return to religion-online

The Protestant Era by Paul Tillich


Paul Tillich is generally considered one of the century's outstanding and influential thinkers. After teaching theology and philosophy at various German universities, he came to the United States in 1933. For many years he was Professor of Philosophical Theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, then University Professor at Harvard University. His books include Systematic Theology; The Courage to Be; Dynamics of Faith; Love, Power and Justice; Morality and Beyond; and Theology of Culture. The Protestant Era was published by The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois in 1948. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock<


Chapter 1: Philosophy and Fate


(Inaugural address, given in June, 1929, on assuming the chair of Professor of Philosophy at the University of Frankfort on the Main. The word Schicksal, here rendered as "fate," combines the meaning of "fate" and "destiny."—Translator.)

 To have a philosophical understanding of one’s fate, to defy fate with philosophy, appears to be the usual and obvious answer to the question as to the relation between fate and philosophy. This answer has a strong justification. Since the days of the Greeks it has been considered the task of philosophy to give its followers the power to resist fate; to be a philosopher means to adopt an attitude that is superior to fate. Philosophical knowledge is a knowledge that is not subject to fate, it is fateless; for it is knowledge of the eternal structure of reality which, as the condition of all historical change, is changeless itself.

Can we maintain the idea that knowledge is fateless because its object is beyond fate? Can we even maintain the idea that being, the object of philosophy, is fateless? Is truth fateless? Can we say that both thought and being are fateless, or is truth subject to fate? And if it is subject to fate, what does this imply? What does truth look like if it is dominated by fate, and what sort of thing is a knowledge that is bound by fate? And what powerful changes must philosophy have experienced, what trying course of fate must it have traveled in passing from the idea that truth is fateless to the idea that it is fate-bound? These are questions that confront us.

 

1. The Concept of Fate

Our theme "Philosophy and Fate" might have permitted a different sort of treatment. We might have directed our attention to the philosophical concept of fate. This question, however, is not the one with which we are concerned. Yet it cannot be entirely ignored.

Fate is the transcendent necessity in which freedom is entangled. This involves three things: first, fate is related to freedom. Where there is no freedom, there is no fate; there is simply necessity. A merely physical object that is conditioned in all respects is entirely without fate because it is wholly bound to necessity. The more freedom there is, that is, the more the self-determination (or the greater the autonomous power), the more the susceptibility to fate. Just because philosophy is free, because it is determined by itself, it is susceptible to fate. Not only the philosopher as a man but also the philosopher as philosopher has a fate, and this means that philosophy itself has a fate. If freedom is taken from philosophy, if philosophy is made a necessary function of something else—of material, psychological, sociological laws—it has lost a fate or destiny of its own.

Second, fate signifies that freedom is subjected to necessity. It puts freedom into an embracing frame of reference. It negates the freedom of the philosopher as a philosopher; it negates the freedom of philosophy. Only one whose freedom was absolute would have no fate. Only a being with unconditioned power over itself, only a being with unconditional freedom, would be above fate. Philosophy has often tried to put itself into such a position; it has yielded to the temptation of eritis sicut Deus and has believed it would be able to become fateless. It has supposed that its processes of thinking are identical with the divine self-consciousness. But here, too, pride goes before a fall, as may be seen most strikingly in the collapse of Hegel’s absolute system.

Third, fate signifies that freedom and necessity are not separated but that, in every fateful event, freedom and necessity interpenetrate each other. Man feels that that side of his being upon which he has put his own stamp, his "character," is largely responsible for what happens to him, even external and accidental thing. And he feels, at the same time, that his character is conditioned by events that in their origin go far back to past generations, back to much earlier manifestations of the continuing and living fabric of humanity. He feels that the necessity implied in the concept of fate is a universal necessity, a necessity that transcends every special chain of events. If philosophy has a fate, it is subjected to such a universal necessity. At the same time, it is true that nothing can condition philosophy which is not also conditioned by the freedom of philosophy. Even the most accidental thing that arises within the life of philosophy is conditioned by the character of philosophy itself, by the stamp that comes from its own nature.

We have analyzed the concept of fate as we wish to consider it here, and we have also indicated the sense in which one can speak of the "fate" of philosophy: the freedom of philosophy is bound up with an embracing universal necessity, so that freedom and necessity are conditioned by each other and are inextricably interwoven.

