I have read a great number of books in my life. From childhood, through the teenage years until adulthood, I’ve been an avid reader. After finishing “The Fourth Political Theory” by Alexander Dugin earlier today, I can confidently assert that this book was easily the most complex and difficult book to process that I’ve ever come across, by far. I consider myself a fairly smart guy, I’m able to read and comprehend complex and long books on a variety of subjects. I’m almost always able to follow along the red lines and understand what the author intended to convey. There are two exceptions to this. The first is my university textbooks talking about Post-Modernism. I could follow the other perspectives that were presented. Usually one oriented towards realpolitik, another for a liberal, internationalist view and thirdly, feminism (why feminism was elevated alongside realpolitik as a relevant approach is another good question). The forth angle, Post-Modernism proved to be a tough nut to crack.
It went all over the place, contained contradictions and generally took a steaming dump on internal consistency and the ability of the reader to comprehend what the hell was going on. Making itself so confusing that no-one would be able to grasp the concept and thus the ability to criticize it seems to be an intended strategy. The second time I’ve struggled with my own intellectual limitations was while reading Dugin. He demonstrates a firm grasp on a ridiculous number of thinkers in the soft sciences. He namedrops like crazy and goes through concepts faster than a steaming train. Oftentimes, the concepts discussed were so esoteric that it was difficult to finish single pages of the book.
I did get some points from the book, which I will discuss below. Whether or not you get the most complex and intricate parts of the book or not, I think it was worth the considerable effort I invested in reading it. I was forced to confront my own limitations, having to recognize that there are concepts that go way above my head. Not giving up instills pride and a desire for improving my undeerstanding and skill-level.
It mustn’t be forgotten who the author is. Dugin is a Russian, deeply involved with the Kremlin as an advisor to Putin. His criticisms of Western hegemonic liberalism makes more sense when this is taken into account. Everyone can benefit from having their eyes opened to his perspectives on critisizing our ideological system. It is important to remember that we are currently living in the present, the past contains many, many different countries, civilizations and ideological systems behind them. Such a mental angle allows us to be open to the concept of working towards a different ideological system than the one we are currently living under. This is a necessary prerequisite for growth and improvement. Being chained to Fukuyama’s End of History is in many aspects the direct opposite, rejecting the idea of alternatives outright.
Another core point about “The Fourth Political Theory” is that it doesn’t prescribe all the concrete solutions and roadmaps for the path to a new ideological system. It is just as much concerned about raising questions and pointing out the dead-ends of the old which we must avoid in constructing a new approach. Dugin has written a follow-up to this work, I won’t partake in it due to my limited ability to get much out of it. One book by Dugin is more than enough. I recommend challenging yourself like I did here, you grow the most when you leave the comfort of echo chambers of agreeable opinion and when your brain has to “physically” rest after mentally overheating from the strain following complex ideas.