Sunday, August 14, 2005

Apologia Pro Vita Sua (58-69)

This section was a bit drier for me, but there were still a few profitable passages for contemplation. Most of these dealt with the question of tone in the rhetoric that Newman recalls in dealing with the tract movement.
"If confidence in his position is, (as it is,) a first essential in the leader of a party, this Dr. Pusey possessed pre-eminently" (60).

Is this an essential? A "first" essential? What is the difference, if any, between confidence in one's position and dogmatism? I sometimes think that confidence in one's own position shuts one off from influence and correction, a place where I don't want my leaders to be. Then again, there is a truth here. It is hard to lead effectively if one is always second-guessing oneself. I guess I want a bit more balance than Newman does.
"[Dr. Pusey] saw that there ought to be more sobriety, more gravity, more careful pains, more sense of responsibility in the Tracts and in the whole Movement" (60).

I see some similarities between the Tracts and Internet communication, so this sentence resonates. I do think rhetoric can take on a different, nastier tone in these sorts of pseudo-public but rigidly separate communication methods. The biggest similarity is that one can too easily fall into the trap of thinking one is communicating with a link, a name, a post, rather than with another human being.
"[...] but the Via Media, as viewed as an integral system, has scarcely had existence except on paper" (64).

Ideas are nice. Having the "right" opinions is nice. How do they help people in their daily lives or bring people closer to not just salvation but also a fullness of life?

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