We now turn to a discussion of the relation between philosophy and fate as it is found in history. We must see how the question of the relation between philosophy and fate arose. First, we must ask what kind of fate has impelled philosophy to conceive of itself as conditioned by fate. Second, we must raise the question as to how philosophy can give a conceptual formulation to its own relationship to fate and whether philosophy, in the fulfillment of its own function, can make use of the fact that it is subject to fate.

 2. Philosophy and Fate in Greek Thought

Greek philosophy, like Greek tragedy, religion, and mystery cult, is a struggle against fate, an attempt to rise above fate. The origin of the mysteries cannot be understood if they are viewed merely as cultus, nor can the origin of tragedy be understood merely from the point of view of aesthetics, or the origin of philosophy merely from a scientific point of view. To be sure, all these concerns became the basis of various cultic, aesthetic, and scientific developments, but they did not originate in the separation. They grew out of a common, deeper level of existence, out of the life-and-death struggle, out of a wrestling with fate. To the Greek the struggle against fate was unavoidable, for fate had for him demonic qualities. It was a holy and destructive power. It entangled man in an objective guilt that was working out its baleful consequences without regard for the individual subject, avenging his guilt by dire punishment even though the guilt was not a matter of his freedom. The mystery cult offers purification at the hands of a god who, although himself subject to fate, overcomes fate. Tragedy presents the hero who in freedom endures and overcomes his fate. Philosophy gives knowledge, a knowledge by means of which man is united with the eternal One, beyond fate. This attitude of Greek philosophy, whereby it deprived all things and all forms of life of their ultimate power and concentrated the power of being in one substance, in the result of the highest abstraction, in "Pure Being," is not intelligible except as the consequence of a dire need. It is the need to overcome the bondage to fate and tragedy. This connection is clearly expressed in the words of Anaximander, the very first words of Greek philosophy. He speaks of "things perishing into that from which they have their birth, for they pay to one another the penalty of their injustice according to the order of time." This world of objective guilt and tragic punishment beclouded the Greek mentality. Echoes of a deep pessimism vibrate from the lyrics and from many of the aphorisms of pre-philosophical wisdom. But the Greek’s passionate will to live, aided by the unique clarity of the Greek mind, broke through the spell which threatened to fetter it. Not in vain had the Greeks lived through the days when the sun of Homer’s Olympus had shone over a world that was almost free from demonic fear. It is true that this golden sun was almost eclipsed when, in the period of religious revolutions, the Greeks touched the deeper levels of religious experience. But the Homeric sun had not shone in vain. The Greek spirit overcame the demonic again, but no longer with the help of the Olympic gods. In philosophy it was done in terms of pure being, as substance or as number, as idea, as logos, as pure form, as element and atom, as the ultimate One. Bold and courageous thinking here struggles with the melancholy subjection to tragedy and fate. Every step forward in knowledge has an exorcising effect. Knowledge restricts the power of fate, it deprives things of their frightful mystery, it makes them into mere things and subjects them to the control of the mind. In a titanic assault, carried through with great courage and brilliant clarity, Greek philosophy assails the mystery of fate and reveals it step by step with admirable power. In such a struggle a number of different attitudes were held by the philosophers. Some attempted the critical dissolution of the old powers of fate, as with the Sophists and the Cynics; some attempted to transform them into measured things, as with the Pythagoreans, into quantity and law, as with Democritus; some attempted it by resistance to the powers of fate, as with the Stoics, or by inner freedom from them, as with Socrates; others attempted it by the skillful exploitation or utilization of these powers, as with the Epicureans, or by the attempt to subject them to form, as in Plato’s Republic; others attempted it by a paradoxical affirmation of them, as with Heraclitus, or by a flight from them, as with the Skeptics; and still others attempted it by rising above existence as such, as with Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus. In all this diversity of attitude, however, one thing remains the same: the struggle of the philosopher against a fate-entangled, demonically controlled existence. For this reason the highest ideal for human life is found in the realm of thought, in the rising above existence, not in the realm of action, not in transforming existence. Never before or afterward has the struggle of philosophy against the fear of fate achieved so rapid and decisive a victory, and never again has victorious philosophy, in turn, been defeated so severely by fate.

