Chesterfield wrote that “without a good moral soil, art and reason will never flourish.” As I look around me, whether in politics, art, music, reason, discourse, conversation and culture, it is all about self. The culture today is one of no central moral soil. We have no real moral compass that allows art and reason to find a home. Without an environment of living for more than self, there will be no great art, no great discourse, no great progress, no great furtherance of life.
I just don’t see this infertile soil of morality today nurturing the best things, the progressive things, the living things that makes life worth the living. Trying to live in a culture where what ever is good enough, is nothing more than a life of just getting on. It is a life of pure pragmatism. It is a life without hope. It is a life of what ever works. There is little trying to make things better. It is a pragmatism which settles for the moment and never for the possibility of future. It is a place where majority ideas and thought patterns become the new norm. Further, this new norm changes from day to day.
Our culture just follows along, just staying a step ahead of the slowest. Never excelling, never having a thought of our own. The mantra says, “What ever works for you must be good enough for me.”
I read some parts of social media. The idea for a place to share your thoughts and ideas is a great concept. But it has become a place of redundant re-post after re-post. No new ideas, no sharing of who we really are. All shares are of things or ideas of others that agree with you; fully expecting by taking the effort to post something at all is making the assumption that someone might be persuaded to think like you. There is no critical thinking, no trying to learn of the person behind the pretty head shot picture. There is no effort to learn more or to understand. It is all being more impressive and thought provoking by posting someone the common drivel of some one else. There is no discourse for understanding. “If you don’t agree with them, that must be your problem.
Meaning, purpose, commonality, adventuring spirit, an ever pushing ahead is simply not tolerated. And heaven forbid if I disagree with your post. “Don’t do that, it offends me.” If you are going to post an idea of someone else you need to be able to defend that position, not to sit in the corner yelling, “I don’t love you anymore mommy.”
All that remains for our unthinking pragmatism is a comfortable existence of being OK. No excellence, no reason, no meaning, no purpose, no excitement, no zest, no reaching out, no life but the status quo. In the end, in doing only what works for you in the moment, will result in the discovery that it simply does not work for you. Your life becomes a habitual malaise. Contrary thought is condemned. Finding the reason for action becomes just too much work. Purpose becomes, “just getting along.” Life is nothing more than “safe spaces” and political correctness. It is a place where everyone gets a trophy. It is an environment where equal rights become a demand for equal results. There is no place for excellence.
It is only in finding more than self, more than the status quo, more than just getting along, more than pragmatism, more than being politically correct, more than being the perfect mediocre. It is only within the eternal does the temporal find its relevance. There is nothing without that eternal compass, that fertile soil seeded with the eternal which gives life more meaning. IT is not things, or posts or the number of likes.
It is an eternal environment, not a temporal temporary that brings life. It is only in the eternal that you ever really live. Why? Because it pushes us onward, one step at a time, toward the better way.