’s action does not admit any mediation, and the only ‘raw material’ that God used in order to create the world was His own free will. From the perspective of Orthodox Christianity, God is free from every logical determination, and the cosmos is a result of God’s will (Greek: thelema), and not an emanation from God’s nature, since the nature of the cosmos is created, whereas God’s nature is uncreated. This doctrine has been methodically elucidated by Saint Maximos the Confessor.

    Saint Maximos the Confessor, in his Ambiguum 7, wrote that the logos of a created being does not subsist in itself, but it only exists potentially in the creative divine Logos as a yet unmanifested possibility. Additionally, in his Ambiguum 7, Saint Maximos the Confessor, following Saint Dionysios the Areopagite, named the logoi (plural of logos) of the beings and things in the world divine “wills” (Greek: thelemata; plural of thelema). Given that the logoi of the beings and things in the world (e.g. the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) are divine wills, and not substances, God relates to the beings and things in the world by identifying and treating them as actualizations of His will. Therefore, God’s way of knowing the beings and things in the world consists in love, and it is not determined by any logical/natural necessity (since God’s mode of being is freedom). For this reason, in contrast to Western theologians (especially those who endorse essentialism), the genuine Orthodox Christian theologians never feel threatened by or at odds with any scientific theory, since, from the perspective of the genuine Orthodox Christian theology, science is concerned with the investigation of the logoi of the beings and things in the world, and the logoi of the beings and things in the world are not essential attributes of God, but they are God’s wills; therefore, science can prove/disprove nothing essential about God.

    Finally, Saint Maximos the Confessor has written that the incarnation of the Logos in Jesus Christ reveals the telos, or the ultimate scope, of the cosmos. In particular, in his Ad Thalassium 60, Saint Maximos the Confessor wrote that “the Logos, by essence God, became a messenger of this plan when he became a man and […] established himself as the innermost depth of the Father’s goodness while also displaying in himself the very goal for which his creatures manifestly received the beginning of their existence” (ibid, 125).



    Hesychasm, or nepsis, is the core of Orthodox Christian theology. The term nepsis comes from the New Testament (1 Peter 5:8), and it means to be vigilant and of sober mind. Nepsis is a state of watchfulness and sobriety acquired after a period of cleansing. The term Hesychasm (Greek: ho hesychasmōs) comes from the New Testament (Matthew 6:6), too, and it is a process of retiring inward by quieting (cleansing) the body and the mind in order, ultimately, to achieve an experiential knowledge of God (theoria, which is the Greek word for ‘theory’ and literally means seeing God). In the 18th century, the monk, theologian and philosopher Saint Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain and Saint Makarios of Corinth (Bishop of Corinth and theologian) compiled the works of the Hesychasts, or Neptic Fathers, written between the 4th and the 15th centuries, into a collection that is called The Philokalia (in Greek, the word philokalia means love of the beautiful/good).

    Saint Kallistos Katafygiotis, a 14th century Hesychast whose treatise On Union with God and Life of Theoria is included in the fifth volume of the Philokalia, exposes the Hesychasts’ approach to deification and the functions of the mind. In the previous treatise, Saint Kallistos Katafygiotis writes that all beings, including the mind, have received their movement and their natural characteristics from the divine Logos, who has created them, and that the movement of the mind, in particular, has as its characteristic the “forever”, which is infinite and unlimited. Therefore, Saint Kallistos Katafygiotis continues, it would have been beneath the nature and the value of the mind if it moved in a finite and limited way (i.e. if it had its movement in finite and limited things). According to Saint Kallistos Katafygiotis, due to the mind’s logos and nature, the perpetual movement of the mind needs to be oriented towards something eternal and unlimited, and nothing is really (i.e. by its nature) infinite and unlimited but God, who by nature is One. Hence, the mind needs to gaze at and move towards the infinite One, i.e. towards God.

    In the aforementioned treatise, Saint Kallistos Katafygiotis explains that there are three ways in which the mind ascends to the theoria (vision) of God: the self-mobilized way (Greek: autokinetos), the other-mobilized way (Greek: heterokinetos), and the mixed way. The self-mobilized way is performed with the mind’s own will accompanied by imagination, and its conclusion is the theoria of things related to God (i.e. an indirect and imperfect knowledge of God). The other-mobilized way is performed only with the will and illumination of God, i.e. it is totally transcendental, and, in such a state, the entire mind is found under divine possession, and it is caught in divine revelations. The mixed way consists partly of both the self-mobilized way and the other-mobilized way: as long as one works with his own will and imagination, he is in agreement with the self-mobilized way, and he partakes of the other-mobilized way as long as he unites with oneself by means of the divine illumination, and he sees God ineffably, beyond the mental union with oneself.

    The argument that truth can be experienced in a personal manner is one thing, but the argument that truth is an individual or private affair is another thing. Hesychasm staunchly rejects the privatization of truth, and, therefore, it is spiritually different from all those Western philosophies which maintain that the conscious individual (which, according to the corresponding philosophy, may be defined as the ‘individual human being’, the ‘nation’, the ‘community’, the ‘social class’, the ‘state’, etc.) is an ontologically sufficient foundation of truth.

    In contrast to being a pure individual, being a person means that one is a socialized individual, and, therefore, personhood cannot be defined in reference to the individual in isolation. The person cannot be conceived in itself (as a static entity, or an objective datum), but only as it relates to. The human being becomes a person as-it-relates-to-God, since God is the perfect “You” of one’s “I”, and, also, God is the only ontologically stable and dependable existential mirror. In Orthodox Christianity, God is a Trinity of Persons: God the Father, or Nous (Philippians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:23), God the Son, or Logos/Word (John 1:1, 14, Colossians 2:9, Hebrews 2:11), and God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4, 1 Peter 1:2). Thus, Jesus Christ said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6); and, referring to the Paraclete (Holy Spirit), Jesus Christ said: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever […] the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:16-26). The Orthodox Christian Triadology implies that God’s being is communion, and, since man is created in the image of God, the nature of man’s being is communion, too.

    Saint Gregory Palamas’ and generally the Hesychasts’ teachings about the vision of God as uncreated light and about man’s participation in the uncreated energies of God elucidate the ontology of personhood: I am only in relation to You, and the ‘You’ of my ‘I’ is a God who is not an abstract essence, but He exists personally and can be participated in by man, thus giving rise to a community of persons who are partakers of God, and they exist in communion with each other. Given that communion has ontological significance, Orthodox Christian Dogmatics is not an abstract, normative theory, but it proclaims and elucidates the manner in which personhood is ontologically founded on one’s relationship with the Incarnate Logos of God (John 1:1-5, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). The human being attains to genuine ontology by his participation and sharing in God’s existence, taking on an eternal dimension for the self (for more details, see: N. Laos, The Metaphysics of World Order: A Synthesis of Philosophy, Theology, and Political Theory, Eugene, OR: Cascade Books - Wipf and Stock Publishers; N. Laos, The Hesychastic Illuminism and the Theory of the Third Light, London: White Crane Publishing Ltd).

    Hesychasm emphasizes that God’s ‘energy’ is different from God’s ‘essence’. God’s energy is the life-force of God’s essence, and it discloses the mode of God’s being. However, the fullness of God is present in God’s energy according to God’s own will. According to Hesychasm, man can participate in God’s energies, which are known as wisdom, love, providence, creativity, etc.; these are the uncreated gifts of the Holy Spirit to man, and they constitute the essence of true theology and of true Christian life. Furthermore, because God’s energies are distinct from God’s essence (even though God’s energies are equally divine as God’s essence), man’s participation in God’s energies implies that man participates in God, but simultaneously God’s essence and His hypostases (i.e. the three persons of the Trinity) remain totally transcendental, and, therefore, the relationship between God and man is founded on free will and not on connaturality. God and man relate to each other through their wills, remaining essentially distinct from each other (since God’s essence is uncreated, whereas man’s essence is created). Through the doctrine of essence-energies distinction, Orthodox Christianity bridges the gap between God and man without lapsing into the fallacies of pantheism or Gnosticism. The pantheists and the Gnostics, being ignorant of the Hesychasts’ doctrine of essence-energies distinction, attempt to bridge the gap between God and man by mingling God’s nature with the natural world or with man’s soul. Thus, ultimately, pantheism and Gnosticism imprison both God and man in a suffocating, deterministic cosmic system.

    The Hesychasts teach that the human soul is united with the body into a unified psycho-somatic nexus. Thus, the ‘soul’ can be understood as the personal carrier of the impersonal life-force. In addition, the Hesychasts emphasize that the mind (Greek: nous) is a power of the soul, but it is not an organic part of the soul, because the mind is a divine gift. In particular, according to the Hesychasts, the mind is the repository of divine grace in the human being. Therefore, from the viewpoint of Hesychasm, the term mind should not be used interchangeably with the term intellect; in principle, a man may have a powerful intellect (filled with created knowledge), but he may not have a mind, in the sense that he may not have received God’s uncreated energies. The knowledge that is based on the intellect is derived from created sources, but the knowledge that is based on the mind is derived from the uncreated energies of God, i.e. directly from God. Moreover, according to the Hesychasts, the three aspects of soul, which are mentioned in the fourth book of Plato’s Republic –namely, the appetitive aspect of soul (which is responsible for the base desires within people), the rational aspect of soul (intellect), and the spirited aspect of soul (which consists in the desires that love honor and victory, and, in the just soul, it acts as the enforcer of the rational soul)– are not organic parts (structural elements) of the soul, but they are consequences of the exercise of freedom of will by man. Hence, man is not a victim of psychological determinism, but he is spiritually free.

    According to the Hesychasts’ anthropology, the mind does not have any organs, but it is an image of God. Thus, since the mind does not have any organs, it is neither necessarily determined by material passions nor necessarily attracted to sensuous objects. In his treatises entitled Triads in Defense of the Holy Hesychasts (included in volume IV of the Philokalia), Saint Gregory Palamas writes that psychic cleansing is a process that leads to mental transparency, i.e. it makes man’s psyche open to God’s energies. Additionally, in the same essay, he emphasizes the difference between the ‘mind’, being the repository of God’s uncreated energies within the human being, and the ‘intellect’, being the faculty of abstract thought (among its functions are attention, conception, judgment, reasoning, reflection, and self-consciousness). According to Saint Gregory Palamas, the purpose of the Hesychasts’ method of psychic cleansing is to eliminate everything that may impede the descent of God’s uncreated energies into the human mind. Thus, in Hesychasm, psychic cleansing signals perfect mental transparency, i.e. perfect psychic openness. On the other hand, every attempt to equate the mind with the intellect leads to a state of mental non-transparency and restricts the human mind to created means of knowledge, rendering man incapable of divine illumination (i.e. incapable of receiving knowledge that is derived from an uncreated source).

    The intellect is naturally oriented towards and concerned with the world of the senses, and it organizes sense-data into a rational whole. The mind is naturally oriented towards and concerned with the divine Logos. Therefore, the mind should not be mingled with the intellect. As a consequence of the Hesychasts’ distinction between the mind and the intellect, the mind ‒but not the intellect‒ must be detached from the world of the senses. The intellect cannot function without processing sense-data. Hence, if the intellect is detached from the world of the senses, it enters into a sleep state, such as the yogic sleep, which is totally irrelevant to the Hesychasts’ notion of mental stillness.

    The Greek Church Fathers (including the Hesychasts) emphasize that God alone is uncreated, and that everything else, including the human soul, is created. In chapters 5 and 6 of his Dialogue with Trypho, Saint Justin Philosopher and Martyr writes the following: “if the world is begotten, souls also are necessarily begotten”, and, furthermore, if the soul were life, “it would cause something else, and not itself, to live, even as motion would move something else than itself”; even though the soul lives, “it lives not as being life, but as the partaker of life […] the soul partakes of life, since God wills it to live”. The Hesychasts teach that the human soul and the body are united into a psycho-somatic nexus, and the soul is the hypostatic carrier of the impersonal life-force; in other words, it is what makes a human being a hypostasis.

