Redefinition of Our Society
In order for this experiment to succeed, man has found the necessity to redefine those traditions and absolute truths into new concepts for the use of the future society. And why is this?
Before there was the invention of man’s application of his mind into the real world – technology – he lived as a species who thrived due to his genetic predisposition to the formation of a society, and the nucleus of that society was the genetic family of the parents, a man and a woman, their children, sired through the heterosexual union of the parents, and the extended relationships brought about as a result of such focus. Society was a relationship between related people who shared a common cause; their security in a world that demanded their eventual death. Living together as a unit simply means common genetics, physical appearance and abilities, practices, and beliefs.
In such a world as this, each individual relied upon the acknowledged grace of the other. Their commonalities exceeded their separations. Each person, within their enclave of family, could experience their own form of humanity and not find exclusion due to their unique natures, personalities, and flaws. This genetic form of love between family members was a buffer against the inaccurate prejudices and judgments natural to the character of man, and thus they all, within the broad scope of the family, could be themselves; flaws and all. This was not by choice, but by man’s very genetic structure in association with the dogmatic world about him.
The modern world is quite a different place. Genetics, posited as a confinement, is being dissolved by the liberation of technology, and so it is all about choice now; at least a choice as defined by the power of desire and not necessity. Genetics stand in the way of technology and its freedom of human choice, and so it must go. But it can’t, for it is the absolute nature of mankind, and his technology has not yet created a way for man to control the pace or direction of his own evolution as a species. In this new model for humanity, there is no necessity for family structure, and without the family structure there is no genetic predisposition to familial love, and therefore no necessity to conform in genetics, physical appearances and abilities, practices, and beliefs.
But for common ground to be found between humans, so they may survive as a society, there must be that quality we call love simply because it is the only quality of man that prevents him from murdering the person standing next to him simply to eat his sandwich. Law has proven completely insufficient to the purpose. Just take a body count of the prisoners in American penal institutions in the past fifty years. So the secularist must redefine that which he cannot kill in fear that he will kill himself, love and all of the institutions that spin from it. If the secular man does not redefine love to his personal ambitions, then he will suffer the prejudice and judgment of his unique character that was once secured by the family. He knows this.
Recently, in starting up my computer, a window opened on my desktop suggesting I download the latest version of Flash Player. It’s rationale for me to do so was based in its declaration that the top ten video games all run better with Flash Player. Well, I do not play video games, and so I was left in a quandary as to why I should download this update. What is it doing for me? Flash Player had no pithy “one liner” that gave me any clue as to what I should do. What was lacking here? Doesn’t Flash Player know there are a lot of people who do not play video games and use computers?
Either they don’t know that or they don’t care. In either case, what we do have is an impersonal invitation to their way of thinking and commerce. I call it impersonal because it is neither directed to me, nor is it a personal, second-person communication that takes into consideration the obvious transformative effect of direct human-to-human contact. Again, we have that messy, genetic thing entering into the room of play of the secular world. The impersonal world of secularism – a mandatory condition of secularism – cannot replace the genetic interaction between individuals with a superior model that can transform the human mind as the genetic model can. Secularism is stuck and yet stubborn.
Secularism has constructed an impersonal world where addictive, first-person appetites for “things” and virtual, third-person communications between individuals and groups have become the normal state of man in society. In so doing we have subjugated ourselves to the “thing”. We talk of our desires for possessions more than anything else in this impersonal world, and speak of personal desires – like a good marriage and strong family – only where it serves our impersonal desires. This is why we fail so at personal endeavors; why divorce is so high despite good intentions, and why children are led to dysfunctional personalities despite all of our educational and psychological masturbation.
In subjugation to “things”, what were once many, co-existing forms of the person that existed in the true, genetic family, has now become the singular form of the impersonal, causal family. In our call to inclusion we have created a model that perpetuates stereotypes and increases divisive “isms” through the removal of second-person experience. You see this played out in our current twitter world. Each of us have access to people on a level never seen before. Our ability to touch through our technology is astounding, but we lack the ability for true compassion in our touch because we act in the third-person, and in so doing we are frequently judged for our apparent first-person ego. Claim and counter claim is made, sides are drawn, and evil is the result. Andy Warhol, I suspect, knew that one’s fifteen minutes of fame was not a good thing.
Only in second-person experience does there lie the transformative capability of personal, human preference and any opportunity for a lasting, true unity of choice between individuals. Only in second-person experience can one find the practical use of their physical body, in the service of others, to be satisfied with the humility of the service. Pride resides in first-person and third-person thoughts and activities, and can only be held in check through second-person relationships.
By the way, the most important actions a person engages in, that leads to the very real existence of one’s life, are all second-person in nature, and it starts with the conception of one’s life through the most sacred of second-person actions. When a man and a woman choose to create life, they are committing themselves, by their very act together, to a life-long sacrifice of the self. And while the secular adult sees his or her options to that commitment as possible and viable, just ask a child if it agrees that the pleasures of his or her parents trumps its own life potential.