Just as the gods of the Homeric world banished the demonic powers of the past but did not eliminate them, so Greek philosophy suppressed the power of fate without being able to eliminate it. Just as the gods of Homer banished the demons into the underworld, the philosophers relegated the intractable and resisting element of existence into the realm of nonbeing, into the me on, into that which is without any power of being. But this me on retained in its very impotence the power to resist form and knowledge, just as the underworld was the impotent, and yet always threatening, opponent of the world of Olympus; and in due time the opponent reappeared in power. Fate became powerful again. Tyche and heimarmene ("chance" and "necessity") —darkened the heavens of late antiquity. The astrological preoccupation with fate subjected man to fate. The fear of demons hovered like a cloud over his spirit. The Epicureans exalted their master to a savior, because through his materialism he had freed them from fear. But it was not a lasting salvation. By establishing the element of absolute chance, Epicurus himself reserved a place for fear in his system. The Neo-Platonists were not able to come to terms with the demonic powers except by taking them up into their system.

In this situation, philosophy became aware of its own fate. It surveyed its own history and saw that its struggle to achieve a certainty by which it might form human life was futile. The battle of the schools had driven even the Platonic Academy into skepticism, and the attempt to create new forms of life was out of the question in a time when Rome, like a superhuman power of fate, was bringing one nation after the other under its heel. From the depths of this skepticism men cried out for revelation. The old schools invested their leaders with a religious aura. But oriental revelations gave deeper certainty than the old philosophers. Threatened by a demonic fate, men were reaching out for a saving fate—for "grace."

 3. Philosophy and Fate in Occidental Thought

The victory of Christianity is the victory of the idea that the world is a divine creation over the belief in the resisting power of an eternal matter. It is the victory of the belief in the perfection of created being in all its levels over the tragic fear of resistant matter, hostile to the divine. It is the radical denial of the demonic character of existence as such. It places an essentially positive valuation on existence. And this implies that it places a positive valuation on the whole temporal order of events, that the "order of time" harbors within itself not only, as with Anaximander, a becoming and a passing-away but also the possibility of real novelty, a creative and formative power, a purpose and end that give it meaning. In Christianity, time triumphs over space. The irreversible, unrepeatable character of time, its meaningful directedness, replaces the cyclic, ever recurrent becoming and passing-away. A "gracious" destiny that brings salvation in time and history subdues a demonic fate which denies the new in history. Thus the Greek view of life and the world is overcome, and with it the presupposition of Greek philosophy as well as of Greek tragedy. Never again can philosophy be what it was originally. The philosophy that wished to overcome fate is itself seized by fate and becomes something different. Whoever does not see this, whoever imagines that philosophy has taken a unilinear course through history, misses the essential and the most profound thing in the history of ideas in the Occident, he misses the destiny of the Western mind.

Philosophy in its despair had called out for revelation. Now revelation laid hold of philosophy and adapted it to its own purposes. It purged away what was demonic in it, and at the same time it took over its logical forms and its empirical contents. But the metaphysical elements in it, the element that gives philosophy its real significance, was suppressed. Philosophy became formalistic; and by that very fact it became fitted to serve the sacred. If it had itself claimed to be sacred, the "sacred" that had now become triumphantly victorious would have repulsed it and annihilated it. It was its destiny to become merely a bond-slave. And this fate was imposed upon it not only from the outside. Philosophy was not merely the innocent victim of abuse at the hands of religion. The fate that befell philosophy arose out of the inner logic of its own historical development. That philosophy should become the handmaid of theology was in a genuine sense its proper fate. The memory of what had befallen it in its skeptical period made serfdom easy for it. The memory of the catastrophe of Greek culture which took place in late antiquity echoes through the thought of the Middle Ages as a constantly recurring overtone. It was the negative presupposition of ecclesiastical authority in the Middle Ages. But, finally, this overtone faded away, the catastrophe that once had decided the fate of philosophy was forgotten, and the brilliance of its first great triumphant march to victory fascinated the mind and spirit of the West. Everything Greek came back again; yet nothing was in reality Greek, for the religious foundation was no longer the same. Not the idea of becoming and passing away but rather that of the divine creation of the world and the belief in a divine providence, in a divine purpose, working toward salvation in time and through history, had become fundamental for the character of the occidental mentality. What was created was not Hellenism, but Christian humanism. This concept, whose commanding importance for the proper understanding of the whole modern era has not yet been adequately recognized, sheds light on the problem that we are dealing with here. Christian humanism, even in its most anti-religious and anti-Christian forms, is still Christian in substance. In Christian humanism the fate of Christianity and the fate of philosophy are bound together.

