Posted by: Don Linnen | 31 December 2012

Civilization as We Know It

What do The Walsingham Society, Fast Company, and Wired have in common?

Not much at first glance. 

Dr. Jim Patrick, Senior Fellow and Chairman of the Advisory Board of The Walsingham Society, eschews e-readers and rapid technological change. The editors for Fast Company and Wired embrace increasingly rapid transformation of organizations and individuals.

Dr. Patrick studies “the artifacts, Amiens, Chartres, Shakespeare, and Dante” that compose civilization. Fast Company and Wired report on recent innovations and future journeys to inner and outer space. 

All these things – old and new – fascinate me. The commonality among them is civilization. It is everything we know, have known, and are trying to know.

Provoked by recent words from Dr. Patrick and columnist Thomas Sowell, it seems that civilization as we know it is faced with danger and hope.

The warning of danger comes from Mr. Sowell.  Paraphrasing thoughts from his column, “Jensen and Flynn:” As we learn more are we willing to dignify the research of opposing theories? Can scholarship and science work together in a free marketplace of ideas? Can these ideas be openly expressed in reasoned arguments without acrimonious disruptions? Will our universities grow in curiosity or become fortresses of politically correct intolerance?

The breath of hope comes from Dr. Patrick in his Christmas letter: “Civilization is the flower planted by love of the true, the beautiful, and the good as our hearts and minds reach out to engage our time and place. It grows most fruitfully when it is planted in the desire to know and please God. 

Civilization is partly caught and partly taught. Truth does brighten up life, and will continue to do so.”

My question to you, dear reader: can we recognize danger, catch new ideas, teach old ideas, and seek truth with no agenda other than truth? If so, civilization as we know it will be okay.

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