    In the first triad of his treatises In Defense of the Holy Hesychasts, Saint Gregory Palamas writes that the heart is the essence of the mind, and the mind is a power of the heart: “the heart is the secret chamber of the mind and the prime physical organ of mental power”. In the same triad, he attacks the idea that man must drive his mind out of his body in order to attain spiritual visions as an erroneous belief, and he argues as follows: “We who carry as in vessels of clay, that is in our bodies, the light of the Father, in the person of Jesus Christ, in which we know the glory of the Holy Spirit, how can it dishonor our mind to duel in the inner sanctuary of the body?” In the second triad of his treatises In Defense of the Holy Hesychasts, Saint Gregory Palamas adds the following: “When spiritual joy comes to the body from the mind, it suffers no diminution by this communion with the body, but rather transfigures the body, spiritualizing it. For then, rejecting all evil desires of the flesh, it no longer weighs down the soul that rises up with it, the whole man becoming spirit”.

    The Hesychasts do not treat the body as if it were an enemy. The Hesychasts’ practices of asceticism and prayer are aimed at liberating the body from the law of sin (i.e. from impersonal, uncontrolled impulses and instincts and from selfishness) and at establishing there the mind as an overseer. The method of Hesychasm dictates to the senses what they have to receive and in what measure, thus achieving self-mastery, it purifies the desiring part of the soul through love, and it improves the intellectual part of the soul by eliminating everything that prevents the mind from soaring to God, thus achieving nepsis. Concerning nepsis, in particular, Saint Gregory Palamas has pointed out that it it can be understood as a deep experience of communion and union with God through the “Jesus Prayer” or “prayer of the heart” (Greek: cardiakē prosefchē). The most familiar formula of the “Jesus Prayer” is, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”, but Saint Gregory Palamas himself was fond of the following devotional entreaty: “enlighten my darkness”.

    In the 14th century, Saint Gregory of Sinai taught Hesychasm to monks of Mount Athos, and, around 1335, he spent his last years at Paroria, on the borders between the Byzantine Empire and Bulgaria, were he taught Hesychasm to Slavs. Saint Gregory of Sinai’s pupils propagated Hesychasm throughout Bulgaria, Serbia, and Russia. Dimitri Obolensky has pointed out that “Byzantium, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania and Russia were all affected by this new cosmopolitan movement [Hesychasm]”, and that, “through this ‘Hesychast International’, whose influence extended far beyond the ecclesiastical sphere, the different parts of the Byzantine Commonwealth were, during the last hundred years of its existence, linked to each other and to its centre and perhaps more closely than ever before” (see: D. Obolensky, The Byzantine Commonwealth: Eastern Europe 500-1453, Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1971, p. 390).

    According to Saint Gregory of Sinai ‒whose teachings are contained in Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 150‒ the use of the Jesus Prayer (reciting it in the standard form: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”) should be so far as possible continuous, because it is an effective way of attaining image-free, or non-discursive, prayer, thus preparing the mind to receive God’s uncreated energies. In addition, Saint Gregory of Sinai ‒following Saint Symeon the New Theologian’s Method of Holy Prayer and Attentiveness and Saint Nicephorus the Hesychast’s On Vigilance and the Guarding of the Heart‒ teaches that, when one recites the Jesus Prayer, his breathing rhythm should be slowed down in order to imagine his breath entering through the nostrils and then passing down within the lungs until it reaches the heart, and, in this way, to make his mind remain with the breath within the body, so that mind and heart are united.



    The term ‘Scholasticism’ was applied in the era of Charlemagne to the philosophical and theological teachings at the schools he established. A scholasticus was a person learned in the trivium (grammar, dialectic, rhetoric) and the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy), or in theology. The application of the title scholasticus was gradually broadened, and, finally, in Western Europe from about 1100-1700, the title scholasticus was given to all students and academics of universities. 

    The principal scholarly sources of the early Scholastics were Patristic literature (mainly Latin Church Fathers), elements of Greek philosophy, and, later, Arabian and Jewish theories. However, until the middle of the 12th century, the Scholastics had very limited access to Greek philosophy, since the Greek philosophical corpus that was at their disposal consisted only of (often defective) Latin translations of: parts of Plato’s Timaeus (by Cicero and Chalcidius), Aristotle’s Categories and On Interpretation (by Boethius), and Porphyry’s Introduction to the Categories (by Boethius and Victorinus). Plato’s Meno and Phaedo, and Aristotle’s Analysis, Topics and metaphysical and physical works became known to the West in translation in the 12th century. On the other hand, in the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium), throughout the Middle Ages, the basic texts of classical Greek philosophy were part of the Byzantine educational programme, and they were available to Christian and non-Christian researchers without censorship or restraint by the Church (see: B. Tatakis, Byzantine Philosophy, Cambridge, MA: Hackett Publ. Co. Inc., 2003; originally published in French in 1949).

    Due to its limited and problematic access to the original Greek philosophical texts, the West, in the years of Holy Augustine of Hippo and Boethius, and throughout the Middle Ages, elaborated its own interpretation of classical Greek philosophy. Thus, the West interpreted the Greek metaphysical term ousia (essence) as a universal, i.e. as a general concept. By interpreting the Greek metaphysical term ousia (essence) as a general concept (i.e. as a reality that depends on human reason), the Western culture started treating the self-certitude of consciousness as the foundation of truth.

    Through his philosophical and theological work, Holy Augustine of Hippo created a Western tradition of individualistic subjectivism. The starting point of the Augustinian thought is a distinction between the sensible and the intelligible worlds, and, from this distinction, it arrives at the conclusion that the soul knows bodies only through an inward experience, called ratio, independently of the body, and that man’s salvation consists in the soul’s elevation into the intelligible world. In his treatise De libero arbitrio, Holy Augustine defines ratio as the logical process according to which the intellect discerns and connects the objects of knowledge. In addition, Holy Augustine discerns two functions of human reason: ratio superior and ratio inferior. According to Holy Augustine’s De trinitate (XII), ratio superior discerns ideal reality in and through the human soul and underpins the knowledge of truth, whereas ratio inferior uses the senses in order to look outward on the world of sense objects and cannot lead to truth. Holy Augustine elaborates his epistemology by contrasting the inner truth and certainty of impression (intellectual perception) with the uncertainty of sense perception. Holy Augustine argues that the soul is the epitome of personality and that ratio superior is the only way in which the soul can know truth, and he combines the previous two arguments with a Manichean rejection of sense perception. In Holy Augustine’s epistemology, the knowledge of truth is determined by ratio superior, and, therefore, the human being is not spiritually free, and it cannot be united with God in this life (i.e. salvation is impossible in this life).

    The Greek Church Fathers teach the knowledge of God consists in man’s participation in God’s mode of being (uncreated energies), and, hence, the knowledge of God consists in a metaphysically grounded experience of freedom from every (logical and natural) necessity. On the other hand, for the West, especially from Holy Augustine’s theology onwards, the knowledge of God is analogous to the knowledge of man, in the sense that it consists in an inward experience (intellectual perception) that stems from man’s will, which manipulates the contents of consciousness. Whereas Plato and the Hesychasts emphasize mental sensation, Holy Augustine substitutes sensation with will. According to Holy Augustine’s epistemology, the awareness of an external stimulus is a consequence of the soul’s will. Moreover, Holy Augustine’s Manichean distinction between the soul and the body implies that rational truth is reflected in the human mind, but the personal will of God can be known only indirectly, i.e. by drawing analogies between God’s personal will and man’s personal will. For this reason, Holy Augustine can be regarded as the father of individualistic subjectivism, and the Orthodox Christian Church has not endorsed the entire corpus of Holy Augustine’s theological works.

    Like Holy Augustine’s thought, the scholarly work of the Roman statesman and philosopher Boethius (c.480-524/525) is marked by a radical distinction between the sensuous and the supersensuous worlds. Until the 13th century, Boethius’ scholarly work constituted the most significant intellectual link between Greek philosophy and the West. However, as we have already pointed out, the use of Boethius’ scholarly work by Western scholars was conditioned by the mentalities of the Latin world and by the scope of the Latin education. The Latin Church Fathers’ educational background was focused on Roman Law, whereas the Greek Church Fathers’ educational background was focused on Greek philosophy. Thus, the Latin Church Father’s way of theologizing was conditioned by their legalistic mentality, and they were primarily treating Christianity as a practical system for organizing and instituting people’s life, whereas the Greek Church Fathers’ priority was the ontological perfection of man, or deification.

    The Latin education was primarily oriented towards the acquisition of rhetorical power and, hence, towards the achievement of syllogistic perfection. Due to the pursuit of rhetorical power, the medieval West substituted metaphysical goals with rationality. Thus, in the medieval West, the Greek term logos was substituted by the Latin term ratio. Moreover, Boethius proposed a Platonic interpretation of Aristotle’s logic. Both Boethius and Holy Augustine interpreted Aristotle’s general concepts (universals) as if they were Platonic ideas (i.e. like entities totally distinct from the material world), and they interpreted Plato’s ideas as if they were logical essences (i.e. like logically self-subsistent entities), which was absurd. The cause of this misunderstanding was that the medieval Western metaphysicians ignored the fact that, for Plato and Aristotle, the problem of essence was not an intellectual/rhetorical power game. In fact, Aristotle’s logic is not limited to abstract systems of formal logic, but it is primarily concerned with the human logos’ potential to comprehend and express an external spiritual reality, specifically, the logos of the cosmos. In contrast to the Greek term logos, which refers to an experiential understanding of truth through participation/sharing (Greek: methexis), the Latin term ratio means the individual ability to syllogistically achieve a comprehensive, exhaustive understanding of truth.

    In his Scriptum super libros Sententiarum and in his Summa theologiae, Thomas Aquinas argues that there is only one type of truth (the truth of ratio), thus uniting Holy Augustine’s ratio inferior and ratio superior into a unified, hierarchical rational system. In other words, according to Thomas Aquinas, given that there is only type of truth, knowledge originates in Holy Augustine’s ratio inferior and culminates in Holy Augustine’s ratio superior. Additionally, in the aforementioned books, Thomas Aquinas argues that the soul, as a separate species and as the entelechy of the body, unites the realms of the sensuous and the intelligible into a unified natural whole. According to Thomas Aquinas, the soul has been created by God (i.e. it is not connatural with God), but it is immortal, immaterial, and capable of comprehending the intelligible realm. However, Thomas Aquinas maintains, because the soul is bound to the body, the soul does not directly understand the intelligibles, but only indirectly, through reason (ratio), which leads to the conception of the universal within the individual. The difference between Hesychasm and Thomas Aquinas’ essentialism is straightforward.

    From Thomas Aquinas’ perspective, the soul comprehends the essences of things through the conception of the corresponding species, and, also, it comprehends the accidental properties of things through their sensible species, or sensuous representations. Moreover, Thomas Aquinas argues that, because immaterial entities (namely, essences distinct from the sensible species by which they are represented) exist within material bodies, the comprehension of objects is determined by the inner principle of comprehension, that is by reason (ratio). Tomas Aquinas’ epistemology (which is founded on rational thought as an exact organ of cognition) contradicts the ancient Greek theory of ideas, since the latter is neither a rationalist theory of knowledge nor a system of mysticism, but it is a method of spiritual cleansing. Thomas Aquinas’ epistemology paved the way to the modern tradition of individual truth (subjectivism), which was founded in the 17th century by Descartes. The ancient Greek theory of truth qua spiritual cleansing and qua participation in the mind-independent realm of ideas underpins a holistic understanding of society, whereas rationalism seeks to find truth through analysis, or calculus, and, ultimately, it identifies truth with the self-certitude of the ego (for more details, see: N. Laos, The Metaphysics of World Order: A Synthesis of Philosophy, Theology, and Political Theory, Eugene, OR: Cascade Books - Wipf and Stock Publishers).

    Thomas Aquinas argues that the universal does not exist as such (universal qua universal), but it exists only in an individualized manner within material bodies due to the quantitative differentiation of matter. Therefore, human knowledge originates in the senses (i.e. in Holy Augustine’s ratio inferior), and its integration is brought about by reason (particularly by Holy Augustine’s ratio superior). In the context of Thomas Aquinas’ philosophy, reason reigns over the soul and leads to the knowledge of God; hence, reason’s cognitive power is the most important asset of the human being. In particular, Thomas Aquinas maintains that the intellect, or the ability to reason, is superior to will (because the will of a rational being is determined by the knowledge of the good), and the intellect is superior to freedom (because a rational being manages its freedom according to the necessity of reason, or the categorical imperative). The previous arguments of Thomas Aquinas express a latent form of humanism (as opposed to the Hesychasts’ theocentrism); humanism became explicit in the West in the context of Modernity.

