"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, February 11, 2013

Kierkegaard's Clown

There will inevitably be shameless conspiracy theories about Pope Benedict's decision to step down.   Here's one from the village idiot, Piers Morgan.   But I can't help thinking that the easiest explanation is also the best -- he's 85, and he's tired.   Tired physically, surely, but tired also mentally from the long struggle throughout his adult life with the gradual decline of Christian Europe.   Did he feel, after all, like the clown at the beginning of his early book, Introduction to Christianity:

A great, beautiful man and priest.   I am certain that his love of Christ and his certainty in his faith made him happy.   But I am also sure that the ignorant turning away of Europe from its source in Christianity must have been frustrating, like the clown's frustration at being unable to get across his warning to the villagers that a fire was coming to burn their homes.   He wants to tell them the truth, he pleads to tell them the truth, he begs them to hear the truth.   Yet they cannot hear him.   Their prejudices -- the arrogance of modernity, that we think we know everything already -- stop their ears.  

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