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  • The A-Z of ismsquietism

  • Quietism is a Christian philosophical concept we should all know about

  • and - if it is not too much of a contradiction -

  • talk about rather loudly.

  • Why?

  • Well, for something which has ancient historical roots,

  • the essence of quietism's teachings -

  • favouring disconnection and contemplation over frantic action -

  • is totally modern, and very now.

  • In fact, quietism could be regarded as one important antidote

  • to the age of overload we find ourselves in.

  • Quietism says this

  • Forget worldly affairs and just, wellstop.

  • It's not quite the same as meditation or mindfulness,

  • but there are similarities.

  • And there are parallels with other faiths too.

  • History books will tell you that quietism began - no pun intended -

  • softly and without much fanfare.

  • Back in the 4th Century, Eastern Orthodox techniques

  • of good old-fashioned Christian prayer started it off.

  • So think sitting quietly, monastically,

  • lost in the act of religious worship.

  • But 10 centuries later, the 14th Century Byzantine theologian

  • St Gregory Palamas gave quietism something of a twist,

  • which made it flare into widespread use -

  • and more contentious territory.

  • There was no name as such for this modern mystical approach back then,

  • but the message was clear.

  • Instead of outward displays like religious chanting and prayer,

  • he encouraged contemplation and stillness of the mind.

  • The actual termquietismwas applied later on

  • by the 17th Century Spanish priest Miguel de Molinos,

  • a Christian mystic of great influence.

  • Again it was controversial.

  • He was denounced as a heretic

  • for suggesting that quiet internal reflection

  • and contemplation of God was OK,

  • alongside traditional outward, and vocal displays of religiousness -

  • like chanting and prayer.

  • He was condemned by Pope Innocent the Eleventh

  • and died incarcerated in Rome in 1696.

  • But suppression of ideas rarely works,

  • and quietism never really went away.

  • The essence of quietism can also be seen within many other religions.

  • The Buddhist idea of Dharma has distinctly quietistic values,

  • with its focus on connecting a person to their being

  • rather than what they are doing.

  • Quietism is alive and well in modern philosophy,

  • thanks to the 20th Century Austrian-British giant of thought,

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein.

  • And its influence can be seen clearly these days

  • in the sea of mindfulness apps on offer.

  • In its more secular definition,

  • quietism is simply a state of calmness or passivity.

  • And who in this modern, rushing, overwhelming and overloaded world,

  • doesn't want a bit of that?

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The A-Z of ismsquietism

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B2 prayer century modern christian mindfulness chanting

Quietism: Why we all need more of it in our lives | BBC Ideas

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    Summer posted on 2020/04/23
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