    Revolting against Thomas Aquinas’ essentialism, William of Ockham defended nominalism, which was founded in the 11th century by the French philosopher and theologian Roscellinus. According to Roscellinus, ideas are not substances, but they are simply words (flatus vocis), or names. Hence, for Roscellinus, the genus and the species have no substantial unity, and the union of individuals in the genus or in the species is a mere fabrication of language or the work of thought. Roscellinus and William of Ockham maintain that only individuals are real. The radical individualistic humanism of nominalism paved the way to positive science.

    The starting point of William of Ockham’s thought is a skeptical attitude. In particular, William of Ockham argues that sense perception is not a source of certain knowledge, and universals (intelligible species) have no existence outside the mind, in the sense that they are not inherent in things. From the perspective of Ockham’s nominalism, whoever assumes mind-independent universals ‒as essentialists (known also as philosophical realists) do‒ merely make entities of abstractions, and, hence, they merely propose an unnecessary doubling of the universe. This thesis is known as “Ockham’s Razor”, since it shaves off the unnecessary universals.

    William of Ockham, in his Summa totius logicae, argues that only particulars (individuals) exist. In the same book, William of Ockham argues that particulars can be known independently of abstract concepts, through simple psychological activities, or through representation. Therefore, from the perspective of nominalism, there are only two types of scientific and, hence, cognitively significant judgments: tautologies (self-evident truths) and empirical judgments. According to William of Ockham, general concepts (universalia) exist merely as thoughts in the mind, and, if one believes in the ontological autonomy of general concepts, then general concepts necessarily constrain the reality of the particular and God’s freedom. In order to protect God’s and man’s freedom from general concepts, William of Ockham proposes the total negation of the reality of general concepts, and he reduces them to psychological representations, meaning to expressions of one’s own inner states (intellections, acts of will, joy, and sorrow). William of Ockham’s nominalism is a philosophical system that ontologically legitimizes the individual qua ‘subject’ (i.e. as a historical actor filled with reason and will and, more precisely, a historical being capable of acting on the basis of reason and will) and the individual’s autonomy from the community.

    Apart from the differences between William of Ockham’s nominalism and Thomas Aquinas’ essentialism, these two philosophies can legitimately coexist within the Roman Catholic West, because they are two varieties of the same Western rationalist and, hence, humanist tradition, which is at odds with the Hesychasts’ theocentrism. In the context of the Hesychasts’ theocentrism, the ontology of particularity is underpinned by man’s and God’s hypostatic mode of existence and by the personal relationship between man and God, but it precludes pure individuality because human consciousness (including the intellect) is not accepted as an ontologically sufficient foundation of truth, and the mind is defined as the repository of divine grace in the human being and as a divine gift that is external to the soul.

    Thomas Aquinas’ essentialism underpins the Papacy’s absolutism, whereas William of Ockham’s nominalism underpins the bourgeois political thought. In Thomas Aquinas’ system, universals (general concepts) constitute the real world, whereas individuals belong to the world of imperfect phenomena. Thomas Aquinas’ essentialism (often called philosophical realism) implies that society must be rational, i.e. it must be structured according to the principle of ratio, which, according to Thomas Aquinas, is equivalent to the wisdom of God. Moreover, in Thomas Aquinas’ system, the Pope is the authority that can explain the will of the supreme universal (or the divine wisdom) and impose the will of the supreme universal on society. In this way, Thomas Aquinas’ philosophy implies that the Pope has the right to behave like his archetype, namely like God, and, in general, the social authorities have the right and the moral responsibility to suppress the individual for the sake of the universal, since, according to Thomas Aquinas, the individual has significance and value only because and in the extent to which it serves the universal. The previous reasoning is the key philosophical underpinning of absolutism in general and of the Papacy’s principle of plenitudo potestatis in particular.

    In the High Middle Ages, the medieval Western subject was aware that the dispute of Papal absolutism was inextricably linked to the refutation of essentialism (philosophical realism). Several kings and local lords disputed the Vatican’s political system, but the bourgeois class attempted to refute the very philosophical underpinnings of Papal absolutism, namely essentialism. For instance, during the 10th and the 11th centuries, kings argued that they were the heads of hierarchical systems of personal loyalty, and local lords assumed rights over the persons and property of their followers to judge, punish, levy taxes, and receive rents and services, and, also, they claimed that the local churches and monasteries in their area were part of their own domains. In the 11th and the 12th centuries, the authority of the Pope was undermined by the belief that kings had supernatural authority. Moreover, German emperors, especially Frederick I (Barbarossa), promoted a revival of Roman imperial law. However, from the 11th century onwards, members of the bourgeoisie conduct a cultural war against essential. In the 11th century, the bourgeois started acquiring political authority and promoting a form of parliamentarianism. From the bourgeoisie’s perspective, society is not a historical manifestation or an image of a universal, but it is an aggregation of individuals. Therefore, the bourgeoisie endorses nominalist arguments. William of Ockham argues that sovereignty derives from the people, and that people have the natural power to legislate.

    As we have already pointed out, both Thomas Aquinas’ essentialism and William of Ockham’s nominalism are humanist philosophies, because, for both of them, created knowledge (namely, knowledge derived from human/natural reason) is an ontologically sufficient foundation of truth. However, William of Ockham’s individualistic humanism is more radical than Thomas Aquinas’ humanism. In fact, William of Ockham’s nominalism can function as an underpinning of unrestrained egoism. On the other hand, John Duns Scotus’ conceptualism is an attempt to achieve a synthesis between Thomas Aquinas’ essentialism and William of Ockham’s nominalism.

    In his Opus Oxoniense and Opus Parisiense, John Duns Scotus advocates the logical distinction between the ‘genus’ and the ‘species’, and he argues that the individual is the species plus the ‘individual’ difference and that the species is the genus plus the ‘specific’ difference. Through his conceptualism, John Duns Scotus elaborated a theory of philosophical psychology according to which the soul is primarily concerned with being qua being, whose essence is its own mode of existence, without any further characterization. John Duns Scotus admits that the preoccupation of the soul with being qua being causes uncertainty and skepticism about the soul and its energy. Indeed, John Duns Scotus observes, we cannot rationally demonstrate the immortality of the soul, and, on this matter, only faith can give us certainty, without, however, entirely eliminating doubt. Furthermore, John Duns Scotus maintains that, because the immortality of the soul is a rationally indemonstrable thesis, there is no certain rational proof of God’s existence.

    Both Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus believe that the proof of God’s existence is latent in every rational creature and requires only to be made actual. In other words, both Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus believe that man can syllogistically infer the existence of God from His works (a posteriori). Nevertheless, their philosophies are not characterized by the same amount of confidence in natural reason. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Contra Gentiles, 1, 3, argues that, “by the light of natural reason”, philosophers can prove truths about God demonstratively, but, on the other hand, John Duns Scotus contends that such proofs of God’s existence are characterized by lack of certainty.

    According to John Duns Scotus, there are two distinct truths: the truth of the material world, and the truth of the spiritual world, or religion. John Duns Scotus maintains that the truth of the material world can be rationally demonstrated, and it can be sought through philosophy, whereas the truth of the spiritual world, or religion, is rationally indemonstrable, being only a matter of faith, and it can be sought through theology. Furthermore, according to John Duns Scotus, the sensuous world is the realm of the intellect, which is the most abstract and simple faculty of the soul and the distinctive characteristic of a rational being, whereas the supersensuous world is the realm of faith. Therefore, John Duns Scotus’ philosophy leads to the autonomy of the natural sciences from theology.

    The aforementioned epistemological arguments of John Duns Scotus stem from his fundamental argument that knowledge is a consequence of the intellect’s encounter with external objects, and that this encounter creates a visible image which is, more or less, a confused (or potential) perception and can be clarified (i.e. it can become an actual perception) by the will. John Duns Scotus maintains that the will and the sentiment of love (which, according to John Duns Scotus, is a function of the will) are ends in themselves, whereas knowledge is an instrument of the will.

    In Thomas Aquinas’ thought, the pure divine intellect is confused with divine wills (Greek: thelemata), and, therefore, Thomas Aquinas’ natural theology gives rise to a total causal deterministic world-conception, whose ratio, Thomas Aquinas assumes, is equivalent to God’s wisdom. On the other hand, John Duns Scotus seeks to protect man’s and God’s freedom of will from Thomas Aquinas’ determinism by arguing that perception depends on the will. Thus, John Duns Scotus’ philosophy gives rise to indeterminism. A key argument of John Duns Scotus’ philosophy is that the degree of our knowledge is analogous to the degree of our will. Hence, there is an elusive yet significant intellectual link between John Duns Scotus’ philosophy and Friedrich Nietzsche’s doctrine of the “will to power”. In addition ‒given that John Duns Scotus argues that the soul is primarily concerned with being qua being, whose essence is its own mode of existence, without any further characterization, and that the degree of our knowledge is analogous to the degree of our will‒ there is an elusive yet significant intellectual link between John Duns Scotus’ philosophy and Martin Heidegger’s distinction between the authentic and the inauthentic modes of Dasein’s existence.

    As a conclusion, a Scholastic (independently of whether he espouses Thomas Aquinas’ essentialism, or William of Ockham’s nominalism, of John Duns Scotus’ conceptualism) asserts his epistemological autonomy from God by seeking truth through “natural reason”, without seeking to participate and progress in God’s uncreated energies, and, in fact, he does not even believe that man can really become a partaker of God’s uncreated energies. This attitude is the humanist core of Scholasticism, and, for this reason, the Scholastics (rather involuntarily) paved the way to Modernity. Protestantism is an even more radical humanist attitude. Through rationalism, a Scholastic asserts his epistemological autonomy from God (i.e. he seeks the Truth through reason, without God’s uncreated Grace), but he does not assert his epistemological autonomy from the Pope and from his community’s authorities. On the contrary, a Protestant not only asserts his epistemological autonomy from God (since, like the Scholastics, he seeks the Truth without depending on his participation and progress in God’s uncreated energies), but also he asserts his epistemological autonomy from any visible Church authority. Thus, ultimately, radical Protestantism transforms the Church into a subjective concept and every Protestant into a type of Pope (see: G. H. Sabine an d T. L. Thorson, A History of Political Theory, 4th edition, Fort Worth: Holt, Rineheart and Winston, 1973, chapter 19).


The Doctrinal Innovation of the “Filioque” and the 1054 Schism

    In the 5th century A.D., the Western part of the Roman Empire was gradually subjugated to various German tribes: in Italy were the Heruli; in south-eastern Gaul, the Burgundians; in Britain, the Saxons and the Jutes; in Spain and Southern Gaul, the Visigoths; in north-western Spain, the Suevi; in Africa, the Vandals. In September 476, Flavius Odoacer (German: Odoaker), a Germanic soldier, deposed Romulus Augustus (the last Western Roman Emperor), and he became the King of Italy (476-493); this event signalled the end of the Western Roman Empire. The West was then deprived of the imperial title, and Odoacer was given the title of patrician. Odoacer ruled over Italy as the vicar of the Eastern Roman Emperor. The old Roman authority was preserved only in the northern part of Gaul by Syagrius (c.430-c.486/487), the last Roman official in Gaul (magister militum per Gallias). However, at the Battle of Soissons (486), Syagrius was defeated by King Clovis I of the Franks.

    During the Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, the Franks and the other Germanic peoples were gradually Christianized. But, despite their formal Christianization, they did not allow the mystery of the Incarnate Logos to substantially alter the core of their ethos. The quality and the deficiencies of the Frankish Christianity were dramatically described by Saint Boniface, the first Archbishop of Mainz, in a letter that he wrote to Pope Zacharias On His Accession to the Papacy (472 A.D.). In that letter, Saint Boniface wrote: “Franks have not held a council for more than eighty years; they have had no archbishop nor have they established or restored in any place the canon law of the Church”. Moreover, in the same letter, Saint Boniface described the ethos of the Frankish Church authorities as follows: “The Episcopal sees […] have been given, for the most part, into the possession of avaricious laymen or exploited by adulterous and unworthy clerics for worldly uses […] Among them are bishops who […] are shiftless drunkards, […] who march armed into battle and shed with their own hands the blood of Christians and heathens alike”.

