Our Past Headlines
We present here our headlines and article descriptions going back to our beginning, in the hope our readers might find something of interest.
A Dilletantism on the Important Questions
Eric Voegelin's appraisal of Arnold Toynbee's history ends on notes of disappointment and sadness, because the promise that was there was never fulfilled: "[Toynbee] is sensitive to the word of God insofar as it has become historically tangible in dogmatic symbols and ecclesiastic institutions, but [he] does not hear the word as spoken to him personally." Read part 3 of "Toynbee's History as a Search for Truth."
The Positive Aspects of a Parallel Universe
T. John Jamieson concludes his examination of The Man without Qualities, and looks at, among other things, Musil's parallel universe: "The 'normal condition' of ordinary rationality and [morality] is imposed by rulers, hierarchies, institutions; the 'other condition' is a supra-rational state [in which] reason and emotion are a simple unity, as are morality and impulse." Read this week part 3 of "Robert Musil and Eric Voegelin: Literature and Spiritual Pathology."
How Can We Know What is Real?
We welcome the return of Steven F. Mcguire who argues that the flaw in Eric Voegelin's philosophy could have been repaired by employing Schelling: "Schelling's philosophy has [advantages over Voegelin's] because Schelling recognizes that. . .our participation in the order of reality is beyond consciousness. This means. . .we always already know truth even before we experience it.." Read part 1 of "Freedom and Beyond: A Study of Voegelin and Schelling."
". . . always trying to be something other, to be sky. . ."
Poetry Editor Thomas D'Evelyn has chosen a poem by contemporary Philip Gross, who likens human ambiguities to the restless movement of water. Read in Poetry this week "Betweenland I."
The Monk of Heisterbach
This week Eric Voegelin first reviews the problem of Isaiah's metastatic faith. Then he turns to his philosophy of consciousness which refuted the work of Husserl. It was worked out in the course of correspondence with his closest friend, Alfred Schütz. The work is recounted in Anamnesis, which offered 20 brief childhood experiences, including the tale of the Monk of Heisterbach. Listen in Audio to Part 11 of "Autobiographical Reflections."
When All the Instruments are Available
Eugen Nagy concludes a remarkable clarification of the relationship between Eric Voegelin's noetic enterprise and the truth of the Incarnation: "Does the Incarnation mean that the Socratic [understanding] is now dismissed? [That] would be a strange thing, indeed, since understanding, as Voegelin made it clear, is possible only by virtue of the divine origin of all existence." Read this week part 3 of "Noesis and Faith: Eric Voegelin and Søren Kierkegaard."
Aren't We being Duped? Isn't it all about Oil?
Jonathan Wensveen reviews for us Among the Truthers, a new book about conspiracy theorists that examines some contemporary as well as perennial contributing causes: "The premise that no outcome is unintended, fundamentally transforms the activity of interpreting reality into systematically explaining it." Read in Book Reviews this week "Conspiracism's Gnostic Roots."
The Chrysalis becomes the Chariot of History
We continue Eric Voegelin's examination of Arnold Toynbee's 12 volume Study of History and the fundamental break after volume 6: "The 'history of Religion' is now history proper, and the various societies must be characterized and classified on the scale of values according to their function in the 'progress of Religion.' " Read part 2 of "Toynbee's History as a Search for Truth."
Some Hints for Those Intent on Mastering Chinese
Max Arnott returns this week with a restrained account of his struggles to learn Chinese. He finds that learning the characters and learning the language are two different undertakings, and he observes: "Everyone has heard of the Tones of Chinese and how difficult they are. Well, they are." Read this week part 1 of "Learning Chinese."
The Tenth Character
T. John Jamieson continues his exploration of the people who inhabit Robert Musil's novel and resemble types we ourselves encounter: "Persons, in the old sense, were centers of moral responsibility. Now there is a cult of experience, and the experiences are cultivated in an experimental way so that people talk about them as categories of being apart from the persons who experience them." Read this week part 2 of "Robert Musil and Eric Voegelin: Literature and Spiritual Pathology."
". . . But that was the pearl of great price . . ."
