Tradition

Much of our ethical life is lived unthinkingly, for we do as we do by habit, custom, tradition, or because we have thought the pros and cons of similar situations. We must somehow be able to decide what is valuable at this moment while at the same time remaining open to future revisions in our valuational pattern. This willingness to revise, to be open to new possibilities of value, is for me a key to life and value enhancement.

Just because something is tradition doesn't make it right.

Leadership is particularly necessary to ensure ready acceptance of the unfamiliar and that which is contrary to tradition.

Tradition is the witness of the Spirit; the Spirit’s unceasing revelation and preaching of good tidings… It is, primarily, the principle of growth and regeneration.

History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history we make today.

Persecution always acts as a gel for members of cults; it proves to them, in the absence of history, liturgy, tradition, and doctrine that they are God’s chosen.

The problem is the spirit of our age: denial of transcendence, the vapidity of values, emptiness in the heart, the decreased sensitivity to the imponderable quality of the spirit, the collapse of communication between the realm of tradition and the inner world of the individual.

The nearer my approach to the end, the plainer is the sound of immortal symphonies of worlds which invite me. It is wonderful yet simple. It is a fairy tale; it is history. For half a century I have been translating my thoughts into prose and verse; history, philosophy, drama, romance, tradition, satire, ode and song; all of these I have tried. But I feel that I haven’t given utterance to the thousandth part of what lies within me. When I go to the grave I can say as others have said, “My day’s work is done.” But I cannot say, “My life is done.” My day’s work will recommence the next morning. the tomb is not a blind alley; it is a thoroughfare. It closes upon the twilight, but opens upon the dawn.

For tradition to be alive it has to be allowed to be a fountain of power for things undreamt of, things to come.

A hero… is not a hero until he is recognized as one. This means that the actualization of the hero is a two-way projection. First the hero must project by way of his deeds, his style, his character. When the projection registers, an imaginative process begins to remake the hero to fit as fully as possible the symbolic weight of his image. Legend and myth take over the historical personage, and through either an oral or a written tradition he is reborn in his heroic apotheosis.

We know tradition as a living social process constantly changing, constantly in need of criticism, but constant also as the continuing memory, value system and habit structure of a society.

Imagination continually frustrates tradition. That is its function.

Faith is deeper, richer, more personal. It is engendered by a religious tradition, in some cases and to some degree by its doctrines; but it is a quality of the person not of the system. It is an orientation of the personality, to oneself, to one’s neighbor, to the universe; a total response; a way of seeing whatever one sees and of handling whatever one handles; a capacity to live at more than a mundane level; to see, to feel, to act in terms of, a transcendent dimension.

If a man has lived in a tradition which tells him that nothing can be done about his human condition, to believe that progress is possible may be the greatest revolution of all.

Men's manners have improved markedly since Genghis Khan's day. Harems went out of style centuries ago and even despots now disavow pillage and oppression as ideals. At heart, though, we're the same animals we were 800 years ago. Which is to say we are status seekers. We may talk of equality and fraternity. We may strive for classless societies. But we go right on building hierarchies and jockeying for status within them. Can we abandon the tendency? Probably not. For as scientists are now discovering, status seeking is not just a habit or cultural tradition. It's a design of the male psyche - a biological drive that is rooted in the nervous system and regulated by hormones and brain chemicals.

A Hopi tradition speaks of a fall from grace in which human beings experience themselves as progressively more separate from earth, animals, and other humans. The return to grace is through reunion. The cause of the fall is ascribed to people's forgetting their true nature and purpose.

When The problem to be faced is: how to combine loyalty to one's own tradition with reverence for different traditions.

Freethinkers are those who reach judgment based on critical thinking and independent reasoning without regard to prevailing authority and tradition.

The primary function of myth is to validate an existing social order. Myth enshrines conservative social values, raising tradition on a pedestal. It expresses and confirms, rather than explains or questions, the sources of cultural attitudes and values. Because myth anchors the present in the past it is a sociological charter for a future society which is an exact replica of the present one.