Each week I aim to publish two posts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday mornings. (They posts are supplemented by occasional “newsy” items such as the recent Out of the Mouths of Teenagers.)
The first post can cover any topic. This week it is A Personal Journey Part III: Entropy: Into the Greenhouse World. The second post is directed toward the Christian community. This week I thought that I might say a few words about Monasticism and the Age of Limits.
It is probable that, as our own society enters its own extended period of decline, that we will see a revival of the monastic ideal. It has happened before. For example, as the western Roman Empire declined, and what we refer to as the Dark Ages commenced, Benedict of Nursia and others started a powerful monastic movement.
Their ideals are usually condensed into three principles: poverty, chastity and obedience.
Few of us will choose to join such a community. Nevertheless, the monastic ideals can be adopted by everyone, at least in modified form — particularly that of poverty, which can be construed as being living a simple life within the physical constraints of the environment. In other words, as far as possible to live in equilibrium with natural systems, and to minimize the use of fossil fuels and other finite resources.
As the Roman Empire declined, monastic foundations in both halves of the empire helped maintain cultural institutions. They also helped save valuable texts, which would otherwise have been destroyed in the chaos of the times. It is reasonable to suppose that monastic institutions in our future will also help preserve the memories and culture of our society.