My Apologies

STRAIGHTAWAY, MY APOLOGIES FOR BEING IN ARREARS. A few readers emailed to scold me for letting things lapse. Nothing is worse than a blog with no blogging going on, as I’ve been told. Irresponsible, someone chided. Boring, was another complaint. All true. Have patience. Things will continue shortly. Life has a way of . . . well, getting in the way of the best laid plans. Bobbie Burns had it right; mice and men are equally vulnerable to the accidents of living.

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Torso of Christ from a deposition, France, 12th Century; collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Art is hardly the most important thing. Let me leave you with this passage from Romano Guardini’s The End of The Modern World. Published in 1956 and a response to the wrenching changes that devasted European society in the wake of World War II, Guardini worried that postmodern man, in his rootlessness, is exquisitely susceptible to the blandishments of the state. Along the way, he wrote this:

The crucial events of the life of man—conception, birth, sickness, death—have lost their mystery. They have become biological or social phenomena dealt with more and more by a medical science or by series of techniques [technocratic; bureaucratic] which claim an increasing confidence in their own efficacy. Insofar as the great crises in human life could reveal truths which cannot be mastered by modern techniques, they are “anaesthetized” and thus rendered irrelevant.

In this connection, we cannot avoid thinking of those auxiliary techniques for the rational conquest of sickness or death which appear today not only at the horizons of our culture but also at its very center, techniques which would remove lives no longer of service to “life” itself, no longer corresponding to the ends of the state.

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© 2010 Maureen Mullarkey