Cast of mind, heritage, and temperaments. You know the difference, even if you cannot name the difference.

I’m beginning to think that people have “temperaments” and “beliefs”. And I’m not talking about “nice” temperaments and “mean” spirited temperaments. They’re more complex than that.

They have to do with how you take a joke. And what you joke about. How irenic or walled-off you are, yes that too, but also how you look at things. You can tell a lot about a person by what makes them laugh and by what makes them scream.

T.S. Eliot was probably onto something when he said he was, religiously, of a: “a Catholic cast of mind, a Calvinist heritage, and a Puritanical temperament.”

All that said, I may be the most conservative liberal I know on politics. I’ll let you guess which one describes my “cast of mind” and which is my temperament and how they relate. I admit sometimes we try to make categories too complex to seem smart.

That’s why my political beliefs on facebook read: “Post-modern paleo-conservative” with the description: “at some point you’re just stringing together words to see if anyone notices.”

People who call themselves some technically nonsense label like “Atheist Catholics” are probably trying to communicate their unique situation through paradox.They probably mean their upbringing influences them, the way they look at things, even if their beliefs run contrary to the school of thought which still influences their temperament. I can sympathize with that.

I often enjoy the company of those who disagree with me in politics because those who agree with me tend to have an unbearable, even humorless, temperament. At least in college, DO I ever hope it changes as I age (but I’m not holding my breath given the prominence of the loud-mouthed and dismissive middle-aged media idols which capture people of all ages).

To shift the discussion to theology, as I close, I will use Eliot’s model to describe myself. I may be in theology a “Critical realist cast of mind, an Evangelical heritage, and a Traditionalist temperament.”
That’s just my relatively uneducated guess though.

More specifics on this another time.


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