“Hamabe No Uta” (Narita), Jean-Pierre Rampal, from the album “Rampal: Japanese Folk Melodies”, (1978)
We sometimes speak of the “old order” in a disparaging way, the old order of “Dead White Males” comes to mind, or “Victorian” is another variation on the same sentiment. What we are really talking about when we refer to the “old order” is the philosophical root and foundation of our Western Christian Civilization from which ALL our notions of right and wrong and morality derive.
Did the abandonment of the old order really set us free to realize the full potential of humanity, the Ubermensch, the Overman, Overhuman, Above-Human, Superman, Super-human, Ultra-human, Higher-Person, Higher-Being. The previous are just a few of the myriad variations of the new Narcissism of the 20th and 21st century. What can sincerity and justice mean in a society where I am all and where all truth is relative to and related to my desires and appetites, my self image, my ego?
The lipstick of “moral relativism” doesn’t turn the pig into a beautiful person … a pig, is a pig, is a pig, no matter how much makeup we slather onto it. Moral relativism is simply “license to behave anyway I want” dressed up in a tux and ready to party. License is related to licentiousness – graphically – hmmmm.
Generally, in our current culture, people end up believing nothing—or holding that nothing is certain, even in matters relating to Natural Law, which all people know through the use of their reason alone. Everything that happens now gets attributed to some sort of “Karma” with no responsibility, express or implied, on any side by any party. No respect, rights, obligations, duty, responsibility means … what exactly?
These days we even have the mythology of the Buddha allegedly saying: “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” This is a very bad translation of the Kalama Sutta — so bad, in fact, that it contradicts the actual message of the Sutta, which says that reason and common sense are not sufficient for ascertaining the truth.
Cool quote! From a cool guy! That’s what I read … Is it true? Did Gandhi actually say this? How do I know? Waddya Talkin About? I saw it on Pinterest! It MUST be true … Huh?
So this culture, this society of Secular Humanist Progressivism, this new normal of moral relativism, is a direct result and morbid offspring of private interpretation of “Truth”, just one more of many “I will not serve!” moments in both angelic and human history. And with totally predictable consequences … for if a person has a right to decide for himself what the Truth is, this says, in effect, that he is his own personal doctor of truth, (“Doctor of the Church”) whatever one’s theological and moral training, and of course we have Pontius Pilot’s question: “What is Truth?”.
We find ourselves replying that “Truth” is whatever we say it is … because we are the sole arbiter of truth, right?
If a person has a right to decide for himself what the Truth is, this says that every person has a personal right to choose whether he will believe or not believe certain teachings. Given this starting point the individual easily slides into the position that he has a right to believe anything, or even nothing at all. This might well have been the start, the wellspring of the slippery slope of “rights” without “responsibilities”.
On the one hand, our modern society MUST concede every person a civil right to reject religious or moral truth, as far as he individually is concerned, only because both religion and society must allow a person to exercise his free will and to choose for himself whether he will accept or reject God’s Revelation and/or Natural Law, and/or criminal law and provincial law and municipal law for that matter, because as we all acknowledge, every human being is endowed with free will from the very moment of conception.
On the other hand, he, (or “she” or even “it”) – mustn’t get too politically incorrect here lest we offend some entitled rainbow singularity – the ONE who rejects the truth must unfortunately, unavoidably and personally bear whatever evil consequences result from his, hers, or it’s own personal choice of the magical fantasy which is their personal reality. Thinking things like “Drinking and driving” won’t have bad outcomes for me ’cause I’m special, “doing drugs” won’t affect my job and my family because I’m special, “building my home on a flood plane” won’t have bad outcomes ’cause I’m special … and so on and so forth.
For those accustomed to indulging in “Magical Thinking” it is sometime a shock to discover that actions and beliefs have consequences in the real world. We believe that it can’t possibly be our fault, that the outcome in question can’t be the result of our own bad choices, NO WAY EH! Hence the almost universal predilection for playing the blame game, we blame circumstances, or other people, or the economy or the politics of the day, FOR MAKING US “FEEL” BAD about the inevitable consequences of our own bad, ill-considered choices and actions. All in order to permit perpetuation of our well loved, familiar, comfortable, personal fantasies which are crippling us and preventing the existence of Justice .