Poetry Editor Thomas D'Evelyn has found a poem that perhaps only the old can truly cherish, for it reminds us that grace is only found in the present. Read in Poetry this week a work of the late great Christian poet R.S.Thomas,"The Bright Field."
Paralysis followed by the Walgreen Lectures
This week Eric Voegelin discusses his abandonment of a history of ideas and the substitution of experiences, as developed in The New Science of Politics. He also considers the origins of gnosticism, giving full credit to his predecessors and contemporaries. Listen in Audio to Part 10 of "Autobiographical Reflections."
Searching History for Ultimate Meaning
Beginning this week we offer Eric Voegelin's critique of the work of perhaps the greatest historian of the 20th century, Arnold Toynbee: "[He] does not reach this goal of the love of God, but stops short at a sensitive spiritualist's and a historical connoisseur's sympathy with religions." Read part 1 of "Toynbee's History as a Search for Truth."
Why Philosophy is not Enough
Eugen L. Nagy offers his compelling analysis of the border between philosophy and faith: "If incarnation is an on-going historical process, if it is the generic movement of the divine ground of being in reality–then who is Christ? and, "No human being can, of himself, surpass his condition, the condition of being affected by sin, and thus the frontiers of [his own] understanding." Read this week part 2 of "Noesis and Faith: Eric Voegelin and Søren Kierkegaard."
Take the Hitler too, Please!
Eric Voegelin considers his break with Hans Kelsen after the publication of The Authoritarian State and offers some humorous details of his encounter with the Gestapo at the time he escaped Vienna in 1938. Listen this week on the Audio page to Part 8 of "Autobiographical Reflections."
". . . that all-gathering general English light . . ."
Poetry Editor Thomas D'Evelyn offers us another poem by Geoffrey Hill, perhaps a sort of disillusioned echoing of Browning's "Pippa Passes." Read in Poetry this week "Triumph of Love: LIII."
The Man Without Qualities
We welcome T. John Jamieson, who looks at Austrian novelist Robert Musil, whom Eric Voegelin found useful in understanding modern spiritual disorder, and concludes: "Musil deserves to be studied whole, both for his own sake and in relation to Voegelin." Read this week part 1 of "Robert Musil and Eric Voegelin: Literature and Spiritual Pathology."
The Abolition of Infinity
We return from our Easter break with Eric Voegelin's examination of constancy in species as viewed by Linnaeus, Buffon and Leibniz: "Something infinite cannot be a subject of finite thinking. Regarding the problem of species this means that the inquiry has to start with the self-contained unity of the individual, which is determined by its species." Read this week "Explaining the Constancy of Species: Linneaus, Buffon, and Leibniz."
When Philosophy and Revelation become Theophanies
We welcome Eugen L. Nagy, who brings remarkable insight to a topic that touches on Voegelin's understanding of Easter. Søren Kierkegaard is the figure against whom Voegelin is measured. In this first part Nagy opens with a deft summary of Voegelinian perceptions: "[What Voegelin] defined in Anamnesis as philosophy and revelation are conceptualized now as "noetic" and "pneumatic" theophanies, respectively." Read this week part 1 of "Noesis and Faith: Eric Voegelin and Søren Kierkegaard."
"It was here. This was the setting and the time . . ."
Poetry Editor Thomas D'Evelyn offers Wallace Stevens' description of the quotidian environment that fosters poetic creativity. Read in Poetry this week "A Quiet Normal Life."
What is a Rose?
Brendan Purcell concludes his study of the ontological omissions that underlie the errors of scientism and reductionism: "When a Richard Dawkins insists that unless an issue is decided on the basis of evidence, his presumption is that the only kind of evidence is that required by, say physics or biology." Read this week Part 3 of "World Process and the Anthropic Principle."
Do You Prefer Chess or Pinochle ?
After discussing the difficulties in penetrating Hegel, Eric Voegelin offers "I flatly state that Marx was consciously an intellectual swindler." The discussion turns to reflections on Political Religions (1938) and The Authoritarian State (1936). Listen in Audio to Part 7 of "Autobiographical Reflections."
