F.D. Maurice “Note on the Athanasian Creed”

“I dare not ask myself who has committed the fearful sin, of ‘confounding the Persons and dividing the Substance,’ which it denounces. It may not be the man who has used the most confused and heretical forms of expression; it may not be the man who has even seemed to the Church to be most self-willed and refractory; it may be the man who is resting most contentedly in his orthodoxy; it may be myself. Nay, have I not a witness within, that every wrong act which I have done, or wrong thought which I have cherished, so far as it has diminished my sense of the distinction between truth and falsehood, right and wrong, has been of the nature of that sin which I describe by the words ‘Confounding the Persons,’ and has brought me into the danger of committing it; that every self-willed, unkind, schismatical act or thought has been of the nature of that sin which I describe by the words ‘Dividing the Substance,’ and has tended to bring me into it? For this creed takes me into another region altogether from that of words and names and forms of the intellect, though it makes use of those words and names and forms, for the sake of correcting the abuses which they have produced, and as signs which may show me my way to deeper truths and principles. It is my own fault if I stay in the outer region, and do not let the Church guide me into its inner circle; it is my own fault if I do not warn others, and warn myself, of the connexion between eternal truths and principles, and that ‘doing good’ or ‘doing evil’ to which, as the creed declares in its last articles , eternal life or punishment are appended. […]

I could not give up this creed without saying, that the meaning and principle of it belonged less to this time than to former times. Whereas, I believe, that they belong more to our time than to any time. For this, it seems to me, is the question which is in debate now. Are we to behold the unity which has its deepest and most real ground in that name of God which this creed speaks of, informing all society and all nature; or are we to see everything broken, divided, unharmonised; a dark form of self-love, embodied in some visible tyranny, above us, and a gulf of utter nothingness beneath us?”

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Will to Power as the metaphysics of modernity

“In the thought of will to power Nietzsche anticipates the metaphysical ground of the consummation of the modern age. In the thought of will to power, metaphysical thinking itself completes itself in advance. Nietzsche, the thinker of the thought of will to power, is the last metaphysican of the West. The age whose consummation unfolds in his thought, the modern age, is a final age. This means an age in which at some point and in some way the historical decision arises as to whether this final age is the conclusion of Western history, or the counterpart to another beginning. To go to the length of Nietzsche’s pathway of thought to the will to power means to catch sight of this historical decision” Heidegger

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Introductory Essay concerning Accidie – Francis Paget.

Introductory Essay Concerning Accidie.

Yea, they thought scorn of that pleasant land, and gave no credence unto His word; but murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord

Most men may know that strange effect of vividness and reality with which at times a discoloured of character and experience in some old book seems to traverse the intervening centuries, and to touch the reader with a sense of sudden nearness to the man who so was tried, so felt and thought, so failed or conquered, very long ago. We are prepared, of course, for likeness and even for monotony, in the broad aspect of that ceaseless conflict through which men come to be and to show what they are; for the main conditions of a man’s probation stand like birth and death, like childhood, and youth, and age awaiting every human soul, behind the immense diversity of outward circumstance. We expect that the inner history of man will go on repeating itself in these general traits; but when out of an age whose ways imagination hardly represents to us with any clearness, there comes the exact likeness of some feature or deformity which we had thought peculiar to ourselves or our contemporaries, we may be almost startled by the claim thus made to moral kinship and recognition. We knew that it never had been easy to refuse the evil and choose the good; we guessed that at all times, if a man’s will faltered, there were forces ready to help him quietly and quickly on the downward road; but that centuries ago men felt, in minute detail, the very same temptations, subtle, complex, and resourceful, which we today find hiding and busy in the darker passages of our hearts, is often somewhat unreasonably surprising to us. For we are apt, perhaps, to overrrate the intensive force of those changes which have extended over all the surface of civilized life. We forget how little difference they may have brought to that which is deepest in us all. it is, indeed, true that the vast increase of the means of self-expression and self-distraction increases for many men the temptation to impoverish life at its centre for the sake of its ever widening circumference; it may be harder to be simple and thoughtful, easier to be multifariously worldly now than once it was; but the inmost quality, the secret history, of a selfish choice or a sullen mood, and the ingredients of a bad temper, are, probably, nearly what they were in quieter days; and there seems sometimes a curious sameness in the tricks that men play with conscience, and in the main elements of a soul’s tragedy.

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Heidegger on Nietzsche: Nietzsche’s success in replacing ‘morality’ with ‘values’.

The Will to Power as Principle of a New Valuation

“We shall focus on what Nietzsche planned to say in Part III under the title “Principle of a New Valuation,” according to the arrangement discussed above. Evidently, Nietzsche wanted to express the “new,” his own “philosophy” here. If Nietzsche’s essential and sole thought is the will to power, the title of the third book immediately provides important information about what will to power is, without our yet grasping its proper essence. Will to power is the “principle of a new valuation,” and vice versa: the principle of the new valuation to be grounded is will to power. What does “valuation” mean? What does the word value mean?  The word value as a special term came into circulation partly through Nietzsche. One speaks of the “cultural values” of a nation, of the “vital values” of a people, of “moral,” “aesthetic,” religious” “values.” One does not think very much about these phrases–even though they are supposed, after all, to contain an appeal to what is supreme and ultimate.

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peace in ancient Rome and Greece

‘Neither the enormously powerful Roman Mars nor the weaker Greek Ares received the slightest competition from the minor divinities of peace’ (M. I. Finley, Ancient History: Evidence and Models, p. 68).

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Ancient history

‘Of course any idiot could have differentiated between a primary and a secondary source, and also between a careful writer and a charlatan; and most historians in antiquity, even the weaker ones, were not idiots’ (M. I. Finley, Ancient History: Evidence and Models, p. 8).

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Aldous Huxley on Accidie (aka, melancholy, boredom, ennui, despair)

From: “On the Margin”

The cœnobites of the Thebaid were subjected to the assaults of many demons.  Most of these evil spirits cam furtively with the coming of night.  But there was one, a fiend of deadly subtlety, who was not afraid to walk by day.  The holy men of the desert called him the dæmon meridianus; for his favourite hour of visitation was in the heat of the day.  He would lie in wait for monks grown weary with working in the oppressive heat, seizing a moment of weakness to force an entrance into their hearts.  And once installed there, what havoc he wrought!  For suddenly it would seem to the poor victim that the day was intolerably long and life desolatingly empty.  He would go to the door of his cell and look up at the sun and ask himself if a new Joshua had arrested it midway up the heavens.  Then he would go back into the sade and wonder what good he was doing in that cell or if there was any object in existence.  Then he would look at the sun again and find it indubitably stationary, and the hour of the communal repast of the evening as remote as ever.  And he would go back to his meditations, to sink, sink through disgust and lassitude into the black depths of despair and hopeless unbelief.  When that happened the demon smiled and took his departure, conscious that he had done a good morning’s work.

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