This is the second in a two-part introduction to season two. After addressing the loss of mystery, I clarify my position on ideology.
Those who follow sacred tradition, and love the mystery, have no desire to immanentize the eschaton.
I Lost Ways of Seeing
We have lost our sense of Mystery in Western thinking.
I do this with the help of poetry by Edwin Muir and Matthew Arnold, ruminations on a long ago conversation with a fellow philosopher, and by discussing the idea of faith as a dimension of one’s soul.
In this age, the world is flattened. More than that, it is the age of embracing flattening. For those who seek wholeness, one cannot literally take a secular (‘of this age’) approach. The most terrifying aspect of losing one’s faith, for instance, is that one does not know that one has lost it. This is analogous to our understanding of wholeness in a flattened world. It is almost impossible to see that which one can no longer recognize.
II A Word on Ideology and the Culture Wars
Silence is often misunderstood
I’ve long expressed a desire not to discuss these popular themes of our time. This ambiguity on my part may have caused misunderstanding as a result, which I would like to address. However valid my reasons for not wanting to talk about this have been, it’s time to clear things up. Also, I recognize that I cannot firewall these topics and really engage thinking on the level of the whole.
Don’t get me wrong, I remain as firmly committed as ever to pursuing the true, the good, and the beautiful. I have no desire to discuss politics on this program, or to join the overflowing ranks of the philodoxers. Such tedium is not our concern.
Indeed, all around us there are people in high dudgeon, doing their best to immanentize the eschaton. I am not one of them. And if you are, may I suggest to you that you stop doing so?
In the world, but not of the world
One basic message for season two, at least at this early stage, is this:
We may find ourselves in ‘Flatworld,’ but we do not have to be of ‘Flatworld.’
In other words, I am neither blithely indifferent nor blandly neutral in the culture wars. But I also see that the field of conflict is tilted from the start toward a certain end, so I am not placing my hopes in political solutions to our problems. Therefore, I render unto Caesar his due, but no more.
In addition, I find it quite interesting that the terms that are still used so often today in the culture wars, of the ‘left’ and the ‘right,’ come to us from the time of the French Revolution, and are then, in a sense, relics of the Enlightenment.
Changing direction by means of return to tradition
Therefore, I’d rather change the direction of thinking entirely.
For without doing so, we might well be forever in the stage of fighting culture wars over arbitrarily drawn and ever-shifting lines, against those woebegone waifs for whom the world can never be flat enough. This certainly seems to be a dead end pattern for Enlightenment thinking.
In conclusion, we can start changing direction by recognizing that we must not reduce tradition, or the pursuit of the true, the good, and the beautiful, to a political manifesto, nor objectify it at all.
Sacred tradition can and should instead be the rallying point for the soul.
Contact / Sharing
Finally, if you have questions and/or comments, please use the Contact page or look up the Wholly Orders Twitter feed. If your preferred social media are not among the current sharing options atop the post, let me know. (In connection with questions, see also FAQ.)