    The Franks and the other Germanic peoples saw Christianity as a means of achieving greater social homogeneity and consolidating their power in the West. Thus, they endorsed and invigorated the Roman Church’s tradition of secularization and legalism. In the 8th century, Charlemagne (the King of the Franks from 768, the King of Italy from 774, and from 800 the first emperor of Western Europe since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire) turned the Roman Church’s tradition of secularization and legalism against the Papacy itself by directly challenging the authority of the sacerdotium (priesthood). In fact, Charlemagne claimed that he was directly appointment by God, and, therefore, he was not depending on any endorsement by the Pope. Moreover, Charlemagne appointed bishops by his own authority.

     Even though Charlemagne was illiterate, he did not hesitate to refute Ecumenical Councils and to challenge the Byzantine civilization.  He advocated the doctrinal innovation of the “Filioque” (Latin for “and from the Son”) as regards the procession of the Holy Spirit, thus refuting the Trinitarian Doctrine of the First Council of Nicaea (i.e. the First Ecumenical Council, 325 A.D.). Additionally, the Libri Carolini (four books composed on the command of Charlemagne) refuted the conclusions of the Second Council of Nicaea (i.e. the Seventh Ecumenical Council, 787 A.D.) with regard to its acts and decrees in the matter of sacred icons. Protopresbyter John Meyendorff and Protopresbyter John Romanides argue that the Franks’ efforts to get Pope Leo III to approve the addition of the Filioque to the Nicene Creed were dictated by Charlemagne’s intention to disparage Byzantine spirituality (see: J. Meyendorff, The Orthodox Church, New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1981; J. Romanides, Franks, Romans, Feudalism, and Doctrine, Patriarch Athenagoras Memorial Lectures, Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1981).

    The original Nicene Creed (as adopted in 325 A.D. by the First Ecumenical Council) declared that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. As we have already mentioned, in the context of Orthodox Christian Triadology, the term ‘proceeds’ signifies the particular personal relationship between the Holy Spirit and the Father (Divine Nous), and not an authoritarian hierarchy. On the other hand, as a consequence of the Filioque doctrine, the Holy Spirit becomes a subordinate member of the Holy Trinity, and the Holy Trinity becomes an authoritarian Neoplatonic hierarchical system. According to the Orthodox Church’s Triadology, any given trait must be common to all Persons of the Trinity, or else it must be unique to one of them. In particular, according to the Orthodox Church’s Triadology, Fatherhood is unique to the Father, begottedness is unique to the Son, procession is unique to the Holy Spirit, and Godhood is common to all. The argument that the trait of being the source of the Holy Spirit’s procession can be shared by only two Persons of the Trinity ‒namely, by the Father and the Son‒ implies that those two Persons are superior to the third Person, and, therefore, the balance of unity and diversity is overturned. In 810, Pope Leo III rejected the doctrine of the Filioque. But, in 1014, at the request of the German King Henry II, who had come to Rome to be crowned Emperor, Pope Benedict VIII ‒who owed to Henry his restoration to the Papal throne after the deposition of Antipope Gregory VI‒ approved the inclusion of the Filioque in the Latin Creed used in the Church of Rome.

    One of the major reasons for the West’s confusion regarding the relationships among the Persons of the Holy Trinity is that the New Testament and the Nicene Creed were originally written in Greek, and many medieval Western theologians were unable to understand the difference between the Greek concepts ekporēvete (= proceeds) and pēmbete (= is sent). According to the original texts of the Nicene Creed and the New Testament (John 15:26), the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and is sent through the Son. The Filioque was one of the primary causes of the East–West Schism of 1054. However, in the 20th century, several Western Churches officially admitted that the Filioque was a mistake. The Lambeth Conference called on the churches of the Anglican Communion to shed the Filioque from future copies of the Book of Common Prayer, first in 1978 and then again in 1988 and 1998. Moreover, the 1994 General Convention of the Episcopal Church resolved to delete the Filioque from the Nicene Creed in the next edition of the Prayer Book.

    Furthermore, the Scholastic theologians were unable to appreciate the Hesychasts’ doctrine of essence-energies distinction, and they rejected it. According to Scholasticism, man cannot participate in any uncreated element of God, and the Holy Spirit’s gifts to man are ‘supernatural’ (an ambiguous term that is unacceptable to Orthodox Christians), yet created. In the context of Scholastic theology, man cannot really, i.e. ontologically, have a personal relationship with God, but he can only relate to God through reasoning (syllogistically) or through sentiments. Thus, Western (non-Orthodox) theology oscillates between rigid, oppressive rationalism (which is founded on the principle of logical necessity and on abstraction) and sentimentalism (a ‘sentiment’ is an emotion endowed with a subjective evaluative judgment). However, neither rationalism nor sentimentalism can offer existential satisfaction to man, since, in either case, God himself, remains ontologically inaccessible and constrained by His uncreated essence, and man is limited to created, speculative truths about the so-called ‘Supreme Being’, or the ‘Absolute Reality’. Furthermore, by limiting man’s spiritual horizon to created, speculative truths, Scholasticism paved the way to Modernity, which was inaugurated by René Descartes’ declaration in Discourse on the Method, “Cogito ergo sum” (“I think therefore I am”), which elevates the ego, i.e. the conscious subject, to an ontologically sufficient foundation of truth.



    Modern Western civilization has ‘separated’ truth from ‘reality’, it has privatized truth, it has desacralized reality, and, thus, it leads to life without personhood (see: A. Dugin, The Fourth Political Theory, Arktos Media Ltd, 2012; N. Laos, The Metaphysics of World Order: A Synthesis of Philosophy, Theology, and Political Theory, Eugene, OR: Cascade Books - Wipf and Stock Publishers). In Liberalism, life lacks personhood, because, for Liberals, there is only an aggregate of individuals mechanically ordered according to the theory of physiocracy and according to Immanuel Kant’s cosmopolitan theory of individual rights. In Communism, life lacks personhood, because, for Communists, there are only classes and a deterministic class struggle (which is also based on the physiocrats’ deterministic reasoning). In Nazism, life lacks personhood, because, for Nazis, there are only races, namely biological data, and, hence, naturally determined actors. In Fascism, life lacks personhood, because, for Fascists, there are only states, and, hence, legalistically determined actors. Moreover, even from the perspective of Nationalism, life lacks personhood, because, for Nationalists, there are only nation-states, which are individuals that differ from the Liberals’ individuals only with regards to their quantitative characteristics (Nationalism, whose roots can be traced back to Johann Fichte’s and Georg Hegel’s philosophies, is another variety of the modern West’s tradition of individualism, since Nationalism simply attempts to substitute the human individual with a quantitatively superior and, hence, historically safer and more dependable individual, specifically, the nation-state, without transcending the ontological core of modern Western individualism). Yet, personhood corresponds to man’s authentic presence in the world, and life without personhood is an ontological degradation of man.

    The modern West –having been severed from its classical philosophical roots, from the genuine Christian ethos, and from the tradition of the Christian Roman Empire, which was founded in Constantinople, on 11 May 330, by Emperor Constantine the Great– produces and globalizes chaos, destruction, and war, as it is characteristically shown by the following facts (see: N. Laos, Geopolitiko Egheiridio, Greek edition, Athens: Ekdoseis Lexitipon, 2014):


Ø  The political economy of the modern West is founded on the physiocratic fallacy (a paradigmatic representative of which is François Quesnay).

    The idealized, formalistic world of (neo)classical economics (e.g. of Adam Smith, T. R. Malthus, David Ricardo, J. S. Mill, Léon Walras, etc.) ‒which is the ‘orthodoxy’ of modern political economy‒ underpins and justifies the marginalization and methodical undermining of personal autonomy within market economies, since the latter are based on the postulation of laws that are considered to be indisputable because they are perceived as ‘natural necessities’ (see: see: G. H. Sabine and T. L. Thorson, A History of Political Theory, 4th edition, Fort Worth: Holt, Rineheart and Winston, 1973, pp. 521-522, and chapters 32 and 33). According to the physiocratic fallacy, these laws are claimed to be ‘scientific’ owing to their supposed ba­sis in observation and the ap­plication of logically consistent formal models. By giving prime importance to rational mastery as shaping the political and cultural arrangements in any given society, (neo)classical economics, ultimately, degrades individual liberty into a shadow of itself. 

    In the context of Marxism, the physiocratic fallacy consists in an attempt to discover forces that drive historical change independently of human conscious­ness, as if they were natural laws. According to Karl Marx, the proletariat revolution is not a form of self-action, but it is a historically necessary action whose outcome is naturally embedded in the institution of the bourgeois society and more specifi­cally in capitalism. Thus, in their book The Holy Family, or Critique of Critical Criticism (1845), K. Marx and F. Engels stress that the organiza­tion of the proletariat (the “mass”) reflects the organization of the capitalist society (see: see: G. H. Sabine and T. L. Thorson, A History of Political Theory, 4th edition, Fort Worth: Holt, Rineheart and Winston, 1973, chapter 34).

    In the context of ecologism, the physiocratic fallacy consists in an attempt to explain the ‘natural’ social-economic order by giving primacy to biological-environmen­tal factors. Within the framework of ecologism, nature becomes an overriding factor in guiding human conduct, and the insufficiency of resources is over-emphasized, so that ecologism merely adds further constraints to the model of natural equilibrium that was originally formulated by the physiocrats. In other words, in the 20th century and in the beginning of the 21st century, the main representatives of ecologism do not refute the physiocratic core of (neo)classical eco­nomics and its utilitarian ethos, but merely they try to expand the set of constraints that (neo)classical economists use in their ‘con­strained-optimization’ models. The physiocratic character of ecologism underpins and promotes an ecological type of Puritanism (based on the promotion of ‘clean’/‘green’ products and services). Like the Puritanism of the pioneers of the capitalist system, the Puritanism of ecologism is based on man’s conformity to a hypothesized natural order of things that imposes its indisputable necessities on the human being. Like the Puritanism of the pioneers of capitalism, the Puritanism of ecologism gives rise to various new profit-seeking enterprises in the field of ‘green econo­my’, which preserve the core mentality and ethos of the 18th century founders of capitalism. Furthermore, radical ecologism and the ‘green propaganda’ treat people as if they were a disease on the planet, and they imply that the best possible role for people’s life is to have no impact on the world. On the other hand, the book of Genesis and science teach people that the most important source of wealth is human creativity and that man should be the master of matter and anti-matter, simultaneously stressing that man should not only be a master, but also he should be a wise master.

    In contrast to biocentrism, in Genesis 1:28, we read that the first woman and man were told by God to “be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground”. This verse is not merely a command to populate the earth, but to fill the earth culturally, too. That includes developing technology. Such human creativity stems from God’s grace. For instance, Bezalel is filled with the Spirit of God to build the tabernacle “with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts […] and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship” (Exodus 31:3-5), and King Solomon glorifies God through a technological achievement, namely, the Temple of Jerusalem (1 Kings 6). However, even though it encourages technological progress, the Bible warns us against pride, arrogance, and the “hubris syndrome”: King Uzziah employs “skillful men” (engineers) in 2 Chronicles 26:15 to design machines to shoot arrows and hurl large stones, but, after Uzziah becomes powerful, his pride leads to his downfall (v. 16).

    Furthermore, early Church Fathers (e.g. Saint Theophilus of Antioch, Saint Irenaeus of Lyons etc.) teach that, even though, from the beginning, man was made in the image of God, with a reasoning mind, free will, and self-rule or power over himself, “the destiny of man was for him not to remain in the state in which God made him, since he was made to become perfect and, thus, to be divinized. He was made needing to acquire perfection, not because he was made flawed in nature and morally deficient but because moral perfection is achieved only in total freedom” (see: J. S. Romanides, The Ancestral Sin, trans. G. S. Gabriel, Ridgewood, NJ: Zephyr Publishing, 2002, p. 126). In other words, according to those early Church Fathers, in Paradise, the Forebears of humanity were not endowed from the start with all possible wisdom and knowledge, i.e. their perfection was not a realized one but a potential one. In this context, God created humankind with creative ability, an ability that can be used to produce art, science, and technology.


Ø  The modern West is the cradle of “financial fascism”.

    The Italian historian Gaetano Salvemini argued in 1936, in his book Under the Axe of Fascism, that fascism makes taxpayers responsible to private enterprise, because “the State pays for the blunders of private enterprise […] Profit is private and individual. Loss is public and social”: this accurately mirrors American and Eurozone governments’ ‘bail-out’ and ‘bail-in’ plans and state-sponsored austerity programmes after the outbreak of the 2007 world financial crisis.