For some, this view may be difficult or offensive because they are unaccustomed to hearing other views which differ from the generally accepted mainstream view. The “I’m OK, Your OK” generation and their children and grand-children are especially sensitive to being reminded of past failures and disasters and having current failings remarked upon. They don’t want to hear anyone commenting on the likely outcomes obvious with even a cursory examination of the reality on the ground.
We have “become as gods” and will brook no objections or interruptions to our worship of the image in the pool. But …
In spite of that, or perhaps because of that, if there is to be any hope of long term survival, it is critically important at this point in history, to reflect on what has gone wrong. Can anyone seriously believe that we live in the best of all worlds, the promised land of the Enlightenment?
Without Truth and Sincerity how can there be Justice? Who do we believe? Do we turn to our figureheads for guidance? It always seems that our Great Canadian Societal Figureheads prattling on to the media and all the talking heads doing interviews with our Canadian versions of Rock Stars … always seem to be selling some version of “What is Truth?”
This dystopian emotional wasteland, this distilled “Canadianess”, produced by our daily confrontations with reality in our polite society is the meat of the “Cognitive Dissonance” part of “Cognitive Dissonance in a Progressive Tyranny”.
For want of sincerity and a concomitant want of justice we have adopted “politically correct” niceness as our defining national characteristic.
As David Warren writes: “Compliant, complaisant, acquiescent. Docile, submissive, ingratiating. Servile, tractable, obsequious. Ever deferential, glad to be of use. This is what my fellow Canadians have become, though we were not in the past, according to my elders (now mostly dead). When unreasonable demands were made upon them, their inclination was to stiffly resist. Ours is to be chumps, patsies, dupes, treacle saps. In our vanity we think that we are “nice” people, and celebrate our own gormlessness.” “What is Truth?”
Lest we forget, or maybe we never knew it, but the generation that fought and died at Vimy Ridge was in no way “nice” and “gormless”. The generation that sang: “D-day Dodgers“ knew everything there was to know about push-back against gormlessness (great series of YouTube videos at this link – none of this shows up in Social Studies, does it?).
Lest we forget, Canadians were not always a mob of gormless poltroons. Where are they now? My elders (now mostly dead). Realization dawned one day in the midst of World War III, that the real enemy was not, most undoubtedly not, the young kid clinging on to the Soviet frigate 100 yards away. He was me.
The real enemy was back home in the comfortable office towers and media redoubts taking pot shots at the ones doing the bleeding. The real enemy was back home in the Kremlin, and in Washington, and in Ottawa, and in London. The real enemy was the figureheads and their agenda of “What is Truth?”
Just in case we missed something and mistakenly understand “gormless” as synonymous with “nice” we can look at a definition of sorts: “Gormless began life as the English dialect word “gaumless”, which was altered to the modern spelling when it expanded into wider use in the late 19th century.
The origins of “gaumless” are easy to understand; the word derives from a combination of the dialect noun gaum, meaning “attention” or “understanding,” and the suffix -less. “Gaum” also functions as a verb in some dialects, where it means “to pay attention to” and “to understand.” An unrelated verb gaum means “to behave in a stupid or awkward manner.”
There’s also a noun gaum, meaning “a stupid doltish person.” But none of these are as commonly used nowadays as “gormless”, which itself is most frequently seen in British English.
True synonyms would be: airheaded, birdbrained, bonehead, boneheaded, brain-dead, brainless, bubbleheaded, chuckleheaded, dense, dim, dim-witted, doltish, dopey (also dopy), dorky [slang], dull, dumb, dunderheaded, empty-headed, fatuous, stupid [chiefly British], half-witted, knuckleheaded, lamebrain (or lamebrained), lunkheaded, mindless, oafish, obtuse, opaque, pinheaded, senseless, simple, slow, slow-witted, soft, softheaded, thick, thickheaded, thick-witted, unintelligent, unsmart, vacuous, weak-minded, witless.
Now don’t I just feel SO much better in my nice Canadian gormlessness … sigh. “What is Truth?”
And what about Gratitude? Is there really anything to be grateful for in a polite society lacking in sincerity and justice? (more to follow on gratitude – we need more of it)
After Darkness comes the Dawn …
and Breakfast …