After this methodological digression, let us return to the problem posed at the beginning: does this generalised figure of the 'Antichrist', which we have traced in various religious, morphological and even sociological contexts, have a common ontological denotation? Does a 'generalised Antichrist' exist?
Let us assume that yes, and that Guénon is literally right (and not only from a sociological and structural point of view). We mean that traditionalism has its own denotative field, representing an ontologically authentic set of meanings. In other words, the terms and constructions of traditionalism actually correspond to certain 'extralinguistic' realities. Moreover, these realities are not understood through the network of specific traditions (and specific societies), but are accessed directly - through traditionalism itself.
In this case, we obtain a radical language (i.e. root, from radix - 'root') in traditionalism, together with the radical semantic field and (above all) the radical ontology of the corresponding denotations, and the specific traditions and religions will in this case be modifications of these radical instances that acquire, due to their particularism and relativity, distinctive characteristics in the sphere:
connotation (structural relations),
semantics (the meanings built on these connections),
language itself (as a universal set of signs, rules and paradigms),
constituted (perceived) denotations (ontology proper).
In fact, this is exactly what Guénon himself claims.
If this exists, and in the person of traditionalism we are dealing not only with the meta-linguistic technique, but with all three layers (signified-signifying), then there is also the traditionalist or denoted (radical) root, whose modifications are the figures similar to the Christian Antichrist. And this is clearly described by Guénon when he proposes two traditionalist terms, "counter-initiation" and "the Great Parody". He bases the mechanism of the "Great Parody" on the image of the "opening from below of the Cosmic Egg of Peace".
In this model, in addition to the Christian Antichrist and similar figures from other traditions, whose denotativity is justified (constituted and endowed with ontological status) by these same particular traditions, we are dealing with a new special denotativity that generalises the ontology of all these particular religious-social forms, with the 'radical Antichrist'.
A generalisation about the Antichrist and the 'concrete Antichrist'
We have obtained the following windows or gateways to the obscure problem of the "ontology" and "semantics" of the figure of the "Antichrist".
First, we can consider the gestalt of the "Antichrist" as a chain of separate and semantically isolated figures that perform more or less similar functions in different religious teachings and traditions, as well as in different social contexts and complex ritual-calendars. In this case, these are semantic, connotative and denotative entities (essences), constituted or perceived by specific traditions.
These constructions or phenomena depend on the structure of a particular religion and tradition, the society based on it, and the normative political system. That is, the socio-cultural, epistemological and anthropological context.
Since the specific traditions, religions and societies are different, in each case we are dealing with a different essence, even if typologically comparable
According to Sepir-Whorf's law, there is no direct translation between languages. There is also no direct translation between traditions, religions and societies. When the people of a particular society (a particular tradition, culture, civilisation) see that their normativity is collapsing, they turn to the figure of the Antichrist, Dadjal, Ahriman, the concepts of Kali Yuga, Ragnarekra, etc. as a label, an essential semantic moment, to their reality intimately connected with social being and its history. And having activated that concept, they begin to act accordingly.
But each time it is a completely concrete actualisation, i.e. the being of the 'Antichrist' is in each case separate and distinct. We can only relate the 'Antichrists' to each other in the form of an a posteriori comparativism. We do not penetrate the very being of this generalised archetype.
Here we are dealing with occasionalism and we must treat the subject in an occasionalist and pluralist manner. For some the Antichrist is like this and for others he is different. Prescriptions and paradigms of perception may differ, as may reactions and conclusions.
But, at the same time, the fixation on this figure and comparativist observations, if conducted carefully and with a thorough consideration of the characteristics that make each society, tradition, religion or culture distinct and different from the others - can, in some cases, help us better understand each of these figures. What is known about Ahriman may prove useful in understanding the devil in Christianity; the details reported on Dadjal may shed light on the structures of the "age of Rav"; and the stories of the "Kali Yuga", for their part, may clarify certain aspects of Revelation.
Secondly, we have before us a wide range of morphological, cyclical, sociological and semiotic generalisations. This allows us to corroborate a certain similarity between the 'situations of the Antichrist'
These situations do indeed have many common features. Again, the picture - as in the case of religions - proves fruitful for comparativist research, but with the same limitations. The difference here is the 'metaphoricity' of the interpretation: the winter solstice, with all its cultic significance, or the social catastrophe that leads to the destruction of society or culture, are not concentrated enough to provide such a high and concentrated experience of tension as in the case of the 'Antichrist' figure in a religious context.
That said, morphological analysis is only a distant view from the outside. A pure superstructure of metalanguage. In this case, it is merely observation and we cannot encounter the essence of the phenomenon, nor (let alone) look at it in depth.
The naturalism of the calendar approach only illustrates how, in solving a problem, we can move away from it. Unless, of course, one does the opposite and experiences the drama of the New Year as a knot of existential ecstatic tragedy. Many archaic rituals were just that, until the conventionality of sacrifice replaced the piercing horror of true ritual torment and death.
Translation by Lorenzo Maria Pacini