Today, long since the end of hierarchical honor culture brought passed-down authorities crashing down, we trust public opinion more than anything else, and hardly trust that.
We say we trust the experts, but fight tooth and nail over what true expertise is, struggling to discredit one another’s experts like the unhinged amateur attorneys we’ve become.
Constantly in motion, constantly torn between ambition and fear, constantly unsure of our relative status and our future security, we have no time for calm, considered, and above all patient reflection on the edifying subtleties of non-literal texts that so enrich the heart, the mind, and the soul.
Literalism has turned disagreement over religion into one of the most bloody fronts in the culture war (metaphorically! for now). Literalism has turned debate into an all-or-nothing game. Literalism has left us with no alternative mode of thought but a sadly deracinated zone of emotionally paralyzed vagueness, where we feebly gesture toward things that are “very sort of” this way, or give us some thin “sense of” that feeling.