December 7, 2008

Insanity dissected...

From The Church and the Culture War: Secular Anarchy or Sacred Order, by Joyce A. Little...
...Today in America the imperial or autonomous self reigns. What more and more Americans seek, above all else, is the feeling that they themselves are in total control of their lives, that in some ultimate sense they are sufficient unto themselves, requiring nothing and no one else. Thirty years ago there was talk of the "me generation." We have now seen two "me generations", with a third already well on the way. These are the people who value above all things self-empowerment and seek as their highest goals self-actuaization, self-realization and self-fulfillment...

...These are the people who, if they are spiritually oriented, find a home in the New Age movement, which assures them they are gods unto themselves. "The self that God created needs nothing. It is forever complete, safe, loved and loving", we are told in the preface to A Course in Miracles , the basic text of the New Age. "Spirit is in a state of grace forever. Your reality is only spirit. Therefore you are in a state of grace forever."...
[...]

....This trivialization of all choices rests on a trivialization of all differences among people. This has resulted in the invidious habit of calling the way a person lives his "lifestyle." Those who speak the language of lifestyles betray by that language the meaninglessness they attach to all choices. As [Christopher] Lasch correctly notes, "They reduce choice to a matter of style and taste, as their preoccupation with 'lifestyles' indicates. Their bland innocuous conception of pluralism assumes that all preferences, all 'lifestyles,' all 'taste cultures.'...are equally valid."

In the final analysis, the imperial self, intent on exercising absolute freedom of choice, cannot accept any realm of objective truth or morality which would inhibit that freedom by requiring the self to conform itself to that objective truth. As the Pope [John Paul II] points out in Veritatis Splendor, "Certain currents of modern thought have gone so far as to exalt freedom to such an extant that it becomes an absolute, which would then be the source of values." This notion that every person is the source of his own values is quite popular today. As the Pope observes, "Such an outlook is quite congenial to an individualist ethic, wherein each individual is faced with his own truth, different from the truth of others." (VS 32) The result of this subjectivism is not lost on John Paul II. "This ultimately means making freedom self-defining and a phenomenon creative of itself and its values. Indeed, when all is said and done, man would not even have a nature; he would be his own personal life-project."...

Excerpts don't do this great book justice. Read, as they say in Blogistan, the whole thing.

My thoughts below the fold...

To try to "fulfill" yourself is slavery. Your "self", a brutal taskmaster, will whip you ever onwards trying to make yourself into something wide and fat and tall, something that "matters." But that's crazy; the things that matter must, obviously, be very important things, and you are always going to be small in comparison to them. Sorry, that's just the way it is. Your quest is impossible.

Real freedom consists in being able to choose the good. And when you do, you will, necessarily, be a servant. That's the only thing that makes sense, once you chose the good. To serve it. And you are then more free because you have chosen not to be a slave to yourself. And happier too.

The craziest slavery of all is to try to escape slavery to your demanding self by.... your own efforts! Duh. Where does that get you? Think of the kind of people who go off on "spiritual quests." They spend twenty years freeing themselves from the Wheel of Existence, and then discover that Global Warming is the most important issue, and Mr Obama is "The One." And that they need to buy a Prius pronto, to break the entanglements of the material world... (The obligations and responsibilities that come with the good things of our world however--those they get "detached from" easily. The lil' swamis suck non-stop on the peace and prosperity of this great and good country, and Western Civilization, while attaining lofty spiritual detachment from giving anything back--even a word of thanks.)

Spiritually speaking, you would probably be better off joining the US Army, and striving cheerfully to do whatever shambolic tasks you are assigned.

Posted by John Weidner at December 7, 2008 5:37 AM
Weblog by John Weidner