Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Temporary State of Perfection
What point in the past does the traditionalist opposed to progress fix as the beginning of his tradition? Where do traditions come from at all? Do they grow spontaneously out of social chaos? Let us look at this in simple terms. A particular moment in time lies in relation to other moments. It is the past insofar as subsequent moments are the present or the future. It is the present insofar as prior moments are the past and subsequent moments are the future. It is the future insofar as prior moments are the present or the past. Conceptions of progress and decline frequently depend upon points of commencement without respect for what went before. Consider the moment in time when Christ came into history. Our numbering of the years would suggest that his advent initiated something self-contained. What about everything that happened before his birth? Was Christianity a manifestation of progress when it first arrived? If so, do we as a species generally progress? If we believe now on the other hand that the waning influence of Christianity is symptomatic of decline, are we to conclude that we as a species generally deteriorate? Or do we progress temporarily into a state of perfection, which it is up to us to stabilize thereafter?