Friday, February 15, 2008

The Hopefulness of Grief

Dermot Quinn, speaking in the ISI lecture "Religion, and the Conservative Mind," considers how Russell Kirk could maintain hope while doubting the limitless capacities of mankind:
Human depravity bulks large in the Conservative Mind. The book exhibits a very Tory insistence on the reality of evil, the folly of schemes of social and personal perfectiblity, the inevitability of disappointment in a corrupt world.

Kirk thought of himself as a Christian Stoic. His best writing reflects a conviction that the most perduring of the permanent things is sorrow We would not be human without "the inescapable emotion of grief." Yet this is not as gloomy as it sounds.

Kirk used this grief to justify a politics not of dissent and despair, but of hope. After all, to recognize the fall from grace is to recognize grace itself as salvifically necessary. Awareness of human weakness is the beginning of wisdom.

Am I right in believing that contemporary hopemongers rarely show grief? At most, they muster compassion, which is not the same thing.

See also: Patrick Deneen's Hope against Hope

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Arent TV adverts the primary hope-mongers in todays world?

Brought to one and all by the corporations that sponsor the "right" wing think tanks---that specialize in hope hype.

Buy, this brand of toilet paper or disinfectant and be happy/hopeful that the germs wont get you.

Whatever you do keep smiling.

And what are all these "products" supposed to do?
Fill up the emptiness inside---the bottomless and nameless grief or sorrow that infects us all.

The grief of having long ago lost a LIVING connection to the Divine Conscious Light of Reality.

TS Eliot--we are the hollow men.