Thursday, February 4, 2010

Three Observations by Philip Reiff:

The present age, rather, is one in which everything is so very signifying because everything takes its significance from our relentless signifyings, and signifyings of signifyings. This is what culture as criticism has come to. The intellectualization of the world signifies its relentless profaning--its only profaning. Such a signifying would, of our ready-makings, signify that there is nothing to signify except ourselves signifying. Everything can mean everything is the profanation of that order in which, were we in it, "all things are possible."


"'Every new construction becomes a new ministry.' [Kierkegaard] Cultural pluralism and privatized religiosities--the pneuma beating false time in two intimate circles of dancers round the ideal of creative Selfhood--are the representative structures of endless deconversion cults which produce those new ministries which moralize the demand for endless order-hopping. The intellectualization of culture is the condition for the vulgar profusion of theorists almost self-consciously offering their practices as The Way for Awhile."


"Sacred order is a world without [Freudian] repression. The world of repression is built upon the death throes of sacred order. That is why repressions must fail. If they succeeded, then they would not be repressions but truths so commanding that we would fear and tremble at the thought or feeling of disobedience. That fear and trembling would be a self-betrayal, the self-defeated in its very act of disobedience.

As obedience in sacred order--a historic faith--fails, repression succeeds it. The mastery/repression, by Freud himself and others easily, of sacred order itself is the ultimate danger to our Reason. Coming as it does at the end of a historic sacred order, its registrations uncommanding and yet troubling, repressions are treacherous surrogates of command. So they set some condition for doing what is not to be done. Repressions represent negational mindings of a sacred order at the end of its historical tether."

- Philip Rieff, Sacred Order/Social Order: Crisis of the Officer Class - The Decline of the Tragic Sensibility

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