Sciences can only be validly constituted as ‘sacred sciences’ by those who, before all else, are in full possession of principia! Knowledge and are thereby qualified to carry out, in conformity with the strictest traditional orthodoxy, all the adaptations required by circumstances of time and place. However, when these sciences have been so established, their teaching may follow an inverse order: they then serve as it were as 'illustrations’ of pure doctrine, which they render more easily accessible to certain minds and the fact that they are concerned with the world of multiplicity gives them an almost indefinite variety of points of view, adapted to the no less great variety of the individual aptitudes of those whose minds are still limited to that same world of multiplicity. The ways leading to knowledge may be extremely different at the lowest degree, but they draw closer and closer together as higher levels are reached. This is not to say that any of these preparatory degrees are absolutely necessary, since they are mere contingent methods having nothing in common with the end to be attained; it is even possible for some persons, in whom the tendency to contemplation is predominant, to attain directly to true intellectual intuition without the aid of such means; but this is a more or less exceptional case and in general it is accepted as being necessary to proceed upward gradually. The whole question may also be illustrated by means of the traditional image of the 'cosmic wheel’: the circumference in reality exists only in virtue of the center, but the beings that stand upon the circumference must necessarily start from there or, more precisely, from the point thereon at which they actually find themselves and follow the radius that leads to the center. Moreover, because of the correspondence that exists between all the orders of reality, the truths of a lower order can be taken as symbols of those of higher orders and can therefore serve as 'supports’ by which one may arrive at an understanding of these; and this fact makes it possible for any science to become a sacred science, giving it a higher or 'anagogical’ meaning deeper than that which it possesses in itself.
René Guénon