    Furthermore, we should make the following remark: An economy in which money operates as a medium of exchange and in which private property is legally protected is one thing, but capitalism is another thing: money existed in ancient and medieval societies, but it could not become ‘capital’, because, in those societies, financial wealth per se had no spiritual significance, and, for this reason, ancient and medieval people were creating personal bonds with the land and with their crafts. The essence of capitalism consists in one’s decision to give primacy to the exchange value of his financial assets over their use-value, and, thus, the original formation of capital was due neither to land ownership, nor to medieval guilds, but to usurers’ and merchants’ wealth (for more details, see: N. Laos, The Metaphysics of World Order: A Synthesis of Philosophy, Theology, and Political Theory, Eugene, OR: Cascade Books - Wipf and Stock Publishers; K. Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, trans. N.I. Stone, New York: International Library Publishing, 1904).

    In the 20th century, the West’s financial system gave rise to a huge “financial bubble”, which caused the 2008 global financial crisis. In 2008, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), i.e. the central bankers’ bank, ‘slammed’ the Fed, the European Central Bank (ECB), and other major central banks for blowing the “financial bubble” that caused the 2008 global financial crisis, failing to regulate the shadow banking system, and then using gimmicks which only worsen the financial situation (see: A. Evans-Pritchard, “BIS Slams Central Banks, Warns of Worse Crunch to Come”, The Telegraph, 30 June 2008). On 18 November 2012, the Financial Stability Board (FSB), which was established after the 2009 G-20 London summit in April 2009, published its annual Global Shadow Banking Monitoring Report, in which it stated that, in 2011, the size of the total shadow banking system grew to $67 trillion, which is equivalent to 111% of the aggregated GDP of all countries in the study; in 2011, the U.S. had the largest shadow banking system, with assets of $23 trillion, followed by the euro area ($22 trillion) and the U.K. ($9 trillion), and, therefore, credit intermediation through non-bank channels had become a source of “systemic risk”.

    The Byzantine civilization is incompatible with capitalism, because, even though there were usurers and merchants in Byzantium, the culture of the Byzantine people totally prohibited the transformation of material wealth into a means of individual power. Moreover, the Byzantine culture never assumed that material wealth could be linked to existential salvation.

    Saint Basil the Great, in his sermon To the Rich, writes that usury not only makes the poor poorer but also deprives them of their freedom. In particular, Saint Basil the Great, in his sermon To the Rich (Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 31, 277C-304C), writes that “it is right for those who are prudent in their reasoning to regard the use of money as a matter of stewardship, not of selfish enjoyment”, and he describes the moral decadence and violence that characterize the societies that are based on egoism as follows: “‘The eye is not filled with seeing’ (Ecclesiastes 1:8), and the money lover is not satisfied with getting. ‘Hell does not say, Enough’ (Proverbs 27:20, 30:16); neither does the covetous man ever say, Enough”.In the same spirit, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, in his sermon Contra usuarios (i.e. Against financial speculators), has written that usury is a sin and a kind of perversion, since it draws gain from inanimate things. 

    On the other hand, in the 15th century, Scholastic theologians fabricated a ‘theological’ legitimization of usury by arguing that money has an innate virtue due to which it can multiply by itself. In other words, by degrading theology and ontology into a rhetorical power game, the Papacy named interest (and, hence, financial speculation) an ontologically grounded virtue of money! Thus, in the 15th and 16th centuries, capitalism was officially instituted as a peculiar form of trade pioneered by the Fugger family in Germany. From the 16th century onwards, capitalism has been further developed and promoted by Protestantism, whose ethos is more strongly individualist than the ethos of Scholasticism (see: M. Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, New York: Dover, 2003).


Ø  The modern West has created the “civilization of the image”, according to the terminology of the Canadian Media theorist Marshall McLuhan, who has also pointed out that, in the Western civilization, “the Media is the message”.

    The “civilization of the image” corresponds to the mode of existence that characterizes the prisoners who live in the dark cave that Plato describes in the seventh book of the Republic (514a ff.). Plato’s myth of the Cave refers to a gloomy, underground chamber like a cave where prisoners are fastened in such a way that they cannot turn their heads, but they can only see the images that are projected by puppeteers (who act unseen behind the prisoners) onto the wall/screen that lies in front of the prisoners. Thus, in this cave, or in the “civilization of the image”, the prisoners see only shadow shapes, and they do not know what the reality is. Western people are bombarded with images that incentivize them to consume, invest, work, vote, and even entertain themselves in concrete ways that reflect the values and the interests of those who control those images. Plato invites us to break free from the aforementioned prison and to turn our mental eye towards the sun of truth. Moreover, based on Plato’s metaphysical legacy, Aristotle proposed a teleological conception of the human good and human capabilities, by an ethics of the virtues and by a politics of the common good (see: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, X).


Ø  In the context of Realpolitik, the modern West has aspired to balance-of-power politics as a principle good and necessary in itself, or as a necessary condition for the international system. But a balance of power is not a self-sufficient ideal.

    Power is sought for certain ends, which reflect the value systems of different societies. In fact, the first Europeans who talked of redressing the balance and formed coalitions were fighting for concrete values against concrete threats. On the other hand, when a statesman, such as Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642), talks of a balance as an end in itself, he usually means a balance favorable to himself. Without any agreement on common values and institutions, the balance-of-power system means that all negotiation is carried on according to power calculations. Therefore, this system urges the states to negotiate in order to maintain the status quo, and simultaneously it urges them to continually increase their power, since their arguments are weighed by the power of each player. When the individual state, with its selfish goals and requests, is the ultimate criterion of the international system, and when the international system is not guided by any universal values, the international system is self-destructive and prone to war, not because states stop calculating their interests, but exactly because they calculate their individual interests independently of any moral code and culture as the source of that moral code. In other words, since the state, with its selfish goals and requests, is the ultimate criterion of balance-of-power politics, Realpolitik makes the states more and more ego-centric, it inhibits the development and expression of their social consciousness, and, thus, it makes them less and less capable of creating viable alliances, which are necessary for keeping the international system in equilibrium.

    In his Republic, Plato argues that politics would betray itself if its aim did not include the moral improvement of the individual and the society. In the Republic, 340c, Plato posed a crucial political question which has been evaded by the advocates of Realpolitik and political pragmatism: “was this how you meant to define what is right, that it is that which seems to the stronger to be his interest, whether it really is or not?”. In other words, one can talk meaningfully about one’s interests only in the context of ontology, or metaphysics.


Ø  In the name of financial interests and Realpolitik, the modern West has made the economy the centre of the world, thus degrading human society into a cowshed (in line with U.S. President Calvin Coolidge’s notorious statement that “the chief business of the American people is business”), and also the West’s most influential 20th century statesmen and diplomats contend that ideational and value-oriented politics is a phenomenon of ‘political pathology’ which should be ‘cured’ by so-called ‘political realism’, which, in essence, is a pretense of moral abdication and an abstraction of the dark aspects of humanity’s historical life from the entire, real picture of humanity’s historical life.

    Thus, the modern West’s conception of politics and civilization is characterized by complacent nihilism. We can talk meaningfully about ‘politics’ and ‘civilization’ only when the existential purpose of a collectivity is the Truth, which, according to Plato and Aristotle, consists in the imitation of true being, specifically, in a mode of existence that is free from corruption, alterations, and annihilation (see: Plato, Republic, II, IV, VII, and X; Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II-VI).

    It is useful to recall that, during the American Civil War, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln invited Tsar Alexander II to send the Russian fleet to the U.S. as protection in order to foil the plans of a group of financiers (particularly, the Rothschilds) and European imperialists (particularly, Great Britain and France) who were against the Union that Lincoln was trying to build in America. On 24 September 1863, the Russian Baltic fleet began to arrive in New York harbor, and, on 12 October 1863, the Russian Far East fleet began to arrive in San Francisco. Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles wrote in his diary: “God bless the Russians!” The values-driven coalition between Abraham Lincoln and Tsar Alexander II is a characteristic example of an effective and historically successful alternative to Western Europe’s tradition of Machiavellianism, Realpolitik, and financial fascism.

    In his striking speech to the Wisconsin Agricultural Fair, in Milwaukee, on 30 September 1859, Lincoln denied that the government should be yoked to the wealthy through partisan rule, and he explained his vision of how America should work. In that speech, Lincoln argued as follows: “capital is the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed”. He concluded his Milwaukee speech as follows: “[B]y the best cultivation of the physical world, beneath and around us; and the intellectual and moral world within us, we shall secure an individual, social, and political prosperity and happiness, whose course shall be onward and upward, and which, while the earth endures, shall not pass away”. However, in the 20th century, in contradistinction to Lincoln’s ethos and political vision, the ethos of the political and diplomatic establishment of the USA was massively infected and ultimately dominated by Western Europe’s tradition of Machiavellianism, Realpolitik, and financial fascism.


Ø  Based on its rationalist tradition and on Charlemagne’s imperialist legacy, the modern West has elaborated and implemented a crypto-absolutist European integration project.

    The ideological and political origins of the European Union can be found in the work of Richard Nikolaus Eijiro von Coudenhove-Kalergi (1894-1972), who was an Austrian geopolitician and philosopher. Moreover, he was the founder and President for 49 years of the Pan-Europa Movement, which is the oldest European unification movement; it began with the publishing of Coudenhove-Kalergi’s manifesto Pan-Europa (1923). According to Coudenhove-Kalergi, the political and economic integration of Europe presupposes a common European culture, which would underpin the creation of a single European nation. Thus, the different European national identities should be treated as private matters for private individuals, and states should not be founded on national identities or traditions, but they should be degraded into ‘regions’ of a European ‘super-state’. Through the term “common European culture”, Coudenhove-Kalergi promotes an ideal for the unification of Europe founded on coercive biological and rationalist principles, on Frederick the Great’s authoritarian political legacy, and on Zionist principles. In his books Pan-Europa and Practical Idealism, Coudenhove-Kalergi credits the Jews with most of the European civilizations’ spiritual attainments, he describes the Jews as “the spiritual master race”, he argues that Ferdinand Lassalle, Albert Einstein, Henri Bergson, and Leon Trotsky are characteristic representatives of the “Jewish spiritual nobility”, he praises the ethos and the coercive political structures of the West’s feudal nobility, and he promotes his vision of one world government. In addition, he has argued that European peoples are divided into the “men of quantity” and the “men of quality”. According to Coudenhove-Kalergi, the “men of quality” have a “higher mission”, and they come from the bloodline of Western feudal nobility and from what he calls the “Jewish spiritual nobility”. Coudenhove-Kalergi’s plan for the European integration includes the biological unification of the Eurasian space (thus giving rise to what Coudenhove-Kalergi has called the “Eurasian-Negroide race”) and the forging of a Zionist Judeo-Christian alliance.

    The European Economic Community/European Union honors its Continental imperialist ‘forebears’ by having instituted the “Charlemagne Prize”. This prize is a symbol of the anti-Byzantine ethos of the European Economic Community/European Union. It is important to mention that Coudenhove-Kalergi was the first recipient of the Charlemagne Prize in 1950, and this fact indicates that the European Economic Community/European Union approves and praises Coudenhove-Kalergi’s visions and ethos. Moreover, on 16 November 2012, the then President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy was awarded the European Prize Coudenhove-Kalergi 2012 at a special congress in Vienna to celebrate 90 years of the Pan-Europa movement (the European Prize Coudenhove-Kalergi  is awarded biennially to leading personalities for their extraordinary commitment in the European unification process; the Prize winners since 2000 have included the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela Merkel, and the President of Latvia Vaira Vike-Freiberga).

    As a result of the Maastricht Treaty (1992), the Amsterdam Treaty (1997), the Treaty of Nice (2001), and the Treaty of Lisbon (2007), the essence of the political process in the European Union is primarily determined by the wills and the commands of an elite of technocrats, bureaucrats, and businessmen behind hermetically sealed doors (see: J. Heartfield, The European Union and the End of Politics, Alresford: Zero Books, 2013). Moreover, in his book Euro Exit, Jean-Jacques Rosa, who was an economic advisor to the French Prime Minister during 1997-1999, explains the manner in which and the reasons why European politicians and businessmen have decided to circumvent democratic consent in order to lock their societies into the Eurozone and “reap the advantages of monetary cartelization” (see: J.-J. Rosa, Euro Exit: Why (and How) to Get Rid of the Monetary Union, New York: Algora Publishing, 2012).


