In one of the Emmaus Road Initiative talks I gave from 2007 to 2009, I quoted a stunning and extraordinarily important remark by Philip Rieff, and this morning I happened upon an echo of it in a book by Hans Urs von Balthasar. So I thought I was pass them along.
Philip Rieff writes:
Here we now see, with startling clarity, how little our established political distinctions between left and right, conservative and radical, revolutionary and reactionary, matter nowadays. Rather, any remaking of political distinctions will have to ask, first, whether there is in fact a discipline of inwardness, a mobilization for fresh renunciations of instinct; or whether there is only the discipline of outwardness, a mobilizing for fresh satisfactions of instinct. Such a distinction will divide contemporary men and movements more accurately; then we shall find fashionable liberals and fascists on the same side, where they really belong.
And from von Balthasar this: “The road to authenticity demands the renunciation of immediacy -- that is, it demands ascesis. No great life can reach maturity without ‘great sacrifice’.”