Dogmatic Liberalism Doesn't Work
Eric Voegelin sums up liberalism and reminds those who would impose liberalism elsewhere:"The catastrophe of its exportation to non-Western societies plays itself out for all to see." And for those who would trifle with religion in the US: "There has been implemented a positive policy of religious freedom and freedom of conscience for everyone, limited only by the mores of the society and the penal law." Read this week part 3 of "What is a Liberal?"
At Oxford and Columbia; Gaining a Pseudo Identity
After discussing study at Paris, Oxford and Columbia, Eric Voegelin offers some basic truths:"I have an aversion against killing people for the fun of it. The fun consists of gaining a pseudo identity through asserting one's power, optimally by killing someone, a pseudo identity as a substitute for the human self that has been lost." Listen on the Audio page to Part 6 of "Autobiographical Reflections."
"A hundred people, a hundred pair of eyes."
Poetry Editor Thomas D'Evelyn brings us a poet with a great sense of humor, the late Anna Swir, who records the occasion on which she was expected to provide her audience with the answers to life's mystery. Read in Poetry this week "Poetry Reading."
Despairing of Justice in this World
Michał Kuz concludes his exploration of Dostoevsky's reception in the West, where interpreters such as Woody Allen ignore the political aspect: "We must remember that [Dostoevsky also fell into the Grand Inquisitor's trap]. He could not compromise politics with morality or faith and arrive at a safe modus vivendi." Read this week Part 2 of "Justice and the Western Perception of Dostoevsky."
No Substitute for Spiritual Order
We continue Eric Voegelin's exploration of liberalism: first he looks at Auguste Comte and then at liberalism's history and content: "[Liberalism] discards spiritual substance and becomes secularistic and ideological. Liberalism's scientific position [assumes] the autonomy of immanent human reason as the source of knowledge." Read this week part 2 of "What is a Liberal?"
Bernard Lonergan's "Emergent Probability"
Brendan Purcell considers this week the limitations of the "anthropic principle" in evolution and suggests we can work with something better: "What Lonergan opens up, I think, is the possibility of a radically non-deductivist philosophical formulation of a cosmological-anthropological view of the world." Read Part 2 of "World Process and the Anthropic Principle."
When Woody Allen Isn't Funny
We welcome the return of Michał Kuz who offers us a sophisticated look at the American way of understanding Dostoevsky, as exemplified in the movies of Woody Allen: "The fact that Allen belongs to the psychological school of reading Dostoevsky means that he is partly blind to [Dostoevsky's] concept of social justice." Read this week Part 1 of "Justice and the Western Perception of Dostoevsky."
Slipping out of Vienna just ahead of the Gestapo
Eric Voegelin describes the political environment that made possible the Nazi occupation of Austria in 1938 and his subsequent escape into Switzerland. Then he takes us back to the earlier time he spent in Paris studying French literature, poetry, and philosophy. He offers remarks about Flaubert, Mallarmé, Proust, Paul Valéry and Henri Bergson, among others. Listen this week to Autobiographical Reflections, Part 5.
"The grass granted color to our shadows . . ."
Poetry Editor Thomas D'Evelyn brings us a poem from the French critic and prize-winning poet, Ives Bonnefoy, whose sparse words belie their deep meaning. Read this week in Poetry, "A Stone."
Escaping the Slave Ship
Scott Robinson continues his analysis of John Locke's shortcomings, among them ignoring the need to balance individual rights with community obligations: "Locke’s arguments facilitated a subtle dissolution and new founding of English liberty on less ordered and more radically individualistic premises than had been traditionally countenanced . . ." Read this week Part 2 of "Redefining Rebellion–John Locke's Linguistic Slight of Hand."
Understanding and Defending Inherent Rights
This week V. Bradley Lewis offers his review of a book on the nature and meaning of human rights, the topic made urgent by the moral obtuseness of the present Washington Administration: "Liberal individualism . . . pursues individual rights in such a way as to increase the power of the state at the expense of civil society, leaving individuals isolated and vulnerable to the predations of both state power and the market." Read in Book Reviews" 'Rights' and Political Reality."