Ø  The modern West has played a decisive role in the radicalization, distortion, and aggressive mutation of several Muslim communities. The following are characteristic facts that clarify the role that the West has played in the history of the Islamic world:

‒ In the 19th century, the West realized that, in order to promote its geostrategic interests in the Middle East and to integrate the Arabo-Islamic world into capitalism, it had to deconstruct the Caliphate and to deprive the Arabo-Islamic world of the ability to create a real Caliphate after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. For this reason, the West promoted the nationalist ideology throughout the Middle East, thus dividing the Arabo-Islamic world into several artificially created nation-states whose governments depended on Western Great Powers and were susceptible to manipulation by Western Great Powers. In the 1910s, Great Britain induced ‘Sharif’ Husain, the Ottoman-appointed Hashemite ‘Sharif’ (ruler) of Mecca, to rebel against the Ottoman caliph and to establish an autonomous authority over the Hejaz (i.e. the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina) under British protection. Indeed, in 1916, the Ottoman caliph lost control over Mecca and Jeddah, and, in 1919, he lost control over Medina, too. On 3 March 1924, the Ottoman Caliphate was abolished, and, on 7 March 1924, Sharif Husain, who had been exercising de facto local control over the Hejaz since 1919, claimed the Caliphate for himself.

    When Great Britain became aware of the fact that Sharif Husain had a tendency to pursue an autonomous policy in the Arabian Peninsula and to revive the Caliphate, it assisted Abd al-Aziz Ibn Saud to attack Sharif Husain and to wrest control of the Hejaz from him. Ibn Saud was a ‘puppet’ of the British Foreign Office. During Sharif Husain’s rebellion against the Ottoman caliph and during the imposition of Sharif Husain’s rule over the Hejaz, Ibn Saud was receiving a monthly sum of 5,000 pounds sterling from the British Treasury in return for his policy of neutrality, since then Sharif Husain’s policy was serving the interests of Great Britain (see: Sheikh I. N. Hosein, The Caliphate, the Hejaz, and the Saudi-Wahhabi Nation-State, New York: Masjid Darul Qur’an, 1996, p. 20). But when ‘Sharif’ Husain claimed the Caliphate for himself, Great Britain urged Ibn Saud to attack Sharif Husain. With British support, Ibn Saud conquered Mecca in 1924, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded by Abd al-Aziz Ibn Saud in 1932.

    In 1902, the Saudi tribe captured Riyadh as a result of an alliance that the Saudis’ chief forged with the religious leader of the Wahhabi religious sect. In the context of that alliance, the Najdi Saudis would be under the control of the Wahhabis and would seek to enforce Wahhabism in the ‘heartland’ of Islam, i.e. in the Hejaz. Wahhabism is founded on a modern Islamic reformer called Ibn Abd al-Wahhab (d. 1792), and it is a puritanical, formalistic, and fanatical perception of the Sharia. The mentality of Wahhabism resembles that of Oliver Cromwell’s English Puritanism. Great Britain assisted Ibn Saud to impose a Saudi-Wahhabi regime on the ‘heartland’ of Islam because Wahhabism had little relevance outside Saudi Arabia, and, therefore, the Wahhabis could not claim the Caliphate.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a creation of the Sykes–Picot Agreement (which was concluded on 16 May 1916 between Great Britain and France, defining their proposed spheres of influence and control in the Middle East), and it has been used as a political ‘multi-tool’ by the British intelligence, by Hitler’s Third Reich, and by the U.S. intelligence. The Muslim Brotherhood evolved, spread, and spawned a virulent network of radical jihadists, including the Al Qaeda.

‒ In the 1970s and 1980s, Bernhard Lewis, a renowned University of Princeton historian connected with the British intelligence and a leading Zionist, advised successive U.S. administrations on how to play the ‘Islamic card’ as a tool in order to bring down the Soviet Union. For instance, the notorious “mujahideen” organization Hezb-e Islami was sponsored by the CIA in order to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. On 3 July 1979, U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul, and, that very day, his National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, wrote a note to the U.S. president in which he argued that the U.S. aid to Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan was going to induce a Soviet military intervention (see: Z. Brzezinski, “Interview”, Le Nouvel Observateur, 15-21 January 1998).

    For a long period of time, in Afghanistan and the Soviet Muslim Republics, the dominant form of Islam had been local and mainly related to Sufism. But, during the Afghan War of the 1980s, British and U.S. intelligence agencies deepened their alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood, and this spawned Al Qaeda and several groups of “mujahideen” trained and armed to fight the Soviets. Robin Cook, a former British MP and Minister of Foreign Affairs, wrote that Al Qaeda, “literally ‘the database’, was originally the computer file of thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians” (see: R. Cook, “The Struggle Against Terrorism Cannot Be Won By Military Means”, The Guardian, 8 July 2005).

‒ In 1976, France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Iran (under the Shah) established the Safari Club, which was a coalition among various intelligence agencies in order to fight the Soviet Coalition and ideology. Under the encouragement and guidance of the then head of the CIA, George H.W. Bush, Saudi intelligence chief, Kamal Adham, transformed a small Pakistani merchant bank, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), into a huge, clandestine financial network through which the Safari Club was being financed (see: P. D. Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007, pp. 62-63). The Safari Club was largely organized by the then head of French intelligence, Alexandre de Marenches (ibid, 62). As a result of the political turmoil that was caused by the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon’s resignation as President, and a Congressional investigation into covert CIA activities, George H.W. Bush realized that the CIA could not easily conduct a number of covert operations, and, therefore, under the U.S. President Gerald Ford, he decided to work closely with Kamal Adham in order to conduct important CIA covert operations through the Safari Club.

‒ Muslim inhabitants of the Caucasus region have been purposely radicalized by U.S. institutions in order to destabilize the Russian Federation. In general, the modern West sees manipulation of Muslim groups (particularly Wahhabism, Salafism, and the Muslim Brotherhood) as the vehicle to bring uncontrollable chaos to Russia and Central Asia and also as a vehicle to control the Middle East.


    The Byzantine-Slavic Europe (which includes the Russian Federation, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, and Cyprus) should address the issue of the relations between Christianity and Islam in a way that is substantially different from (and stands against) the West’s peculiar Judeo-Christian theory and Neoconservative-Zionist policy. Commenting on the Surat Ar-Rum of the Qur’an, the internationally renowned Islamic scholar Sheikh Imran Nazar Hosein has emphasized that it is only Orthodox Christianity, described in the Quran as “Rum”, with whom an Islamic alliance may be forged. On the other hand, according to Sheikh Imran N. Hosein, Western Christianity, which is not Rum, has already forged a Zionist alliance with Jews, and it was to that Zionist Judeo-Christian alliance that the Quran, in Surat Al-Maidah, 5:51, refers when it prohibits Muslims from ever maintaining friendship and alliance with such Jews and such Christians who, themselves, are friends and allies of each other (see: Sheikh I. N. Hosein, Jerusalem in the Qur’an, New York: Masjid Dar-Al-Qur’an, 2003; for more details, see Sheikh Imran N. Hosein’s official website:

    Given that, in the 20th and 21st centuries, several Islamic statesmen (e.g. in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc.) and several jihadists (e.g. members of the Al Qaeda and other jihadists who, in 2011, collaborating with NATO,  overthrew and killed the Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi, and also members of the Al Qaeda and other jihadists who, in 2011, collaborating with NATO, initiated a civil war in Syria in order to overthrow the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) forged an alliance with NATO and the West’s imperialist elite in general, Sheikh Imran N. Hosein brought to public attention Allah’s command in the Qur’an which sternly prohibited Muslims from entering into precisely that alliance with NATO with which misguided Muslims overthrew the Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi and rebelled against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad:

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ الْيَهُودَ وَالنَّصَارَى أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضٍ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُم مِّنكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْهُمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ}

“O you who have faith (in Allah) do not take (such) Jews and (such) Christians as your friends and allies who themselves are friends and allies of each other. And whoever from amongst you turns to them (for friendship and alliance) now belong to them (and not to us). Surely Allah does not guide a wicked people” (Qur’an, al-Maida, 5:51).

    During his lecture “Imam Al-Mahdi and The End Time”, held on 24 July 2011, the renowned Islamic scholar Sheikh Imran N. Hosein said: “Nabi Muhammad (SA) has prophesized that ‘You will make an alliance with Rum’. Indeed there is a Surah of the Qur’an which is entitled Surah Ar-Rum. And in that Surah, in the first Ayah, Allah speaks about Rum being defeated. If you believe that Allah (SWT) was referring to a city in Italy, then you should buy a one way ticket to Disneyland. […] Rum in the Qur’an is easy to identify. It is the ‘Eastern Orthodox Christian Church’; which had established the Byzantine Empire with Constantinople as its capital. Prophet (SA) said ‘You will make an alliance with Rum’. The Byzantine Empire has disappeared today, but the ‘Eastern Orthodox Christian Church’ has not. If we want to find Rum, where is the ‘Eastern Orthodox Christian Church’ today? Answer, the headquarters is now in Russia. […] And so when the Prophet (SA) said, ‘You will make an alliance with Rum’, my answer is it is going to be an alliance with Russia”.


Ø  The modern West has infiltrated and distorted Judaism through Zionism, which is substantially different from Orthodox Judaism.

    In contradistinction to Zionism, Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin (1817-1878), rabbi of Brisk, Lithuania, and later rabbi of Jerusalem, has pointed out that, according to Isaiah 11:9 and Zachariah 14:9, when the Almighty’s glory will be revealed, there will be a spiritual revolution in the entire world, and the Almighty will redeem all Peoples, as the Orthodox Jews say in their prayers: “All the nations will become one organization to do Your will with their whole heart”. Thus, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888), rabbi of Frankfurt, Germany, has argued that “the greatest rabbis should gather immediately and excommunicate the Zionists” (Mara D‟ara Yisroel, v. 2, p. 43).

    Zionism is historically derived from and structurally associated with the political elites of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, of the British Empire, and of the post-World War II United States of America (e.g. Theodor Herzl, and the Revisionist Zionist Movement, which was founded in 1923 by Ze’ev Jabotinsky). Moreover, Zionist politicians, following the example of their Western counterparts, do not hesitate to manipulate “Islamic fundamentalism”. For instance, Ahmed Yassin’s extremist Islamic movement was originally sponsored by Israel’s military intelligence in order to subvert Yasser Arafat’s PLO. For more details, see: Ishaan Tharoor, “How Israel Helped Create Hamas”, The Washington Post, 30 July 2014;

In addition, according to information revealed in 2014 by the former NSA and CIA agent Edward Snowden and by the geopolitical analyst William Engdahl, the notorious leader of ISIL Takfiri group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been trained by Israeli spy agency Mossad and has been sponsored by U.S. and British intelligence agencies and by radical Wahhabi Muslims. For more details, see also:


    According to Orthodox Judaism (i.e. according to the Haredim and the Hasidic Jews), every person, independently of whether he/she is a Jew, can be saved if he/she adheres to the Seven Laws of Noah, which, according to the Babylonian Talmud, were given by God as a binding set of laws for the “children of Noah” (that is, all of humanity), and they are: (1) the prohibition of idolatry, (2) the prohibition of murder, (3) the prohibition of theft, (4) the prohibition of sexual immorality, (5) the prohibition of blasphemy, (6) the prohibition of eating flesh taken from an animal while it is still alive, and (7) the requirement of maintaining courts to provide legal recourse. But, according to Orthodox Judaism, being a Jew means that one adheres to (or at least systematically tries to adhere to) all 613 Torah commandments («Sinaitic Law»). Therefore, Orthodox Jews experience the Jewish religion as a spiritual path that is characterized by existential and moral heroism.

