Borderline: A Traditionalist Outlook for Modern Man


Lennart Svensson

Borderline: A Traditionalist Outlook for the Modern WorldA conceptual look at a conceptual look at everything, is this possible? A study trying to point the way ahead for thought, science, and art in the 21st century? Author Lennart Svensson indeed tries to do this in his new book, Borderline: A Traditionalist Outlook for Modern Man, which is an attempt to create an integral concept of Man, God, and the Universe. Espousing a holistic attitude, the book aims at unifying action with being, the active with the inactive, the spirit with the symbol, and the whole with the detail.

This is a study acknowledging Perennial Thought, the ancient tradition of ontology and ethics as seen in Greek metaphysics, the Bhagavad-Gîtâ, Christian mysticism, and Western thinkers like Goethe, Jung, Nietzsche and Jünger. The book contains chapters on Plotinus and symbolism, a criticism of scientific reductionism, a look into “the metaphysics of physics”, as well as essays on the integral worldview of Jung and Nietzsche, Rudolf Steiner’s Christology, and notes on “an ethics based in ontology”. The study also presents some conceptual aspects of artists like T. S. Eliot, Caspar David Friedrich and Edith Södergran, the Finnish-Swedish poet, “more Nietzschean than Nietzsche himself”.

Along with being rooted in Tradition, the book is composed for the modern reader, as a popular rendering of serious philosophy. At this point in history, man needs to step up a notch, leaving nihilist materialism behind him. Borderline: A Traditionalist Outlook for Modern Man acknowledges this, but not in a simplistic or programmatic manner. This is no ‘bare-bones’ preaching; the book discusses topics such as ‘art and ontology,’ ‘science and holism’, and ‘ethics and metaphysics’. For instance, in the 1980s the  need for science to progress beyond reductionism and acknowledge holism was widely embraced. Now, in the 2010s, this discussion is virtually absent. The general debate nowadays seems to be focused on nihilist materialism. If indeed, a discussion about holism, ethical ontology, and the spiritual element of science is conducted it’s conducted in separate areas. Borderline: A Traditionalist Outlook for Modern Man tries to rectify this in aiming for an integral concept and a comprehensive approach to human thought. In this, the book is an attempt at building a bridge between the famed “two cultures” of C. P. Snow, between the technological-scientific on the one hand and the humanistic-philosophical on the other.

As Mr. Svensson says in the Introduction:

“This book covers the role of metaphysics in modern science, it touches on ethical issues and it says something of poetry and art, all of it with some footing in holism and spirituality. This book is a borderline case of philosophy, integrating power with spirit, Man with God, the detail with the whole, and the spirit with the symbol. My main errand is to describe some classical and traditional (but at the same time topical) concepts, and anchor them in authoritative studies and documents. But if there is an underlying tendency to this book, it might be expressed by the […] motto Plus Ultra. Plus Ultra is Latin and means: “Further Beyond” –  and in a broader sense “expanding, progressing, going Beyond the Beyond”. Conceptually, this might be what humanity has to learn now, at this point of history: to virtually “go beyond,” to raise ourselves from materialism and embrace spirituality. This includes acknowledging the holistic paradigm, acknowledging mind over matter, and realizing how the invisible side of reality affects the visible by means of patterns, theories, and ideas. We come here to learn and not wishing to raise yourself beyond what you are, to me seems immature. We need to go spiritually beyond and this theme is present in Borderline, explicitly and implicitly.”