Searching for Our Human Face: The False Selves of Modernity

Eclectic Orthodoxy

by Brian C. Moore, Ph.D.

In A Secular Age, Charles Taylor draws a distinction between the modern and pre-modern self. Here is how he describes a possible experience of falling in love for the pre-modern self:

Say someone falls in love. And this has an impact, good or ill, on his life. An “internal” event, we think, albeit susceptible to pressures from outside . . . But now let’s say that we see this whole side of life as under the aegis of a goddess, Aphrodite. That means that its going well is its being smiled on by Aphrodite. This means not only that she is keeping the external dangers at bay; like a human patron, she is in this aspect causally responsible for the conditions being propitious. It also means that the blooming of the right internal motivation is a gift from her. In other words, my being…

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