    On the other hand, Reformed Judaism has subordinated the Sinaitic Law to historicity, it has compromised the Sinaitic Law with the spirit of Western Modernity, and it allows and encourages rabbis to pick and choose which of the Torah commandments to obey. Zionism is a sect of Reformed Judaism, and it is founded on nationalism. Whereas, for Orthodox Jews, the essence of ‘Jewishness’ consists in adhering to all 613 Torah commandments, Zionism understands and defines ‘Jewishness’ according to secular and particularly nationalist criteria. Thus, the Orthodox Jewish rabbis, such as the international organization Neturei Karta and the renowned Hasidic Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, argue that Zionism is a major threat against genuine Judaism. Several informative texts about the history and the ethos of Orthodox Judaism have been published on the official website of the organization Neturei Karta, namely

    From the very outset, Zionism was characterized by an explosive combination of nationalism, imperialism, and geopolitical insecurity; a combination that may prove to be dangerous even for the Western sponsors of Zionism, themselves. Indeed, in the 1940s, the governments of the United Kingdom and of the United States of America, pursuing a policy of “divide and conquer” in the Middle East, played a key role in the creation of the Zionist State of Israel, but, in March 2010, Gen. David Petraeus, the then head of the U.S. Central Command, gave testimony to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee which included the following observations: “The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the AOR [Area of Operations]. Israeli-Palestinian tensions often flare into violence and large-scale armed confrontations. The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support. The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hizballah and Hamas”.


Ø  As a result of its ontological crisis and nihilistic pragmatism, the modern West has intellectually and politically nurtured even massive cultural and political movements that are strongly opposite to the very core of classical European culture, such as Turanism (founded on the thoughts of the anti-Christian and racist German philologist Friedrich Max Müller, the Turkish nationalist Mehmed Ziya Gökalp, and the Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross Party), and Neo-Ottomanism (founded on the thoughts of the U.S.-backed Turkish statesman and scholar Ahmet Davutoğlu and the U.S.-based Turkish Imam Fethullah Gülen, who is the leader of an Islamic cult, and he has played a destabilizing anti-Russian role in the Caucasus through the International Dagestani-Turkish College, which was ultimately forced to close its doors in Dagestan; in addition, Gülen’s disciples are responsible for the religious training of the fighters of the Jihadist Kurdish organization “Katibat al-Taliban”).

    The internationally renowned Muslim scholar Sheikh Imran N. Hosein has argued that the Ottoman conquest of Orthodox Christianity’s capital city of Constantinople in 1453, the disgraceful conduct of the Ottoman Sultan Muhammad Fatih in converting the greatest Orthodox Cathedral Hagia Sophia into a mosque, and the Ottoman sultans’ brutal policy towards their Orthodox Christian subjects caused enduring Greek and Orthodox Christian bitterness for Islam and proved to be the most formidable obstacle to the realization of the Muslim–Rum (Orthodox Christian) alliance that is prophesized in the Quran (Surat Ar-Rum).

    Philip K. Hitti, in his book Islam: A Way of Life (University of Minnesota Press, 1971), describes the Seljuk Turks as an example of barbarian heathens who initially restrained the culturally advanced Arabo-Islamic world from without, then they adopted Islam, and finally they became fervent defenders of their new faith. By taking advantage of the rivalries among Arab emirs, of the fact that many Arab emirs were dependent on the services of Turkish mercenaries, and of the clash between Sunnis and Shias, Turks managed to conquer the Abbasid Caliphate from within. In 1055, the Turkish warlord Tughril, having previously united the Turkmen warriors of the Great Eurasian Steppes into a confederacy of tribes, established the Seljuk Sultanate (after conquering Persia and retaking the Abbasid capital of Baghdad from the Buyid dynasty), he relegated the Abbasid Caliphs to state figureheads, and he took command of the Caliphate’s armies in military offensives against the Eastern Roman Empire and the Fatimid Caliphate

    Even though the Ottoman Empire has left a legacy of embitterment between Orthodox Christians and Muslims, the Quran venerates Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the son of Virgin Mary, and the Arbo-Islamic civilization has been strongly influenced by ancient Greek philosophy and science.


Ø  Western fascist traditionalists have disputed and severely criticized the Enlightenment and liberal globalism, but they represent and espouse the core of modern Western culture ‒namely, the principle of individual truth and the modern West’s decision to subordinate spirituality to historicity‒ and they reject classical (i.e. Platonic and Aristotelian) metaphysics and Orthodox Christian theology. Thoughts of such anti-Enlightenment and anti-liberal intellectuals have been methodically utilized by Western and generally anti-Christian elites that want to manipulate the social, political, and cultural movements that revolt against liberal globalism and to keep them enslaved to the same evil spirit from which liberal globalism stems, too. 

    The French traditionalist René Guénon (1886-1951), also known as Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahid Yahya, is a characteristic case in point. He was deeply influenced by the syncretistic teachings of Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society, and, when he adopted Sufi doctrines, he become closely associated with leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and he was part of a big network that infiltrated Sufism under the guidance of Abdul Qadir al Jazairi (1808-1883), who was an heretical Sufi, a Freemason, and the head of a hub of spies in Damascus. Abdul Qadir was a friend of Sir Richard Burton, the famous British explorer, spy, and fellow Freemason, who had been made consul in Damascus in 1869. Sir Richard Burton was a close friend of Wilfrid Scawen Blunt. Blunt was a friend of Winston Churchill and of his father, Randolph Churchill, and, in the 1880s, he was cooperating with the British spy Sir Edward Malet in Egypt. Blunt was the handler of Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani and his disciple, Mohammed Abduh, who were the founders of the fundamentalist tradition of Islam known as Salafism and were serving the strategy of the British intelligence system in the Middle East. Salafism is a hybrid of Wahhabism and other movements, and it emphasizes a strictly literalist approach to Islam; in fact, it can be deemed as the Muslim equivalent of Protestant literalism.

    Guénon’s most famous pupil was Julius Evola (1898-1974), another influential Western traditionalist. Evola has been the guru of Gladio operatives (“Operation Gladio” is the codename for a clandestine NATO “stay-behind” operation in Europe during the Cold War, and, on various occasions, it became linked to right-wing terrorism, crime, and attempted coups d’état; for more details, see: D. Ganser, “Terrorism in Western Europe: An Approach to NATO’s Secret Stay-Behind Armies”, Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, South Orange NJ, Winter/Spring 2005, Vol. 6, No. 1).


    “Be very careful, then, how you live ‒not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).



    The ontological crisis of the modern West is so deep that, in the beginning of the 21st century, the West entered into a state that the renowned French philosopher Myriam Revault d’ Allones has pointedly called a “crisis without end”, a global crisis that affects finance, education, culture, the natural environment, and human relationships (see: M. R. D’ Allones, La Crise Sans Fin: Essai sur l’ Expérience Moderne du Temps, Paris: Seuil, 2012). Thus, we must help both the West to be saved from its errant course and the rest to be saved from the West’s errors through a cultural revolution (see: Nicolas Laos, The Metaphysics of World Order, Eugene, OR: Cascade Books - Wipf and Stock Publishers).

    On the other hand, the genuine Orthodox Christianity is founded on the ideal of the deified man, who  experiences God as Truth, Love, and Liberation, and he expects the ultimate revelation of God as “God the Liberator” in accordance with Saint John’s Revelation. The deified man has neither ‘rights’ nor ‘duties’, because he is a partaker of God’s uncreated energies, and, therefore, he has divine knowledge, divine will, and divine power, and his liberty corresponds to God’s mode of being. In the context of magical and superstitious mentalities, people perceive ‘grace’ as if it were operating like a magic filter/talisman, and as if it were an object institutionally controlled by authorities to whom God has supposedly ceded His infinite power. By contrast, in the context of genuine Orthodox Christian spirituality, ‘grace’ is perceived in a dynamic way, as a mode of existence that is characterized by psychical openness, existential heroism, and spiritual communion in the context of which man is united with God.

    From an eschatological perspective, Church history can be divided into three phases: the pre-Constantinian phase (to the Edict of Milan in 312 A.D.), the Byzantine phase (to the Fall of Constantinople in 1453), which corresponds to the ethos of the “thousand-year reign of Christ” mentioned in Saint John’s Revelation 20, and the modern, post-Byzantine phase, which is marked by the Antichrist’s ethos (for more details, see: A. Dugin, Absoliutnaia Rodina, Russian edition, Arctogaia, 1999). During the second, Byzantine phase of Church history, there was an almost ideal relationship between Church and State according to the theory of Saint Eusebius of Caesarea. In his Thirty-year Discourse, Saint Eusebius of Caesarea wrote that an earthly kingdom (i.e. every secular authority) is a divine gift and an image of the Heavenly Kingdom. Through the previous thesis, Saint Eusebius of Caesarea articulated a new political theory, according to which: (i) the Roman conception of the god-king should be discarded, and instead it should be declared that the emperor is an image of God and not a god-king; (ii) the emperor exercises his authority “by the grace of God” and not self-sufficiently; (iii) the emperor is not an unaccountable authority, but he is accountable to God, and, therefore, he must exercise his authority in harmony with God’s Word. Even though, during the Byzantine phase of Church history, the Western Church of Old Rome fell away in 1054, becoming thereafter the cradle of the antichristian civilization of the West, the Eastern Roman Empire preserved the Orthodox Christian Faith, and the Byzantine emperors, acting as the “restrainers” of Saint Paul’s prophecy (2 Thessalonians 2:7), countered the Antichrist’s ethos and held back the Antichrist’s reign.

    In 1453, the Eastern Roman Empire fell, and, therefore, there was no “restrainer”, and the Antichrist should have reigned. But then, according to the great mercy of God and His divine economy, the “Third Rome” of Moscow, prolonged the thousand-year Christocentric Byzantine regime into the modern period (see: A. Dugin, Absoliutnaia Rodina, Russian edition, Arctogaia, 1999). But soon the Adversary’s forces revolted against the “Third Rome”: in Holy Russia, a schism occurred in 1656, when Patriarch Nikon introduced the New Rite, the Council of 1666-1667, acting impiously, placed the Old Rite under anathema, and the reign of Tsar Peter the Great removed the Patriarchate and gave free rein to Western antichristian influences in Russia. Tsar Peter the Great (1672-1725) was an adherent of the Renaissance and a sympathizer of German Protestantism, and Empress Catherine the Great (1729-1796) was an adherent of the Enlightenment; thus, they failed to understand that, in essence, the Russian Tsar occupies the throne of Constantinople, and their Westernizing attitudes and policies were at odds with the eschatological significance of the “Third Rome”. The St. Petersburg period of Russian history corresponds to the ethos of the “Laodicean Church”, which is neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm, according to Saint John’s Revelation 3:14-15. However, the canonical Orthodox Old Ritualists and the Russian Hesychasts and Saints Paisius Velichkovsky, Seraphim of Sarov, Abbott Nazarius of Valaam, Elder Theodore of Senaxor, Elder Zosima of Siberia, and Herman of Alaska manifest the ethos of the “Philadelphian Church” mentioned in Saint John’s Revelation 3:7-13 (see: A. Dugin, ibid; N. Laos, The Metaphysics of World Order: A Synthesis of Philosophy, Theology, and Political Theory, Eugene, OR: Cascade Books - Wipf and Stock Publishers).

    The Adversary’s fight against Holy Russia was continued in the 20th century through the Soviet regime, which persecuted the Church. Marxism is a Western ideology, and, from the onset of the Bolshevik movement, members of the Euroatlanticist elite managed to manipulate Bolshevism to their advantage. Jacob Schiff (head of the New York investment firm Kuhn, Loeb and Co., an active Zionist, and a major contributor to Woodrow Wilson’s presidential campaign) was one of the principal bankers of the Bolshevik Revolution, and he financed Leon Trotsky’s trip from New York to Russia. The Rothschild financial network, to which Jacob Schiff belonged, had a long feud with the Tsars of Russia, because they were not co-operating with the Rothschilds. Concerning Karl Marx in particular, Michael Bakunin has written the following: “Marx has around him, in London and France, but especially in Germany, a multitude of more or less clever, intriguing, mobile, speculating Jews […] commercial or banking agents, writers, politicians, correspondents for newspapers of all shades, with one foot in the bank, the other in the socialist movement, and with their behinds sitting on the German daily press […] this […] profiteering sect […]stands for the most part at the disposal of Marx and at the same time at the disposal of Rothschild […]The Communism of Marx seeks enormous centralization in the state, and where such exists, there must inevitably be a central state bank” (see: M. Bakunin, Personliche Beziehungen zu Marx, 1871, in: Gesammelte Werke, Band 3, Berlin, 1924, pp. 204-216). However, from the perspective of God’s economy for the “Third Rome”, the Soviet system, involuntarily, played a positive role, too. Specifically, the positive significance of the Soviet system resides in the following facts: it inhibited the assimilation of the Russian people into the Western liberal system; even though both Marxism and liberalism are Western ideologies, the clash between them did not allow the West to impose a global monologue in the 20th century; in 1971, the Moscow Patriarchate (followed by the Russian Church Abroad in 1974) removed the anathemas on the Old Rite; within the Soviet system, the cultural movement of National Bolshevism (pioneered by Nikolai V. Ustryalov, developed further by B. D. Grekov, and officially legitimized by Stalin’s ideologue Andrei Zhdanov) cultivated and promoted a synthesis between socialism and traditional cultural characteristics of the Russian psyche, and it underpinned the revival of patriotism as an official part of state ideology in the 1930s. Moreover, the cultural movement of Eurasianism, which was pioneered by Pyotr Savitsky and Prince Nikolai Trubetskoi, proposed a system of socialism based on Orthodox Christian religious concepts and on the concept of ‘stewardship’ instead of property.

