God’s Biological Love – The Second-Person Relationship
“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” Martin Luther King Jr.
The second obstacle to the secularist goal, is the natural superiority of the second-person relationship over that of the first-person and third-person relationships. An individual is a finite creature in that he or she can only interact with others on an intimate and transformative level to the degree in which they can physically place themselves in contact with others. In the practice of second-person relationships down through the last several millennia, its evolution assumed a pace that permitted a relatively smooth assimilation into the society. For there to be true cohesion between the members of a society, there must be the constant opportunity to directly permit the gentle persuasion of the second-person relationship to overcome the individual inclination to self-centeredness. We call this liberty. However, since the late Middle Ages and on into the Enlightenment, where man changed the final cause for his advancement as a society through science – that of the final cause or will of God – to its efficient cause – man himself – our ability to communicate in the second-person relationship has diminished greatly; despite the technological wonders that have afforded us the opportunity to be closer than ever to one another.
Can one really compare the physical, personal contact between children and their parents as equal to a letter, a telephone call, an email, or a text message on a smartphone? The memories of parents and children baking cookies, going to a fair, or sitting on the back porch and watching the fireflies strike up their chorus of illuminated notes in the darkened sky are deeply embedded convictions of the good nature of mankind and all have a final cause for peace, happiness, and contentment. These are things that can never be replicated in anything less than a truly physical and personal experience, and the almost unlimited amount of those arts – writing, poetry, song, plays, movies – that extol the personal and spiritual riches one receives in such second-person relationships is a true testimony that cannot be argued. It makes no difference whom the two or more parties are, the transformative effect goes to the very goodness of man. All else falls well short and leaves the door open to indifference to the very core of humanity. And in accepting that which falls short is to objectify mankind; degrading him and all that he has worked for to attain a conscience that can stand the scrutiny and malicious inspection by a judgmental society.
I suspect that secular man drives, with his own ignorance, today’s technologies that pursue the first and third-person relationship, and in so doing it deceives mankind into believing they are participating in qualities of communications that offers all of the same rewards as the second-person relationship. Of course, it is a lie. And the result of this deception, the limiting of man to effectively communicate on that transformative level, is that the society is deprived from holding onto or finding those truths that run contrary to the secular goal. If one is busy in entertaining the mind over educating the mind, or too busy in the free acquisition of things to consider the benefits of the acquisition of things through work and merit, then one has little time to consider and act against a philosophy and practice of centralized power that provides but a mediocre existence and an indifferent equality for its adherents.
Perhaps one of the finest examples of just such a philosophical practice is the recent American healthcare program, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, of 2010. I need not go into the specifics of this program, but to merely note that this very secular government, that spawned such a legislative effort for its people, promoting it as a step up towards equality for all of its citizens, has exempted itself from its own program and mandates. I somehow doubt that the American government humbly considers itself as unworthy of such a good legislation for themselves, and I rather consider the possibility that while it is good enough for the people, some (government officers and employees) are simply more equal than others (the people). Indeed, some in the secularist world do eat steak while others eat hamburger. And this can only be foisted upon a society where second-person relationships have been diminished to the point that it impedes the access of its citizens to the absolute truths that are born from second-person relationships. This exemption from The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the government’s admission to its secular child, one in whose truths are increasingly relative, that absolute truths do indeed exist and mankind must submit to them in order to continue to receive the benefits of those absolute truths (financial, housing, nutritional, healthcare, clothing, cell phones and on, and on benefits of survival). Why else would those in power exempt themselves from something of their own creation unless they knew it was insufficient to their own absolute nature?
The Scientific Method
Sir Francis Bacon, poor soul for my use of him as an example as there are many I can point my finger at, possessed a deep conviction of the future path for mankind. He lived in that era of man, the late half of the 1500’s and early 1600’s, when the library of man’s thoughts achieved a breakthrough in the understanding of his world. It led many to ponder the limited past in light of a future that appeared to be limitless in its potential to lift mankind up into a more secure, stable, and progenitive society. The view of the future far eclipsed the past, and as man will seize the day through the dissolution of the night, he saw the past for its deprivations over that of its provisions. Divisive emotions and feelings are always a stronger ally to man’s purposes than love will ever be, and so an imperative was set forth in that enlightening age; change for change sake, regardless of the prodigious and practical truths that brought man to this ledge and the unseen risks of a change that is shaped and paced more by rejection than by acceptance. While words like enlightenment and reformation are preferred, this period in Western history was more fully a violent revolution, and we are still in this revolution today; perhaps more now than ever.
“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” Martin Luther King Jr.
For Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, Galileo, Isaac Newton and others, their projected world would be found through empirical study for the advancement of mankind; science as we know it today. Its hope was for a world where man would be the final cause or explanation for the existence of all things; the receiver of his own gifts, and the dispenser of universal equality. We know this, and teach it routinely in all of our classrooms, as the scientific method. I remember learning it as a child in school, and up to the writing of this essay, considered it the only logical manner in which to approach the study of our world. While it did not, in its necessity see religion and the Christian god specifically as an obstacle to its goal at that time, it did see religion and the Christian god as an unnecessary component and burdensome to the foundation of this new system. The scientific method – bypassing the many intractable traditions of the Western society – propelled its system of thinking into a standard practice within the scientific community; in large part to its esoteric nature, but long term implementation into the society at large would require considerable pruning of many of the now-thought, moribund traditions, especially religion, if this new engagement of man and nature were to yield all of the hoped-for fruit.
“So much concerning the several classes of Idols and their equipage; all of which must be renounced and put away with a fixed and solemn determination, and the understanding thoroughly freed and cleansed; the entrance into the kingdom of man, founded on the sciences, being not much other than the entrance into the kingdom of heaven, where into none may enter except as a little child.” Sir. Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, Aphorism LXVIII.
I insert this quotation of Sir Bacon’s to illustrate a significant fact; that evil must first assert its rights to exist before it can ever carry out its intent. Bacon uses religious language and references to Christian Scripture in his aphorism in order to connect an immature, fledgling of a man idea to the most profoundly stable and reverent foundation of mankind of the past few millennium; Christian faith directly and God, the ultimate authority, indirectly. Bacon’s plan was obvious; to lend credibility to his cause, and thus give it an authority that it had not yet earned fully on its own merit. Odd that he would wish to do so in the light of his assertion that there is no place for theology in the scientific method:
“And there is yet a third class, consisting of those who out of faith and veneration mix their philosophy with theology and traditions; among whom the vanity of some has gone so far aside as to seek the origin of sciences among spirits and genii.” Sir Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, Aphorism LXII.
So, is it just odd that a body of men and women, who see theological reasoning as a burden upon their scientific reasoning, use Christian language and associations in their proselytism, or is it diabolical? If one were to look into the social turbulence of today, would one not find this same method of deception at work within many of the various minority causes that are counter-cultural to traditional thinking? To me, it appears that new powers seem not to ask society to simply hold its nose while the “medicine” is poured down their throats, but rather insists, in the most insidious of manner, deception, to embrace the “medicine” that which might very well kill them. In tolerance, intolerance.
Now, steering away from the deception to the protagonist, I cannot help but question this practical and progressive, scientific method given the profound and elevated and sacramental torment it has brought to mankind. I question not the empirical methodology itself, but rather the intent, or final cause, or explanation for its use by mankind. As in all things used by the hand of man, when he does so for the ultimate and end goal of his own desires, feelings, and ego, we find evil the ever-present spectator and groupie; more than willing to compliment and encourage, to console and lift up, and to reward that wielder of power with pleasures of the mind and body through the debasement of others.
I have no doubt that the scientific method – as a process of investigating the natural aspects of our world and expounding the concepts gleaned from such research – is an invaluable tool for man. The resultant, fertile production of advancements in all of our endeavors has done much to preserve a valid ecosystem in which to live, to alleviate suffering, stabilize a divergent world society, and promote unity between hostile factions. Unfortunately, it has also scourged our earth in ways we cannot fathom, created more suffering than it has alleviated, destabilized a divergent world through its endowment of unearned resources, and promoted power over unity. It is, in fact, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
I have no doubt that the scientific method, used not for the glorification of mankind, but for the thanksgiving to mankind’s cause, God, would craft and yield unimaginable technology; equal to that which has been brought about by man’s own efforts to enrich himself at other’s expense, and surpassing in its ability to cause real equality, real freedom, real stability, security and spirituality. Our visions of the utopian world are nothing like we live in today, nor can the road we currently progress on ever provide us with that utopian world. The true, utopian world in our minds have no roads nor vehicles, no obstructive architecture, no wanting communications, no fear, and no evil. Our true, utopian world lives in the public conscience, where man may freely express himself through the considerations of others, and not for his own aggrandizement and intent of power over others. Our true, utopian world is without a hidden conscience that holds guilt and shame like a slow poison that would drain the life from the souls of generations to come. Our true, utopian world is the primacy of the second-person relationship – the agape of God – the agape with God – the agape of mankind.
And what is this “agape”, this second-person relationship? It is love. It is a love that is narrowly seen today with its remnants in the maternal connection of mother to child, the paternal connection of father and child, and the union between man and woman for the good and procreative purpose of the family. All else are shams, imitations, falsities, lies and selfishness; vanity, as Koheleth decidedly singled out in his work, Ecclesiastes. Love, only in its sacrificial form, can ever achieve transformation for a person’s soul, and in so doing it transforms the mind and body to conform to the good of all. It breaks down the red lines drawn between one another, and makes hatred and jealously a silly illusion to be evaporated by the warmth of a rising sun. It makes the search of another’s well-being paramount over the well-being of oneself, and in so doing, it lifts all together into lives rich with relational capital and a harmonic voice that endows all with good intent. It gives rights to no one for nothing has been taken from anyone. It is a feast for the soul. It suspends law. But, when we divest ourselves of that second-person relationship in favor of binding our meager hoard of self-possessions, we divest ourselves of the love I have just epitomized and leave ourselves open to nothing more than that which can be held in our hands or contained within our strongboxes and mausoleums.
