Monday, May 15, 2006
I have lately been participating in arranging a Finnish Pietist funeral. It has been very strange to witness the added meaning and form associated with the process: a death gets its proportionate place, its formalized, proper meaning - a certain warmth is thus added to the proceedings. I have very hard time imagining the same with a purely materialist point of view. What really could be said in that case, what would be the point of saying it? With the Pietist tradition there are universal echoes, satisfactory form and proportion. This is very far removed from any crude literal interpretation of Christianity, but the sad, beautiful Finnish folk melodies easily reach beyond any primitive fundamentalism. Such universal songs of hope and homesickness. In so far as we these days lack these regulated, proportionate ceremonies, these signifying meanings, we lack civilization itself. And that surely is not a sustainable state of affairs.