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Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Unperceived Ideol. Transship. and Dial.

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3. Talismanic Meanings of "Dialogue"


A. Points of Impressionability and Apathy, the Psychological Framework of the Talismanic Word in the Worldly Mind


With the irenistic worldliness characterized above, it is easy to see in the irenicist the points of impressionability and apathy that, even when they are in embryo form, make him so susceptible to unperceived ideological transshipment:


· First point of impressionability: Quarrels, disagreements, and wars are in themselves serious evils which must be eliminated at all cost. This is accompanied by tendencies to inaugurate the era of good will and peace;

· Second point of impressionability: To achieve this, it is necessary to put an end to controversies at any price, and replace them with irenistic dialogue;

· First point of apathy: Can this peace-at‑any‑price be obtained? Will not drastic means be necessary to implant it, presenting an even greater evil?

· Second point of apathy: Doesn't the abolition of controversies create moral and ideological chaos? Doesn't this mean the victory of relativism, and thus multiply the factors of discord and war? Doesn't it disorganize public opinion? Doesn't it tend to disfigure the militant character of Holy Church? etc.

The soul or the mind pricked by irenicism tends not to answer the questions in the points of apathy. Simplistic, hasty, and peevish, like every utopian mind, the irenicist is not capable of taking his attention away from the points of impressionability and is irritated with someone who tries to force him to dwell on the points of apathy.

The utopianist thus becomes inclined to accept all the sequels of irenicism, even those he would have most repudiatedCommunism and Modernism ‑ before those points of impressionability were formed in his mind.

The real solution of the problem worrying our irenicist would be to recognize the impossibility of absolute and eternal ideological harmony among men and the necessity of basing good relationships on realistic foundations. For this he would, among other things, take care to avoid both excesses, that is, the omission of argument-dialogue as indicated above and the omission of argument pure and simple or polemics when they are opportune. He would strive to suppress these modes of argument when for any reason they might be objectionable. But the irenicist, influenced by the points of impressionability and not reacting against the points of apathy, is right from the start eager to give in to all kinds of one‑sided thoughts, feelings, and actions, adhering only to the solutions consonant with his points of impressionability.

In this way, the talismanic word begins to work over him.


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