Transcendence and reality

13 Jan

Of the seven chapters of “why are we like this” in Theodore Dalrymple’s book, I started with the second in the previous post, because in my view, different from the time the book was written, this theme is more central than that of freedom in connection with religion, which is for him the first topic.

Speaking of freedom, he begins by discussing the motto “it is forbidden to forbid” and the idea that religion limits human freedom, and that life without religious transcendence (he claims that most Europeans do), is all that one has, but the fact “ is that most people fear not only the prospect of death (which philosophers believe is not entirely irrational), but also the emptiness of death itself” (Dalrymple, p. 89), but in an earlier paragraph he makes a statement important: “For better or worse, God is dead in Europe, and I don’t see much chance of a return, except in the wake of a calamity.” (pg. 89), far from an apocalyptic narrative, in the process of growth, there is something rotten as the author says and we said in the first post on the subject.

The order of the day is to enjoy life to the fullest, and this even breaks many norms of rational coexistence among humans, the cause of the environment draws a lot of attention, hunger and misery a little, but what stands out is what is characteristic of this discourse: individualism, but a theme not touched on by the author, the focus on objects and not on subjects is a consequence of the dualism of objectivity x subjectivity.

When speaking of a pagan transcendence, the one that goes in search of “saviors of the human race” (pg 92), of the transcendence of small causes; “nationalism, animal rights or feminism” (p. 93) mentions the reappearance of Scottish nationalism stimulated by the film Braveheart, but it is present in almost all over the world, now in Latin America and, in particular, in Brazil and , there is also the transcendence of anti-nationalism, such as the European project and who knows in the near future, that of Latin America, and makes an important sentence, we are “the necessity and immutability of the nation-state” (p. 97).

He analyzes the artificiality of African nation-states, which disregarded ethnic aggregations under a single nation (pp. 100-101), but without mentioning the serious problem of colonialism.

Although he cited the funerary saying of the Church of England (I’ve heard it from English atheists or from other religions), death is part of life, but his own discussion of transcendence is within the limits of Kantism (subjectivity x objectivity): “I don’t It concerns us here to discuss whether this perspective is philosophically justifiable: if God exists, and if He does, if He is interested in our actions and more concerned with our well-being than He would be with the actions and well-being of an ant, for example” (p. 85), which reveals an agnosticism that hints at religion, but without asceticism or at least religious sincerity.

Although it discusses secularization as a sub-item, pointing the Church itself to blame for the repudiation it suffers, with cases of “pedophilia”, “hypocrisy” and many other sins, which we all know is not specific to a religious, political or national category , is present in all of humanity, and in the same percentages, and if in fact a good part opts for obscurantism and anti-progress, he cites the case of Ireland, the English and colonial oppression in these countries whose religions still find public and breath. ]

In addition to the root in Western thought of isolation between subjects and objects, which are united by a “transcendence” of knowledge, making the very act of knowing a transcendence, they do not admit what is today discussed by countless philosophers, thinkers and scientists: there is something beyond the scientific and human finality of life, since life and the universe continue to infinity and regardless of human will, even if man chooses the end of his race and civilization, for “sincere” political or social reasons, which is a contradiction with the desire for a full life and happiness. There are many reasons for different types of religiosity, but for Christians nothing is more significant than what John proclaimed after the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River (Jn 1:34): “I have seen and testify: This is the Son of God. ”, and thus we do not speak only of a transcendent and distant God, but of his presence in life and in human history, in an objective and historical way, even if one wants to deny this historical fact.

Dalrymple, Theodore (2016). A nova síndrome de Vicky: porque os intelectuais europeus se rendem ao barbarismo. Transl. Maurício G. Righi. Brazil, São Paulo: É realizações, original english 2010.



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