April 11, 2004

David Warren On Civilization

Civilization is incidentally not something that exists primarily in external objects -- in art and architecture and books and music, which are only the external gestures of the thing; nor even in the graceful manners which reveal its presence regardless of outward dress. It is rather something that is carried within each of its members; forms of nobility that are contagious alike to savages and to our children. It is the creative power that builds all these beautiful things, and which, when it passes, watches the desert and jungle reclaim them -- watches the desert and jungle in turn reclaiming the heart of man.

It is everything -- moral, aesthetic, ethical -- but especially, civilization is moral. It turns men outward, lifts them above the animal contemplation of immediate need, and towards the requirements of God and our neighbour. And as we have chiefly forgotten today, it is in its very nature sacramental. It is the lifting up of entire peoples in a mysterious aggregative act of prayer.

-- Easter MMIV

Posted by Vanderleun at April 11, 2004 4:48 PM | TrackBack
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