Structuralism and Pre-tribal Tendencies

June 17, 2024


B. Structuralism and Pre-tribal Tendencies

A Sami Family, Norway.

To the extent that one sees the structuralist movement as a more or less exact (but, in any event, precursory) figure of the Fourth Revolution, one must view certain phenomena generalized over the last decade or two as preparing and driving the structuralist impetus.

Thus, the overthrow of the traditions of dress in the West, increasingly eroded by nudism, obviously tends toward the appearance and consolidation of habits that will tolerate, at most, the cincture of feathers worn by certain tribes, substituted, where the cold demands it, with coverings somewhat like those used by the Laplanders.

Amazon Indian 1964

The rapid disappearance of the rules of courtesy can only end up in the absolute simplicity (to use only this qualifier) of tribal manners.

The growing dislike for anything that is reasoned, structured, and systematized, can only lead, in its last paroxysms, to the perpetual and fanciful vagabondage of jungle life, alternating, likewise, with the instinctive and almost mechanical performance of some activities absolutely indispensable to life.

Not a homeless encampment, but Occupy Wall street demonstration.

The aversion to intellectual effort, notably to abstraction, theorization, and doctrinal thought, can only induce, ultimately, a hypertrophy of the senses and of the imagination, resulting in the “civilization of the image,” about which Paul VI felt duty-bound to warn mankind.1

A makeshift garden in the central part of Cal Anderson Park, with tents in the background, on June 17, 2020. This was part of the BLM/CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone) protests. Photo by Benjamin Morawek

Also symptomatic are the ever more frequent idyllic eulogies of a cultural revolution that will generate a postindustrial society, still ill-defined but whose first specimen would be — some say is — Chinese communism.

1 “We well know that modern man, overwhelmed by speeches, gives signs of being increasingly tired of listening and, worse still, of being irresponsive to words. We are also aware of the opinions of numerous psychologists and sociologists who affirm that modem man has already transcended the civilization of the word – which has become practically inefficacious and useless – and lives today in the civilization of the image” (Apostolic exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi, December 8, 1975, Documentos Pontificios, 6th ed. [Petropolis: Vozes, 1984], no. 188, p.30).


Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), Part III, Chapter III, pg. 159-160.



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