From the political philosopher’s essay “The Fabric of Hope”, a passage which featured prominently in Matthew Sitman’s talk at our 2012 Fall Conference in Charlottesville, “The Wound and the Gift” (embedded at the bottom):

“The commonplace that no civilization can last forever contains an essential truth: time is the enemy of civilization. And in the last analysis we humans are on the side of time, not of civilization. Time must finally be allowed to have its way with civilization. Hope is willingness to entrust our lives to time…

“Sin is evasion of time. In giving way to nostalgia, for example, we flee from time into the past. Evading time is accomplished mainly, however, by constructing worlds — orders of life in which everything has its assigned place, and all events are foreknown if not willed. There are personal worlds, occupied perhaps by only a single individual; and there is also ‘the world,’ the surrounding order of society, treated as objectively knowable, humanly controllable, and morally final. A world is always a kind of fortress against time. Sin, as I have tried to show, is in essence worldliness, whether in proud mastery of a world, in distracted abandonment of oneself to someone else’s world, or, as is almost always the case, a subtle mixture of these. To entrust your life to time, however, is to acknowledge the impermanence and imperfection of all worlds. It is to dwell within the situation in which time has placed you, suffering and doing what you must, in the faith that by submitting to the demands of time you are submitting to the demands of God, the Lord of time.”