Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Contemptus Mundi

A contempt of the world, which is dominated by fear of weariness and of sorrow, of disease and of old age, is but an asceticism of the blasé, born of disillusion and of satiety. It has nothing in common with religion but its terminology.
--Johan Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages

Josef Pieper, in In Tune with the World: A Theory of Festivity, writes that true festivity is based upon an affirmation of the ultimate goodness of the world. However, just as one might mimic festivity in a perverted way, such as by overindulging in alcohol, so too one might mimic asceticism in a perverted way, such as by overindulging in tears. True asceticism, just like true festivity, is based upon an affirmation of the ultimate goodness of the world.
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