Greek philosophy had developed categories and methods of universal significance. But the religious character of Greek culture prevented them from being used for world transformation. They were used either for aesthetic intuition of the world, for ethical resignation from it, or for mystical elevation above it. In contrast to these uses, Christian humanism employed Greek concepts for the technical control and the revolutionary transformation of reality. Especially useful for this purpose was the mathematical-quantitative interpretation of nature as promoted by the Pythagoreans and Plato. It was not an accident, but deeply rooted in Greek spirituality, that this view was suppressed by the biological-qualitative point of view as represented by Aristotle. Modern philosophy goes the opposite way. It overcomes the existential skepticism of the last period of Greek philosophy by a methodological skepticism as the basis of mathematical science and its technical application. And there is no better and more continuous test for the truth of this type of scientific approach to nature than the fact that the technical creations which are based on it do work and work more effectively every day. Ethical theories for the individual and legal theories for the state, fitting the world-transforming activism of modern culture, are added to the dominant philosophy of science. Disturbing interferences from the transcendent are eliminated. To this end an empiricist or rationalistic metaphysics pushes the divine out to the fringe of the world—or subordinates it to technical and moral purposes. Philosophy, in this period of its development, believed not only that it had ceased to be the "handmaid" of theology but also that it had become completely autonomous, determined only by the laws of reason and free from any religious element. But this was an illusion. During the whole course of modern culture, which is the expression of the fighting and victorious bourgeoisie, philosophy maintained the belief in providence. It did not call it "providence," it called it "pre-established harmony" or the "law of progress and perfectibility." It did not make the development dependent on divine actions but on the political and educational activities of man. Like philosophy itself, these activities follow the demands of reason. And reason, according to rationalistic belief, has no fate. Its principles are unchangeable. It can be realized more or less perfectly. Its understanding can and must grow. In periods like the Middle Ages reason had bad luck, in modern times, good luck. But it never had and never can have a fate, a unity of freedom and necessity. Truth and fate are separated.

But the claim of modern philosophy to be beyond fate and tragedy was refuted by its own history. The self-assured rationalism of the eighteenth century was shattered by the blows of Hume, Kant, Comte, and others. Even in its great days of revolution and victory, rationalism had not been able to remove the religious and classical traditions. Now it was weakened in itself, and some of these traditions became powerful again. Romanticism was longing for the Middle Ages. Aesthetic classicism reappeared; orthodox Protestantism and pietistic mysticism experienced a resurrection. But more decisive for the future was another trend, a trend that had lurked under the surface of rationalism in the days of its weakness, a trend toward irrationalism, in some cases even toward antirationalism. An old, almost forgotten, tradition, which runs from Duns Scotus and the nature philosophy of the Renaissance down through Luther and Jacob Boehme to Oetinger and Schelling, came suddenly to the fore. Under the influence of this tradition new motifs began to attract attention: the ambiguous character of existence, the irrational will that destroys any static conception of the world of ideas, the conflict of the unconscious and the conscious will, the demonic depth in the divine nature itself. A vigorous protest was raised against Cartesian rationalism.

A discovery, decisive for the question of philosophy and fate, had been made. The place, so to speak, was found at which fate could again determine philosophy—at the nonrational level of existence and thought. In the Middle Ages the nonrational level of existence was spoken of as "the deeps of the soul." Here divine grace and demonic possession were effective. This level of existence now reappeared in various forms, as a dark urge, as "Life," as vitality, as the unconscious, as the will to power, as the infinite desire, as the collective unconscious, as the class struggle. The mind became aware of the relationship between itself and the prerational levels of the psyche, those levels through which fate determines thought. The way in which this happens has been described in different ways since the breakdown of Hegel’s renewal of an all-embracing system of reason, and mostly in opposition to him. It appeared as Feuerbach’s materialistic analysis of religion, as Marx’s theory of the economic determinism of political thought, as the pragmatist theory of knowledge in Nietzsche and William James, as the depth psychology of Freud, Jung, and their schools, supported by the great French and Russian novelists and poets. Each of these tendencies forced upon philosophy the question of its historical existence, of its dependence on fate. Only academic philosophy was deaf to the question. It expounded an epistemology and an ethical theory that gave it a sense of being secure against the bludgeonings of fate. Today we are inescapably confronted with this question. We cannot evade it any longer. There is no place of shelter from it, not even in the field of formal logic, as there is no longer any refuge to which bourgeois society can withdraw in order to escape the question of its own fate. The question may be stated thus: What is truth if it is determined by historical destiny?

