AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

30 August 2020

Identify.


By living in a spirit of forgiveness we not only uphold the core value of citizenship but also find the path to social membership that we need. Happiness does not come from the pursuit of pleasure, nor is it guaranteed by freedom, it comes from sacrifice. That is the message of the Christian religion and it is the message that is conveyed by all the memorable works of our culture. It is the message that has been lost in the noise of repudiation, but which it seems to me can be heard once again if we devote our energies to retrieving it. And in the Christian tradition the primary act of sacrifice is forgiveness. The one who forgives sacrifices vengeance and renounces thereby a part of himself for the sake of another.

Take away religion, take away philosophy, take away the higher aims of art, and you deprive ordinary people of the ways in which they can represent their apartness. Human nature, once something to live up to, becomes something to live down to instead. Biological reductionism nurtures this "living down", which is why people so readily fall for it. It makes cynicism respectable and degeneracy chic. It abolishes our kind, and with it our kindness.

Unless and until people identify themselves with the country, its territory and its cultural inheritance – in something like the way people identify themselves with a family – the politics of compromise will not emerge.

Roger Scruton, from How to Be a Conservative

No comments: