Monday, February 11, 2008

The Dregs of the Arkive

In keeping with my pledge to rummage through the entire knowa's arkive, I've even found some dusty old incomplete posts. This one from October 10, 2005, was apparently going to be called Christopher Dawson & the Judeo-Christian Innovation of History, before I turned my inattention elsewhere.

I had just finished reading a book called Dynamics of World History, and most of what follows are notes and quotes from the book. (Some of the passages that don't have quotation marks may actually be quotes, or close to them, but I don't have time to double-check.) I was struck by how similar Dawson -- the orthodox Catholic -- is to the orthodox Raccoon view.

Think of these scraps as the raw ingredients that would have made up a post. Or, alternatively, think of them as the bottom of the barrel, like the Beatles Anthology. Or just think of this as an open thread to discuss anything you want.

*****

Detail does not make history any more than random notes make harmony.

Metahistory: “Every historian has his metahistory... the best ones know it.”

“No historian need be taken seriously who claims that his only interest is the past itself... to dismiss a philosophy of history is a philosophy of history, if a paltry and inadvertent one.”

If every historical statement contains a statement about history itself, and if metaphysics is inescapable, the only matter at issue is whose metaphysics.

"Historical evidence is necessary for historical insight but not constitutive of it.... The fact does not tell the story; the story, as it were, tells the fact. It is the latter that gives pattern and meaning; it is the former that lacks meaning of its own."

“History and theology are nothing if not meditations on the nature of Time itself.”

the torrent of human custom
cosmocrats of the dark aeon
never make a god of your religion (or irreligion)
current contempt of religion is just a culturally conditioned product of a particular time & place. it will pass

God makes use of a barbarous semitic tribe -- not determined by merit or logic, but there you are. The odd thing is that the Jews thought they were carrying God down and forward into time, and they achieved it! Tide of history washed all else away, but left the Torah standing.

Cross = turning point of history, where vertical & horizontal meet.

Secular world is a prison in which the human spirit confines itself when it is shut out of the wider world of reality. But as soon as the celestial light breaks in, all the elaborate mechanisms that have been constructed for living in the dark become useless.... no need for canes, braille, seeing eye dogs, etc. The recovery of spiritual vision confers spiritual freedom, because you can move around in hyperspace.

Actor in history is like a captain of a ship in the fog, driven by winds & current, trying to navigate by chart & compass. Where is the captain trying to go?

"... for the world is ruled by powers that it does not know, and the men who appear to be the makers of history are in reality its creatures.”

“Metahistory is concerned with the nature of history, the meaning of history and the cause and significance of historical change. The historian himself is primarily engaged in the study of the past. He does not ask himself why the past is different from the present or what is the meaning of history as a whole."

Escape from circular maze of pagan thought: “Humanity had an absolute beginning and travels to an absolute goal. There can be no return. That which is begun in time ends in eternity. Hence time is not a perpetually revolving image of eternity; it is an irreversible process moving in a definite direction.”

Augustine: time is not simply motion. It is in the soul -- it is spiritual extension. Therefore, cosmos is spirit extended. The past is the soul’s remembrance, the present its attention, the future its anticipation.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Djadja said...

That was interesting — worth posting and worth reading, for it shows the kinds of freeform notes and jottings that later became the coherent (yes, Bob, they always were coherent!) posts we all came to expect. And since it’s all new to me, it’s all worth reading.

2/11/2008 09:38:00 AM  
Anonymous dloye said...

"God makes use of a barbarous semitic tribe -- not determined by merit or logic, but there you are. The odd thing is that the Jews thought they were carrying God down and forward into time, and they achieved it! Tide of history washed all else away, but left the Torah standing."

There's another narrative thread in the clash of Islam, Christianity and Judaism from the sixth or seventh century forward. Reading Runciman's History of the Crusades, I'm continually struck by how many of those stories would write beautifully with the metahistory of God's hand with the people of the new covenent, the original covenant and the children of submissive obedience.

2/11/2008 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Ah, the humanity of dregs... it is like seeing thoughts before they get their morning coffee.

2/11/2008 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

reading these tea leaves,
it's no surprise to find they're
laced with gold nuggets

2/11/2008 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

If these could be drilled into everyone either studying history, or who is being told there is no history,

Metahistory: “Every historian has his metahistory... the best ones know it.”


and,

“No historian need be taken seriously who claims that his only interest is the past itself... to dismiss a philosophy of history is a philosophy of history, if a paltry and inadvertent one.”
(really like that one)

and

If every historical statement contains a statement about history itself, and if metaphysics is inescapable, the only matter at issue is whose metaphysics.


it would be an accomplishment of historic proportions.

2/11/2008 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Hmm. I have long held the opinion that those who fail to learn from history, should major in something else, and certainly not teach it. But what if they don't know? That seems to be the main problem.

2/12/2008 12:27:00 AM  

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