The Faithful Wellspring

Reintroducing the Faith to the St. Tarcissus Parish Community

“If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt

The complexities of life are truly awe-inspiring. It’s often stated, usually at the end of an excruciatingly tiring day, just how barely we made it through it all. Indeed, life, and particularly mankind, is an extraordinarily fascinating subject-matter. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. In fact, there exist countless organizations, as well as their relevant subsidiary organizations, that are dedicated to the analysis and unraveling of our mind, body, and soul. Although this has been true of humanity for centuries; it is omnipresent in this day-and-age more so than at any other point. As an example of this, during the Middle-Ages, as well as in various era’s prior to and sporadically afterwards, it was not uncommon for certain parts of a nation to be unaware of the reigning monarch of the time. This may seem trivial to us in our “modern” era, but during the reigns of God-Kings/Monarchs, this was gravely important. It’s for this very reason coronations and their various ceremonies/festivities came about to begin with; it was a whimsical way in which to inform their subjects that they were found to be the rightful heir to the throne and its accompanying crown (of course). “But what, pray-tell, does this have to do with us nowadays?” You, understandably, ask. And to which I reply, everything. For it is underneath the banner(s) of “civilization” that we march, deciding and declaring that our way is the better way to life and that theirs (whomever “they” are) is not. We’ve done it for God-Kings/Kings and we do it now for Prime Ministers/Presidents. But more than that we do so without batting a single eye of hypocrisy. “Oh, but Michael,” you utter in a panicked defensive voice, “you are conflating the difference between civilization and colonization.” And to this I say just as surely, “no, I’m not.”

How can anyone, let alone an invalid like myself, make such a statement and back it up with evidence? Deceptively easily actually. The easiest and most staggering example of this is found with Adolf Hitler and the rise of the Third Reich. “How cliche,” you might mumble to yourself and to which I say, “I agree.” But don’t leave me yet, dear reader, allow me to explore the topic at hand and perhaps in the process win you back (possibly). Germany, after the events of WWI, was unbelievably poor and completely decimated. The Weimar Republic was born and (already) gasping for air; its metaphorical lungs riddled with disease. Every aspect of society and routine-life was in shambles. The politicians were bickering with each-other incessantly, thus leading to political gridlock (sound familiar?); workers who were trying to unionize were severely punished by an excessive police and military force; citizens were using wheelbarrows of paper money to keep themselves warm during the winter months, as the currency was so devalued as to be rendered worthless. The stage was ripe for a new “star” and it came in the form of a WWI veteran, having entered the service under a false age; ultra-nationalistic; and subpar painter. The man who will forever be linked with mass-murder and evil: Adolf Hitler. Under his reign, Germany not only recovered, but thrived. As with all things that seem too good to be true, however, there was a price to be paid for this new-found revitalization. And we all know what that was. Domestic spying/terrorism; indoctrination; military-rule; et al. But none of this, and this brings us back to the original point, would’ve been possible if he didn’t invoke the tried-and-true mantra, which all autocrats turn to; the banner of the State and the impositions of its civilization. From his all-mighty dais, he proclaimed:

“I am determined to solve (1) the Danzig question; (2) the question of the Corridor; and (3) to see to it that a change is made in the relationship between Germany and Poland that shall ensure a peaceful co-existence. In this I am resolved to continue to fight until either the present Polish government is willing to continue to bring about this change or until another Polish Government is ready to do so. I am resolved t remove from the German frontiers the element of uncertainty, the everlasting atmosphere of conditions resembling civil war. I will see to it that in the East there is, on the frontier, a peace precisely similar to that on our other frontiers.” ~Adolf Hitler — Declaration of War against Poland (September 1st, 1939)

It is thus, always, that war must be presented as a last option and never for oneself. Rather, it must be presented as a response to a problem(s), regardless of validity, and offered as a solution. “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength” George Orwell (Nineteen Eighty-Four) And the amount of times this has been used to justify physical aggression against a population or opposing civilization fills the shelves of countless libraries with their respective tales. Whether it’s Julius Caesar proclaiming enemies within that caused him to Cross the Rubicon or George Bush Jr. utilizing Al-Qaeda and the attacks of 9/11 to justify going to war with Iraq (a link that has all but been decimated). However, these are all aspect’s of civilization that we’re all too aware of. There exists another aspect to this discussion that’s rarely talked about and it is its effects upon its citizens. We all believe that the way we prioritize ourselves and our lives is a natural thing. As a matter of fact, I’d like to pause right here, and ask you to visualize your priorities? What’s the image that comes to mind? *WARNING: DON’T SCROLL-DOWN UNTIL YOU VISUALIZE FOR YOURSELF*

