Could the crockup have been avoided? Well, to even posit this question is to wonder if history is inevitable, which it clearly is not. And yet, one of the consequences of post-Reformation thought is a kind of implicit historicism that parcels out history into discrete developmental stages, one atop the previous. The author calls it "supercessionism," which I suppose is a handy word to have around. It's just that it takes him 100 pages to say it.
But because of this implicit historical mythunderstanding, modern atheists, for example, imagine they have nothing to do with premodern deviant theists, e.g., Occam and the rest of the nominalists.
In a comment the other day I mentioned the well known scandal of there not being one church. But the scandal goes way beyond that, for why isn't there One Truth in general? Other animals are guided by one truth -- each lives in its own truth, from aardvark to zebra. Only man can have fundamentally different ideas about how man is supposed to live. Almost like we have free will or something. Or as if our lives are dictated neither by suprahuman forces nor subhuman farces, e.g., "selfish genes."
I suppose the every-man-for-himsoph approach wouldn't be so problematic if these fascist völkers didn't try to impose their authoritarian ideas on the rest of as, as do Islamists and leftists. I mean, by definition, Obama believes he knows more about how we should conduct our lives than we do. Frankly, I doubted this idea the moment I laid eyes on Michelle, but found it impossible to believe once she opened her mouth.
But how is this different from, say, some church telling me how to run my isness? Prior to the Reformation, we had "more than a millennium during which Christianity provided a framework for shared intellectual, social, and moral life in the West." But how much choice did people really -- not just theoretically -- have?
A better question than Could the modern crack-up have been avoided? is Could we have proceeded on a trijectory leading to all the good things about modernity, minus all the fragmentation, polarization, alienation, and homicideologies?
From our historical standpoint, it seems almost inconceivable, because modernity seems to be built from bricks of skepticism, suspicion, cynicism, irony, and doubt. Seen in this light, the pre-Reformation world seems to us impossibly innocent.
I personally don't think we could ever recover and restore such historical innocence, probobly because I personally couldn't (maybe you can). I don't see how one can put the truthpaste back in the tube, so gnostalgia is futile.
But the ambient culture is spiritually intolerable -- so toxic as to asfyxiate the soul. So, we can't go back and we can't stay here, shipwrecked in the present. Where does this leave us?
Yes, a March 4th into higher unity, into a recovery of wholeness, which just so happens to be the mission of this blog, i.e., One Cosmos. Under God. With liberation and joycetice for all. It even says so in the Coonifesto -- at least I think that's what it says:
Take us before & beyond this womantary maninfestation, reveal not the horizontal but our inmost upmost vertical bigending. Here, far from the twisted reach of yestermorrow, we are finally cured of plurality -- plurality being a symptom of feeling down in the humpty dumps.
Gregory likens history to a river with many tributaries. If we examine the river here and now, there is no way to disentangle the waters and identify where they came from. We know for certain that their source is upstream somewhere, but it seems impossible to be any more specific than that.
For which reason he reminds us of Faulkner's well known wisecrack that "The past is never dead. It's not even past."
This is an important truth, for it renders any kind of literal supersessionism -- i.e., compartmentalization of history -- absurd; but it also renders both atheistic and theistic predetermination impossible -- which is no coincidence, because Gregory traces both to the same upstream tributary. Prior to the Reformation, it was understood that history had a meaning and a purpose that was partly determined by human choice.
Why can't we just agree that truth cannot contradict Truth, and get one with it? Is it really that painful? Which is to say, is the Adversary really that powerful? Are you really paralyzed in plurality, unable to pull yourself together?
"Knowledge of Divinity is an endless movement of the spirit. But a mystery always remains, which can never be plumbed to the bottom. And this is expressed in symbol: it cannot be expressed in concepts" (Berdyaev).
O. I see.
'Symbol'... means both 'sign' and 'union.' Symbol and symbolization predicate the existence of two worlds, two orders of being. If there is only one world, one order of being, symbol has no place. Symbol tells us that the meaning of one world lies in another, that signs of meaning are given from this other world. Symbol tells us, not only that another world exists, that being is not all-included in our world, but that connection between the two is possible, the union of one with the other. --Berdyaev