Things have been a whirlwind since returning from Miami. I was able to produce the podcast, which you can listen to here or below, but the Show Notes are pretty lame:
The Imitation of Christ. What do I think of his classic? It’s a, you know, classic. I think it hits the psychology of devotion well . . . at least as far as 15th century standards go. It was, however, the product of 200 years of bad philosophy known as “nominalism.” I flush it out here.
Miami. I went to the Capital of Latin America for a bachelor party. I was blown away. The bulk of the podcast explains why.
If you’re looking for some heavier reading, this is recommended: “The West is a Third World Country: The Relevance of Philip Rieff.” Synopsis: First world and second world cultures are built on norms developed on the sacred, whether it’s Greek myths (a first world culture) or Christianity (a second world culture). The third world cultures reject the sacred so they tear down everything that was built on it. That’s where we are today:
Rieff [calls] this type of culture an anti-culture. Its purpose is not to transmit beliefs and practices from one generation to the next. Its purpose is quite the opposite: to shatter past values and to engage in the constant revolutionizing of beliefs and behavior. While all First and Second World cultures acknowledged the reality of transgression, in the Third World transgression becomes the norm. In fact, given that it is forbidden to forbid, the very concept of transgression ceases to have any stable meaning.
There are two other distinctive pathologies of the Third World that we see all around us and that Rieff argues are unprecedented. First: the cultural elites, committed to the Third World project, are essentially proponents of anti-culture. In the past, elites worked to transmit the sacred order/social order from generation to generation. Not any more. Iconoclasm is cool and liberating
Second, this iconoclastic destruction of the older culture is conducted by means of the characteristic “cultural” production of both latter-day Second Worlds and nascent Third Worlds: the deathwork. A deathwork is something that takes the idioms of the Second World and subverts them in a way that destroys the very foundations on which the social order was built.
When I started my fevered reading campaign at age 20, Rieff’s famous book was repeatedly recommended to me. I read it . . . but scarcely understood it. It’s one of those books I’d like to go back and read someday, but, ah, I know it’ll never happen.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList