Over on EerdWord, First Things senior editor R.R. Reno discusses his forthcoming book Fighting the Noonday Devil — and Other Essays Personal and Theological:
We are not meant to leave things as they are; God commanded Adam and Eve to till and keep the garden and exercise dominion. Society and the soul need to be subjected to a constant, cultivating scrutiny: Are we living as we should?
In order to think about how to live, we absorb detailed information about the world. More powerful still is our capacity to theorize. We can formulate a concept, for example, of human motivation and behavior, and develop psychological or sociological theories. In this way, we hope to see the anatomy of social reality — the muscles and bones and metabolic systems of culture.
There is nothing intrinsically bad about the move toward theory and abstraction. On the contrary, it can be very helpful. But it’s tempting to imagine that theory is the most important way to figure out how to live as we should.