A Week that Went By Too Fast
I promised an entry every day, but despite my loose schedule and my lack of anything to do at work, I totally failed to write. YMSAT week is done, and work begins again in earnest next week.
Last week I was immersed in the toxicity of grade computation and the red tape-bound correction of errors. When this week rolled around, I had to struggle with the prospect of being paid to do absolutely nothing. Being the human being that I am, I complained about both.
This is common to us, isn’t it? When we’re crushed under an avalanche of work, we long for the deliverance of vacation; when vacation comes, we whine in agony about our lack of mental stimulation and seek salvation from ennui.
When the weather is cold, we complain of lonely, freezing nights. When it’s hot, we want to stay away from crowds to avoid the stifling crush. We’re never satisfied with our circumstances. I guess that means something, doesn’t it? Perhaps it means we were really never meant to be satisfied with our circumstances, and so we should seek satisfaction in something outside this world.
The Postmodern Rebel
The new rebel is a skeptic and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty, therefore he can never be a true revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind, and the moral revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it.
Thus he writes one book complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women, then he writes another book or novel in which he insults it himself.
He curses the sultan because Christian girls lose their virginity, then curses Mrs. Grundy because they keep it.
As a politician he cries out that war is a waste of life, then as a philosopher that all life is a waste of time.
A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself.
A man denounces marriage as a lie, then denounces aristocratic profligates for treating it as a lie.
He calls the flag a bauble, then he blames the oppressors of Poland or Ireland because they take away that bauble.
The man of this school goes first to a political meeting where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts, then he takes his hat and umbrella, goes on to a scientific meeting where he proves that they practically are beasts.
In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite skeptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines.
In his book on politics, he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics, he attacks morality for trampling on men.
Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt; by rebelling against everything, he has lost his right to rebel against anything.
It’s funny, because what Chesterton said almost a century ago is still true now. I don’t want to go into specifics, but I see so many people wandering about the barren urban landscape of this age, claiming moral superiority in one way or another, but not having any basis for their morality. They denounce imaginary hegemonies and moral standards for imposing those standards on society, and in doing so impose their own standards on society. They claim to have authority by which they speak, but their authority is only anchored in the temporal and physical world—and when we ask them what meaning is there in the temporal world, they say “Nothing.”
Any scientist will tell you that for something to rotate, it needs an axis to rotate around. If the axis is removed, how can something rotate? The spinning top stops moving, and when a top stops spinning, what does it do?
I always think Stephen Colbert (please bear with me) said it excellently in that little Christmas carol video I posted a few entries back:
Then you got your nothing
Some folks believe in nothing
But when you believe in nothing
What’s to keep the nothing
From coming for you?
It’s been said that if you don’t stand for anything, you’ll fall for anything. I can’t even begin to list down all of the examples of this that I’ve seen in the world.
I know I’m no good at logic. Thanks to Dr. Zacharias, though, things seem to make a bit more sense to me, and reason and faith no longer seem to be at odds.