Guénon had argued that superior forms of knowledge ought not be pursued on a level removed from the general norms established by a positive tradition (‘exotericism’) – less still in opposition to, and in revolt against such norms. The two spheres – the exoteric sphere and the esoteric – Guénon suggested, ought to be complementary:
so that an individual who is incapable of following ‘exoteric’ norms aimed at investing life with order and sacredness ought not attempt to pursue a higher path. The basic premise of Ride the Tiger, however, was precisely my realistic acknowledgement of the fact that it is impossible to follow such exoteric norms in the present day: for no positive, meaningful and truly legitimate institutions exist to provide a support for the individual. A ‘consecration’, therefore, of external, active life today can only derive from a free and genuine inner drive towards transcendence, rather than from given moral or religious norms. Hence, if – as might have been expected – I referred to traditional doctrines when examining the prospect of ‘riding the tiger’, it is the ‘inner doctrines’ of Tradition that I examined: those doctrines that, in traditional civilizations, were usually known to a privileged minority alone.