I do not want to debate the merits of my tradition, one have been calling the Western Tradition for as long as I have had the acumen to critically read and write about this tradition. I do not want to get into contemporary American diatribes or delusions about the existence of Western Civilization, anymore than my Italian or French cousins, friends, or one time college classmates would want to. I do not get the same reflexive knee-jerk semi-literate critique I get from Americans from educated men and women from the Republics of the former Soviet Union or from Poland or Chile or Turkey or Morocco or Columbia, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, or China, to list just a few. I accept the Truth of this tradition and what it has accomplished, as I accept the Beauty of its legacy–and I do understand that I am using uppercase values for Beauty and Truth; I understand the implications as I hope you understand the way they are being used, which would not have been misunderstood when I was an under graduate, although it was beginning to come under attack then.
I do not want to defend the credibility of Western Civilization–it seems ridiculous to want to, or even more so, to need to defend it. Critical practices being what they are, what they have been, perhaps it is more necessary than I assume. I do not want to, but perhaps I understand why I might need to defend its literary heritage. There is Truth in the Beauty of it. We have to understand–or, at least you should accept that I believe there is an integral and mutual and reciprocal relationship between Beauty and Truth/Truth and Beauty. It’s a two way street doubled backed. Literary is elitist, I understand, and in every pseudo intellectual’s pseudo marxist critique of power, anything elitist is by necessity a social cancer.
It seems as if my civilization is in need of defending, though; am I to be an apologist for Western Civilization? Apology is not in my nature. I am never going to debate the existence of Western Civilization as merely a construct of 18th century professors. That is too absurd. Ours is a century practiced not only in murder, but in resentment, so revision, revision, revision ad naseum is the way to all conclusive remarks about society and what needs to be fixed. Yes, we are faced with another crisis in civilization, aren’t we? Crises in civilizations have been repeated around the world across time, what we like to call history. This crisis is one deposited in epistemology; we have ended with a serious doubt in knowledge, the possibility of knowledge and knowing. Socrates began with I know nothing as a departure, as point from which he could launch his inquiry into knowledge and find what is knowable and where the limits of knowledge can be drawn. We have culminated with this, and so an inversion of Socrates postured doubt has become fixed, no longer a plastic inquiry into knowing, but a petrified fossil of doubt lodged in what has become an archaeological site of the mind.
I am not going to define either in contrast with the other; time and history. History is history; time is time. There is no need to ask me if I think history is progressive; you might as well ask me if I think the ocean is progressive. Neither is. What then do I say about this review; to view again, to see again, to understand once more. Looking, seeing, all about understanding; to stand under, to hold, feel the weight of. Writing helps us carry the weight of our lives, bear the weight of our ideas. Writing is one of the greatest multifarious tools we use to build a civilization which is the multiplication of building a civilized life, in itself to have built a humane one. What means one or the other of these, any one of them part of the process of reviewing. I look once more; I look for again, search and research for what. The present is perpetual; the past is lost, What do we recover by this review, another scene seen. I wish I had more to say on this.
To say anything else would subtract from what it could become, my saying or not saying. To be may not be the most important state for this review, c’est moi; becoming is a perpetual state, one in constant and reciprocal tension with being. This must be understood to get what the in perpetuity of this review is or could be; of what I am when I say that I am, I write, I think.