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Author Topic: Let's deconstruct "traditionalism"  (Read 2957 times) Average Rating: 0
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augustin717
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« on: January 23, 2013, 03:54:32 PM »

Thesis: Traditionalism is a thoroughly modern phenomenon. Traditionalists are deluded to think they can turn the clock back.
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2013, 03:58:19 PM »

i am inspired by this rich image:
http://alba24.ro/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/ascor-colinde-ocna-mures.jpg
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2013, 04:00:02 PM »

Nice folk group.
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013, 04:01:33 PM »

Without question it's nice. But they live under the impression there is more to it than dressing up and sing songs. Like a theurgy of tradition or something.
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 04:05:04 PM »

Define "traditionalism".

Also, don't orthodox differentiate between Tradition and traditions?  Are "traditionalists" simply obsessed with the lower case, traditions? Like folk garb.
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 04:07:44 PM »

What "Traditionalism"? Are you referring to the Holy Tradition of Orthodoxy, the Traditionalists in the Roman Catholic Church or some weird Protestant "tradition is the philosophy of man," bullcrap?
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 04:08:31 PM »

Off the cuff, since it's quite an amorphous reality, traditionalism seems to me the (reactionary) ideology that one can create nice little islands of archaism that can be insulated from the social and economic forces shaping our contemporary world.
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augustin717
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2013, 04:10:33 PM »

And I do not wanna focus on the orthodox varieties either. RC traditionalist probably would fit even more nicely into the paradigm.
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2013, 04:14:14 PM »

Are you effectively meaning that non-liberals are traditionalists?
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augustin717
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2013, 04:15:43 PM »

I'm not a "liberal" either. I'm a socialist. SO?
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2013, 04:17:04 PM »

Thesis: Traditionalism is a thoroughly modern phenomenon. Traditionalists are deluded to think they can turn the clock back.
False: here's an ancient example, the Sa'ite Renaissance:
http://books.google.com/books?id=XEMadfTi_U4C&pg=PA339&dq=saite+renaissance+%22discovering+and+inventing+the+past%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=XUQAUfjvEorC2QXanICoDg&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=saite%20renaissance%20%22discovering%20and%20inventing%20the%20past%22&f=false

Atticism.  The Optimates of Rome.  The Macedonian Renaissance.  The Komnena Restoration.  The Palaeologian Renaissance.  The Phanariot Byzantium after Byzantium.  Plenty of pre-modern examples of Traditionalism can be given.
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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2013, 04:24:04 PM »

In so far as they tried to imitate/reproduce "Byzantium" the Phanariotes probably only succeeded in making a caricature out of it. After all they were at the mercy of the Sultan/Padishah. It was a "let's pretend" sort of a game.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 04:24:29 PM by augustin717 » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2013, 04:24:41 PM »

What you understand by 'traditionalism' - the naive reconstruction and reenactment of some ideal space/time (correct me if I don't catch your drift) - may be a means of coping with an alienating and at times hostile environment.

Mystification is a naturally occurring process for human animals. You'd have no sort of culture without it. It isn't inherently evil. May become so if people confine themselves to such a phantasy world of their own so as to no longer be able to communicate/interact with the world at large.

I would think you put what's on display in that photo on a par with 'Orthodoxy in Dixie' and many such-like phenomena. With the risk of shocking some, I would throw in theatres, opera-houses, musea, gay parades, bars, Disneyland, country clubs, hobbit houses, movies and so on, and so on. All of them are attempts at creating pockets of utopia in a grey, old and increasingly bored world. They all filter people according to arbitrary preferences or characteristics.

The radical antidote? A fortnight in the desert. Or a lifetime.       
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 04:30:09 PM by Romaios » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2013, 04:25:11 PM »

Are you effectively meaning that non-liberals are traditionalists?
Define “traditionalist” and/or “liberal.” I tried to get that discussion started here once, but it died shortly after a few glib answers such as “traditionalists are those who follow the faith of the Apostles” were given.

It’s a discussion worth having.

