what goes and what’s kept

Many find the text [The Reign of Quantity] difficult because it asks us to question our very modes of being, and perhaps, because it asks us to question an ideology in the form of modernism that has become so set in our minds that any other way of being seems fanciful and unrealistic. However, the teachings of the traditionalists should not in any sense be taken to mean that they seek, as it were, to repeat the past or indeed simply draw a distinction between the present and the past. Theirs is not a nostalgia for the past, but a yearning for the sacred. And if they defend the past, it is because in the pre-modern world, all civilizations were marked by the presence of the sacred. As I understand it, in referring to tradition, they refer to a metaphysical reality and to underlying principles that are timeless——as true now as they ever have been and will be. And, by way of contrast, in referring to modernism, they referred to a particular, though false, definition of reality. A particular, though false, manner of seeing and engaging with the world that is not distinguished by time, but by its ideology.

When we use the term ‘modern,’ we mean neither contemporary nor up-to-date. Rather, for us, modern means that which is cut off from the transcendent, from the immutable principles, which in reality govern all things… modernism is thus contrasted with tradition… Most especially, therefore, we can see that it is the timeless quality of these immutable principles of tradition that make its teachings so… timely. For me, the teachings of tradition suggest the presence of a reality that can bring about a reality of integration, and it is this reality that can be contrasted with so much of modernism’s obsession with disintegration, disconnection, and deconstruction—that which is sometimes termed ‘the malaise of modernity’—cut off at the root from the transcendent, modernism has become deracinated and separated itself…”

-Charles III

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