Archive E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene

Lamennais on Indifference and Truth

Words introductory, in which I do the disclaimer thing: The following quotation should not be taken as an endorsement of Lamennais in omnibus rebus as anyone who reads his Wikipedia entry will immediately understand. But the quotation itself is worthy of some reflection. And anyway, I was directed to it by the great Bavinck. So there.

Le siècle le plus malade n’est pas celui qui se passionne pour l’erreur, mais le siècle qui néglige, qui dédaigne la vérité. Il y a encore de la force, et par consequent de l’espoir, là où l’on aperçoit de violents transports; mais, lorsque tout movement est éteint, lorsque le pouls a cessé de batter, que le froid a gagné le Coeur, qu’attendre allors, qu’une prochaine et inévitable dissolution? (Essai sur l’indifférence en matière de religion 1: 3)

The age that is most ailing is not that which is violent in behalf of error, but the age which neglects, which disdains the truth. There is still power, and consequently hope, wherever violent commotions are felt: but when all motion is extinguished, when the pulse has ceased to beat, when a cold chill has reached the heart, what next is to be expected but an approaching and unavoidable dissolution. (Essay on Indifference in Matters of Religion, tr. Lord Stanley of Alderley, xv)

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.