Monday, July 9, 2007

communio sanctorum (a meditation on bonaventure's triple way iii,1)

Marc Chagall, "Adam and Eve" (1912)

If we desire Peace, then we must somehow surpass the brokenness of the present. But the path beyond is not an arbitrary one, nor is it chosen in a kind of unrestricted freedom: no decision is ever made solely in the moment. History gave us birth, and it is out of that inheritance that the possibilities for action are given to us. To ignore this is not merely a self-defeating turning against oneself, it is a heretical declaration that one is absolute in their sovereignty. There is no future without recovery of the past. But likewise, History reveals that we never act alone. Not only must we act in partnership with those with whom we journey now. The pursuit of Peace is also undertaken in communion with those who have gone before us, who we must never forget because they too still desire Peace. The struggle now always models itself on those who were faithful in the struggle before.



irving said...

A brilliant and perfectly true commentary on history and peace. May we all heed the words of Santayana and never forget history.

Ya Haqq!

The Arcadian said...

But does it matter whether something really happened as long as everyone thinks it happened? How fine is the line between collective history and collective myth?

Lawrence of Arabia said...

this is certainly not an easy question to answer. certainly our histories at the moment inevitably contain elements of the mythological since they are unable to completely justify themselves. the Future remains unknown and as such History does as well (including our past, whose meaning remains determined by the Future).

that said, this is not a justification for indifference to the presence of distortion, falsification and ideology in our histories. but even here one has to say these are of two types.

first, the structures of our existence are often distorted and ideologies. to take an obvious one, the long history of the place of women in society has been one of distortion, alienation and the degradation of humanity (and not just the humanity of women, but of humanity in general). when we talk of these we are talking of the brokenness of history itself.

at another level there are the ideological and propagandistic attempts to obscure or obfuscate history in order to cover up something or to achieve a desired end. here we are talking about speech (of whatever sort) that does not comply with the standards of true speech in its own era, but at the same time tries to hide this fact.

now both of these must be exposed and resisted, but in different ways. the first we expose to expose who we are and how we as a society, etc., live lives in contradiction with ourselves (or how social contradictions were present at some time in the past). in the second we are trying to expose speech that prevents us from coming to an understanding of who we are.

so that's my stab at a brief answer on the fly,

best wishes,

The Arcadian said...

yes, I see what you're saying. But doesn't it seem that a large part of the problem, as with many problems, is just down to popular willed ignorance?.

I think most problems can be traced back to people and their supidity, which is why I wouldn't worry.

Are you an academic by any chance? :p

Lawrence of Arabia said...

oh yes. most definitely an academic.

and yes there is a kind of popular ignorance. but, isnt that because liberal society itself is built around a certain forgetfulness of the past and of others?