Tuesday, June 30, 2015

T.S. ELIOT: CHRISTIANITY AND CULTURE




 
ON A SUNSET WALK THE OTHER NIGHT
IN PALM SPRINGS--FREE!

"The current terms in which we describe our society, the contrasts with other societies by which we—of the “Western democracies”—eulogise it, only operate to deceive and stupefy us. To speak of ourselves as a Christian society, in contrast to that of Germany or Russia, is an abuse of terms. We mean only that we have a society in which no one is penalized for the formal profession of Christianity; but we conceal from ourselves the real values by which we live."

"I believe that there must be many persons who, like myself, were deeply shaken by the events of September, 1938 (in which the Munich Pact was signed and England and France gave in to Hitler’s demands to annex Czechoslovakia), in a way from which one does not recover; persons to whom that month brought a profounder realization of a general plight. It was not a disturbance of the understanding: the events themselves were not surprising Nor, as became increasingly evident, was our distress due merely to disagreement with the policy and behavior of the moment. The feeling which was new and unexpected was a feeling of humiliation, which seemed to demand an act of personal contrition, of humility, repentance and amendment; what had happened was something in which one was deeply implicated and responsible. It was not, I repeat, a criticism of the government, but a doubt of the validity of a civilization. We could not match conviction with conviction, we had no ideas with which we could either meet or oppose the ideas opposed to us. Was our society, which had always been so assured of its superiority and rectitude, so confident of its unexamined premises, assembled round anything more permanent than a congeries of banks, insurance companies and industries, and had it any beliefs more essential than a belief in compound interest and the maintenance of dividends?" 


--T.S Eliot, Christianityand Culture 

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