A note on doctrine and discipline…

…as told by a couple unwitting pagans [?].

We sum up the observation of past facts, [and] the foreseeing of future acts, … in saying: “Men get themselves killed for their country.” In making that statement we assume that there is a sentiment which drives them to sacrifice themselves for their county [A] and at the same time to talk about that sacrifice [B]. If we call the statements that accompany the sacrifice C, then we may … [depict it this way]:

cab triangle

This triangle represents a relation of mutual dependence between A, B, and C. That is, we never argue that any one of the elements is the cause of the others; all react on each other. …

Let us suppose that B is the practice and ritual, the cult of a given religion, and that C is its [assertative, doctrinal] theology. We should all agree that in few religions do either cult or theology determine each other, and that neither is without its influence on the state of mind of the worshippers. The act of saying a creed or crossing yourself [or upholding traditional canonical discipline…?] confirms your beliefs as truly as the beliefs make you do these things. Moreover, your state of mind as you leave the church on Sunday [or read a papal motu proprio on any day] has been changed by both.

An Introduction to Pareto and His Sociology, George C. Homans and Charles C. Curtis, Jr. (New York: Alfred A Knopf: 1934), pp. 79-80.


About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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