In recent years, we have seen an explosion in addictions: alcohol, drugs (legal and illegal), sex, pornography, food, gambling, and others either too obscure or too perverse to mention. People are medicating themselves at an alarming rate with a whole host of substances and activities. Why?
Why are we so miserable when things have ‘never been better’? Have we not cured many diseases that have plagued mankind from his beginning? Have we not also made life not only longer, but easier?
Yet, we are more depressed and more miserable than ever. Clinical depression is rampant, and more people are dying from ‘lifestyle choices’ these days than accidents, shortening their enjoyment of this clean and safe world through their own choices to die sooner rather than later. More and more people are ‘enjoying’ life ‘to death.’ Their escapism is killing them.
What is at the center of this suffering?
Well, I have a theory that will be controversial to say the least. It may even sound a bit over-the-top and even paranoid, and so I will try to describe our world a bit more before I state what I suspect is the problem. I hope you will bear with me, as this may be difficult at times to follow.
Let us begin with the modern man. He lives in a city. Chances are that his next-door neighbors are not his relatives. In fact, he is isolated from family and those with the firm bonds of relation. His job and his coworkers entail relationships that are inherently conditional and temporary. Essentially, there is no one in his daily life that won’t dump him when the going gets rough.
The same is true of his marriage, even his children. There are no needs in any of these relationships that cannot be met in some other way. The modern man can be divorced quite easily, with a sympathetic court system and layers of social welfare agencies that will not only provide alimony but child support.
The same is true for the modern woman. She is utterly replaceable, often happily. Men are more content to look at porn than forming a relationship, and so women see themselves as having to compete for attention even in the most intimate of circumstance.
Children are not formed by families, but mandatory education systems that instill morals, discipline, and values in place of what a family once did. They learn quickly that the way to success as defined by the system is not through home life but the career or, more importantly, self-esteem and self-gratification.
In fact, any impediment to self-gratification is taught as persecution at best and debilitating on average. We are all formed by our modern lives to value not survival (because it is now taken for granted that one will live to the life expectancy of one’s community and perhaps overshoot it by a little), but luxury.
Our modern world has become increasingly materialistic. In fact, our political systems focus solely on dialectical materialism, whether you are a Capitalist or a Marxist. We track our economy like the vagaries of the pagan gods, engaging in all manner of statistical augury and scrying to find out what the stock market will do next, knowing for certain that our future depends on this fickle beast.
That’s because man has come to depend more on financial mechanisms that family ties. We are promised pensions and guaranteed payments in our old age to replace the children we once bore to care for us in retirement. We work and save, hoping that some other people will have those expensive children who will pay our stipends and care for us in our latter days. More on that later.
In fact, the modern man is sterile. If he has a child or two, it is for amusement purposes only, or perhaps the function of some vague biological reflex or instinct. This is why modern families in America give their kids ‘cute’ names without regard to their eventual adulthood. Children are the parents’ toys.
Certainly, children are not a necessity for the modern marriage as they once were, and so marriage largely becomes about guaranteeing sex and some companionship. Yes, marriage is a hollow shell of its former importance. It is about getting one’s needs met rather than mutual survival. When the needs can be filled somewhere else more easily, then the ropes are cut and the ship is underway.
Modern man knows this. He knows that he has been replaced by the systems and bureaucracies of modern life designed largely to deal with after-effects of urbanization and the occasional casualties that arise from it. As people move away from extended family into the city, they are cut off and their material and emotional needs are no longer provided by the tribe or clan.
So, we clamor for new ways to meet these needs. A government entity cannot meet our emotional requirements (some states for a cult of personality to do precisely this, keeping the people under the thumb of the state), but it can get into the business of providing material necessities. Many states can do this rather successfully: after all, the material is easy to recognize and ration for distribution. But, not love. The state cannot love us, it is not subject to bureaucratic organization and management.
So, what is killing us is the profound loneliness of this materialistic world.
We are medicating the suffering we feel as we contemplate lives that are empty of love and meaning. Make no mistake, the only real meaning a person can have is to be loved… then he is truly wanted for who he is rather than what can be sucked from him.
