With the passing of the old year, generational change has been on my mind. I was discussing with a friend before the holiday that each generation has its own questions; or—to be more precise—its own way of asking timeless questions. Thus this or that way of forming the question may come and go in fashion, but the core of what we are looking for, the root of the perplexing problem, is not altogether very different from how it was in the past. Contra constructivists but ala Andy Crouch our words and ideas do not change the world, but they do create, cultivate and illuminate the substance of what is there in new and surprising ways.
Over the holidays my last surviving grandparent passed away, in relative peace in the Netherlands. Her expressions and ideas were very different from mine, as from my mother's, but the faithful expression she gave in her own time, before the face of God, certainly lives on both in the here and now, and in the time to come. How will the questions we ask, the answers we find and suggest relate to her own? In 2009 I am committed to becoming a better traditioner, less impressed with the new, the gaudy and the flashy, and more impressed with the historic, the timeless and the tested.
Shortly before, a monolithic figure in international relations scholarship also passed on. It would be difficult to overstate the impact that Samuel P. Huntington has had on the discipline, particularly his role in suggesting a tangible place for religion in IR, whatever we might make of it. He also leaves a towering legacy worth thought and reflection. Via A&L Daily:
Samuel P. Huntington, versatile scholar whose idea of a "clash of civilizations" was vastly influential, is dead at 81... Forbes... WSJ... Wash Post... London Times... Harvard