American Samizdat

Saturday, October 07, 2006. *
Augustine's famous distinction between the City of God and the City of Man has been re-worked in many ways. George Bush and Tony Blair certainly are not the only ones to think that we are caught up in a global struggle between good and evil, or to suppose that this transcendent struggle is immanent in everyday life. Nor is such thinking confined to the religiously minded. Since the eighteenth century, the great secular ideologists of modernity -- liberal and socialist, progressive and conservative, anarchist and statist, humanist and post-humanist -- have posed the most urgent problems within an Augustinian frame. They tell us that there is an immanent, widely suppressed, but potentially transcendent "good," faced with an omnipresent evil that can somehow be overcome or contained by those who commit themselves to the struggle against it. Apocalyptic in tone, universalistic in aspiration, reductionist in analysis, often violent in practice, this onto-theological politics gathers us all in from time to time. Those reared in the monotheistic cultures of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam may be particularly vulnerable to the appeal of such a politics, but there are many signs that people from other cultural backgrounds feel the pull of it as well. In this context, it is particularly important to explore other ways of thinking, which are not so apocalyptic, universalistic, reductionist, or violent. There is no easy way of escaping Augustine's clutches, but his grip can be loosened....

via the ever thought-provoking woods lot blog.

P.S. If I ever had to choose only one website to visit, say on a desert Island, and could only get one, it would be woods lot.
posted by Uncle $cam at 4:37 AM
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