January 14, 2007

"He will cease to reap benefits..."

Sunday thoughts...

As unbelievers deny Revelation more decisively, as they put their denial into more consistent practice, it will become the more evident what it really means to be a Christian. At the same time, the unbeliever will emerge from the fogs of secularism. He will cease to reap benefit from the values and forces developed by the very Revelation he denies. He must learn to exist honestly without Christ and without the God revealed through Him; he will have to leam to experience what this honestly means. Nietzsche had already warned us that the non-Christian of the modern world had no realization of what it truly meant to be without Christ. The last decades [the two world wars] have suggested what life without Christ really is. The last decades were only the beginning...
-- Romano Guardini, from
The End of the Modern World

Part of what Guardini is saying (I'm ignoring a lot here) is that people have been coasting. Running on the spiritual and moral capital stored up by our ancestors, and not refilling that tank. Stored up by our Christian and Jewish ancestors. There's gonna be wailing and gnashing aplenty when the time comes to get out and push. Which it already has, I think.

I tend to be out of sync with the rest of the world. One of the ways I'm odd is that I am fascinated (and horrified) by the speed at which we are being flung into a unknown future. And especially by the way we are not thinking and worrying about this. When I was younger there was a best-selling book called Future Shock, about how fast things were changing, and how our overloaded brains were just going to explode. But what shocks me is that we are NOT shocked by this, at least not most of us. (Or possibly we have already been shocked into a state of denial.) Each new technology that comes along changes our societies, often drastically. Yet people seem to assume that we will all remain the same, and merely get to have more fun using cool new toys.

To me this is just insane. The new toys are changing us before our eyes, yet people yawn when I bring this up.

And we don't know what effects the changes will have until it's too late to do much. European demographic collapse is, of course, my favorite example. Europe and the developed world sailed into uncharted territory after WWII. They achieved prosperity for most of their people. Plus unprecedented levels of welfare, and easy availability of contraception. Plus steep decline in Christian worship. Now we see that the result is the probable destruction of an ancient civilization. It's happening before our eyes, and yet one still can't get most people interested in the subject.

And even more important and scary, you can't get them interested in what's coming next!

For example, Libertarian and futurismo bloggers look forward eagerly to life extension. And they somehow seem to think that it won't change them. That they will merely have more time for doing the same old stuff. And they think that coming generations will be just like them. That they will think like them! Sorry, that's crazy. We don't know how we will think and believe when such changes have happened, but for sure we will be different. We will hardly recognize our descendants. To me our world is like living in a science fiction story in which we are all being shoved into time machines and sent forward...in time....to what? We don't know. It seems to me that filling our pockets with useful tools ought to be our top priority! And I mean philosophical tools of course. Things that will provide mental solidity and balance when we pop out into a strange world without familiar mental landmarks. but I seem to be alone here.

Posted by John Weidner at January 14, 2007 6:06 AM
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