 4. Truth and Fate

Hegel gives the first significant answer to the question concerning the way in which truth is involved in fate. He gives this answer in his philosophy of history: History is the place where the eternal ideas, the divine reason, appear in dialectical succession within time and finitude. And history is the place where nations with their will to power fight each other. History is not alone the place of ideas and the logical necessity of their succession. Nor is it determined alone by the irrational will to live. Both are united in history; nations are the bearers of the ideas. This occurs through what Hegel calls the "cunning" of the idea. The idea uses the vital forces of individuals and nations in order to realize itself. The theory of the cunning of the idea is no myth; rather is it a paradoxical expression for faith in providence, but in its idealistic metamorphosis. The believer in the traditional idea of providence also knew that the ways of providence are dark, contradictory, and obscure; nevertheless, he believed in it and was certain that it would arrive at its goal. Hegel goes one step further. He knows of the ways in which the idea develops; he is aware of its cunning and of the true meaning of the devious and roundabout course which history follows. He stands at the end and can look back upon the whole development. Thus it is in his, the final philosopher’s, thought that philosophy finds its full realization and achieves its freedom from fate. Every external necessity disappears in the "absolute" system. Participation in the unconditioned freedom of the unconditioned is now possible, the threat of fate is annulled, history is taken up into the system, freedom triumphs over necessity.

But this solution had to break down; it was in itself contradictory, for, once granting the existence of fate, why should it come to a halt before the thought of Hegel? Actually, it did not come to a halt, it pushed on through to its own opposite. One needed only to reverse the symbol of the cunning of the idea. One could ask whether the really "cunning" thing is not perhaps the will of the national group, the will to power of the classes, or the instinctive urges of the individual soul? Is not the idea merely an illusion that the vital powers use in order to achieve their purposes? This could be said in psychological, as well as in sociological, terms. Where it is said, truth itself—every nonfactual truth—is sacrificed: ideas are ideologies, illusionary expressions of will to power or libido. Philosophy is subjected to a completely external necessity. It has no freedom to follow its own structures and demands, no genuine fate; for fate, as was said before, presupposes the unity of necessity and freedom. It is, of course, impossible to maintain this general doctrine of ideology. If it is a true theory (and it claims to be that), it presupposes truth, at least at one point, and ceases to be general. In this point necessity is united with freedom. It is no longer external necessity. The philosopher who undermines philosophy must also show why he does not undermine his own undermining. He must show the place on which he stands. And all the irrationalists in philosophy have always tried to do just this. As Hegel called the place at the end of philosophy the "place of truth," so Marx thought that the proletariat occupies this favored position, and the psychoanalyst attributes it to the completely analyzed personality, and the philosopher of vitalism to the strongest life, to the process of growth, to an élite or a race. There are, according to these ideas, favored moments and positions in history when truth appears and reason is united with the irrational. There are moments, as I myself have emphasized on different occasions, in which "kairos," the right time, is united with "logos," the "eternal truth," and in which the fate of philosophy is decided for a special period.

Max Scheler, a representative of vitalism, a man of great intuitive power, tried to give a solution in a different way. He thought the dominant forces, the economic forces, the vital instincts, and the like, decide what can be thought in each period but do not decide about the meaning and the validity of thought itself. These irrational forces determine which ideas can have reality, but they do not determine their truth. So far as the world of reality is concerned, development is strictly determined. No idea has the power to resist it. Scheler argues for the "impotence of the idea" and the exclusive power of the vital forces in determining history. There is, so to speak, an unlimited reservoir of ideas that are possible of conception. Out of this reservoir the historical process draws whatever fits the special situation. In this view, obviously, idea and existence are divorced; philosophy and fate are only externally related to each other. But there is a double, untenable presupposition in this solution: the realm of historical processes is entirely determined by a necessity that in itself has no relation to meaning. But, if this were the case, how could there be an affinity of special situation to special ideas? The historical process must be intrinsically related to ideas in order to be able to receive them. And, on the other hand, ideas are not static possibilities but dynamic forces whose eternity does not prevent them from becoming temporal, whose essence drives them to appear in existence. In this, Aristotle and Hegel are right, against Plato and Descartes. Fate is not strange to truth, it does not concern only the outer court of philosophy, leaving untouched the sacred precincts themselves. Fate obtrudes even into the sacred inclosure of philosophy, into the truth itself, and it stops only before the holy of holies. It stops only before the certainty that fate is divine and not demonic, that it is meaning-fulfilling and not meaning-destroying. Without this certainty, which is the inmost kernel of Christianity, we should be thrown back to the Greek situation and should have to begin to traverse the whole fateful path of philosophy over again. But this eternal truth, this logos above fate, is not at man’s disposal; it cannot be subjected, as Hegel thought it could, to the processes of human thinking; it cannot be described or presented as the meaningful world process. To be sure, this eternal logos does pulsate through all our thinking; there can be no act of thought without the secret presupposition of its unconditional truth.

