Writing in 1956, Romano Guardini reflected on man’s place in a world hurtling toward what we call today postmodernism. The End of the Modern World is a bleak reflection but a necessary one. Guardini, professor of philosophy and theology that he was, leaped beyond abstractions here to enter the battle for souls that theoretical formulas deflect.
Nicolas Bataille. Dragons Vomiting Frogs (14th C). Apocalypse of Angers, Tapestry Museum, Angers, F.
One stark passage alone is worth volumes of academic theology written by court theologians for fellow courtiers. He is speaking of the eschatological conditions under which modern man lives and the religious temper of his self-created future:
With these words I proclaim no facile apocalyptic. No man has the right to say that the End is here, for Christ Himself has declared that only the Father knows the day and the hour. (Matthew xxiv, 36). If we speak here of the nearness of the End, we do not mean nearness in the sense of time, but nearness as it pertains to the essence of the End, for in essence man’s existence is now nearing an absolute decision. Each and every consequence of that decision bears within it the greatest potentiality and the most extreme danger.
Nearness as it pertains to the essence of the End.
The Triumph of Death (15th C). Catalan fresco. National Gallery of Sicily, Palermo.