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robertogreco : relgion   4

Time After Time | Lapham’s Quarterly
"It’s possible to live in more than one time, more than one history of the world, without feeling a pressing need to reconcile them. Many people live in a sacred time—what the religious historian Mircea Eliade called “a primordial mythical time made present”—and a secular time, “secular” from the Latin saeculum, an age or a generation. Sacred time, “indefinitely recoverable, indefinitely repeatable,” according to Eliade, “neither changes nor is exhausted.” In secular time, on the other hand, each year, month, second, is a unique and unrepeatable unit that disappears even as it appears in the infinitesimal present.

To live at once in a time recoverable by a particular sacred calendar and also by a time without qualities, counted as it passes, involves a sort of mental doubling that is perhaps comparable, in the richness it grants to thought and feeling, to growing up bilingual: two systems, each complete, funny when they collide, each supplying something the other lacks, bearing no command to choose between them. Like a hamster in a Run-About Ball, we can explore an endlessly generated world freely by turning inside the vehicle of our closed and demarcated calendars."



"I’ve never been good at keeping calendars, and my family says that I am lax on anniversaries and insufficiently moved by feast days (though I do love fireworks and Thanksgiving dinner). I keep one calendar, though: one so singular and private I can’t know if everyone, or even anyone else, has one like it—though I suspect some must. It’s without dates; the occasions that fill it have no fixed number and don’t recur in any sort of chronological order. Each is a return of some long-ago circumstance in a kind of momentary entirety: the flavor, the taste, the total sensation of it; a past moment in the present. Marcel Proust [Paris, page 132] tasting his teacake was led to remember in detail an earlier, a first instance; and (I suppose) other bites of similar cakes produced that moment for him again ever after, though perhaps with diminishing intensity. For almost all of mine I can’t discover an original, though I believe an original is what I am visited by. I can’t keep them; the calendar is self-erasing.

These instants give me nothing to ponder or to celebrate; they aren’t joyful or somber, express nothing but the intensity of felt existence. Some return many times, some never again. Sometimes they have a catalyst: lately I have felt them brought on by the deeply saturated colors of certain new cars passing me on the highway, chrome yellow, cherry red, teal. What am I reminded of? What in the chaos of my interior is being drawn out, like W. C. Fields plucking just the desired document from the apparently hopeless disorder of his rolltop desk in Man on the Flying Trapeze? Maybe nothing; maybe after all these aren’t memories—discrete moments of the past drawn into the present—but rather glimpses into a timeless time in which all moments have equal standing, are therefore not moments but the signs that Terry Eagleton says accomplish what they signify. If all that can exist in past, present, or future exists now, then the time that has passed through our consciousness, flowing continuously without marks or stops in parallel with the tick of clocks, resides there still when it is gone: choosing, in effect all by itself, what we are to know of it."
time  atemporality  2014  johncrowley  staugustine  presentism  present  future  past  calendars  eternalism  memory  sacredtime  relgion  belief 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Standard & Poor's Downgrade: How Debt Has Defined Human History - Speakeasy - WSJ
"in the Middle Ages…merchants had to develop reputations for scrupulous integrity—not just always paying their debts, but forgiving others’ debts if they were in difficulties, & being generally pillars of their communities. Merchants could be trusted w/ money because they convinced others that they didn’t think money was the most important thing…“credit,” “honor,” & “decency” became the same thing…

For much of human history, the great social evil…was the debt crisis. The masses of the poor would become indebted to the rich…lose flocks & fields, begin selling family members into peonage & slavery…uprisings…Periods dominated by credit money, where everyone recognized that money was just a promise, a social arrangement, almost invariably involve some kind of mechanism to protect debtors…

…since 1971, we did exactly the opposite. Instead of setting up great overarching institutions designed to protect debtors…[we] protect creditors."
culture  politics  history  economics  money  debt  1971  2011  middleages  medieval  credit  integrity  usuary  honor  decency  slavery  peonage  creditors  debtors  bankruptcy  debtforgiveness  wealth  disparity  debtceiling  society  imf  relgion  s&p 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Sacred (ugh) Link Thread - Noteworthy and Not
"Nobody owns 9/11 and the World Trade Center site is not hollowed ground. Slate.com<br />
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Everything is sacred or nothing is sacred … which is it?<br />
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The taming and domestication of religious faith is one of the unceasing chores of civilization. Hitchens at Slate.com<br />
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A “think on these things” piece … religious practice tempered/changed by law and social condemnation.<br />
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and from a review of Nomad, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali in The Globe and Mail:<br />
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"… many in the West are unwilling to make the distinction between a respect for the right of people to practice a religion within the law, and an exaggerated respect for the religion itself. Ayaan Hirsi Ali rightfully pours scorn on the fellow travelers of obscurantism."<br />
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and finally from Salman Rushdie:<br />
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"The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas - uncertainty, progress, change - into crimes.""
bettyannsloan  relgion  salmanrushdie  ayaanhirsiali  progress  change  conservatism  conservatives  culture  obscurantism  respect  classideas  religion  faith  belief  society 
september 2010 by robertogreco
confessions of a Christian homeschooler | Culture | The American Scene
"As I say, we all know the stereotype of the Christian homeschooling parent, and of course stereotypes arise for a reason; but I wonder how many people there are out there like us, people who got into homeschooling through unexpected contingency, not because they have some kind of principled objection to secularists corrupting their children. Maybe there are more such people than we suspect." [An intesting comment thread follows.]
homeschool  alanjacobs  education  learning  schools  children  parenting  unschooling  glvo  relgion  publicschools 
june 2010 by robertogreco

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