Today’s burning of Notre Dame reveals just how profoundly we have dispensed with our imagination of—and vocabulary for—the numinous.
To read and hear much of the coverage, one would think that these “experts” and “public figures” feel nothing that I do about it. And maybe they don’t.
“…a historic building…” one said.
“…an important landmark…” another said.
“…obviously a religious building…” said another, stupidly.
Soulless automatons that have been programmed to reject the concept of the soul cannot possibly comment on the affliction of the soul of our civilization, or on the pain felt by millions of souls at watching it.
Philistines, all of them, everywhere. That’s what it was in academics, too. Everywhere.
“Of course, it’ll be rebuilt again—and better and more beautiful than ever, because now it will be made with modern materials and modern techniques,” I’ve read several times tonight.
© Jorge Láscar / 2014
I’ve also read several variations on, “It’s a building. Buildings come. Buildings go. That’s what happens. And let’s face it, it was an old building, obsolete and precious.”
Someone even said that Disney built better and more interesting things.
— § —
I have been on the fence for a long time, back and forth on the question of religion.
I’m not on the fence any longer. You can think what you will of religion. What cannot, however, be denied, is that only religion appears able to grasp—much less to preserve and to convey—the idea that there is more to life than a prosaic plod through economics and the intricate structures we’ve erected to venerate economics.
Birth happens. Death happens. Things matter, and not merely because they matter to me. Or to you.
All of this—the cars and the grades and the textiles and the plastic packaging and the wages and the elections and the battles for justice—all of this is so much pointless noise.
Everyone ends and will end in same way: in a final, eternal confrontation with the numinous.
If only religion is able to substantively reflect on or acknowledge this fact, then religion is where I must go.