Inwardness versus outwardness

Gil Ballie, quotes Phillip Rieff as he points out that we’re not really being sensible about how we seek to sort people into categories:

[W]e 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.”

Which seems to me to a form of contrariness (a methodology used to aid people attempting to strengthen their moral consciences), which argues that our fallen nature makes our basic instincts suspect until tested against an external norm such as scripture.

Read it here: Inwardness

(Via Reflections on Faith and Culture.)

Author: Nicholas Knisely

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...

One thought on “Inwardness versus outwardness”

  1. Again, somewhere in-between. Instinct–desire, eros, is also the hook as Nyssa would say in our flesh through which God’s redemption once-for-all in Christ is worked out in us. This could easily pit inwardness and outwardness, instinct and command, against one another in a way that can be Manichaean–a tendency of Western Christianity in particular. Rather bridling, disciplining of instinct to virtues seems a middle way. Outwardness cannot simply be Scripture, but must be observable fruits in the person in community. While our instincts are fallen, that in no wise should set us up to pit them over so strongly against the good.

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