Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Romano Guardini on Silence

"[W]e must try to rediscover something of what is called the contemplative attitude, actually experience it ourselves, not just talk about it interestingly. All around us we see activity, organization, operations of every possible type; but what directs them? An inwardness no longer at home within itself; which thinks, judges, acts from the surface, guided by mere intellect, utility, and the impulses of power, property, and pleasure. An 'interiority' too superficial to contact the truth lying at life's center; which no longer reaches the essential and everlasting, but remains somewhere just under the skinlevel of the provisional and the fortuitous.

Before all else, then, man's depths must be reawakened. His life must again include times, his day moments of stillness in which he collects himself, spreads out before his heart the problems which have stirred him during the day. In a word, man must learn again to meditate and to pray. How, we cannot say. This depends largely on his basic beliefs, his religious position, his temperament and surroundings. But in any case, he must step aside from the general hustle and bustle; must become tranquil and really 'there,' opening his mind and heart wide to some word of piety or wisdom or ethical honor, whether he takes it from Scripture or Plato, from Goethe or Jeremias Gotthelf. He must accept criticism which that particular word suggests to him, examining some related aspect of his own life in its beam. Only an attitude this deeply grounded in truth can gain a stand against the forces around us."

---The End of the Modern World, "Power and Responsibility," ISI books 2001, pg. 214-215
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