“Thoughts After Sickness”
October 22, 2017
I have been fairly ill recently, and consequently things for the past month have slowed right down for me; and I have had time to rest up and think without pressures. I am now on the mend, and I have a few things to say – some of them about my previous written work and my attitude showing in some of it; some about the content and conclusions of that work and the question of their validity or otherwise.
Since I began writing a blog regularly about 2 years ago my views have coalesced and fitted together more and more as I have been proceeding. I believe my faith in Christ is stronger now and that I now have more and better evidence to back its increased strength. I believe my views on our Western societies and their economic systems have come together over time and in general hold up very well.
I do think at times I have shown a fervour, a single-mindedness, and at times a harshness of condemnation, especially now and then about people en masse; and that I could have been a little less blunt and scathing about ordinary people; been more kind and understanding; yet still have stuck to my guns that their lives and their allotted time are in large part being hijacked and squandered for them by the economic system in which they are immersed and that the marketplace is being assisted in this exercise by the political systems of governments and their authorities which are always roundly supporting this economic system.
The question of where to place the responsibility for this surreptitious coup has been centred upon what the Victorians knew as ‘The Undeserving’ and The Deserving’ amongst us; those who are aware of and under few illusions about how things are being run and about how they are set up to produce the results which ensue – these are those who are The Deserving of condemnation, particularly when these are people who are happy to condone and to acquiesce in and to promote and to procure from such setups and arrangements.
Then there are The Undeserving of condemnation who are those more ordinary people who are relative innocents when it comes to them being aware of the setup and the administration of our social and political and economic institutions by those who for the most part overwhelmingly comprise The Deserving of condemnation.
Generally it is the case that ordinary and averagely schooled people are involved in and bound up with, almost without having any critical faculty at work in them, to these systems; they may have individual grumbles and pet hates about what goes on; but almost always these are contingent and individual bugbears, and often one of them will contradict another, and others will transpire to be not real problems but hearsay or else maybe blinded by prejudice. Ordinary people tend to relate much if not most of what goes on in their daily lives to their own selves, and to their own situations and environments; such people rarely generalise with discretion and they do not build constructs of ideas aiming to be self-consistent and analytic assessments of what is going on in their, and other people’s, lives, or in their nation or in the world.
Again ordinary people will express some ideas on these topics but usually their arseanl consists of second-hand ideas got from a pretty low and gutter tabloid press, which panders to their prejudices and pet hates etc; and even creates Aunt Sallys and Hate Figures for their readers’ enjoyment and for them to let off steam at.
We here in Britain have a whole showbusiness industry of comic standups who do political and social satire. These comics appear on weekly shows galore onTV and also tour the country at live venues propagating their digs at the establishment and the politicians, at celebrities and at sportspersons, anyone in the public eye is fair game. These satirists depend on this establishment and on the famous and well-known class of person for their bread and butter; and for their subversive and dependent brand of comedy. Were things run well and above board here in UK these comics would be without materials and without a show and without those fawning audiences who misguidedly see them as maverick heroes and heroines.
These comics represent one way in which intolerance of the political and social systems are tolerated and celebrated and turned around into entertainment and into cash by the very systems they depend on and earn their bread and reputations by, and which they aim to disintegrate. This is typical Capitalism. That absorbs its antagonists; and which carries the seeds of its own destruction. The audiences and comics enjoy their typical chummy mutual gratulations whilst Rome meanwhile goes on burning.
These satirist comics and their audiences are a group of higher level somewhat educated persons who yet still partake in the ordinary persons’ commonplace street hearsay and wayward prejudices, but at a stage removed from grimy Tabloid persuasives and at a stage wherein comics/audiences believe they are in fact ‘wised up’ and so ‘know the ropes’ concerning what goes on and how things are in the world; but yet in some regards these comics and audiences still belong with The Undeserving of censure and condemnation; the innocents, those who fail to appreciate and realise fully the predatory nature and ruthless behaviour of the manipulators, the Simon Cowells and the Alan Sugars, who comprise The Deserving of condemnation.
The audiences of such comics belong with the innocents because they do not see the depths of destruction, they do not do the thinking to its end logic, to see that havoc their pastimes entertainments are wreaking and fragmenting even moreso our societies.
I don’t like condescending pity – I prefer harsh and bitter anger to it. Nonetheless those whom one might say are not aware, are often not aware because their hearts will not believe such things of their common shared humanity; the deeds the ruthless get up to casually and daily. Their hearts are ‘in the right place’ but their hearts do not know very well for what reasons they are ‘in the right place’. These people are then open moreso to manipulation and to receiving without due discrimination the directives and intents of those who would steer them and would arouse their wraths or else raise their sympathies on hand-picked issues of these manipulators’ choice.
This all sounds pretty high and mighty in me, I know. That I should claim to know this and that I should consider myself so prescient and perspicacious about others and about life in general. I can only say in reply what I write is based on my experience and on my long-considered judgement on these affairs. This is my present conclusion and view of things.
As a view of things it is overarched and tempered by my Christian Faith – I might add that I believe that it is my very Christian Faith which has enabled me to see things from the perspective I see from. It has provided me, becausee it provides me with a cosmology as it were, with a vantage point which is able to take into its grasp all time and give me ultimate direction and purpose for my life and for all existence. I believe heartily in Jesus, Jesus who proclaims a higher life than that of only getting and spending; than that of contingent escapisms and ad hoc entertainments and safe delusions. You may think me an incorrigible snob and a prig; but I do earnestly believe this is The Truth - and it is so even when men and women in general do not realise that they are dependent on God for all things and in every way.
