Tuesday, June 26, 2012

That's the Spirit, Spirit of the Age!

that's the spirit

You know how it is, one minute you're humming along to Quark, Strangeness and Charm and the, er, lab-coated guitar genius that is "Baron" Brock, when all of a sudden a philosopher sends you a quote. A quote that gets right into the spirit of the age. Here it is, from Eric Voegelin's essay Immortality: Experience and Symbol.

And with the seventeenth century begins the incredible spectaculum of modernity—both fascinating and nauseating, grandiose and vulgar, exhilarating and depressing, tragic and grotesque--with its apocalyptic enthusiasm for building new worlds that will be old tomorrow, at the expense of old worlds that were new yesterday; with its destructive wars and revolutions spaced by temporary stabilizations on ever lower levels of spiritual and intellectual order through natural law, enlightened self-interest, a balance of powers, a balance of profits, the survival of the fittest, and the fear of atomic annihilation in a fit of fitness; with its ideological dogmas piled on top of the ecclesiastic and sectarian ones and its resistant skepticism that throws them all equally on the garbage heap of opinion; with its great systems built on untenable premises and its shrewd suspicions that the premises are indeed untenable and therefore must never be rationally discussed; with the result, in our time, of having unified mankind into a global madhouse bursting with stupendous vitality.

That was written in the 1960s and I think it's pretty much right on the money, especially in its madhouse aspect. But what about "stupendous vitality"? Some would say that's on the wane. Let's see what survives the not so slow moving train wreck of ponzi scheme economics.

Feet forward, heels down, ride on.



Teresa said...

That certainly is apropos for today. God Bless.

darlin said...

I sometimes shudder to think of what's next, so I try not to think about it if that makes any sense. What is going to transpire in our ever changing world is out of my control, what I can control I try to keep in check. Ride on I shall.

Have a great day LSP, despite it all.

Silverfiddle said...

Interesting excerpt. I agree wholeheartedly.

unending gushers of other peoples' money can indeed provide "stupendous vitality," spurring on the irresponsible to even greater heights of recklessness.

As an economist once said (can't recall his name) The trend will continue until it no longer can.

What gives me hope is that this nation still has the fundamentals to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and rebuild after the crash.

Some will have to learn to do without mooching off of the state, but hunger is a great motivator...

LSP said...

Glad you liked it, Teresa.

God bless, Darlin.

I don't see how there can't be a crash, Silverfiddle, and with that in mind, I think I agree with you -- the US has huge resources, just for a start, + enough character to get through and beyond a crisis. Scary though.