Candles in the Wind: On Religion and Belonging

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7 Responses

  1. Mihai says:

    This is a very beautiful metaphor- this one about the candle.
    One thing about Eastern Europe which I learned is that here you can only hold fantasies about Übermensch and other such concepts for a very limited period of time before you go to the ground.

    Trying to live a spiritual life inside the Church in this time and in these lands can amount to a little “white” martyrdom- and it’s not me who is suggesting this, but a recently canonised elder- Paisios of the Holy Mountain.
    It is certainly a narrow path with the abyss of total despair on the left and the one of mental collapse on the right..

    • Angelo says:

      Rejoice that a man can still go to the ground somewhere and become grounded yet again… little left of ground, grounding, and groundedness here in the “States”. Yes, yes, become the Ubermensch to get one’s ass grounded! If only… If only it could be accomplished here. God! God, ain’t it needed

      It seems a path well worth traversing if its value can be judged by the awesome horribleness of its only opposition

  2. Istoriya says:

    Can a Western Protestant convert to Catholicism, Orthodoxy or Islam in an authentic way and belong in an authentic way?

    Or will it always be merely acting and spiritual consumerism?

    Because if to convert is to extinguish the candle burning in the wind and to lose one’s self and history then what does it mean?

  3. Idisposito Subjectivo says:

    If conversions out of whatever one’s familial tradition are acts of consumerism and deaths of self (not that that is absolutely a bad thing, as self is treated like a deity in the west to all sorts of detrimental effects, so perhaps a bit of death of it would be healthy), what are westerners/westernized people to do? As, even accepting the least amount of Rene Guenon’s work as true results in Protestant sects being messed up bits of ephemeral sentimentalism. Accepting Aristotelian, or Tomistic worldviews as an operant theology or worldview within a pre-existing western tradition means condemning everything done after the Napoleonic era or a bit before as evil and perhaps more.
    I like your point that all traditions have/are being infected, so there is no way to reach a clean or utterly healthy ‘team’ or ‘way’ or existence (and entering such a thing would probably be the first step in poisoning such a thing) and that keeping anything is hard, but how does one heal a tradition or keep it, if it’s very name is synonymous with corruption and the vile aspects of the modern world ?

    • Malić says:

      I don’t think that conversion is impossible, on the contrary. It’s only that I rarely, if ever, have met a real convert. On the other hand in most instances I noticed an extreme zeal of reforming their new religion of choice. So without a pause convert starts accusing others as heretics and seeks to split the community very quickly after conversion, seeking ever more radical splinter groups of his Church of choice that seem more acceptable to “his theology”. Sometimes, in the instance of internet based talking heads, I get the distinct impression that the real motive is in fact “cornering the market”, i.e. seeking a niche for his own brand of personal theology. Also, it seems that for good deal of them this is something like a second nature – they see no problem in understanding their religiousness as both spiritual and monetary enterprise. This has nothing to do with religiosity I know of and is at first even hard to recognize as such because it appears as alien as something coming from the different planet. I would make no mention of it if it’s not being so aggressive and as such dangerous.

      As for Guenon, he is very liberal with that term “sentimentalism”, perhaps to the point of understanding religion just as a preamble to special gnosis bestowed on the elite that is picked out on terms of its members desire for knowledge. He was too subtle and honest to fall over this precipice, but he is never far from the edge, mainly, I think, due to his early occultist formation. If you read his earlier books like “Spiritist Error” you are more likely to notice this than in his later works.

      The thing with Tradition is that by its nature it is not a moment in time from which we somehow moved away and should at some point revert to. The quality of Medieval Sacra Doctrina you mention is in its truth and I don’t think the truth can ever be totally abandoned. Likewise, it is not totally abandoned now. So the idea of reverting back in time is, in my opinion, just as nihilist as an utopian drive to re-create the world in the future revolution, as was popular in modernity. I think that postmodernity will see much more attempts to accomplish precisely the opposite.

      I think that the key is an ability to recognize good in the present and attach to it. It is much harder than it was before, perhaps, and it is much harder the further West you go, but it can’t be impossible. However, the reverting to God is ultimately related to sacramental action, i.e. it stems from real institutes of Tradition and only later in life can at the certain point become made conscious.

      I wish I could provide some explanatory system that could answer how exactly this works and, more so, how it works for people who are born into environment that is utterly secular, but I can’t. Even if I could, I think I would just construct some kind of rationalization that would not really pinpoint the reality of people’s lives. So I prefer to merely state the problems.

      Yet, as I said, one thing is true and that is that there’s no total lie in this world. So I don’t consider people who are outside of this historical spiritual continuity as somehow condemned to perdition.

      • Idisposito Subjectivo says:

        Thank you that’s a lot to think about. Conversions should be a approached with huge humility, it’s easy to see the problem of most conversions that occur, here further west most people who convert, “convert” multiple times and never seem to stop, though they can amass tons of knowledge about the religion they converted to. The no total lie thing may be a bit too perenialist for me (I never could see Guenon and his subsequent thinkers as correct on that) but in light of better (not b/c it is more historical, but b/c it is true – If I’ve understood you) understandings of ‘evil’ as a corruption of good, not a thing in and of itself, I think I comprehend. I also get what you’re saying about not building a system for holding onto good, and that attempts to return to or recreate the past are not healthy (mere post-modernism in place of modernism). Thanks again. Salvete!

        • Malić says:

          You’re welcome. There’s an upcoming article in the works about anti-intellectualism and its anti-modernity stance where this last point will be addressed.

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