(un)common ground

a commonplace book

Superstition as Ideological Performance

[I]n all superstition, wise men follow fools; and arguments are fitted to practice, in a reversed order. …The causes of superstition are: pleasing and sensual rites and ceremonies; excess of outward and pharisaical holiness; overgreat reverence of traditions… the favoring too much of good intentions, which openeth the gate to conceits and novelties; the taking an aim at divine matters, by human, which cannot but breed mixture of imaginations.

Sir Francis Bacon, “Of Superstition” (1625)

The passage strikes me as an apt analog to modern ideological adherence and performance. Ideological arguments tend toward the circular; performance/discourse (including common symbolism/metaphor) broadcasts and rewards membership; practices and judgments rely on traditions and inherited values; past actions may be justified by the doers’ supposedly righteous intentions (legend? apocrypha?); judgment and discernment of spiritual issues are informed in part or totally by originally human philosophies or values, resulting in mixed-breed worldviews and opinions. And because it is superstition, all this is most likely unconscious because it is unquestioned, having often no room for serious inquiry.


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This entry was posted on July 25, 2015 by and tagged , , .
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