NEW CATEGORY – MONASTICISM

New Category Added-Monasticism

I’ve just added a new Category named Monasticism. This one is something of a niche category and may not be of any interest to many of you.

It was engendered by my wife asking me to find her books on early Monasteries. She wanted to research them for hints and mentions of how early Monasteries remained self sufficient while remaining a small self contained community.

There are Monasteries in parts of the world that have existed virtually unchanged throughout hundreds of years some of them for over a millenium. Which means they have had hundreds of years of experience maintaining a self sufficient community and have learned lessons that would be of value to anyone seeking to build a self sufficient life for themselves.

Certainly many monasteries and religious orders, particularly in more prosperous regions of the world, have depending on tithes from communities and donations from wealthy patrons. In many areas nobles would outright gift portions of the land’s production or even acreage itself to a monastic order to provide for their support. It is not secret that such practices were subject to abuse and corruption.

But then in Three Months in an English Monastery 1864 – Charles Walker wrote:

“There is danger of abuse in everything in which poor human nature is concerned, and there always will be. All we can hope to do is reduce it to the minimum.”

That individuals are prone to corruption and vice does not change the ideals to which we aspire.

Some may object to the overtly religious nature of many of these books. To those who do my response is simple.. “Get a life.” No one guaranteed that you will never be offended.

If they did and you believed them then I’m not sure which is worse… them for lying or you for being foolish enough to believe them though I’m inclined to think the latter.

If you are offended by the religious beliefs of others when their actions do not directly threaten you then I suggest the problem lies in you and not in them. If someone tries to kill me then I don’t care what their religious beliefs are I will respond accordingly. If they don’t threaten me then I also don’t care how they worship God.

Many of the books are histories of specific orders or compilations of history or anecdotes about specific monasteries in particular locations. Thus much of the material in each book is focused on the religious, political or social aspects of that order or Monastery. But here and there in them are references to the daily lives of the monks or friars and what they are doing to survive and maintain. Those nuggets of information will be of interest to those attempting to do the same thing.

On a more abstract level some of the books detail the social interactions of clerics in the local community, how they deal with disputes, social ills, disagreements, and so on. In most cases these are rural areas, villages and towns and not major cities.

Should any of us find ourselves trying to rebuild a world from scratch that’s exactly the environment in which we will eventually find ourselves… as part of small villages, towns and communities struggling with exactly the same kind of problems that a village in rural England did a hundred or two hundred years ago.

Technology may have changed but despite what you hear in the media and from politicians people haven’t.

To repeat what Charles Walker wrote in the above quotation:

“There is danger of abuse in everything in which poor human nature is concerned, and there always will be. All we can hope to do is reduce it to the minimum.”

That will be just as true in a world rebuilding from scratch as it is today and was when he wrote it.

The Librarian

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