Friday, April 22, 2011

Not with a Bang, but a Whimper

The following is my commentary on someone's idea that religions create problems and then offer solutions. Someone else responded to this idea by suggesting that the artificial problem-solution dynamic occurs outside of religion proper.  I pick up where this comment left off.  

I agree with the comment that points to this dilemma (a more or less fake problem with a more or less fake solution) outside of religion: it is endemic in politics (which subsists on chronic fear and incompetence), education (which subsists on chronic ignorance and incompetence), the health-care industry (which subsists on chronic illness), and the stock market (which subsists on chronic ignorance, fear, and incompetence).

To be brief, almost all of the people who minister to our human needs in any capacity these days instinctively do so in such a way as to make us parasitically dependent on them. They want to keep us as a regular customer (or voter), and to that end they buy us off with promises to save us from otherwise irredeemable deficiencies in our individual and corporate selves. If we were to wake up tomorrow healthy, intelligent, self-reliant, and fearless, they would suddenly have nothing to do (and would have to confront a drastic alteration in their own way of being, which depends on our chronic dependence). The real problem with modern civilized life, as I see it, is that we have lost sight of health, goodness, wholeness, and integrity as objects to be pursued for their own sake. Instead of going for complete human development (as many people as possible relying as little as possible on outside input to survive), we go for minimal human development (as many people as possible as reliant on others as possible without pushing the others beyond what they can bear). All of our institutions are becoming the kind of dead-end trap that the LDS church currently is. "Check your brain at the door, take a number, and do whatever the nice man in the suit says: everything will be fine."

This is my real problem with life at the moment. My faith crisis is not confined to one particular institution or mode of being: I am suddenly looking at the whole ruddy mess of human society and seeing the same stupid cancer of nonsense eating everything. How can I speak out against this while feeding my family? Where can I work without feeling that my integrity is being sold to dupe people out of their human dignity? How can I achieve the level of moral independence necessary to come clean to my supervisors about how I really feel when they talk to me in serious tones about "the demands of the profession" (which I increasingly see as code for "we must protect the status quo, no matter what")? These are the tough questions that keep me up at night. These are the issues I would like to hear a prophet (or anyone) address openly.