Sigmund Freud, The Father of Psycho-analysis, wrote a small book titled ‘Civilisation and its Discontents’ about a thesis of his that civilisation for humanity is ever and always a trade-off. That for the sake of common goods and goals – such as settlement to trade,to get wealth, security, peace, health and so on, in general men and women have found it better for them to accept curbs, sometimes quite severe curbs, on some of their more aggressive and obtrusive natural urges and instincts, so as for them to be able to form societies and so build up cultures and civilisations.
Hence men and women in society are always in a state of repression, in varying degrees, either less or more so. Some people, such as those with less personal power, less wealth, and low scope for activity, experience generally much more repression than those with large personal goods in profuse amounts. This idea that one cannot have civilisation without repression is a general, perhaps ubiquitous idea, which Freud applies to all civilisation of all kinds – that is - there are no Utopias in Freud’s thought – no Kingdom of Heaven to be or to await.
In a similar vein The Oxford Amplified Bible interprets the story of Adam and Eve and The Fall of Man in The Garden of Eden as told in The Book of Genesis, as being an allegorical type story which analyses that event at which human beings first became self-conscious sentient beings. This analysis goes on to say that this awareness of self equates with that Biblical exposition that ‘ Adam and Eve ate of the tree and so knew knowledge of good and evil’. Men and women’s knowledge of good and evil in general then was a result of Adam and Eve eating of the Tree of Knowledge and of its Forbidden Fruit.
Our self-consciousness as people promotes in us our consciences and our consciences promote in us self-praise and self-blame; and it is by this means of conscience that we judge upon other persons’, actions - calling them good or bad or else indifferent. A perspicacious reader will see the similarities between this Oxford Amplified Bible analysis and Freud’s own particular take on civilisation. For both trains of thought at that point when restraints and curbs are assented to being put upon them by men and women, men and women’s freedom to do or to think is curtailed, either externally by the imposition of civilisation or else internally by one’s self-aware conscience. Itis at at these points repressions appear in our minds and with them comes our need for ways to rid ourselves of the frustrations generated by such repressions. This becomes absolutely necessary for men and women. Nothing much rocket-science here.
Now without a concept in one’s heart for the possibility of a Kingdom of Heaven or such; one is left in one’s heart only with a wish for contingent ad hoc day to day escapisms and diversions ( e.g. Premier League soccer; shopping; sports; dancing; movies etc etc) so that one’s life in society uses such pastimes as safety valves for blowing-off steam generated by one’s repressions of various sorts in our lives. One is contented to see life as no more than an amassment of bits and pieces, of fragments and loose ends, all of which just won’t, just don’t, tie up; and so one accepts them as such; as being the inevitable consequences of life and so simply just rides them and takes ones recreations as one pleases so as to alleviate these pressures.
In the current age and with the triumph of Post Modernist thought, and of its bastard offspring in our societies, and in ways of everyday life and thought, not only has Christianity as a movement taken a big hit full on; but all our apprehensions of there being any single singular direction or unity to our lives has been utterly shattered. Many, most people, ordinary or part-educated have some feeling that life is such as this. Their acceptance of fragmentary and of relativist beliefs as their world views has been sapping the strength of our societies for some years now, and it remains in the process of undermining them and destroying them altogether. This fact too is one which is Capitalist consumerism related; but that is another story for another place. Suffice it to say that what consumerism and Capitalism peddle is called by the name of freedom (just as heavy dangerous destroying drug-use is called ‘recreational’); but freedom to what and from whom is not really clear. What is clear is that social boundaries and norms have been and continue to be removed willy-nily and at speed, and in accord only with this fad and that pressure group; and this power-game is hyped as progress; whereas it is nothing more than might fighting to be right and it represents the emergence of a free license which says that in the end anything goes.
Thus from my own point of view we ‘all like sheep have gone astray, everyone to his own way’.
Thus The Big Existential Choice in every individual life is not allowed into the consciousness of many persons in Western nations these days. That choice is whether there is purpose above a ragged bitty and messy day to day life; beyond the grime and trouble of humdrum lives; is there meaning and direction to all this; or is it all a farrago of pot-luck and chaos? The sound and solid and the many arguments on the side of there being truly and certainly overarching meaning, purpose, direction, of there being God and his Son Jesus, are no longer available to people, at school nor in society; no longer are these reasons and arguments broached and taught to people, even our universities are now simply training colleges (excepting at a coterie half dozen universities, the watering holes of the establishment elites.)
That desire foisted upon most of us by Capitalist consumerism which offers us our freedom of action and access to our individual rights and preferences (nearly all of which are consumerist-led constructs deliberately made to be delusional) has had as its correlative consequence the result that we have been robbed of our greater sense of our being valuable items of Spirit, and held in the hands of a living merciful and loving God. Hence we no longer have spiritual lives; we have instead depression and mental disorders, and get prescribed remedies which do not fight the problem but just dampen the symptoms.
There is a salutary and weighty sense of fulfilment had out of admitting to ourselves our status as being modest simple someones in the eyes of a loving Creator; is our fullest life, it is our sense of utter liberation from anxiety and dismay; and it is our feeling that a life however bad or hard, is still very much worth living.
I am no bluesky thinker. My life has seen troughs, Sloughs of Despond Not many lives of my generation have seen as much. I am not talking to you from some privileged and safe secure comfortable position. I have my own problems and my family also has some. I am not a dilettante in suffering.
I do not boast this. I just want you to know that despite hardships and setbacks, illnesses and hard knocks, there remains MORE THAN EVER a place for The Lord Jesus in in deepest part of my heart. I could not in any vital sense live without his love and grace.