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Roger Scruton: “Faking, …, is an achievement”

28 January 2020

Roger Scruton



“Faking depends on a measure of complicity between the perpetrator and the victim, who together conspire to believe what they don’t believe and to feel what they are incapable of feeling. There are fake beliefs, fake opinions, fake kinds of expertise. There is also fake emotion, which comes about when people debase the forms and the language in which true feeling can take root, so that they are no longer fully aware of the difference between the true and the false. Kitsch is one very important example of this. The kitsch work of art is not a response to the real world, but a fabrication designed to replace it. Yet both producer and consumer conspire to persuade each other that what they feel in and through the kitsch work of art is something deep, important and real.

Anyone can lie. One need only have the requisite intention — in other words, to say something with the intention to deceive. Faking, by contrast, is an achievement. To fake things you have to take people in, yourself included. In an important sense, therefore, faking is not something that can be intended, even though it comes about through intentional actions. The liar can pretend to be shocked when his lies are exposed, but his pretence is merely a continuation of his lying strategy. The fake really is shocked when he is exposed, since he had created around himself a community of trust, of which he himself was a member. Understanding this phenomenon is, it seems to me, integral to understanding how a high culture works, and how it can become corrupted.”

Roger Scruton







Roger Scruton: “a failure of philosophy in our days”

27 January 2020

Roger Scruton



“We live in an extremely anxious age in which the core of our beliefs has been undermined to a great extent by scientific thinking. People have a hunger for answers but an inability to formulate the questions, partly because of the short-term view of things that’s encouraged by the media and partly because there seems to be no centre to which people can turn in order to see what the heart of the discussion is. I think this is a failure of philosophy in our days – and also of the culture that our English-speaking world has generated – around the idea of an abstract question.”

Roger Scruton, The Soul of the World







Maximos the Confessor: “when you have suffered”

25 January 2020

Maximos the Confessor


“You should know that you have been greatly benefited when you have suffered deeply because of some insult or indignity; for by means of the indignity self-esteem has been driven out of you.”

St. Maximos the Confessor, The Philokalia







Roger Scruton: “Mozart and Lady Gaga side by side”

25 January 2020

Roger Scruton



“We should reject the view that high culture, as the possession of an elite, is of no use to those who don’t possess it. This is as false as the view that science or higher mathematics are useless to those who don’t understand them. Scientific knowledge exists because a few talented people are prepared to devote their energy to pursuing it. That is what a university is for: and since you cannot pass on difficult knowledge without discriminating between the students who can absorb it and those who cannot, discrimination is a social good. The same is true of high culture. Those able to acquire it will be a minority and the process of cultural transmission will be critically impeded if that teacher must teach Mozart and Lady Gaga side by side to satisfy some egalitarian agenda.”

Roger Scruton







Dorotheos of Gaza: “By the keeping of the Commandments”

24 January 2020

Dorotheos of Gaza


“By the keeping of the Commandments the soul is purified and the mind too is enlightened, and they start functioning as was intended. ‘The command of the Lord gives light and enlightens the eyes’ (Ps. 19:8).”

St. Dorotheos of Gaza, Discourses and Sayings







Roger Scruton: “the power that it confers”

24 January 2020

Roger Scruton



“It is not the truth of Marxism that explains the willingness of intellectuals to believe it, but the power that it confers on intellectuals, in their attempts to control the world. And since…it is futile to reason someone out of a thing that he was not reasoned into, we can conclude that Marxism owes its remarkable power to survive every criticism to the fact that it is not a truth-directed but a power-directed system of thought.”

Roger Scruton, A Political Philosophy: Arguments for Conservatism







Cyril of Alexandria: “For He was full of grace and truth”

23 January 2020

Cyril of Alexandria


“Having said that the Word became flesh, that is, a human being, and having brought Him down to brotherhood with things created and in bondage, He preserves intact with this verse (John 1:15, ‘And we have beheld His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth’) the dignity befitting the divine and shows Him again full of the distinctive property of the Father that is present within Him. For the divine nature is truly immutable in Itself, not susceptible of change into anything else, but rather always remaining the same, and retains Its own prerogatives. Therefore even though the Evangelist says that the Word became flesh, he is not asserting that He was overcome by the infirmities of the flesh, or that He fell away from His original power and glory when He clothed Himself in our frail and inglorious body. For we have seen His glory, He says, a glory surpassing that of others, and which one should confess befits the Only-begotten Son of God the Father. For He was full of grace and truth.”

St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on John 1:15)