EDIT: This was posted while I was composing, and I think it's a grand start even if I don't categorically agree with all of it:

What you understand by 'traditionalism' - the naive reconstruction and reenactment of some ideal space/time (correct me if I don't catch your drift) - may be a means of coping with an alienating and at times hostile environment.

Mystification is a naturally occurring process for human animals. You'd have no sort of culture without it. It isn't inherently evil. May become so if people confine themselves in such a phantasy world of their own and are no longer able to communicate/interact with the world at large.

I would think you put what's on display in that photo on a par with 'Orthodoxy in Dixie' and many such-like phenomena. With the risk of shocking some, I would throw in theatres, opera-houses, gay parades, bars, Disneyland, countryclubs, hobbit-houses, movies and so on, and so on. All of them are attempts at creating pockets of utopia in a grey, old and increasingly bored world. They all filter people according to arbitrary preferences or characteristics.

The radical antidote? A fortnight in the desert. Or a lifetime.       
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 04:27:00 PM by Agabus » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2013, 04:28:12 PM »

In so far as they tried to imitate/reproduce "Byzantium" the Phanariotes probably only succeeded in making a caricature out of it. After all they were at the mercy of the Sultan/Padishah. It was a "let's pretend" sort of a game.
Isn't that exactly what you are accusing Traditionalists of playing?
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« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2013, 04:32:31 PM »

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The radical antidote? A fortnight in the desert. Or a lifetime.       
Although I really like deserts I do not see how fleeing from human society is a solution. It might be extreme yes, but not a solution.
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augustin717
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« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2013, 04:36:56 PM »

Also traditionalism-as it is plenty clear on this board and the blogosphere-can be a longing/melancholia that prejudices have changed.
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augustin717
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« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2013, 04:38:16 PM »

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I would think you put what's on display in that photo on a par with 'Orthodoxy in Dixie' and many such-like phenomena.
One thing, at last we sorta agree on Wink
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« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2013, 04:44:03 PM »

Without question it's nice. But they live under the impression there is more to it than dressing up and sing songs. Like a theurgy of tradition or something.

I must have googled "theurgy".

I don't see your point. What are your trying to discuss here? People who try to preserve old customs and rituals? People, who keep conservative rightwing morality? People who LARP?

I have no idea.
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« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2013, 04:48:49 PM »

Quote
I would think you put what's on display in that photo on a par with 'Orthodoxy in Dixie' and many such-like phenomena. With the risk of shocking some, I would throw in theatres, opera-houses, musea, gay parades, bars, Disneyland, country clubs, hobbit houses, movies and so on, and so on. All of them are attempts at creating pockets of utopia in a grey, old and increasingly bored world. They all filter people according to arbitrary preferences or characteristics.
No there is no unique characteristic linking all things you list . A few yes, are linked by some commonalities but not all. Plus a bar only promises you an agreeable evening with friends or a hook-up depending, quite a world distance from creating/re-creating the "social reign of Christ" for instance. Not the same thing.
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« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2013, 04:53:26 PM »

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The radical antidote? A fortnight in the desert. Or a lifetime.       
Although I really like deserts I do not see how fleeing from human society is a solution. It might be extreme yes, but not a solution.

Then what? Changing one's utopias on a regular basis, so as not to get too bored with them. Accumulating "experience"? Having a culturally-informed multiply-developed vast-horizons-encompassing world view?

Or worse, reorienting your quest for knowledge and meaning towards human persons? They're not inexhaustible. You get bored with them too. Move on? To the next interesting friend, the next exotic "hottie", the other/the same sex?  

One can only do so much. Possibilities seem endless, but they are not infinite. And everybody's sort of running out of patience and frenetically looking for "something else". It's still going to be "wind chasing" as Qohelet put it. "Nothing new under the sun". And havel havalim ve haqol havel.

Of course, there's always going to be the bait: "the kingdoms of the world and their splendor". But, in the end, what/whom do you worship?  


