Quote of the day

“I was among those who had gone to the masses. Now I and my comrades have returned. We have lost some along the way – either to a party or to despair. We have brought back others with us – more than them, we could not find. We have come to a realization that took pains to reach: we are too far ahead to be understood. We have developed a sense of clarity that people in their everyday confusion cannot grasp. Our souls cannot tolerate this confusion any longer. The conclusion is that we must cease descending to the masses. Instead, we must precede them. At first, it might seem as if we were walking away from them. But we can only find the community that we need and long for if we – the new generation – separate ourselves from the old communities. If we make this separation a radical one and if we – as separated individuals – allow ourselves to sink to the depths of our being and to reach the inner core of our most hidden nature, then we will find the most ancient and complete community: a community encompassing not only all of humanity but the entire universe. Whoever discovers this community in himself will be eternally blessed and joyful, and a return to the common and arbitrary communities of today will be impossible.” “Through Separation To Community”, Gustav Landaeur

The embarrassing non sequitur of death – and a silent rebellion

“It seemed that episcopal authority had now triumphed in the Church. But worshippers at the Eucharist, seeing the bishop seated before them with his presbyters, might be aware that there was an alternative source of power and spirituality in the Church: an institution which had only gradually emerged during the third century [monasticism]. The closer the Church came to society, the more obvious were the tensions with some of its founder’s messages about the rejection of convention and the abandonment of worldly wealth. Human societies are based on the human tendency to want things, and are geared to satisfying those wants: possessions or facilities to bring ease and personal satisfaction. The results are frequently disappointing, and always terminate in the embarrassing non sequitur of death. It is not surprising that many have sought a radical alternative, a mode of life which is in itself a criticism of ordinary society. Worldy goods, cravings and self-centred personal priorities are to be avoided so that their accompanying frustrations and failures can be transcended. The assumption is that such transcendence has a goal beyond the human life span, the goal which some term God […] The Church might well have seen [the] silent rebellion [of those who lived this life] as a threat […] because […] simply by their style of life, they denied the whole basis on which the Church had come to be organised. ”

Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity

Quote of the day

“Although the flower has many qualities, such as smell, taste, form, colour, &c., yet it is one. None of these qualities could be absent in the particular leaf or flower: each individual part of the leaf shares alike all the qualities of the leaf entire. Gold, similarly contains in every particle all its qualities unseparated and entire. It is frequently allowed with sensuous things that such varied elements may be joined together, but, in the spiritual, differentiation is supposed to involve opposition. We do not controvert the fact, or think it contradictory, that the smell and taste of the flower, although otherwise opposed, are yet clearly in one subject; nor do we place the one against the other. But the understanding and understanding thought find everything of a different kind, placed in conjunction, to be incompatible.

Hegel_portrait_by_Schlesinger_1831

“Matter, for example, is complex and coherent, or space is continuous and uninterrupted. Likewise we may take separate points in space and break up matter dividing it ever further into infinity. It then is said that matter consists of atoms and points, and hence is not continuous. Therefore we have here the two determinations of continuity and of definite points, which understanding regards as mutually exclusive, combined in one. It is said that matter must be clearly either continuous or divisible into points, but in reality it has both these qualities. Or when we say of the mind of man that it has freedom, the understanding at once brings up the other quality, which in this case is necessity, saying, that if Mind is free it is not in subjection to necessity, and, inversely, if its will and thought are determined through necessity, it is not free – the one, they say, excludes the other. The distinctions here are regarded as exclusive, and not as forming something concrete. But that which is true, the Mind, is concrete, and its attributes are freedom and necessity. Similarly the higher point of view is that Mind is free in its necessity, and finds its freedom in it alone, since its necessity rests on its freedom. But it is more difficult for us to show the unity here than in the case of natural objects. Freedom can, however, be also abstract freedom without necessity, which false freedom is self-will, and for that reason it is self-opposed, unconsciously limited, an imaginary freedom which is free in form alone.” Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy

Impossible things for breakfast

“I make no pronouncement as to whether Christianity, or indeed any religious belief, is ‘true’. Is Shakespeare’s Hamlet ‘true’? It never happened, but seems to me to be much more ‘true’, full of meaning and significance for human beings, than the reality of the breakfast I ate this morning, which was certainly ‘true’ in a banal sense.”

Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity