Why the current Western crisis is worse than any in the past
John Hagan writes about my exposition of Tolkien and the issues the West now faces:
If we survive this coming confrontation with Islam, and this time I’m not sure we will, it will take a spiritual overhaul of modern Western man that will be nothing short of revolutionary. Western man is so much hollowed out that it will take every bit of moral fiber we have left to fill him in again to patch him up and make of him a man worthy of the history and lineage of the West. We are up to our metaphorical hips in rot, and cultural filth so much so that we swim in it as fish swim in the sea.LA to JH:
You point to a key dimension of the crisis that I left out of my discussion of Tolkien: we’re facing not just the barbarian enemy without, and now, far worse, within, but the internal treason and rot coming from our own leaders and institutions and our vast Eloi population of fat consumers. This makes the difficulty of past Western crises pale beside what we face now. It will certainly take a miracle to save us. But that, after all, was one of Tolkien’s concepts, which I just heard about in one of the features in the extended DVD of The Return of the King. He had a notion of “eucatastrophe,” the opposite of catastrophe, when a situation that seems utterly dark and hopeless unexpectedly turns in a positive and harmonious direction. As I’ve said many times. I believe in that, too. It’s not something I can explain rationally. It may be entirely irrational and an escape from approaching disaster that I don’t want to face. But as someone who lived for years with dread feelings of civilizational ruin that I shared with no one, perhaps I’ve experienced as much cultural despair as one person can experience, and so my mind has turned in a different direction. As Yeats said, “Things thought too long can be no longer thought.” Or perhaps this hopeful feeling is not just a matter of my own mental ecology but is an expression of the truth that Western man can, despite all evidence to the contrary, turn this encroaching horror around.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 25, 2005 02:31 AM | Send