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An attempt at definition

December 15, 2009

I intend the Premodern Hybrid blog to address issues suggested by the blog name: the experience of living in a modern, that is post-enlightenment, world, while holding views that are premodern. These views may be philosophical or religious, or some combination of the two; but in any case, they involve a balancing act  between what one might call inner disposition, or intellectual disposition, and outer reality.

Why should this matter? Basically, because this tension between modernity and tradition is central to any number of ongoing political and social issues; and more importantly, because the question of how tradition can in any basic sense remain true to itself while accomodating to its changed circumstances is a crucial one for any premodern viewpoint–again, whether philosophical or religious–that tries to live with a degree of intellectual rigor and honesty.

I come at this from a specific point of view: trained in Aristotelianism and Thomism, but moving to the Eastern half of Christianity as a better form of expression for my own inner workings, while also having grown up exposed to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam in very concrete ways, plus Judaism in my earlier adulthood. Likewise, in the recent past, it will be informed by watching and discussing with my Native American friends, who are trying to hold on to their religious and societal cultures while living in a world of satellite dishes and media saturation, just how one can live “in” this world, while not being “of” it.

What I hope to avoid on this blog: issue-based polemics pertaining to either current social, political, or religous faultlines. It’s not that I think that people should not have views on such issues; it’s that I am more interested in the underlying balancing of a concrete reality with its oft-implicit philosophical and epistemological claims, and both individual and social forms of premodern thought and belief, with their both implicit and explicit claims.

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