 

 
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« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2013, 04:55:16 PM »

Quote
I would think you put what's on display in that photo on a par with 'Orthodoxy in Dixie' and many such-like phenomena.
One thing, at last we sorta agree on Wink
Orthodoxy in Dixie

and of course

http://orthodoxhistory.org/tag/philip-ludwell-iii/
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« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2013, 04:56:33 PM »

Quote
I would think you put what's on display in that photo on a par with 'Orthodoxy in Dixie' and many such-like phenomena. With the risk of shocking some, I would throw in theatres, opera-houses, musea, gay parades, bars, Disneyland, country clubs, hobbit houses, movies and so on, and so on. All of them are attempts at creating pockets of utopia in a grey, old and increasingly bored world. They all filter people according to arbitrary preferences or characteristics.
No there is no unique characteristic linking all things you list . A few yes, are linked by some commonalities but not all. Plus a bar only promises you an agreeable evening with friends or a hook-up depending, quite a world distance from creating/re-creating the "social reign of Christ" for instance. Not the same thing.
Yeah, not like promising a utopia like a workers' paradise.
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« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2013, 04:57:17 PM »

Quote
I would think you put what's on display in that photo on a par with 'Orthodoxy in Dixie' and many such-like phenomena.
One thing, at last we sorta agree on Wink
Orthodoxy in Dixie

and of course

http://orthodoxhistory.org/tag/philip-ludwell-iii/
We were talking about that funny movie but let's not switch subjects.
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« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2013, 04:57:58 PM »

Without question it's nice. But they live under the impression there is more to it than dressing up and sing songs. Like a theurgy of tradition or something.

I must have googled "theurgy".

I don't see your point. What are your trying to discuss here? People who try to preserve old customs and rituals? People, who keep conservative rightwing morality? People who LARP?

I have no idea.
you have a better idea, Michal, than he does.
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« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2013, 04:59:03 PM »

Quote
I would think you put what's on display in that photo on a par with 'Orthodoxy in Dixie' and many such-like phenomena.
One thing, at last we sorta agree on Wink
Orthodoxy in Dixie

and of course

http://orthodoxhistory.org/tag/philip-ludwell-iii/
We were talking about that funny movie but let's not switch subjects.
you're the one who started a conversation without a subject, just an object.  Not I.

So, what's so funny about the movie?
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« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2013, 05:00:04 PM »

Quote
The radical antidote? A fortnight in the desert. Or a lifetime.       
Although I really like deserts I do not see how fleeing from human society is a solution. It might be extreme yes, but not a solution.

Then what? Changing one's utopias on a regular basis, so as not to get too bored with them. Accumulating "experience"? Having a culturally-informed multiply-developed vast-horizons-encompassing world view?

Or worse, reorienting your quest for knowledge and meaning towards human persons? They're not inexhaustible. You get bored with them too. Move on? To the next interesting friend, the next exotic "hottie", the other/the same sex?  

One can only do so much. Possibilities seem endless, but they are not infinite. And everybody's sort of running out of patience and frenetically looking for "something else". It's still going to be "wind chasing" as Qohelet put it. "Nothing new under the sun". And havel havalim ve haqol havel.

Of course, there's always going to be the bait: "the kingdoms of the world and their splendor". But, in the end, what/whom do you worship?  


 

 
No need to go that far. More like trying to live meaningfully in the present in the place you find yourself in. Make peace with the world in a way. Living a full human life/experience.
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« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2013, 05:00:31 PM »

Traditionalism can be an idol, and this false traditionalism must be distinguished from a proper traditionalism. True traditionalism is merely an orthodox, living manifestation of tradition; tradition being nothing more than the faith and practices which our Lord gave to us for our salvation, which has been passed down through each new generation within the soul of the body of Christ. To be a traditionalist is to be Orthodox. That is not to say that one must proclaim oneself a traditionalist to be Orthodox. Neither do I think that one must join a Local Church that openly proclaims herself traditionalist to be Orthodox. Rather, to be Orthodox is to be Tradition: being Orthodox is not just about being "traditionalist," but it is, so to speak, to be tradition itself. Communion with God and union with all the saints makes us a living, growing part of Tradition. Tradition, in the Church, interpenetrates everything, and even the "newest" Orthodox thing is nothing but a new piece of fruit on the living tree called Tradition. Tradition is not simply the past fruit, then, but the fruit from all ages which has been pleasing to God and has been produced from the tree that he planted in His vineyard, the earth. True traditionalism is always loving, hoping,and faith-filled and faithful. True traditionalists look to the past to inform their understanding, learning from the past, and do not distort tradition by cultivating bitter arguments to use against their brothers, based on the sweet fruit of the Father's teachings.
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« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2013, 05:02:06 PM »

I tried to get that discussion started here once, but it died shortly after a few glib answers such as “traditionalists are those who follow the faith of the Apostles” were given.

