Recovering Sacred Tradition

The first in a two-part introduction to season two. This season will deepen our focus on the sacred religious tradition in connection with the same goals and aims of last season.

I A Deepened Focus on Sacred Tradition

After opening remarks, I restate the goals and aims of the program from the first season. Season Two adds a dimension to those same goals. In Season Two my approach comes with a deepened focus on the sacred religious tradition. We are speaking primarily of Christianity, in its more traditional and orthodox sense.

II A Criticism of Heidegger with respect to Tradition

Heidegger provides a sweeping, insightful, and trenchant critique of Western metaphysics. His critique of calculative reasoning and the technological paradigm is extremely valuable in understanding the problems in Western thinking.

However, Heidegger sees himself at the end of Western metaphysics. He is, therefore, prone to making sweeping assessments of the tradition itself. For instance, his focus is on the question of fundamental ontology. He thus reduces traditional study of the true, the good, and the beautiful to a question of Being disclosing truth.

This reduction does not help us with how to live in the face of the today’s problems. In addition, it is also a flattened view in itself of tradition.

I then compare Heidegger with Meister Eckhart. Eckhart’s work speaks to me on not merely an intellectual, but also spiritual level. This is perhaps because Eckhart participates in a living sacred tradition.

III The Sacred and Holistic Thinking

Some may ask, however, why sacred tradition should be included in the search for holistic thinking. Others, such as ecologists, make earnest efforts at holistic thinking without doing so, for instance.

Yet I agree with Philip Sherrard, as discussed in season one. Wholeness presupposes the sacred. Indeed, turning away from the sacred has increased fragmentation and flattening in our thinking.

Indeed, many now fail even to see tradition or the sacred itself now in anything but a two-dimensional, flattened way. Nevertheless, we will endeavor to do so.

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