The alternative

You want to know what this site is about? I’ve never seen it more simply and eloquently described than by Kenneth Clark in his TV series Civilization, already decades in the past. “The moral and intellectual failure of Marxism has left us with no alternative to heroic materialism, and that isn’t enough.”

No, it isn’t enough, but fortunately it isn’t quite true that there is no alternative to materialism or Marxism; and it isn’t true that the only alternative is Christianity or the other higher religions, though they are usually better than the other two choices. The alternative is being built in our time; it is a new way of seeing that will reclaim the great spiritual truths; will re-knit them into a new fabric. That involves a good deal of fumbling around, but it can be done and is being done.

Lord Clark’s statement:

I said at the beginning that it is lack of confidence, more than anything else, that kills civilization. We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs. Fifty years ago W. B. Yeats, who was more like a man of genius than anyone I have ever known, wrote a famous prophetic poem.

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Well, that was certainly true between the wars, and it damn nearly destroyed us. Is it true today? Not quite, because good people have convictions, rather too many of them. The trouble is that there is still no center. The moral and intellectual failure of Marxism has left us with no alternative to heroic materialism, and that isn’t enough. One may be optimistic, but one can’t exactly be joyful at the prospect before us.
Kenneth Clark (Lord Clark), Civilization, p. 346-7

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