There have been a number of threads on the subject, and there will yet be many more...
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« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2013, 05:04:46 PM »

Quote
The radical antidote? A fortnight in the desert. Or a lifetime.       
Although I really like deserts I do not see how fleeing from human society is a solution. It might be extreme yes, but not a solution.

Then what? Changing one's utopias on a regular basis, so as not to get too bored with them. Accumulating "experience"? Having a culturally-informed multiply-developed vast-horizons-encompassing world view?

Or worse, reorienting your quest for knowledge and meaning towards human persons? They're not inexhaustible. You get bored with them too. Move on? To the next interesting friend, the next exotic "hottie", the other/the same sex?  

One can only do so much. Possibilities seem endless, but they are not infinite. And everybody's sort of running out of patience and frenetically looking for "something else". It's still going to be "wind chasing" as Qohelet put it. "Nothing new under the sun". And havel havalim ve haqol havel.

Of course, there's always going to be the bait: "the kingdoms of the world and their splendor". But, in the end, what/whom do you worship?  


 

 
No need to go that far. More like trying to live meaningfully in the present in the place you find yourself in. Make peace with the world in a way. Living a full human life/experience.
I can see how that could conflict with Traditionalism, but necessary conflict do you find with tradition in that pursuit?
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« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2013, 05:10:10 PM »

Let me be clear that I although "modernity" can be a very nebulous concept, for me it's shorthand for largely progressive, leftist movements toward greater liberty: economic, social, political. But also the present economic  structure of global capitalism that is liberty's enemy in the end.
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« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2013, 05:10:31 PM »

No need to go that far. More like trying to live meaningfully in the present in the place you find yourself in. Make peace with the world in a way. Living a full human life/experience.

So the extremes would be being an idiot (someone who is so eccentric that he's totally severed his ties to the outside-world) or to "go with the flow" (suit yourself as best you can to the "fashion/face of this world" so as to be likeable and easy-going).

I guess Tradition should be the middle way: being in the world, but not of this world.    
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« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2013, 05:15:36 PM »

Thesis: Traditionalism is a thoroughly modern phenomenon.

True.

Quote
Traditionalists are deluded to think they can turn the clock back.

Not true. IMO those who want to rediscover various alleged early church traditions are those who want to turn the clock back. Those who are called as traditionalists just want to continue with what former generation used to do without reinventing the weel.
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« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2013, 05:19:24 PM »

Quote
Not true. IMO those who want to rediscover various alleged early church traditions are those who want to turn the clock back. Those who are called as traditionalists just want to continue with what former generation used to do without reinventing the weel.
But the "former generation" itself wasn't nearly as monolithic as thy think. Or even when they gave some assent to things the traditionalists hold dear they did it in completely different circumstances and reasons. Take the phenomenon of women covering their head, because it's conspicuous.
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« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2013, 05:27:32 PM »

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Not true. IMO those who want to rediscover various alleged early church traditions are those who want to turn the clock back. Those who are called as traditionalists just want to continue with what former generation used to do without reinventing the weel.
But the "former generation" itself wasn't nearly as monolithic as thy think. Or even when they gave some assent to things the traditionalists hold dear they did it in completely different circumstances and reasons. Take the phenomenon of women covering their head, because it's conspicuous.

