It is important to understand that rationalism is not itself rational. Rationalism cannot be derived from the reason. It is an arbitrary dogma. And yet it is upon this dogma that the outlook of the post 17th-century Western world has based itself.

There is an old story told by Sai Platina in Aristasia and also by the great Tellurian teacher Plato. It tells of people who lie chained in a cave so that they are always looking at the wall of the cave. On that wall they see shadows and they spend their lives watching those shadows. One day a maid breaks free from the cave and goes outside to see the real things that are casting shadows on the wall.

Now that cave is the material world, and the shadows are the material things we see about us. Every tradition teaches that the material things we see are the shadows or reflections of higher things. Everything on earth has an Archetype, which is its true and perfect Form, of which the material entity is only an imperfect shadow.

The world of shadows is also called the sensible world because the shadows are the material things that we perceive with our physical senses – we see and hear and touch them.

The real things seen by the maid who left the cave is called the intelligible world, because the Pure Forms, or Archetypes, are not seen with the physical eyes, but with the Single Eye of the Intellect. They are seen by great contemplatives and saints, and they are also told about in myths and sacred books.

Now suppose one of the people still chained in the cave said to the maid who had left the cave:

“You are lying, there is nothing outside this cave.”

“Why do you say that?” asks the maid who has left the cave.

“Because I have not seen it.” replies the rationalist.

That is precisely what the doctrine of rationalism consists of: the illogical and arrogant denial that anything exists outside the material world of the five senses. Has she any rational reason for denying what all tradition tells her to be true? She has not. She merely repeats: “I have not seen it, so it does not exist.”

That is why rationalism is inherently irrational: and, frankly, naughty. A world based on the rationalist denial of higher Reality is like a group of naughty children who have got together to deny what all the grown ups tell them because they have not seen it for themselves and cannot bear that anyone should know better than them.