The Affinities between Liberalism and Revolution
In 1960 Eric Voegelin delivered a lecture on the nature of liberalism and its connection with revolution, an analysis still useful today: "Revolution in the modern sense has no intention of producing a stable condition. . . Liberalism too is a part of the revolutionary movement that lives to the extent that it moves." Read this week part 1 of "What is a Liberal?"
Contingency and the Development of Life
We welcome the return of Fr. Brendan Purcell, who first explores for us the foundation of the natural sciences: "In the Judeo-Christian experience there was a strong awareness of the world's createdness. . . . And there could be no natural science without that awareness of a contingent world." Then on to the favorable conditions for the development of life. Read this week Part 1 of "World Process and the Anthropic Principle."
Autobiographical Reflections: Karl Kraus and Hans Kelsen
Eric Voegelin recalls the effect of Karl Kraus' work on his own understanding of political language, the influence of Hans Kelsen's fine legal mind and Othmar Spann's range of knowledge, especially in Greek philosophy. Listen this week to Autobiographical Reflections, Part 4.
". . . community arm-wrestling, elbows in spilt beer."
Poetry Editor Thomas D'Evelyn brings us a workingman's bar recital that manages to encapsulate life's struggle. Read in Poetry this week a poem by recently knighted British poet Geoffrey Hill, "#10 from 'Speech! Speech!' '"
Of Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax . . . and Prince William
Max Arnott hits upon the key to his favorite subject, G.K. Chesteron, while offering addenda to his previous review: "[What Chesterton] was directing the reader toward (and here is the crux) was not ideas, not notions or systems, but realities, truths, facts, and substances. His theme was: Look at the world. Look carefully. Isn’t it great? Isn’t it astonishing?" Read this week part 2 of "A Big Round Subject."
How Corrupt Journalism Facilitates Tyranny
In his Autobiographical Reflections Eric Voegelin observed how corrupt journalists smoothed the way for tyranny: "The phenomenon of Hitler is not exhausted by his person. His success must be understood in the context of an intellectually or morally ruined society in which personalities who otherwise would be grotesque, marginal figures can come to public power . . ." Read this week "Stefan George and Karl Kraus: Corrupt Language and Corrupt Politics."
The American Version of Progress
Harvey C. Mansfield concludes his sketch of Alexis de Tocqueville's exploration of American attitudes of the 1830's, most of which we can still find today: "In the permanent bustle of democracy men have no leisure for [quiet meditation]. . ." and, "Practicing a prudent and conscious mediocrity . . . they have discovered that you can get rich by selling cheaply to all." Read Part 2 of "Tocqueville and the Democratic Intellect."
Rational Order and the Necessary Range of Knowledge
Eric Voegelin enjoyed great teachers who prepared him for his life's work: among them were Eduard Meyer, Alfred Weber, and Kurt Hildebrandt. Voegelin also discusses the Stefan George Kreis, and Karl Kraus' die Fackel. Listen this week to Autobiographical Reflections, Part 3.
"I am hidden from the mountain. . ."
Poetry Editor Thomas D'Evelyn offers a work of the late Denise Levertov, prolific British-American poet and author whose spiritual quest led her late in life to Christianity. Read in Poetry this week, "Witness."
Today the Globalists are the Revolutionaries
We welcome the return of Olavo de Carvalho who offers his observations on how aspirations for transforming society are now centered on expanding world government, although "To enlarge the scale of a problem can never be a good means of solving it." Read in Commentary this week "Globalist Revolutionaries."
How to Justify Cultural Revolution
We welcome Scott Robinson to VoegelinView. He has undertaken to examine a part of John Locke's thought that seems to be woven into the American fabric and finds "Locke’s justification for resistance against tyranny is founded on individual, rather than, communal sources of moral order." Read this week Part 1 of "Redefining Rebellion–John Locke's Linguistic Slight of Hand."
When We Blind Ourselves to Evil
In Hitler and the Germans, Eric Voegelin concludes his litany of prevailing ecclesiastical blindness, offers hope in the writings of Father Alfred Delp, and finally cautions: "When one attempts to modernize . . . there always arises the evil situation of compromising where one should not compromise. That means [today] that this or that well-intentioned cleric. . . is taken in by positivistic sociology or psychoanalysis or existentialism." Read this week part 2 of "Into the Ecclesiastical Abyss: The Catholic Church."
