25 December 2009

Who will stand against the culture of panic?

We live in a culture of panic.  One alarm after another is triggered to warn us of impending doom.  So divided is our attention, so fragmented our instinct for survival that we flail around in constant fear, stampeding toward any exit that promises safety.  This panic is a prank, a very dangerous prank.

When it comes to living within human history, the postmodernist mindset is crippled by a dual-diagnosis:  Chronic Amnesia and Addiction to Novelty.  Why is this crippling?  The double whammy of forgetfulness and jonesing for novelty produces a person who never learns from history and doesn't care about the future.  What matters to the PoMo mind is the illusion that the human person is an invention of the moment, a temporary construct built to be destroyed when the next wave of weird washes over the ever-eroding beach head of culture.

Without a past for support and no possibility of a future, the postmodern person is a randomized, free-floating miscellany--no frame, no program, no design, no function--little more than a walking/talking focus for experimenting with ad-hoc identities.  Having abandoned tradition, history, God, nature, etc. he is left to navigate his passions with the compass of animal instinct.  Think of how injured animals lash out at those who would help them.  Think about how animals react to threats.  How easily animals are domesticated with a little training from a determined master.  Now, think of a herd of human animals reacting on instinct to real or imagined threats.

The practical purpose of enlightened self-government is to prevent a determined master from domesticating the herd for his ends.  Mao understood that China would never embrace his imperialist ambitions so long as his people remembered their history.  Hitler understood that Germany would never embrace his genocidal agenda so long as his people clung to reason.  Stalin understood that the road to his political deification would be built on the raw exercise of terror in the vacuum left by an artificially created economic collapse.  Narcissists of this caliber understand that a herd cannot be panicked unless its attention is focused on a threat and all the rational means of addressing the threat are eliminated. 

The absence of God, tradition, history, nature, etc. leaves the human herd at the mercy of the strongest ego.  This is highly dangerous.  What's even more dangerous is that the strongest ego has likely created the conditions for our panic and then heroically stepped in to lead the herd to safety.   It's only after we are falling off the cliff that we realize that "safety" is really slavery.

Who or what can stand against the determined master and prevent the herd from being spooked?

All you need to do to answer that question is look around and find the institution or institutions that are regularly demonized by the dominant culture.  Look for the people who are consistently reviled for obstructing "progress," the ideas that are dismissed as unable to "move us forward."  Who is it that recalls the past, points to our historical mistakes, and draws a contemporary lesson for our future?  Who or what refuses to hate tradition for no other reason than that it is "outdated"?  These people, ideas, institutions are the enemy of the narcissist because they fearlessly report that the master determined to panic us is not our master.  And never will be.

True freedom comes with a past, a present, and most especially, a future.  Today, our only Master is born.  And though he came with a sword, he brings peace. 

1 comment:

  1. You are wise beyond your years Father.

    Merry Christmas.