Frithjof Schuon was, by the opinion of many contemporary philosophers, the most brilliant metaphysicist in modern history.
The story of Schuon's life is one muddled by migration. He was born in 1907 Switzerland to an Alsatian mother and a German father, where he learned to speak German, and was immersed in German culture. Within a few years of his birth, his father died, and his mother moved his family to France, where he was educated in the native language. Here he was also exposed to the writings of Rene Guenon, which originate the religio perennis that would become central to Schuon's Integral Traditionalism. After serving just over a year in the French army, he moved to Paris to work as a textile designer and to study Islam. This study inspired two trips to Algeria, the first in 1932 and the second in 1935, which in turn begot a series of trips to Morocco, Egypt, India and North America over the next 15 years, on which he educated himself in the religious and spiritual matters of both the Orient and the Occident. He married in 1949, and with his wife he continued to travel until 1980, at which point they settled permanently in the United States so that he could assume the position as Professor of Religious Studies at The George Washington University. Schuon wrote his first book in 1953, and essayed on metaphysics, comparative religion, and aesthetics, among other things, until his death in 1998. Schuon is known for, beside his academic writing, his didactic poetry, most of which he wrote in the last three years of his life.
Schuon's Contribution To Humanity:
Frithjof Schuon is worth knowing about, and his work worth reading, because his religio perennis, or eternal religion, theorizes states of the Universe, of Nature, and of Mankind that are all correspondent to each other. These congeal into a pseudo-Neoplatonic world-view that sets forth probably the most interesting systems of aesthetics and theosophy in the past couple of centuries... at least. Schuon was incredibly prolific, having written over 3,500 poems and 30 books, which have drawn overwhelmingly positive reactions from such notable people as T.S. Eliot, Schuon's eventual protege Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and even Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi. His was also one of the "founders" of Integral Traditionalism, an esoteric philosophical movement, which is worth the time of anyone interested in modern (note: not Modernist) philosophy, in general.
Further Reading and References:BrevityQuest 2007
I would definitely recommend "The Essential Frithjof Schuon", edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr and published by World Wisdom, for all of Schuon's most important pieces; it's very complete, and very $17 at Amazon.com.
, even at 399 words!