Escaping the Terrors of an Arbitrary God
We are pleased to welcome Alin Vara to VoegelinView. He offers us a closely observed account of Michael Gillespie's new book, The Theological Origins of Modernity, and concludes: "Michael Gillespie deserves a respected place among the great innovative minds that have dealt with genealogies of modernity." Read this week in Book Reviews "Shaken by Nominalism."
Voegelin and Derrida: Engaged in the Same Project
Lee Trepanier concludes his surprising assessment of Eric Voegelin and Jacques Derrida, finding they both reached the same results by different methods: "[They] were responding to the same problem and devised similar solutions because they subscribed to the same premises about consciousness, ontology, and linguistics." Read Part 3 of "Jacques Derrida and the Paradoxes of Participatory Reality."
The day-by-day step-by-stepness of things
We welcome the return of Max Arnott with his review of a big new book on a favorite subject, G.K. Chesteron: " [Author Ian Ker], who has a sincere admiration and affection for his subject, would like to make Chesterton respectable among Ker's own tribe of academics and among the nomenklatura. But the people reading Chesterton don’t care about his academic respectability. Nor, I suspect, did Chesterton." Read this week part 1 of "A Big Round Subject."
From Big Bang to Big Mystery
This week Glenn Hughes takes a brief look at Fr. Brendan Purcell's new book that shows how evolution and creation can be harmonized by a competent philosopher: "The treatment of Dawkins and Dennet and Hawkings et. al. is filled with respect and appreciation, but dialectically diagnoses both their strengths and their metaphysical missteps." Read this week in Book Reviews "What Makes us Humans?"
". . .vast as night, vast as the light . . ."
Poetry Editor Thomas D'Evelyn brings us a prose translation from Charles Baudelaire's, les Fleurs du Mal (1857). The influence of Edgar Allen Poe is evident in this volume which began the Symbolist movement, the acceptance of free verse and the poetic exploration of the passing moment. In Poetry this week read "Correspondences."
Autobiographical Reflections: Von Mises and Max Weber
We continue the 1973 Eric Voegelin audio tapes in which he recalls the Ludwig von Mises circle of (later-distinguished) students who met in the evenings for a number of years. Then he describes his good fortune, through the calamity of First World War, of having exceptional high school teachers. Finally he offers some comments on Max Weber, whom he revered. Listen to Autobiographical Reflections, Part 2.
A Cautionary Tale for the Catholic Hierarchy
Eric Voegelin gave his "Hitler Lectures" in 1964, at a time when most Germans weren't ready to listen. Some of what he said then may well apply to the Catholic Church in the US today: "For it was provided . . . that the church's position would be protected in every way, but always with the proviso within the framework of the law. And then laws were passed that simply abolished all that had been expected to be guaranteed." Read this week part 1 of "Into the Ecclesiastical Abyss: The Catholic Church."
Americans Don't Know What They Know
We welcome Harvey C. Mansfield to VoegelinView. He sketches for us some of Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America which describes attitudes Americans held 180 years ago and still hold today: "Democratic authority, therefore, has two opposite effects on the mind: bringing the mind to new thoughts in the denial of tradition and custom and at the same time inducing it to give up thinking in the face of public opinion." Read Part 1 of "Tocqueville and the Democratic Intellect."
A Clear Look at "Deconstructionism" and "It-Reality"
We continue Lee Trepanier's comparison of Jacques Derrida and Eric Voegelin. Today he offers an explanation of "deconstruction" that one can actually understand. He then goes on to show in clear language how Voegelin's "reflective distance" and "It-Reality" fits with Derrida's thought. "Deconstructionism is a refusal to categorically define anything once and for all . . . because it would marginalize the "other" from being acknowledged." Read Part 2 of "Jacques Derrida and the Paradoxes of Participatory Reality."
Autobiographical Reflections: The Audio Record
Beginning today you can to listen to Eric Voegelin's reminiscences, recorded on audio tape by Ellis Sandoz in 1973 when preparing Autobiograhical Reflections. There are twenty-two recordings altogether. In this first recording Voegelin talks about the intellectual horizon in Vienna during the 1920s. Listen to Autobiographical Reflections, Part 1.
