(Useful?) Musing

Whether these thoughts are worthy of thought, not to mention profound, of plain drivel may well be a debateable question. If you find them lacking in clarity or focus, you may chalk it up to wine, chocolate, or coffee, as you choose. . .I've had a bit of all three in the past few hours.
First, some quoting from Chesterton's Heretics:
Now, it is this great gap in modern ethics, the absence of vivid pictures of purity and spiritual triumph, which lies at the back of the real objection felt by so many sane men to the realistic literature of the nineteenth century. . . .What disgusted him, and very justly, was not the presence of a clear realism, but the absence of a clear idealism. . . .In [Mr. Bernard Shaw's] eyes this absence of an enduring and positive ideal, this absence of a permanent key to virtue, is the one great Ibsen merit. . . .All I venture to point out, with an increased firmness, is that this omission, good or bad, does leave us face to face with the problem of a human consciousness filled with very definite images of evil, and with no definite image of good. To us light must be henceforward the dark thing--the thing of which we cannot speak. To us, as to Milton's devils in Pandemonium, it is darkness that is visible. The human race, according to religion, fell once, and in falling gained knowledge of good and evil. Now we have fallen a second time, and only the knowledge of evil remains to us.
I might add that we have now fallen (or are attempting to fall) a third time, refusing to recognize the knowledge of good or evil. If I haven't destroyed comprehension and context by chopping up the (several pages long) quote, you can see that Chesterton opines on the modern sensibility's ignorance of an absolute Good. He cites literature--primarily Ibsen's--as an example of modern society's acknowledgement of the bad and ugly with a seeming confusion when it comes to finding the source of good. I think, in our now post-modern society, we have gone a step further and ceased to recognize the bad or the ugly. "Tolerance" is our key virture, whether what we are tolerating is helpful or harmful. Perhaps that is the inevitable result of losing the light; we soon cease to distinguish the darkness. Instead of being surrounded by images of evil, we are surrounded by confusion and open-armed acceptance. Not only do we not know which way is up, we have forgotten there is also a way down.

1 comment:

Naomi Joy said...

You are so profound.