But this unconditional truth is not in our possession. It is the hidden criterion of every truth that we believe we possess. There is an element of venture and of risk in every statement of truth. Yet we can take this risk in the certainty that this is the only way in which truth can reveal itself to finite and historical beings.

But truth is not itself an idea with whose help a philosophy free from fate can be created. It stands critically over against every realization, as is clearly understood by genuine Protestantism. It is the "justification" of thought, it is that through which thought meets its finite limit and also receives its infinite right.

If philosophy maintains its relation to the eternal logos, if philosophy is not afraid of the demonic threat of fate, then it can quite readily accept the place of fate within thinking. It can acknowledge that it has from the beginning been subject to fate, that it has always wished to escape it, though it has never succeeded in doing so. The union of kairos and logos is the philosophical task set for us in philosophy and in all fields that are accessible to the philosophical attitude. The logos is to be taken up into the kairos, universal values into the fullness of time, truth into the fate of existence. The separation of idea and existence has to be brought to an end. It is the very nature of essence to come into existence, to enter into time and fate. This happens to essence not because of something extraneous to it; it is rather the expression of its own intrinsic character, of its freedom. And it is essential to philosophy to stand in existence, to create out of time and fate. It would be wrong if one were to characterize this as a knowledge bound to necessity. Since existence itself stands in fate, it is proper that philosophy should also stand in fate. Existence and knowledge both are subject to fate. The immutable and eternal heaven of truth of which Plato speaks is accessible only to a knowledge that is free from fate—to divine knowledge. The truth that stands in fate is accessible to him who stands within fate, who is himself an element of fate, for thought is a part of existence. And not only is existence fate to thought, but so also is thought fate to existence, just as everything is fate to everything else. Thought is one of the powers of being, it is a power within existence. And it proves its power by being able to spring out of any given existential situation and create something new! It can leap over existence just as existence can leap over it. Because of this characteristic of thought, the view perhaps quite naturally arose that thought may be detached from existence and may therefore liberate man from his hateful bondage to it. But the history of philosophy itself has shown that this opinion is a mistaken one. The leap of thought does not involve a breaking of the ties with existence; even in the act of its greatest freedom, thought remains bound to fate. Thus the history of philosophy shows that all existence stands in fate. Every finite thing possesses a certain power of being of its own and thus possesses a capacity for fate. The greater a finite thing’s autonomous power of being is, the higher is its capacity for fate and the more deeply is the knowledge of it involved in fats. From physics on up to the normative cultural sciences there is a gradation, the logos standing at the one end and the kairos at the other. But there is no point at which either logos or kairos alone is to be found. Hence even our knowledge of the fateful character of philosophy must at the same time stand in logos and in kairos. If it stood only in the kairos, it would be without validity and the assertion would be valid only for the one making it; if it stood only in the logos, it would be without fate and would therefore have no part in existence, for existence is involved in fate.

And this holds for all knowledge, for every task in which we are engaged in this university. As the Greeks devoted themselves to philosophy, obedient to the logos within the limits of the kairos; as the Middle Ages subordinated the logos to the great kairos upon which their culture was built; as modern philosophy through its kairos adapted itself to the logos of a world-dominating science and technique, so our task is to serve the logos out of the depths of our new kairos, a kairos that is now emerging in the crises and catastrophes of our day. Hence, the more deeply we understand fate—our own personal fate and that of our society—the more our intellectual work will have power and truth.

Viewed 188649 times.