The Terror of History: On the Uncertainties of Life in Western Civilization

By Teofilo F. Ruiz | Go to book overview

II
RELIGION AND THE WORLD TO COME

As A CHILD AND AN ADOLESCENT, I attended a private Catholic school, entertained, as did many of my schoolmates, thoughts of the priesthood, and even joined a small ascetic community. Reading Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises and the life of St. Francis, fasting every Thursday, even refusing to drink any liquids on those days in the tropical setting of my youth, I thought I had grasped some deep understanding of the world and of my own spirituality. But my religion was, after all, that of Cuba. As such, my beliefs were always undermined by the sights and sounds of my sensuous homeland and by my coming of age in the midst of a revolution. A new and far more passionate “religious” feeling—revolutionary ideals—swept me along, as they did many of my friends and contemporaries, into an intense, though short-lived belief that we could create the kingdom of heaven on earth, and that equality, a kind of Franciscan “socialism,” was possible. Like many people my age, I thought I could be an instrument, a participant in changing the world. Growing old is also the realization that as much as some of us may wish to do so, it is not to be. The world changes us instead. Or rather, if we are successful in carrying out some changes or impressing some of the students in our classes, the changes are individual and

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The Terror of History: On the Uncertainties of Life in Western Civilization
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • I - The Terror of History 1
  • II - Religion and the World to Come 35
  • III - The World of Matter and the Senses 83
  • IV - The Lure of Beauty and Knowledge 129
  • Conclusion 167
  • Index 173
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