When one has lost their personal identification in a society and is left with only their impersonal identification, their importance in the society is limited to their ability to define their preferences as good and therefore normative. We know that we have subjugated our personal lives to the “things” of this world, and in our frustrations of such a committed loss we attempt to redefine the singular, impersonal form to our own viewpoint. Innately we know that the loss of the second-person experience leaves us in a position of insecurity within the impersonal society. With the loss of those personal, real conditions of family cohesion, inter-family relationships, and the sharing of like opinion, beliefs, and facts, we are left with a struggle to justify those conditions that separate us from the whole. We end up trying to justify our weaknesses – those conditions that separate us in an impersonal society – because it is those weaknesses that become the only remaining essence of our personal nature. So with the identification of those weaknesses, those “isms”, we then must redefine them into virtual strengths because the personal mind requires such for the existence of the personal body.
We know this, and perhaps we would return to the more comfortable surroundings of our past. Unfortunately, we have built our secular philosophy into a physical reality through our technology, and that greatly impedes our ability to repent and reform.
The Architecture of Deception
I was recently in conversation with a woman who had just returned from Germany. Knowing that I had just been in Spain for several weeks, she asked an odd question.
“Did you see many people on their cell phones?”
I was caught a bit off guard. The tone of her voice told me her observations of German people entailed seeing few people obsessed with their cell phones. My first thought was a mental image of all of the pilgrims who had their cell phones with them, and had little reservation in gabbing away with some friend back home while walking out a day’s journey across the mesa of Castile & Leon. Somehow they believed that the intensity of their pilgrimage could not be harmed by the constant withdrawal from the intent for the sublime enjoyment of discussing the latest American Idol episode. Getting my mind past that peeve of mine, I realized that my answer to her question was in agreement.
I saw few people who live in the towns and cities that I walked through obsessed with their cell phones. It was not a cultural imperative. But why should they be? The region of Spain I had walked through is remote from the aggressive pulse of the secular vision, and as such it still retains a few characteristics that promote personal relationships.
First, the architecture promoted personal interaction. Buildings are of human proportion and manageability. Residences and businesses are arranged in human scale for minimal inconvenience and expenditure of energies; whether they be human, animal, or mechanical.
Second, the automobile has been isolated from the architectural considerations and goals. One of the most interesting of conditions in the “old cities”, like Burgos, Leon, and Santiago de Compostela, were the frequent barrier posts that prevented automobiles to penetrate into particular zones. These barriers typically included a retracting post that, through the use of a code or card, one could enter information that would retract that post into the ground so a delivery truck or some other authorized vehicle could enter.
Third, residences within these towns and cities are not constructed to ameliorate life for its owners, but rather to ensure their engagement with the culture beyond the front door.
In such a setting, where the advantages of the transformative value of second-person relationships outweighs the desire for self-gratification through virtual relationships, cell phones are only a secondary option for communication, and not considered the equal to sitting down in a café with your friends and family to discuss the day’s events, and hopes of a good future for all. Automobiles are fine for distances, but insufficient for second-person interaction where architecture encourages second-person experience. Architecture that separates us from one another can be an excellent pastime, but in separating one from another, it degrades the opportunity for second-person relationships to create results that promote cohesion within any society.
In 1905, G. K. Chesterton put this way:
“It is not fashionable to say much nowadays of the advantages of the small community. We are told that we must go in for large empires and large ideas. There is one advantage, however, in the small state, the city, or the village, which only the wilfully blind can overlook. The man who lives in a small community lives in a much larger world. He knows much more of the fierce varieties and uncompromising divergences of men. The reason is obvious. In a large community we can choose our companions. In a small community our companions are chosen for us. Thus in all extensive and highly civilized societies groups come into existence founded upon what is called sympathy, and shut out the real world more sharply than the gates of a monastery. There is nothing really narrow about the clan; the thing which is really narrow is the clique. The men of the clan live together because they all wear the same tartan or are all descended from the same sacred cow; but in their souls, by the divine luck of things, there will always be more colours than in any tartan. But the men of the clique live together because they have the same kind of soul, and their narrowness is a narrowness of spiritual coherence and contentment, like that which exists in hell. A big society exists in order to form cliques. A big society is a society for the promotion of narrowness. It is a machinery for the purpose of guarding the solitary and sensitive individual from all experience of the bitter and bracing human compromises. It is, in the most literal sense of the words, a society for the prevention of Christian knowledge.”
I am beginning to understand of the colours that G.K. Chesterton speaks of above, and I am beginning to understand the nature and ultimate outcome of the secular society. So, I believe it time to let God enter into this argument.
PART 5 – To come.
God Bless and Buen Camino – Reese