Music as Metaphor
We welcome the return of Lee Trepanier who reviews for us Roger Scruton's new book that offers his philosophical insights into music: "Scruton’s theory of expression for aesthetic meaning navigates between theories of formalism and representation and enriches our theoretical understanding of music, even for those who may disagree with him." Read this week in Book Reviews "Music as Metaphor."
John Rawls and the Dictionary of False Doctrine
We conclude the hitherto unpublished Eric Voegelin lecture delivered at Hillsdale College, in which he considers Saviors, "isms," rationalization, fake sciences and John Rawls's Theory of Justice: "It isn't a theory. It is a non-theory. And the result is then . . . what Plato would call the injustice of the ideologue who wants to impose his peculiar conception of reality on everybody else." Read this week part 3 of "Deformations of Faith."
A Mundane Mystical Body for England
Ellis Sandoz gives further consideration to the politcal principles prescribed by Sir John Fortescue for a well governed society: stability through wide consultation, the practice of personal virtue, the limitation of contentiousness and the consent of those governed: "[The community] and its members must be inculcated by habit, instruction, and true laws with the virtues of human and divine excellence as the attributes of living well." Read part 2 of "Sir John Fortescue: Securing Liberty through Law."
". . . he was washing the world"
Poetry Editor Thomas D'Evelyn has approached the boundaries of compact expression in a poem by the late Paul Celan which expresses awe for his Creator. Though it is short, it is not short of fame. Read this week in Poetry: "Once."
The Frailty of Language: Derrida and Voegelin
We begin this week Lee Trepanier's comparison of Jacques Derrida and Eric Voegelin. He finds that the common ground is considerable. This first part offers a lucid summary of Voegelin's philosophy of consciousness: "The philosopher must not allow his investigation of reality to degenerate into an "intentionalist" desire to know the whole of reality, as if it were some object on his epistemological horizon." Read part 1 of "Jacques Derrida and the Paradoxes of Participatory Reality."
Scary Ignorance and Spiritual Disease
We continue the hitherto unpublished Eric Voegelin lecture delivered at Hillsdale College in 1977. Among his penetrating observations: "Not the existence of God is at stake, please, but the existence of man and his truth or falsehood. Not the propositions [standing] against each other but the response and the non-response to the divine appeal. The propositions have no autonomous truth of their own." Read this week part 2 of "Deformations of Faith."
Pope Benedict Reprimands the US Government
It has been brought to our attention that a few days ago Pope Benedict gave a speech that can only be construed as a reprimand to the present administration in Washington. Read in Commentary "The Pope Reprimands the Obama Administration."
Mystical Bodies which have not Christ for their Head
Sylvie Courtine-Denamy concludes her comparison of Simone Weil with Eric Voegelin, examining her insights into mystical love and social renewal: "France and Europe are both suffering from an inner disease and the remedy lies within. This remedy is a return to faith which seems to her 'more realist than is realist policy.' " This week read part 3 of "Hunting the Devils: Simone Weil and Eric Voegelin."
". . .your place in the family of things. "
Poetry Editor Thomas D'Evelyn offers us a poem by Mary Oliver, whose work might remind one of the flower child era. One might wonder if immersion in perennial thought causes one to hesitate when presented with this kind of poetic sensibility. Read this week in Poetry " Wild Geese."
A Devotion to Liberty
The Laws and Liberties of England still shape the political culture of America despite ignorance, ideology and barely restrained appetites. Ellis Sandoz looks this week at the historical surroundings of a great English political thinker of the 15th century, Sir John Fortescue, who understood that "While the political vocation [finds] a place of great importance in the hierarchy of being, it must ever remain distinctly secondary to man's spiritual quest." Read part 1 of "Sir John Fortescue: Securing Liberty through Law."
Faith, Crisis and Fools
We are very pleased to present a hitherto unpublished Eric Voegelin lecture delivered at Hillsdale College in 1977. Among his observations: "The fool of the Psalms is not a man wanting in intellectual acumen–that's very important because non-believing intellectuals usually are very clever and have a lot of intellectual acumen." Read this week part 1 of "Deformations of Faith."
