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Formato: Capa comum
Schwindt presents quotations from hundreds of thinkers in a few sentences or paragraph. Then in a page or so, presents his 'elucidation'. Makes for easy grasp of the ideas. Especially since these are counter-cultural. Many from Alexis de Tocqueville, catholic popes, etc.,etc..
Modernity, democracy, individualism, Equality, Liberty, etc., etc., are all explained and analyzed. Where did they start? Why? What is the impact today? For example, nationalism -
''Even what was left of his social awareness became prone to an insecure self-consciousness. Once this happened, the new hyper-sensitivity of one’s separateness was made manifest in what would become nationalism. As the formation of the “national self” occurred, the unity of the Christendom fractured and gave way to “nation-states,” each attempting to satisfy the lust for a social self-consciousness in the collective sphere, a need that previous societies had apparently never felt.''
Note 'lust for self-consciousness of his group' is new. Fascinating!
''Just as the self-conscious man becomes automatically insecure, and therefore combative, in the presence of his peers, so the self-conscious nation becomes suspicious of everyone around it. In this way the seeds of alienation and strife were planted in the soil of the West. They had only to germinate and flourish.''
Another highlight is the role of religion in modernity. - ''But as Cortés observed above, the exclusion of the sacred from public life proved impossible even for those who willed it. Rather than be excluded, the sacred simply migrated to the new secular arenas, and these became the temples of Liberal worship.''
Holidays for politicians replace 'holy days' for saints.
''But first the foundations of a new mythology had to be laid, and then a set of rigid ideologies constructed in order to direct the people in this new way of life. Ideologies like capitalism, socialism, nationalism, etc. These were the new doctrines with new rituals, new dogmas, and new answers to the perennial problems of life, no less demanding than the old, only less satisfying to pilgrim.''
4. Church and state
6. Odds and Ends
''Today everyone in modern society takes it for granted that he thinks for himself, while nonetheless and without hardly noticing it, he always thinks exactly like the man next to him.''
''Modern man is an island, in a historical sense. Every society born of revolution is an island, and it is an island that floats, like a thin film on the surface of history.''
Old-fashioned is certain proof of worthless. Morality, Goodness, Rightousness, Trust, Honesty, Bible, God, Honor, Reading, etc., etc., all appear silly or - even repulsive.
''It is like small child who chooses not to ask his mother a question because he knows he isn’t going to like the answer. The modern man is just such a figure—the questions every man in history was ready to ask, are by him denied as valid. He wants nothing to do with them.''
Augustine, Aquinas, Grosseteste, Bacon, Newton, Locke, Voltaire, Faraday, Maxwell, Planck, etc., etc., did the heavy lifting that built the road to the present. Who were they? How did they do it? Why? Modernity doesn't know - and doesn't want to know.
'''One has to completely ignore the past in order to worship the future. When Spengler famously wrote that “optimism is cowardice,” it was just this sort of thing that he was describing. He was not so much condemning a “positive attitude” as he was condemning a very specific kind of positive attitude, the one adopted in order to avoid the severe realities of life, because it is only through these realities that courage and honor can be teased out of existence.''
Schwindt has a lot to say. Uses other scholars to help him say it. Provides depth and color to his thought.
Nevertheless, he is so focused on traveling down his road that he misses other travelers. Isaiah Berlin is not mentioned, yet much if his work, especially - ''Four Enemies of Liberty'', compliments Schwindt's thought. However, Berlin's analysis is both deeper and broader. Also, Jacob Talmon's - ''Origins of Totalitarian Democracy'', gives insight. Mark Lilla's - ''The Stillborn God'', confirms many of Schwindt's opinions with a religious explanation.
Also, George Steiner and Albert Jay Nock look at modernity with skepticism. Both are worth reading. One a secular Jew, another a convinced Jeffersonian Libertarian.
Even Lord Acton, a devout Catholic, would add depth and color to this work. His erudite vision, his love of freedom, his appreciation of Christianity, combined into something special.
Schwindt's focus on defending a Roman Catholic viewpoint limits his persuasiveness. He has excellent ideas; however, expanding his awareness to include other scholars would add weight to his argument. And accepting the failures of Christendom as well as its successs, would help.
Malcom Muggerridge in his work - "The End of Christendom'', feels like Schwindt. However, he concludes with the firm conviction that even though Christendom has fallen, because of its manifold sins, Christ and Christianity will arise.