The Unsentimental Sentiment

“Every man participating in a culture has three levels of conscious reflection: his specific ideas about things, his general beliefs or convictions, and his metaphysical dream of the world.

“The first of these are the thoughts he employs in the activity of daily living; they direct his disposition of immediate matters and, so, constitute his wordliness. One can exist on this level alone for limited periods, though pure worldliness must eventually bring disharmony and conflict.

“Above this lies his body of beliefs, some of which may be heritages simply, but others of which he will have acquired in the ordinary course of his reflection. Even the simplest souls define a few rudimentary conceptions about the world, which they repeatedly apply as choices present themselves. These, too, however, rest on something more general.

“Surmounting all is an intuitive feeling about the immanent nature of reality, and this is the sanction to which both ideas and beliefs are ultimately referred for verification. Without the metaphysical dream it is impossible to think of men living together harmoniously over an extant of time. The dream carries with it an evaluation, which is the bond of spiritual community.”

Richard M. Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences, 1948.

Merry Christmas

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