Zing!

(Gawain and some of Arthur’s other knights are at the court of the leader of the Romans, Lucius Hibernius)

As Lucius was replying that he had not come there in order to withdraw, but rather that he might govern the country, his nephew Gaius Quintillanus who was present was heard to mutter that the Britons were better at boasting and making threats than they were at proving their courage and prowess on the battle-field.  Gawain was immediately incensed at this.  He drew his sword from the scabbard which was hanging at his belt, rushed at Gaius and cut off his head.

(the Britons make a run for it as the Romans give chase)

In the meantime Marcellus Mutius was making every effort to avenge Quintillianus.  He was already threatening Gawain from the rear, and was on the point of laying hold of him, when Gawain swung around and with the sword which he brandished clove him through helm and head to his chest, bidding him, when he got to hell, to tell Quintillianus, whom Gawain had just cut down in camp, that this was why the Britons were so good at boasting and making threats.

Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain, x.4

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An informal, dashed off, certainly wrong history

First, God is removed from the world.  Ironically, this stems from a pious impulse.  The transcendence of God is stressed to the detriment of His immanence, and the ontological link between creation and creator is severed.*  The universe is made a distinct sphere in which, in the absence of God, man becomes the measure of all things.  What makes man unique, thought, is deemed primary, and the connection of thought and being is broken.  Matter and mind are deemed radically distinct, and what is perceived is located in the perceiver.  Doubt becomes catastrophic and is made the beginning of philosophy, displacing wonder.  The possibility of inferring from sensible things to higher things is denied.  Philosophy, classically conceived, becomes impossible.  In it’s place, the quest for utopia.  God, disconnected from creation and disconnected from our mind,** slips away. Je n’ai pas eu besoin de cette hypothèse.  With God disappears Truth.

Matter and mind now appear fundamentally irreconcilable.  Thus, one or the other must be denied, or at least given absolute priority over the other.  As man is an inextricable union of mind and matter, this means denying ourselves.  Reason collapses in on itself.  Sophistry and relativism, which Socrates realized ultimately boils down to might makes right, reigns.  The dominant structures are increasingly shown to be founded upon principles which are no longer tenable, i.e they were reliant on assumptions which are no longer epistemologically/metaphysically acceptable.  The principles are thus gradually abandoned, causing the breakdown of the structures themselves. The result, anomie.

* Thus, like all heresies, it ultimately proves to be a denial of the Incarnation.

** In medieval thought, it was within the operations of the human mind that God’s image was believed to be most manifest.