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Direction in 2009

If you read this blog on occasion, you may run across my reference to Eugen Rosenstock’s Cross of Reality. He talks about man moving in four directions (backward-forward -time) and (inward-outward – space). We live within the time/space axis, and yet oddly we often get stuck in one of the four directions. Some people, groups, nations are stuck in the past. On the other hand, some are stuck in the future. To live and move within time we must enjoy the freedom to move backward and forward.

Space is the same way. Some folks, groups, nations are trapped in inner space: reflection, meditation, philosophy, etc. Lots of ideas, passion, existential reality but little contact with outer world. Early in his life as a son a “righteous one,” Martin Buber was caught up in ecstatic encounter with the divine. A student came to see, but he turned the student away for the inner ecstasy trumped the call from the outer world. The student committed suicide. This horror shook up Buber and was one of the key influences that moved him to developed his thoughts on the life of dialogue. The call to move out beyond ourselves and encounter the other in dialogue.

Buber reminds us that we move between two directions in space inner world and outer world. Both are fundamental and one doesn’t trump the other.

One amazing power of humans is our power to change. While trees shed their leaves in the fall and have no choice, we can shed our hair in the spring and grow long beards in the fall. Or we can do the opposite. We can turn around. We have the power to decide when to move and when to rest. We can change our world. We can put trees where there are no trees, or we can add trees to fields and create a forest.

This quick reminder allows me to talk about and think about direction in 2009. With the lay-offs and economic news in our country, many people are turning inward. Fear is driving people backward. Looking back to better times.

I would suggest the two directions that I am focusing upon during this season of fear and distress is outward and forward. Now is the time to look ahead with vision and expectancy. Now is the time to act in ways that bring hope and courage to the faltering. Now is the time to plan for tomorrow and act on the basis of a vision for tomorrow.

This gets me to vision but that’s another post. I’m thinking about vision and how vision works, where it comes from and what is its purpose.

  1. January 10, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Dear Doug:

    From ERH’s Universall History 1954, I believe that he limns out the four fronts of our present (Western) society as:

    Back: Progress
    Forward: One Man in All Times and Places (maybe this is from me)
    In: Tribal Enthusiasm(s), each can do all
    Out: naming, the best example being baptism

    For the time before this one–
    Out: World
    Forward: Progress
    Back: Church
    In: Nations

    Berman, in the introduction to ‘Law and Revolution’ says that the trinity of modernism was nationalism, individualism, rationalism.

    Peter Leithart (leithart.com, spoke on ERH at the 2008 BH Conference) has a great book out, ‘Solomon among the Postmoderns’. The key to postmodernism is not their epistemology, but their eschatology. Solomon seems very postmodern, vanity of vanities, but Solomon knows that there is a time after the time under the sun, an eschatology.

    ‘go then, eat bread and drink wine, for all your works are already approved’ or something similar is PL’s quote from Eccl. that dedicates the book to his first grandchild.

    Love in King Jesus,

    PS: In Berman’s Intro he mentions that cathedrals had budgets for 1000 years.

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