Sunday, February 7, 2010

To sum up the last week's series of posts in pursuit of the nature of tradition, I have arrived at the following impasse:

1. The dichotomy between the internal and external views of the temporal character of tradition has to be abandoned, because as a religious being searching for piety, I cannot be satisfied with an interpretation which situates me as an outside observer of tradition.

2. The dichotomy cannot be abandoned, because it seems to involve forfeiting the position from which the most can be seen, rolling back consciousness to a point before it discovered the externally historical presentation of tradition; in other words, it seems to involve a willful denial of what the tradition of the philosophy of history has come to know and has passed on to me as my inheritance from it.

I am not sure that I should regard these demands as being equal in force, but I do so regard them. In an attempt to reconcile them, therefore, I am looking for a way to hold on to the synoptic view afforded by the external interpretation while removing the one-sidedness of an "external" position. For this reason it will not content me to retreat to the internal position any more than to abandon myself to the external. For, as I have been saying all along, the very notion of an internal point of view, as one side of a fundamental division, is a function of the external view which lays this division down in the first place--so that the intention to retreat (known as "traditionalism") fails from the outset by capitulating to the very thing it is trying to flee.