    In the 20th century, the Greek State and the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople, which are also heirs to the Byzantine culture, became unable to give witness to the Byzantine culture, because the Greek State was politically, economically, and socio-culturally integrated into the major Euroatlantic institutions (namely, NATO and the European Economic Community/European Union), and the Patriarchate of Constantinople compromised its Byzantine and Orthodox Christian tradition with the wishes, the interests, and the ethos of the Western political and religious elites. In fact, the Greek State was founded in the 1830s as a geopolitical protectorate whose role was to serve the geostrategic interests and plans of Western Great Powers in the Balkans and the S.E. Mediterranean.

    In 1832, Otto, a royal prince of Bavaria, became the first King of Greece under the Convention of London, and he reigned until his deposition in 1862. Moreover, in 1832, a council of regency was nominated during Otto’s minority, and the German statesman and scholar Georg Ludwig von Maurer was appointed a member. The Greek priest and scholar Theocletos Farmakides (1784-1860) was an associate and a protégé of Maurer within the Church of Greece, and his mission was to organize the Church of Greece according to the ethos and the interests of the Bavarian rulers of Greece and to promote Western theological principles and mentalities through the University of Athens. Theocletos Farmakides was appointed by Maurer as his advisor on Church Affairs and later as the Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece. In 1833, with the assistance of Theocletos Farmakides, Maurer excised the Church of Greece from the Patriarchate of Constantinople and transformed it into a “national Church” controlled by the State, according to Protestant ecclesiological principles. Moreover, in 1833, the Bavarian rulers of Greece placed the newly instituted autocephalous Church of Greece under the authority of a permanent five-member Synod of Bishops appointed by the King, who was made head of the Church of Greece, even though he was a heterodox. The national Church of Greece ‒which was instituted in 1833 by King Otto, who was a Roman Catholic, and by Georg Ludwig von Maurer, who was a Protestant‒ preserved the Orthodox Christian doctrines and liturgical traditions, but, beyond these formal aspects of religious life, the rest of its being was immersed in the spirit of the West. 

    In the 19th and 20th centuries, under Western influences and in violation of the Hesychast tradition and of the Orthodox Christian ecclesiology, the Greek government reserved the right to transfer or retire bishops on the grounds of political suitability. For instance, in 1923, the revolutionary government of Colonel Nicolas Plastiras did not find Archbishop Theocletos suitable to its purposes, and it arbitrarily replaced him with Archimandrite Chrysostom Papadopoulos. Colonel Plastiras attended the general Synod of the Church of Greece that was held on 24-30 December 1923, and he made the following statements: “The Revolutionary government […] will reckon itself happy to see the rebirth of Church set in motion […] Consequently, it would not have you limit yourselves to the ancestral Canons, but to proceed to radical measures” (see: Archimandrite Theocletos A. Strangas, Ecclesias Ellados Istoria, Greek edition, Vol. 2, Athens, 1970, p. 1181).

    Because Plastiras wanted to integrate Greece deeply into the Euroatlantic geopolitical pole and into the Western capitalist system, he adopted the Gregorian calendar and, with the collaboration of Archbishop Chrysostom Papadopoulos, he managed to change the ecclesiastical calendar, too, in order to harmonize both the civil and the ecclesiastical calendars of Greece with the Western calendar. In 1924, the new calendar was imposed on the Church of Greece in an anti-canonical way, because the Church of Greece, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the Church of Romania implemented the new calendar without the assent of the other Orthodox Churches. Thus, these three local Churches, by adopting a new calendar, broke thereby the universal Orthodox Church’s unity in the celebration of the feasts and divided the Orthodox Christians into two opposing parties on account of the calendar.

    From the perspective of the Orthodox Christian Tradition, the Church calendar is not merely a system by means of which people measure time, but it is a symbolic system by means of which the members of the Orthodox Church experience and give witness to their spiritual unity. However, in the 1920s, the Westernized Church authorities of Athens and Constantinople caused the calendar schism of 1924, due to which the Greek Orthodox Christians were divided into the New Calendarists and the Old Calendarists, and, generally, they broke thereby the universal Orthodox Church’s unity in the celebration of the feasts, since some Orthodox Churches adopted the new ecclesiastical calendar (e.g. the Churches of Greece, of Constantinople, of Romania, of Alexandria, etc.), whereas other Orthodox Churches continued to adhere to the traditional ecclesiastical calendar (e.g. the Churches of Russia, of Jerusalem, of Ukraine, the Monastic community of Mount Athos, etc.). Moreover, some Old Calendar communities have cut the New Calendarists off from ecclesiastical communion (on the basis of the 15th Canon of the First-and-Second Council), and these ‘radical’ old calendar communities are known as zealots (and they are organized into several mutually competing communities called “Genuine Orthodox Christians”). However, even though, in the 1920s, the new calendar Churches followed an anti-canonical policy on the issue of the Church calendar for the sake of their Euroatlanticist patrons, they did not completely break off, since they remained in communion with old calendar Churches (e.g. with the Churches of Russia, of Jerusalem, of Ukraine, the Monastic community of Mount Athos, etc.), and, therefore, the new calendar Churches are still members of the Body of the universal Orthodox Church, though ailing ones.

    For the above-mentioned reasons, in the 20th century, it became clear that neither the Greek State nor the Patriarchate of Constantinople can really give witness to their Byzantine heritage for as long as they are dependent on and manipulated by the West and for as long as they are members of Euroatlantic institutions and conform to the Euroatlanticists’ faith-based diplomacy. At the dawn of the 21st century, it became clear that it is only the “Third Rome” (namely, Moscow) that can really give witness to the Byzantine tradition and can creatively actualize its political and spiritual potential as an authentic heir to the Eastern Roman Empire.

    The dissolution of the Soviet Union, in 1991, was ‒from a narrow geopolitical perspective‒ a catastrophic event, because, during the government of Boris Yeltsin, the Euroatlanticist geopolitical pole was given a historically unique opportunity to impose a global monologue and a liberal-capitalist system of global governance whose major pillars are NATO, the Federal Reserve, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, and a network of Non-Governmental Organizations and mass media that spearhead the Euroatlanticist pole’s noopolitics. However, from a broader geopolitical perspective, and especially from the perspective of noopolitics, the collapse of the Soviet regime signals the beginning of a new phase in Russian history, because, in the post-Soviet era, Russia has the opportunity to rediscover itself within God’s economy and to creatively undertake its historical role as the New Byzantium and as the Eurasian Heartland, while simultaneously utilizing the significant industrial, technological, and military achievements of the Soviet era. Under the powerful and prudent presidency of Vladimir Putin, who is an excellent strategist, Russia managed to shift from a state of chaos and decadence, which was characterizing the Yeltsin era, to a state of order, rapid development (in both the economic and the socio-cultural spheres), and great international power. Thus, Putin’s presidency has played a decisive role in making Russia capable of fulfilling the eschatological prophecy about the “Third Rome”.

    Furthermore, from the perspective of the arguments that we put forward in the present essay, the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) should be approached from a broad geostrategic and cultural perspective. In particular, the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) can be seen as an economic alliance for the prosperity of the Byzantine-Slavic Europe, and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) can be seen as a military alliance for the security of the Byzantine-Slavic Europe. For geostrategic, cultural, and macroeconomic reasons, the most suitable economic alliance for the states of the Byzantine-Slavic Europe is the Eurasian Economic Community, and the most suitable military alliance for the states of the Byzantine-Slavic Europe is the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

    On the other hand, both liberal internationalism/globalism and liberal nationalism are two ideological and political camps that ‒irrespective of the fact that there are differences between them‒ subscribe to the fundamental culture and mentalities of the West (see: A. C. Kuchins, Alternative Futures for Russia to 2017, Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2007). Thus, both liberal-globalist and liberal-nationalist Russian politicians undermine Russia’s capacity to actualize its potential as the New Byzantium and, hence, as the bearer of a non-liberal type of internationalism (namely, an internationalist proposal founded on the Byzantine tradition of personhood and especially on the concept of hypostasis).

    The Orthodox Christian theological concept of personhood, or hypostasis, can be applied in international relations in order to underpin a multipolar world order, in the context of which the primary political, economic, and cultural actor in the world is neither the nation-state nor the ideological bloc, but the ‘great political hypostasis’. From the perspective of Orthodox Christianity, the actors of the international system should be great political hypostases. A great political hypostasis is a politically instituted cultural entity that experiences its existential otherness while simultaneously being characterized by a sociable collective psyche, i.e. by a deep sense of moral responsibility towards the entire humanity. A multipolar international system that consists of great political hypostases safeguards the spiritual freedom (and, hence, the existential otherness) of its members, and, simultaneously, it cultivates the social consciousness of its members. Thus, it gives rise to a real world society.

    If the mode of existence of the members of the international system is not hypostatic, and if the members of the international system do not have sufficiently developed and adequately cultivated social consciousness, then the international system can never be transformed into a real international society, and it will necessarily exemplify the Hobbesian state of nature. A real society cannot be founded on reason (ratio) because any system that is founded on rational generalizations and on moral rationalism (e.g. on Immanuel Kant’s theory of the ‘categorical imperative’) contradicts and, in fact, excludes the hypostatic mode of existence.

    Additionally, reason (ratio) cannot be the foundation of a real society because those rationalist scholars who, like Kant, propose the institution of a world order and even of a world government assume that nation-states are in a Hobbesian state of nature from which they need to escape, on the basis of rational calculations, by subordinating themselves to a world order or even to a world government, which is absurd; the previous reasoning is absurd because the description it contains of the actual condition of international relations (i.e. nation-states are egoistic Hobbesian actors) is inconsistent with the prescription it provides (i.e. subordination of nation-states to a world order and even to a world government). The fallacy of Kant’s rational cosmopolitanism has been brilliantly studied by Hedley Bull in his book The Anarchical Society: A Study of World Order in World Politics (London: Macmillan Press, 2nd edition, 1995, p. 253).

    As a conclusion, the prospects for international society are bound up with the prospect of a culture that promotes and protects the actors’ hypostatic mode of existence and helps them to internalize a deep sense of personal responsibility towards the entire humanity.



Major Bibliography:

    For the study of ancient Greek and Roman scholars, we used Loeb, Oxford University Press, and Penguin editions. For the study of the Bible, we used the Septuagint edition by Alfred Rahlfs, and the Novum Testamentum Graece editions by Nestle-Aland. For the study of the Greek Church Fathers, we used the Patrologia Graeca (P.G.) by Jacques-Paul Migne, and, for the study of the Hesychasts, in particular, we used the Philokalia editions by Perivoli tis Panagias Editions (Thessaloniki). For the study of Byzantine historians and Ecclesiastical history, we used F. Cairns, Loeb, Penguin, and Teubner editions. For the study of the Latin Church Fathers, we used the Patrologia Latina (P.L.) by Jacques-Paul Migne.


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Websites consulted:



Notice: The present essay has been originally written by Dr Nicolas Laos for the scholarly purposes of the Sovereign Orthodox Christian Order of Saint Nikolaos of Myra, Inc., an international Orthodox Christian lay fraternity and think-tank of which Dr Nicolas Laos is the founder and chairman under a Charter of “Naval Patronage” issued by Captain First Rank (Ret.) Igor Kurdin, Russian Navy (Chairman of the Council of the Saint-Petersburg Submariners and Naval Veterans Club).