Friday, May 24, 2013

Sophistication and credulity …

… Back to work : Essays in Idleness. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

These simple & backward — tribals, subsistence farmers, hardscrabble types — function in the world of real particulars, facing realities from which the urbane are eager to detach themselves. They are the people to whom the mediaeval Church was speaking, in sermons, pageants, statuary, & stained glass — rendering the ineffable in comprehensible form. To dismiss them as so many superstitious peasants awaiting liberation by literacy & technology is to misunderstand: that we, ourselves, are superstitious peasants — voting in our masses for “hope & change,” & prone to belief in every other sort of magic. Every day I see around me in the city behaviour that exhibits a credulity no peasant farmer could afford to entertain in his hard, earthy sphere & orbit.

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