Malaise Malaise is a lack


Malaise is a lack of confidence, and the events of the world will always provide an opportunity for it. We will never lack compelling reasons to think things are hopeless and not worth fighting for. In one sense, this is a problem of knowledge, because we fail to take into account the ordering of all things to the good. In another sense, the problem is one of will, for we have little problem being aware of the truth and yet marginalizing it, ignoring it, and not acting in accord with it. Malaise cripples the will and destroys our ability to act- regardless of whether we know that malaise is evil. It is, by definition, something we cannot heal by our own efforts.

Malaise is rarely driven out by abstract arguments. Aguments may help the one who does not suffer from malaise to see more clearly why it is wrong, but it cannot cure the suffering one. What is needed is not an argument, but a man who testifies against malaise by his life- and who thereby gives all men the confidence that hope is possible.

Hope is the confidence that good will come. If we lack either confidence or some good we are hopeless.

I am aware that some champion malaise as the correct attitude for an American to have. We have no claim to goodness, they say, and therefore should have no confidence that we will be delivered from our ills. This opinion is in some way correct, but it is of no consequence. The world will never lack compelling evidences of decline and immanent ruin. The world, considered in itself, will always abound with irrationality, absurdity, chaos, and evil. But so long as the world also suffers malaise, we will most certainly suffer more greatly at the hands of these evils. Our loftiest vocation is not to a world enjoyed without evil, but to a world where evil is worth fighting against- which will only happen when we live in a world seen as tied to something greater than itself, as seen exemplified through the one in the world who has that greater vision.


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