You are here

The restoration of reason

We’ve seen that multicultural society is brutish and irrational because accepted concepts of what life is about don’t begin to do it justice. So how can reason, civilization, and other good things be restored?

To some extent we can try to be reasonable and civilized ourselves and hope it catches on. That’s hard, though—man is social, reason and civilization depend on tradition, and we can’t make up our own tradition, since a tradition is an attribute of the community whose tradition it is. One response that’s been proposed is adherence to the tradition and community corresponding to modern natural science, which on the whole has resisted multiculturalism. (You should ask Larry Summers and James Watson about exceptions, though.) That’s not enough. Modern natural science deals with matter, waves and forces in space, and we’re concerned with things like the good, beautiful and true that aren’t matter, waves or forces in space.

So what’s needed? Obviously, a tradition that hangs together and maintains its stability, but also deals with enough of life to order it as a whole in a way we can live by. But what features will such a tradition have? We all need something to hang our hat on, as they say. So presumably its beliefs, attitudes and loyalties need to be well enough integrated for their focal point to attain the quality of an object that orders them, and thus orders life and our understanding of the world as a whole—that is to say, given the motivational and regulatory functions such an object must serve, for their focal point to take on the qualities of God. So presumably a religious tradition will be necessary. If the tradition is to accept change in a changing world, and deal with it in a way that maintains its coherence, it must include a structure of authority that can make decisions. And if it is to claim to stand for reason, which is common to all, the structure has to be universal rather than national or confessedly sectarian. So a hierarchical and universal religion is necessary.

The canny reader will no doubt see where I’m going. And that, in fact, is where I’ve gone. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus, as they say, which I translate “outside the Church you aren’t going to get anywhere anyone who’s thought about it would want to go.”

Share/Save