Thankfully, having gotten the holidays out of the way for another twelve months, I wanted to say a few things regarding tradition, something I feel that colludes with and propels that commercially driven holiday lesser known as Christ’s “birthday.” (I put birthday in quotes because if you have actually opened a book and done a bit of reading you will already know that December 25th cannot be pinpointed as Christ’s birthday, but that’s another conversation).
Traditions are kept alive via the living faith of the dead. Morbid sounding, right? Traditionalism is the fresh, dead faith of the living–also kinda morbid, but not backwards looking. Tradition is something that converses with the past, using the (purported) past as a touchstone to triangulate positionality in the present, and thus “meaning;” tradition “allows” us to “remember” who and what we are, how to act, what to celebrate, and that we continue “deciding” on this path of tradition.
Traditionalism, in contrast, assumes that all things should be done afresh; historical repetition for the sake of repetition, therefore, becomes a calcification of behavior. From a traditionalist’s point of view, all that is needed to solve or overcome a problem is to embrace this paradigm of current-thinking. Tradition might provide wisdom with which to pragmatically understand some current social artifact, but it cannot understand social zeitgeist; for that one must live in and look directly at society, not backwards at it.