Saturday, April 02, 2011

A Particular People

Some food for thought on the subject of tradition:

"It is not of advantage to us to indulge a sentimental attitude towards the past. For one thing, in even the very best living tradition there is always a mixture of good and bad, and much that deserves criticism; and for another, tradition is not a matter of feeling alone. Nor can we safely, without very critical examination, dig ourselves in stubbornly to a few dogmatic notions, for what is a healthy belief at one time may, unless it is one of the few fundamental things, be a pernicious prejudice at another. Nor should we cling to traditions as a way of asserting our superiority over less favoured peoples.

"What we can do is to use our minds, remembering that a tradition without intelligence is not worth having, to discover what is the best life for us not as a political abstraction, but as a particular people in a particular place, what in the past is worth preserving and what should be rejected, and what conditions within our power to bring about, would foster the society we desire."

-- T.S. Eliot, from "After Strange Gods"

Hat-tip: Tim T.

1 comment:

Heidi Price said...

Thanks Paul. That's a perfect thought for where I am in my life right now.