You may have a point in that the former generation was not as monolithic as people might think. However I do think that there is some wisdom in preserving some traditions even the reasons for preserving them may change. Cultures can't be reconstructed on basis of or evaluated by reason. That'll just destroy them.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 05:28:31 PM by Alpo » Logged
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« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2013, 05:28:30 PM »

I still do not know who or what are you discussing.
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« Reply #36 on: January 23, 2013, 05:31:17 PM »

Yes, Alpo. But you see modernism is already able to incorporate enough of the old stuff into the present, as it grew out of that. As I see it, progress is just expanding the boundaries of freedom, incorporating more, formerly oppressed groups.  While traditionalist movements are way more parochial and bitching at the present. Or at least the more progressive  parts of the present. They are all quite at peace with the most severe forms of economic injustice though.
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« Reply #37 on: January 23, 2013, 05:33:16 PM »

I still do not know who or what are you discussing.
Trying at least to talk about what fuels movements and individuals self-described as "traditional(ist)".
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« Reply #38 on: January 23, 2013, 05:33:47 PM »

Let me be clear that I although "modernity" can be a very nebulous concept, for me it's shorthand for largely progressive, leftist movements toward greater liberty: economic, social, political. But also the present economic  structure of global capitalism that is liberty's enemy in the end.

Liberty does have its limits for the human animal. I don't mean those imposed by the "filthy burgeois". I mean the biological and physical limits inherent to the human condition: death, illness, suffering.

How many drinks/wild nights-out/merry-go-rounds around the carusel of life can one enjoy before one ruins one's health? How much money can you make before you become a greedy oppressor? How much pleasure or pain can you endure before you become hooked or crushed?   

This goes for the individual, but also for society at large. If there's more and smarter people, that doesn't automatically mean more material "progress" is possible, plausible or even desirable. Technology seems to enable us to live longer, but have a miserable old age; provides us with more food, but less qualitative or even dangerous, etc.

So, to quote one of your 'favourite' authors: "What is lost when something is gained?"   
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« Reply #39 on: January 23, 2013, 05:42:47 PM »

Why is it all important for nearly all self-described "traditionalists" to oppose women's rights, gay rights, worker's rights, immigration, Gypsies etc etc? For some pater familias to feel like he's big and has got power? In the end I think so...On the micro-level I mean. In the macro it's all about the power of capital to easily dispose people as needed by the demands of it's inner logic.
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« Reply #40 on: January 23, 2013, 05:46:37 PM »

I still do not know who or what are you discussing.
Trying at least to talk about what fuels movements and individuals self-described as "traditional(ist)".

I think of myself as a traditionalist however many of people here can think of me as liberal. These are very subjective terms.
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Alpo
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« Reply #41 on: January 23, 2013, 05:47:20 PM »

Yes, Alpo. But you see modernism is already able to incorporate enough of the old stuff into the present, as it grew out of that. While traditionalist movements are way more parochial and bitching at the present. Or at least the more progressive  parts of the present. They are all quite at peace with the most severe forms of economic injustice.

Since I'm not a Socialist we might have a little differing opinions on what constitutes as "severe forms of economic injustice" Wink

I believe we might speaking about a little different things here since our backgrounds are way different. I know very little about rural Orthodoxy in Romania and or US society and I'm assuming you know very little about history and present state of Finland.

What do you mean by "modernism"? I thought I had a hunch what you were talking about traditionalism but I'm not exactly sure what you mean by modernism. Some words seem to have different meaning in the US than they do back here.

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« Reply #42 on: January 23, 2013, 05:48:24 PM »

I still do not know who or what are you discussing.
Trying at least to talk about what fuels movements and individuals self-described as "traditional(ist)".

I think of myself as a traditionalist however many of people here can think of me as liberal. These are very subjective terms.
From what you write here I never thought of you as a "traditionalist" in the sense discussed here.
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« Reply #43 on: January 23, 2013, 05:49:44 PM »

@augustin717, so how do you describe a traditionalist?
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« Reply #44 on: January 23, 2013, 05:53:13 PM »

Quote
So, to quote one of your 'favourite' authors: "What is lost when something is gained?"   
Perhaps some idyllism, that never was as idyllic to begin with is lost, like a nice home-loomed shirt. What is gained? Berhaps more women getting to have a say in whom they marry? I think it's not a terrible exchange. Neither do some of those that tasted that, think so.
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