Short-Form

An ongoing collection of short-form pieces created as I work out ideas and insights related to my current projects. No pics, no formatting—just thinking.

Voegelin’s “The New Science of Politics”: Chapter Five: Gnostic Revolution—the Puritan Case

Dec 21, 20221 min read

I won’t go into much detail regarding this chapter as it’s really just a case study of sorts that portrays an example of Gnosticism in society and the effort to re-divinize temporal power. Voegelin does this by looking at the Puritan revolution in 17th century England. What is interesting in this chapter is Voegelin’s seeming assertion that all Protestant movements are Gnostic in one way or another. I’ve never considered that before and need to dig into that idea more to form my own take. One wonders if that includes the Church of England, which is pre-Reformation, but also Protestant. Another noteworthy point which comes out towards the end of the chapter is that public order is impossible without a…

Voegelin’s “The New Science of Politics”: Chapter Four: Gnosticism—The Nature of Modernity

Dec 20, 20223 min read

Christianity de-divinized temporal power by establishing a split between the spiritual power of the church and represented in the pope and the temporal power of society/the state represented in the emperor/ruler. Modern efforts to re-divinize temporal power are rooted in Christian heresies dating back to the late 12th century. Before this time, the West and Church universal held to Augustine’s teaching that there is not going to be an actual millennial reign of Christ commenced by his physical return, but rather the establishment of the Church with its role as the body of Christ and its pope is the beginning of the millennial reign and constitutes an age of Christ’s reign symbolized by the 1,000 years of peace. In the…

Voegelin’s “The New Science of Politics”: Chapter Three: The Struggle for Representation in the Roman Empire

Dec 19, 20222 min read

This chapter traces the end of political theology through the establishment of Christianity in Roman empire. To begin, we come to understand there are three types of representational truth: Cosmological truth Anthropological truth Soteriological truth With the first, society represents the truth of the transcendent in that it becomes a microcosm of the greater cosmological reality. In the second, society becomes a macrocosm of man’s soul, manifesting Plato’s idea that the polis is man written large. In this instance, the mature society is one which the souls of men are oriented towards the transcendent, hence it is a society likewise oriented towards the transcendent. In the third, society is based on a friendship, or intimacy, with God. The problem with…

Voegelin’s “The New Science of Politics”: Chapter Two: Representation & Truth

Dec 17, 20223 min read

Before I get into this chapter, I am coming to realize that I need to read this book a second time. I’ve gotten used to Voegelin’s way of speaking and writing, so there’s not a comprehension issue. But, the content is so dense and rich that I want to make sure I fully grasp it. The reading is going well, so I may just start at the beginning after I finish it a few days from now. Okay, now to this chapter. If representation is theoretically a representation of the institution, and the institution is an articulation of societal action in the form of the state, then the action of the state comes forth from an idea. This idea, for…

Voegelin’s “The New Science of Politics”: Chapter One: Representation & Existence

Dec 15, 20223 min read

In this chapter Voegelin sets out towards a useful understanding of representation as it relates to governance, because for him the current ways in which we think and talk about representative government is provincial and not useful. First, he sets the Aristotelian procedure of symbols in reality and concepts in science as our standard. He then proceeds to demonstrate that our supposed scientific understanding of representative government is really more of an elemental understanding, since the idea of representation means different things to different people and groups. Each group—democratic, Marxist, monarchist—all claim their forms of governments are representative, hence relegating these definitions to symbolic. To get at an existential (conceptual) understanding of representation, Voegelin makes the distinction between an agent…