Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Natality and Fate of Tradition

The manifestation of the temporality of tradition, and therefore of the temporality of being in a community, depends on achieving the sense of a founding in terms of a developed consciousness. This means that the provenance of tradition cannot be given in propositional form, whether this proposition should be an unquestioned authoritative mandate or a hypothesis for future verification. However, there is in this fact a substantial piece of information about the sense of a founding—namely, that it is such as to reveal itself not abstractly but only through historical time, not construed as the mere passing of the seconds, minutes, etc. which regulate the motions of physical bodies, but as the medium of a dialectical development of historical perspective. Insofar as tradition involves a responsibility to a founding (as opposed to the thoughtless aping of a fetishized set of protocols, which can be the foundation of no community), it must relate thoughtfully to this founding: it has to know the founding. This knowledge of the founding in its true temporal meaning turns out, as we have seen, to require a development of temporality itself. Formally speaking, this requirement is the temporality of tradition.