Friday, 11 January 2013

Mist and Faith

So, thinking analytically about things dispels the mist. Feeling your way through gathers it. Feeling secure in a life shrouded in mist is having faith.

That's the aspect of having faith that always made sense in a religious context. Of course, dishonestly tied to it was the less sensible notion of accepting a very particular dogma, much of it to do with ethics that had little to do with what made intuitive sense.

What does faith in the misty life really entail? What does Daoism "require"? One of the recurring motifs is the need to emulate the Dao of heaven rather than the Dao of men. It's the differenc e between "going with the flow" as conformism and believing in a meaning to life that justifies and defuses inconvenience and discomfort. The postmodern atmosphere we live in makes people uncomfortable with concrete talk about "meaning", but pretty much everybody believe in the transcendence, so to speak, of self-respect, or love, and the sacrifices that are obviously worth making for their sakes. If we venture a little further out, the braver might agree on self-expression too.

All three of these things entail a show of faith that is not necessarily logically sound, or at least one that does not live up to the standards of strict exercise of criticism otherwise expected of educated and intelligent people. It's a question not of intelligence but of courage; not of weeding out lies but of asserting truth.
Faith implies a conviction that it is worth it, one way or another. Without knowing where the chips will fall, without even knowing you're in the right. Frankly, the combination between the critical attitude towards ideology and the uncritical towards emotions, people and myself confuses me, and the confusion is a large part of what frightens me. These attitudes do bleed into each other, though I undoubtedly err on the side of criticism more often. Becoming secular probably didn't help.

It's always depressing to hear of artists joining causes with reactionary forces - like Dali and Fascism, or the Romantics and nationalism. Anybody and religion. I think it might have to do (well, sometimes) with a feeling that, again, this darkness retains more room for expression and emotional vitality than the stale and conformist rationalism of political correctness. I have no idea how to wrap this up. I'm experiencing trouble not making the opposite mistake. Fascists are too scary.

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