Friday, August 24, 2012

Everything Repeats Itself

It's kind of depressing that man never learns. As Burke teaches, he only learns collectively (which is to say, as a species, but not a group - if that distinction makes any sense to anyone).

The debate between Past & Future has been going on for more than just three hundred years...

In our "modern" Era, man is still so resolutely unsure of himself, who he is, what is "Good", what is less desirable, what is Evil and Damnation, that practically all we hear from our intellectual elite is re-hashed Fontanelle: We are smarter than the ancients, our scholarship is more elaborate, we follow reason and possess empirical science, we are going to download our consciousness onto computers and surf the Noosphere, etc. etc.

It's almost as if our uncertainty is overcompensated by belligerent hatred of the Past, a denial of all its worth, and certitude on "one thing and one thing only" - that all is Good and Light and Best and Better today.

The Past isn't irrelevant, or over - it isn't even Past (W. Faulkner). I agree (of course) that mere antiquarianism looks a little ridiculous, and that a man who can't be of his own time can't be of any Time (Goethe). However, only someone who is connected to the Past (at a deeper level than drawing on Voltaire for their spiritual inspiration, or Fontanelle) can hope to show the unity of Time through marrying the Past, Present, and Future in Eternity. This love of the past can be individual (the individual's pre-existence) and have no intellectual roots in the past that are obvious - it can even be existential. However, the one thing it cannot be is openly, ideologically committed to hating the Past. Which is exactly what our "Leaders" are committed to.

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