Saturday, February 11, 2012


This Spanish, American, Europhile and very likely homophile philosopher (1863-1952) is the source of the now-cliche, "Those who do not remember history, etc."

I find bits of him very congenial: 
"I had heard many Unitarian sermons (being taken to hear them lest I should become too Catholic) and had been interested in them so far as  they were rationalistic and informative, or even amusingly irreligious,  as I often thought them to be; but neither in these discourses nor in  Harvard philosophy was it easy for me to understand the Protestant  combination of earnestness with waywardness..."

And this, especially: 
"The liberal school that attempts to fortify religion by minimizing its expression, both theoretic and devotional, seems to be merely impoverishing religious symbols and vulgarizing religious aims; it subtracts from faith that imagination by which faith becomes an interpretation and idealization of human life, and retains only a stark and superfluous principle of superstition. 
For meagre and abstract as may be the content of such a religion, it contains all the venom of absolute pretensions; it is no less cursed than the more developed systems with a controversial unrest and with a consequent undertone of constraint and suspicion...In such a spectral form religious illusion does not cease to be illusion.  
Mythology cannot become science by being reduced in bulk, but it may cease, as a mythology, to be worth having."

A touching elegy at his best friend's death: 
"And I scarce know which part may greater be -
What I keep of you, or you rob from me."

And my favorite, the playful anti-Shahada of an aesthetic Catholic unbeliever: 
"There is no God, and Mary is His mother."


Anonymous said...

Protestants combine »earnestness with waywardness«.

Yup, that's scatological Luther, Saturnine Calvin and paradoxical insistent Kierkegaard, no doubt about it.

Calvin and Cromwell celebrated waywardness but presumably in some bad way, because the Cavalier RCs, who have been granted the beau role by Anglicans, have long been celebrated as nobly wayward in doctrine and morals -- the skeptical, humane, unfanatic gentlemanly branch of Christianity in the UK.

But even granting that Luther's illegitimate great-great-grandkids want to be earnest and wayward or even »rationalistic and informative« this does not exempt Catholic Christians from really believing in God. A sentimental cultural nostalgia for the saints and the BVM really isn't preferable to arrant Islam.

Only an obscurantist neo-Platonist could object to "the vulgarisation of religious aims." The vulgus is us. The Latin Bible of the RCC in her heyday is the Vulgate.

Santayana [buddhist: wheel of Santa Claus?] maybe can to go to Utopia sc Jezebel [no-island] -- along with the other Renaissance dung hill ants such as Erasmus. That doesn't mean we will actually be allow'd in. We'll still be outside -- doctrinally defenseless against the owners of neo-Islam, who may well be Jezebel traditionalists, maybe including Santayana.

A recusant RC condemn'd the roundheads on grounds that "Calvinism isn't a religion for a gentleman." A Calvinist reply'd, "And Catholicism isn't a religion for a believer."

Catholic Christians really ought to beware smiling perfidious Albion bearing beau roles for Catholics.

Anonymous said...

In a subsequent post above, Ex Cathedra seems to propose keeping Christianity's "dogmatic and sacramental culture" but dismissing Christianity's "moral system."

Does this meet Nietzsche's revelation that one can't have Christian morals without Christian doctrine? Ex Cathedra seems to propose the contrary to e.g. George Eliot's Christian morals without Christian doctrine -- aka anonymous or private Christianity.

But if the doctrinal and sacramental "culture" that Ex Cathedra finds easy or 'simpatico' is private, then I fear it doesn't meet Nietzsche's revelation, because a private revelation isn't really public doctrine or religious doctrine. This private Christian doctrinal and moral "culture" seems to at least congrue with the public moral system of desublimation -- gay and hetero repressive desublimational porn for guys, and for women "social spending" plus careers in the structures of civilization that guys are abandoning, I guess on grounds that civilization as hitherto is valuationally absurd in light of the unconscious Freud reveal'd. (That seems to be Herbert Marcuse de Sade's argument in »Eros and Civilization for Dogs.«)

But Freud saw that instinctual gratification for "polymorphous perversity" was not affirmable because of the entire truth of the Nature of the Psyche, who is murderous. Libido dynamis or potency must convert to the energeia or act thanatos.

Marcuse de Sade admits this when he arranges for the necessity of _repressive_ desublimation upon us. We can't really do as we are naturally inclined to do: we must 'tyrannize' over nature in us (Nietzsche, BGE 188). In Dmitry K's terms, we must revere Madonna or repression as well as Sodom ([karma?] burning). But our Madonna is already repressive desublimation. I guess accordingly our Sodom ought to be release into aspiration, idealism, etc, -- in public religion, reverence for poverty obedience chastity -- for "earnest waywardness," if you will.

Where will we find earnest public idealism today except in Islam? We do not find Calvinist Christianity proposing the sanctification of the world. We do not find Catholic Christianity proposing to fill the world with the glory of the Church and her saints. (Buddhism dismisses the world as maya, and Hinduism to the extent that it is more than a back story for Buddhism brings a world of caste dharma.)

The heirs of the recusants do no more than hope the American President won't be able to force Catholic institutions to provide contraception for employees through medical insurance.

No, the heirs of the recusants don't even hope this. American Catholics favour the President's new rules even more than the general American population.

Christianity has only a humanitarian social ideal (hospitals, schools) plus a protest social ideal (calling for more social spending, praying for peace, condemning Islamaphobia, creationism-shaming, etc).

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