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” Martin Luther King Jr.
Now, why am I talking about the scientific method in this discourse on evil, when I could be pointing to what many of you would consider to be direct and clear evil? I’m pointing to the fact that while Western society concentrates on the perceived evils – mortal crimes, sexual crimes, mental crimes, and the “isms” of today – through direct and clear action, foundational evil weaves itself through the society disguised as rights, freedoms, equalities, responsibilities, preferences, desires, and feelings. Murder will not stop through incarceration and disposal, sexual equality will not banish rape, twitter quips will not drown out bullying, and marches on Washington D.C. will never eliminate bigotry. Yes, all these efforts do afford us some assistance to bar the gates from being completely blown off, but these types of evil are merely the manifestation of the real, foundational evil that has been granted its right to exist by the very species that suffers from its onslaught; man’s insufferable fear of his own mortality. So he flees from the second-person relationship by structuring a society, a playground, of his perceived delights so as to avoid having to face the truth.
You see, evil is not murder, rape, intimidation, racism, or the joy of speed that the train engineer in Spain so relished; evil is that silent dispenser of death and destruction that man grants full membership to his cultural disposition, and then rewards it despite the price the culture pays. The scientific method is one of many processes that man uses to progress those rights, freedoms, equalities, responsibilities, preferences, desires, and feelings that lead him away from that which he knows is true; that God is there, that truth is real and absolute, that natural law cannot ever be overcome, for man is of nature – though divinely created – and he must submit in order to receive that which he seeks most; love. It seems so desperately ironic; that which man seeks most is kept from him by his own means. He truly is inclined to his own suffering, and his hidden conscience is the dark pressure of the ocean deep where it collapses the lungs and silences forever.
And man has drowned his hidden conscience so deeply within his societal processes and daily actions that even the most intelligent and aware of us just don’t get it. An example of such lack of understanding came to me recently, courtesy of George Will, journalist, author, and television commentator on political and social issues. Now here is a steady, highly intelligent man with a conservative background, and is highly regarded for his consistent and astute understanding of the American scene. He was recently interviewed for a solid hour; delving into various subjects that seem to flow from his slow conversion to a mildly libertarian viewpoint of American politics. There were several good moments I enjoyed where his approach to the various subjects discussed were illuminating, intuitive, and revealing, but it was near the end of the interview where I almost came unglued.
The subject of the disintegration of the family structure in America came up in reference to the alarming rate of babies being born, 72% amongst African-Americans, where the parents are not married, nor even in a serious relationship. And it was here where I could clearly see that Mr. Will was confused and at a loss for answers:
“We’ve seen family disintegration in war, famine, pestilence. This happened in peace time; in prosperity. We’ve seen this sea change of mores. I don’t know what has caused this, and until you know what has caused it, you don’t know how to address it…. And because the family is the primary transmitter of social capital, they will continue to reproduce themselves. Whereas, down lower, these norms among those people who most need the accumulated social capital that the family represents, are doing the most damage to the family.” George Will
I find it fascinating that a man like George Will says he does not know what has caused the disintegration of the family structure in America. He even references John Wesley as reviving England from its drunken stupor through his 30,000 sermons that galvanized the wives, who in turn steeled the men, yet he states he does not know the why or the answer to America’s greatest threat to its stability. At one moment I could almost sense futility on his part, and I have to say that it appeared he knew the answer, but chose not to speak on it, so as to not incur the wrath of particular interest groups that have the power to destroy careers of people just like him.
I make this point on two grounds. First, a question of same-sex marriage came up and his answer was that he was not much interested in that subject. The subject was then immediately changed by the interviewers. Two, because when he said the words – “This happened in peace time; in prosperity.” – Mr. Will’s eyes flashed a sadness and his voice came to the verge of cracking; just as someone who just cannot bear their heavy heart any longer and break under the strain into uncontrollable tears. But Mr. Will is a man of control and control himself he did. He went on to offer up some thought on this grave matter, and it was here where he offered up the story of John Wesley; an Anglican theologian. Perhaps he saw it as a way to offer a truth without crossing the line of political correctness. I give him honors, though, for stating a simple truth; that the family is the foundation of economic stability in any society and any government. With the secular world in place in America, one can rest assured that there will be no generational, accumulative effect of stability and security for an American society that places the true family unit at the bottom of its concerns. This is not about religion, not about politics, not about sociology, and not about economics. It’s all about genetics. It’s all about God. And it’s all about man’s diversion from that which he seeks and needs the most.
Yet, can there be any light that might pierce this darkness?
God Bless and Buen Camino – Reese