Alcohol and drugs, along with the other things that are killing us, are anesthetizing the crude surgery of modern life. We are being disemboweled by the world depriving us of our most fundamental needs for love and meaning, and we medicate so as not to notice how much we desire something profound.
At the same time, there are plenty of people who seem to be happy with this inhumane condition of modern man. There are those who see natural humanity and hate it. They hate the family, and they hate the God who values all mankind.
There are those who see mankind in terms of its collective suffering and the inherent instability of the world. They hate this suffering, perhaps because they feel it too profoundly themselves or they pathologically fear it. Some become ardent, ruthless businessmen hoping to amass enough money and power to cope with their fears.
Others become hateful of the God that allows this suffering, and they assume that mankind can cure his own problems if he would only organize the world in the right way. He sets about to make sure everyone has what he needs to survive and feel ‘full.’ This revolutionary expels the capricious God from the heavens and places the ‘community’ under his management.
Just as the Robber Barons of old had no problems with shooting workers or Indians that got in their way, the Marxist rounds up the uncooperative for reeducation and liquidation. Long ago, the God that called all men to Himself has been shoved aside by the New Man that picks and chooses which of his neighbors deserves to exist or not.
The Capitalist and the Communist are no different. This is why people drink when they are under a brutal Socialist regime or an immoral Kleptocracy. Any system that reduces people to financial widgets crushes the human spirit. We all have differing needs and wants as persons, which all come down to ways that make us feel loved and appreciated. The Communist hates individuality, because it never quite fits in his plans. The Capitalist also has a much easier time making a fortune off of people with uniform and predictable tastes.
This is where the problem gets worse: what do we do when people will not conform. Jesus Christ says to love even our enemies, but the modern man is told that those who do not conform are ‘problems.’ How do these ‘non-conformists’ cause problems? Largely by threatening the financial stability that both systems rely on.
Yes, the beggar and the rich man can both be threats to our materialistic plans. They become our enemies, because they threaten the financial resources that we have used to replace the family that once banded together and supported its members.
And, as our financial plans become more and more important, because we have lost all other means of security, those who threaten our ‘nest-eggs’ become an even greater enemy than before. So, we put the government in charge of guarding our ‘retirement plans,’ which means that our elected officials and government functionaries are all the more important to us. Suddenly, every election is a gladiatorial competition… for the voters.
All the while, we are slaving away. Our lives are stressful, and since we are formed only to value our own pleasures, our work becomes just as much about putting away for the future as it does a way to pay for our stress-relieving pleasure-seeking. We indulge in beer-swilling or vacationing or spending money to deal with our constant fear of the unknown and our isolation.
We are stressed because there is no God, and to cope with the stress, we work harder to afford more stress-relieving activities… that cause more stress. We awake to the same problems, compounded by a hangover or another bill to pay.
With our stress and the self-centered methods of stress relief we engage in, other people become more and more of a burden. Their constant demands for services from us (to deal strictly with their own problems, because they are selfish as well) make their impositions all the more taxing.
Therefore, the very solution to our problem of loneliness, other people made in the Image and Likeness of the God who is Love, become our opponents and competitors. We turn from other people to things, because things don’t ask of us. We prefer the pictures of a woman to the woman herself.
But the things that we enjoy are nothing but a turning inward back into the loneliness of the self… the very self the world encourages us to idolize yet cannot meet the need for companionship and love that we crave. Modern society tells us to love ourselves as if that takes away loneliness. It only works for sociopaths, and even they have a hard time with it.
Self-love means that we are still apart from others. It renders us unable to give companionship to others because our reflex is to meet our own needs first. Thus, the God who commands us to love others is a bully and a monster. He wants to take away our self-centered fun and force us into community. No, the needs of the self must be met first, and so God must go. Everything must be about the self.
We make sex about the self, which is why ‘Sex Ed’ is about orgasms rather than relationships. Intoxication through addiction drives us back into the self to escape the harsh reality of the outside world, where love knows no place. If there is a love in the world, it is idolization of those who distract us from our misery rather than providing any real solutions. Entertainers, from musicians to athletes, are the champions of distraction. They help us hold onto our selfishness.