Recovering the Participatory Mode
We welcome Sarah Shea to VoegelinView. She reviews for us Lee Trepanier and Steven F. McGuire's Eric Voegelin and the Continental Tradition: "Overall the book is . . . a hopeful step forward in acknowledging Voegelin as an active participant in the great philosophical conversation." Read this week in Book Reviews "Diagnosing Modernity."
". . .what to celebrate and what to mourn"
Poetry Editor Thomas D'Evelyn has found us another Adam Zagajewski poem, one set on a Friday on this date, January 27th, a poem in which he contemplates observing both Mozart's birthday and Holocaust Memorial Day. Read in Poetry "January 27."
Resistance to Ennui and Angst
Glenn Hughes concludes his analysis of T.S.Eliot's Four Quartets: "Eliot's spiritual vision . . . [is] a poetic act of resistance to those elements of modernity that, in denying and eclipsing the truth of timeless reality, [have provoked] the ennui and angst for which the twentieth century is so famous . . ." Read this week part 4 of "A Pattern of Timeless Moments: T.S.Eliot's Four Quartets."
Securing the Classic Idea of Liberty
Eric Voegelin looks at Montesquieu, a thinker well-known to the US Founding Fathers: "[He avoids] the brutality of reasonable man, who believes that his own standards define the ideal man and that everybody else has to be transformed in his image," and, apropos of foreign relations, "[He] might be read with profit by the incurable provincials who believe that a system of government that has worked in one country is a panacea for the evils of the world." Read this week "Montesquieu–The Elements of Political Liberty."
"A Right Use of Language"
Sylvie Courtine-Denamy continues her wide-ranging appraisal of Eric Voegelin and Simone Weil, revealing remarkable parallels: "According to Weil 'the art of living' is intimately related to 'a right use of language,' and"She identifies the Devil as the source of the difference between . . . the real and the imaginary in the spiritual life." This week read part 2 of "Hunting the Devils: Simone Weil and Eric Voegelin."
"With pavé diamonds and fine prickles of ice. . ."
This week Poetry Editor Thomas D'Evelyn brings us late poet Anthony Hecht's impressions of winter. Hecht noted his poem was inspired by Anton Chekhof and the title comes from Emily Dickinson. Read in Poetry "A Certain Slant."
Immanentizing the Eschaton
Earlier this week we began Eric Voegelin's analysis from his first book in America, The New Science of Politics. He wrote there of the "immanentist hypostasis of the Christian Eschaton." Fifty-odd years ago, some students with a camera responded with a sense of humor, and we can see the result today in The Lighter Side.
A New Syllabus of Errors
We are happy to announce the return of Scott Segrest who offers us a clear and compelling analysis of the thought of Richard Rorty, showing along the way how Eric Voegelin anticipated him. Rorty exemplifies the influential Progressive movement today, and yet: "Reading Rorty, you get the feeling he was bored by philosophical debates and that his constant verbal provocations were in part an effort to keep himself entertained." Read this week "Richard Rorty and the Core of Progressivism."
History as a Pattern of Timeless Moments
Glenn Hughes continues his analysis of T.S.Eliot's Four Quartets: "Eliot's poetic vision is the precise counterpart to Voegelin's philosophy of history, with its explication of history as a complex 'web of meaning' constituted by 'theophanic events' or illuminations of divine presence, within which the Christian epiphany holds a privileged place." Read this week part 3 of "A Pattern of Timeless Moments: T.S.Eliot's Four Quartets."
"This is what it feeds and loves"
Poetry Editor Thomas D'Evelyn has recently discovered Miklós Radnóti, a fine poet and another victim of the Nazi era. He scribbled this week's poem while he was being marched to his death. The remarkable thing is the dominance of love. Read in Poetry a work with the unprepossessing title, "The Root."
Justifying the Naked Public Square
We offer Eric Voegelin's droll appreciation of David Hume: "[Hedescribes fairly] correctly the attitude of large masses of people who are integrated into society by social pressure, self-interest, a vague sympathy, and unwillingness to oppose the settled order as long as the property and comfort sphere of life is tolerably secure; in brief, the ahistoric stratum of society.” Read this week "David Hume."
