More downsizing

The reader with an eye on the Catholic Thing, this morning, will have learnt from Mr Randall Smith how to distinguish the mediaeval reductio, from the contemporary reduction. The former is, from its Latin etymology, a “leading back” to sources and causes; the latter is instead a simplification, or reduction in size and complexity.

He (the reader) will have learnt from another Catholic website, or from life, the importance of his Latin lessons, when he was (or is) preparing himself for the Catholic experience. For as a Catholic, today, he will be increasingly on his own; and surrounded by a culture that is radically in opposition.

For philosophy, as well as religion, speaks Latin, albeit philosophy in translation from Greek. It is the wonderfully quick and well-steered getaway vehicle for our reductio.

My own current thoughts have been rather on downsizing, reduction, “less is more,” &c, in our modern sense. We should be wary of bigness, that is not of God. My own practice is to note this quality, “bigness,” but to run from it rather than approach it and be squashed. For only what is of God will not squash you.

Created nature (and all of it was created by Him) must be smaller than He by comparison, no matter how large it may be in relation to us. I refer only to the quality of sizeness; of course, the quantity cannot be measured. We should never be trying to make the big bigger, when it is not of God. Rather, in our reductio, we should follow it back, for all things finally originate in God. This is the heroic backwardness I have been advocating in these essays; the unity of a worldview that leads reliably from the small and smaller, to the large. We should not be distracted on our journey by objects which are big and empty, like politics or empires. We shouldn’t be satisfied by imitations.

We should ourselves be imitators, of Christ. For that is the one sure way, the positive reductio, by which our lives can make sense. Getting rid of the trash that we have assembled around us is merely the necessary housekeeping.