The most cynical of humans take advantage of this selfishness. Politicians promise more ‘stuff,’ either benefits (paid for by someone else) or decreased taxation (so you can afford more stuff). The entertainment industry works overtime to figure out how to stimulate people who are burned out on stimulation because we have grown tolerant of it.
We need more and more, because the things and the stuff changes nothing: we are still lonely.
The cynics look at the misery of mankind and see the real solution: fewer people. They see humanity with its suffering as a cancer on the world. Just ask the environmentalist and the people who panic at the thought of over-population.
My theory is that there are those who see humanity as a burden, and they want it reduced, if not eliminated. And, they have accidentally encountered the solution.
The old way of getting rid of people was killing them: prison camps, mass slaughter, starvation, and forced labor are the most popular ways. You have the Chinese demanding families only have one child, which has required a great deal of effort.
The quiet way is to replace the family in every way with money. Set up financial mechanisms to provide for every need the family once provided, but without the demands that a family requires, namely equal participation. Yes, a family can help you, but you can’t be selfish. The family will expect you to do your fair share. You will be loved and cared for, but you will also have to provide love and care for others. If you are taught selfishness, this sounds pretty hard. Why not get everything without the burden of family obligations?
No longer needing children and family, Westerners are sterilizing themselves. Look at the world and ask yourself: where are the birthrates falling? In the places where there are lots of ‘social benefits.’ The Westerner assumes that someone else’s children will work for this same system and support him in his old age. So long as he cooperates and does his ‘share’ (i.e. voting for the right politicians and working in his job) others will raise children that will take care for him later in life.
So, everyone passes the buck. You don’t need your own kids. Your marriage isn’t even about having kids. If you distract yourself enough, you won’t even miss not having them. Yes, the ancient biological cry to reproduce can be ignored until you make it to your retirement community and the joys of socializing with your peers and people who understand you. In other words, other people who won’t cramp your style.
The Western world is now dependent on the rest of the world’s fertility, but for how long? Other developing nations want to emulate these same social welfare systems, and once they do, their own birthrates will fall. Humanity will shrink of its own accord. Populations will voluntarily shrivel up because everyone within the community will assume that someone else will raise up the next generation. We are too stressed to raise kids. They are expensive and time consuming. How can me and the wife pay for a vacation to Maui with five kids?
But, we are still lonely. And so, this whole plan to wipe out humanity assumes that people will be able to use substances to medicate the natural pain they experience from their loneliness. We have to have more alcohol and more ‘medical marijuana’ and more internet pornography in order for all of this to work. That’s why it is getting worse. Abuse and addiction are the oil that keeps the engine lubricated.
If we end our addictions, we will experience the pain of our humanity distorted by the modern mindset. We will experience the misery and reject The Plan.
Is there any hope? Yes, we can opt out. We can turn to the True God through the 12 Steps, and emerge from addiction to find God in His Church. We can be united to the Divine Son, and thus achieve unity with all mankind.
Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of My Name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Mark 13:12-14)
As free men in a world of bondage to loneliness, our freedom is the greatest threat to the system. Those whose interests lie within the perpetuation of this system will hate us and persecute us. After all, we are not conformists when we refuse to drink of Narcissus’ gazing pool. Our love for our families and one another will challenge system.
I do think that some people have figured out how hypnotized we have become. They know that so long as they can keep everyone else mesmerized in their addictions and distractions, they can do what they really want. And, managing lots of people they know will be difficult, so they seek to eliminate as many people as possible.
You may say, “Yes, but most of them know they won’t live to see the end there are plotting for.” This is true, but most of them will die satisfied knowing that the bomb will go off and their vengeance upon humanity will take place.
Yes, these men hate humanity with the hatred of Satan. Just like the devil, they want mankind utterly eliminated. And, they are succeeding.
Do I think that they will win? No. But, I do think they will inflict a lot of casualties along the way. God is giving us the tools necessary to win our freedom through Him. He has given us His Son that we might be united with Him and unchain ourselves from the isolation of the modern world.
God loves us, and this love is triumphant.
I will end this with the fifth chapter of Ephesians:
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints. Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be associated with them. For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.
Version 8 March 2013
© 2013 – Fr. George Aquaro – permission to reproduce for free distribution only.