Excerpt from the talk, “Wisdom: The Foundation of an Organic Christian Society” given by John Horvat II at the 2013 TFP National Conference on October 26, 2013
As I said before, wisdom is to know the highest cause. I like very much the explanation of wisdom of German philosopher Josef Pieper. He says: “To know the highest cause,’ then, does not mean to know the cause of some particular thing, but to know the cause of everything and of all things: it means to know the ‘whither’ and the ‘whence,’ the origin and the end, the plan and the structure, the frame work and the meaning of reality.”1
And he has a point. We live in a hyper-specialized world where everyone knows more and more about less and less. That is why the specialist is not necessarily a wise man; he often lacks a vision of the whole. We have lost the notion of that the whole framework of a Christian order that explains the meaning of life together in society; that order of the universe that serves as the map to get us to our final goal of salvation which is why we are here in the first place.
In this sense, the book, Return to Order: From Frenzied Economy to Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go is all about wisdom. It comes naturally to the book.
When you think of return, return insinuates causes. You are turning back to something that came before. You are retracing your steps to find a cause, which will provide a solution.
Order also speaks to us of wisdom. Order insinuates intelligent design built into the nature of things. Somebody organized a “plan and structure.” There is an efficient cause with an original intent. When you think of order, you think of a whole framework. When I say a room is in order; it means everything is where it should be.
And so from the perspective of the book, Revolution and Counter-revolution by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, we need to return to order because the Revolution has destroyed Christian civilization; it has scrambled everything all up and made a real mess of things. Our noble purpose is to put this order back together; to reconstruct the map, to carry out a Counter-revolution.
1 Josef Pieper, Leisure: The Basis of Culture, (New York: The New American Library, 1963), p. 110.