“The term tradition…lies at the heart of our concern for the meaning of the sacred in its relation to knowledge. The usage of the term tradition…came to the fore in Western civilization at the moment of the final phase of the desacralization of both knowledge and the world which surrounded modern man. The rediscovery of tradition constituted a kind of cosmic compensation, a gift from the Divine Empyrean whose mercy made possible, at the moment when all seemed to be lost, the reassertion of the Truth which constitutes the very heart and essence of tradition. The formulation of the traditional point of view was a response of the Sacred, which is both the alpha and the omega of human existence, to the elegy of doom of modern man lost in a world depleted of the sacred and therefore, of meaning.
For though all seem lost, yet All is found
In the Last who is the First. Faithful pageant,
Not amiss is thy mime, for manifest in thee
Omega is an archway where Alpha stands framed,
The First who comes Last, for likewise art thou
The season of seeds, O season of fruits.
“The First who comes Last,” the reassertion at this late hour of human history of tradition which itself is both of a primordial character and possesses continuity over the ages, made possible once again access to that Truth by which human beings have lived during most—or rather nearly all—of their terrestrial history. This Truth had to be stated anew and reformulated in the name of tradition precisely because of the nearly total eclipse and loss of that reality which has constituted the matrix of life of normal humanity over the ages. The usage of the term and recourse to the concept of tradition as found in the contemporary world are themselves, in a sense, an anomaly made necessary by the anomaly which constitutes the modern world as such.”
~Seyyed Hossein Nasr~