Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"a long obedience in the same direction"

"Das Wesentliche, „im Himmel und auf Erden“, wie es scheint, ist, nochmals gesagt, dass lange und in Einer Richtung gehorcht werde".

     Friedrich Nietzsche, Jenseits von Gut und Böse, no. 188.  "The Digitale Kritische Gesamtausgabe Werke und Briefe (eKGWB) is the digital version of the German reference edition of Nietzsche’s works, posthumous fragments, and correspondence edited by Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari (Friedrich Nietzsche, Werke. Kritische Gesamtausgabe, Berlin/New York, de Gruyter, 1967– and Nietzsche Briefwechsel. Kritische Gesamtausgabe, Berlin/New York, de Gruyter, 1975–)."
     But of course I got the phrase from the book of that title by Eugene Peterson.

So even the Institute nods?

With Democratic Enlightenment and now Revolutionary ideas, Jonathan "Israel has taken himself out of contention as a trustworthy historian of origins and character of the French Revolution, perhaps of the Enlightenment as well.  Worse, the cavalier and partial handling of evidence in this and the previous volume inevitably raise retrospective questions about the reliability of the first [(Radical Enlightenment)], from which most historians including this one thought they had profited. . . . Israel is entitled to his materialistic, monistic, and atheist Spinozan worldview, including his schismatic conviction that none of us who arrive at political positions similar to his ever legitimately do so without his Spinozan starting points.  But ontology is not history, and no historians have so far succeeded in getting this elemental verity across to Israel, among them historians as 'secular' as he is."

     Dale van Kley, "The French Revolution and the Radical Enlightenment:  a cautionary tale for Christian historians," Books and culture (September/October 2014):  17 (14-17).

Sunday, October 12, 2014

"collective emotions" are "irremediably the domain of the devil"

"the social is irremediably the domain of the devil.  The flesh impels us to say me and the devil impels us to say us; or else to say like the dictators I with a collective signification.  And, in conformity with his particular mission, the devil manufactures a false imitation of what is divine, an ersatz divinity.
     "By social I do not mean everything connected with citizenship, but only collective emotions.
     "I am well aware that the Church must inevitably be a social structure; otherwise it would not exist.  But in so far as it is a social structure, it belongs to the Prince of this World.  It is because it is an organ for the preservation and transmission of truth that there is an extreme danger for those who, like me, are excessively open to social influences.  For in this way what is purest and what is most defiling look very much the same, and, confused under the same words, make an almost undecomposable mixture.
     "There is a Catholic circle ready to give an eager welcome to whoever enters it.  Well, I do not want to be adopted into a circle, to live among people who say 'we' and to be part of an 'us,' to find I am 'at home' in any human milieu whatever it may be.  In saying I do not want this, I am expressing myself badly, for I should like it very much; I should find it all delightful.  But I feel that it is not permissible for me.  I feel that it is necessary and ordained that I should be alone, a stranger and an exile in relation to every human circle without exception."

     Simone Weil, Letter no. 2 on "Hesitations concerning baptism" (Spring of 1942), in Waiting on God, trans. Emma Craufurd (London:  Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd, 1951), 9-10 (8-12).
     Weil is quite right about the "extreme danger".  But (1) "irremediably the domain of the devil" and "in so far as it is a social structure, it belongs to the Prince of this World" are incompatible with (2) "a false imitation of what is divine", "extreme danger", "for those who like me", "what is purest", "for me", and so forth.
     Once again, Weil goes beyond the evidence to make an unacceptably sweeping statement in contradiction of the maxim that what is not assumed is not healed.  Or so it seems to me.