Between Government Power and Individual Liberty
Fritz Wagner offers a short reflection on Progressivism and "Obamacare." Our readers not too familiar with the carnival of corruption in US politics, might find it interesting: "Especially amusing is the favoritism shown to San Francisco restauranteurs.In such details one is reminded of Hannah Arendt's phrase, 'the banality of evil.' " Read in Commentary this week "Progressivist Hubris: The Example of Obamacare."
Hastening Paradise Through Violence
We welcome to VoegelinView Sylvie Courtine-Denamy, who offers us a comparison of two figures with whom she is intimately familiar, Simone Weil and Eric Voegelin: "Simone Weil offers her own diagnosis: 'Europe was not subjugated by invading hordes coming from another continent or from Mars. . . She is wasted by an internal malady,' a malady which Weil identifies as 'uprootedness.' ” Read this week part 1 of "Hunting the Devils: Simone Weil and Eric Voegelin."
"Something Shall be Later. . ."
This week Poetry Editor Thomas D'Evelyn acts as our Virgil to guide us through a region so strange that most could not traverse it alone–by which we mean one of the more allusive and elusive poems of Paul Celan. Read in Poetry "Something shall be later."
Flight from a Truly Dreadful and Confusing World
We conclude Eric Voegelin's analysis of gnosticism with his warning: "Self-salvation through knowledge has its own magic, and this magic is not harmless. The structure of the order of being will not change because one finds it defective. . ." And he shows reservations about the gnosticism category: "I paid perhaps undue attention to gnosticism in the first book I published in English. . . " Read this week part 2 of "Gnosticism–A Brief Introduction."
"The Lie of Reductively Temporal Existence"
Glenn Hughes continues his analysis of the Four Quartets and gets our attention: "As moderns, we tend to imagine life's meaning as an accretion of experience and knowledge during the process of growth in time, so that the point and purpose of a life is its development in time, heading toward the ripeness of maturity . . ." But it isn't. Read this week part 2 of "A Pattern of Timeless Moments: T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets."
"Modern Enemies and Immoderate Friends"
We welcome the return of Trevor Shelley who reviews for us Daniel Mahoney's new book exhorting liberals and conservatives to accomodate one another: "[Between them] there is both love and rivalry, and in this combination, together they may succeed in 'defending democracy against its modern enemies and immoderate friends.' " Read this week in Book Reviews "A Spirited Defense: Our Liberal Order's Conservative Foundations."
The Simple can be Difficult
Poetry Editor Thomas D'Evelyn would have us slow down for a few minutes. He has brought us a Haiku, a poem of just a few lines and a few words. Can we bring our high-speed lives to a stop long enough to savor it? Or is there a cultural divide that keeps us at a distance? To see for yourself go to Poetry and "clear cascade stream."
"Lusting for Massively Possessive Experience"
Eric Voegelin made the cover of Time Magazine on the basis of The New Science of Politics. We thought we would begin the new year with his analysis of the consequences of "Immanentizing the Eschaton." Some famous Voegelin lines are here too: "The life of the soul in openness toward God,. . .the silent stirrings of love and grace,. . .the very lightness of this fabric may prove too heavy a burden for men who lust for massively possessive experience." Read part 1 of "Gnosticism–A Brief Introduction."
The Intersection of the Timeless with Time
We welcome the return of Glenn Hughes who offers us his clear and persuasive understanding of arguably the greatest 20th Century English language poem, T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets: ". . .we are able to discover in Eliot's meditative journey the basic features of our conscious lives as perplexed, and potentially graced, wayfarers in the drama of existence. . ." Read this week part 1 of "A Pattern of Timeless Moments: T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets."
All that Forgotten Reading . . . .
We welcome the new year with a light touch from Max Arnott who turns his attention to a question we ask from time to time: "Would it not be a comfort in perplexities to be able to apply such a weight [like Plato's Republic] to the problem of the day, as we apply a bulldozer to a wall?" Read this week: "Here Keller, Appropriate This."
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