 

 


Was the above image it? If so, congratulations, you’re colonized! But don’t feel bad, this isn’t a personal critique. We all suffer from it, including your’s truly. Rather, this is the by-product of a process centuries in-the-making. Literally. For juxtaposition, our life was dominated by a square-mentality, which was prevalent all throughout our hunter-gathering era(s) as our cares and worries were (somewhat) more simplified. Once an idea, however, popped-up within a certain region and to a certain group of people’s; it became the standard by which they operated upon from then onwards. This seems like a natural process, right? Well, in essence, it is; but then again it isn’t as these ideas usually became a pretext of the original population whom thought–justifiably or not–that their way’s were better and, thus, created/fueled strife/resentment amongst neighbors. Sadly, as history tells us time-and-time again, these resentments often metastasized until (eventually) one or both sides could no longer stomach the others’ way-of-life. And this usually resulted in one civilization falling to another, which thus resulted in the conquered civilization adopting the ideal(s) of the conquerors. Of course, war wasn’t the only means through which ideas were spread, sometimes it would occur through various forms of subversion, either willingly or not. But regardless of its manner of infiltration into another civilization/culture/society; it always required a price to be paid and that usually came in the guise of a previous ideals’ complete removal or a severe curtailment. As a result, and depending upon a myriad of factors; the previous idea would, gradually, be forgotten (entirely) or incredibly distorted as to be unrecognizable from its predecessor. If all of this (still) seems abstract; then let us utilize the Founding of America as a tangible example.

“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.” George Washington (December 2nd, 1783)

America was, at first, just another colony in a long list of them for the British/French/Spanish/Dutch Empires. Nothing more, nothing less. Than a group of men–wealthy, well-educated, and well-established–immigrated to the Thirteen Colonies and began to share with each other a set of ideas (keyword) of what a nation should be, at least according to them. Eventually, this led them to act upon those shared ideals; at first clandestinely than overtly. And, through many trials and tribulations, a new nation arose. Although this is a highly simplified version of events; the point still stands. An idea is created in a certain region (the America’s); to a certain group of people’s (the “Founding Fathers”); and, through war and conquest, those ideals are forced, and enforced, upon a conquered populace. Again, rinse-and-repeat, ad nauseam. The point isn’t to denigrate this nation, nor any other for that matter. Instead, this is to illustrate how often things are repeated. Thus, I ask, why is this behavior considered natural? To me it is anything but. As a matter of fact, and harkening to my techie mindset; “civilization” bears an alarming resemblance to a computer infected with a virus. Hold on, don’t desert me here, my wonderful reader(s). I promise you I haven’t gone insane in the membrane. Are you still with me? Barely? Okay, then I promise I’ll wind this entry up shortly afterwards. Continuing onwards.

A computer, which will act as our metaphor for an established civilization, will behave according to a rigid structure that was already in-place; its own (literal) codes of laws. According to these scripts, the aforementioned computer will behave neutrally; “communicate” with other computers neutrally; and remain relatively unassuming to all the other computer systems out-there. A virus, on the other hand, is formed in another location; adopted as a standard by which a civilization will henceforth operate under; and will be (eventually) employed by them as a means of conquering its neighbors, again either intended or unintended. Like an idea, a virus, according to its own set of binary codes of law, will mimic a natural process(es) of a computer in order to infect it. Once successfully infected; the computer will not realize what has been done to it and will continue to operate as if nothing’s occurring. The virus, however, and depending upon various factors, will metastasize and spread through other regions of said computer until it reaches its threshold. By this point, the infected computer will realize what has occurred and start behaving erratically; this will in-turn, if the proper means exist or are introduced to the situation promptly enough, activate a counter-attack (antivirus). If the introduced virus (idea), however, is strong enough; it, even if those aforementioned barriers (antivirus) are activated, may not be enough to ward-off the eventual collapse of said system (society).

Of course, unlike a computer, there are no “do-overs” in man-made societies. You are either conquered (totally) or forced to assimilate to the “new” system. But akin to computers; the fostering, spread, and eventual demise of a previous mode of existence are all too commonplace. So, after all this, allow me to pose the obvious questions: is civilization real or is it an illusion which we’ve all bought into? Are we truly whom we were meant to be or are we products of this mass-virus which has tricked us into believing it is, and we are, completely natural and rational? Are we genuinely free or are we beholden unto our own individual codes of law? Regardless of your personal answers, is this idea of civilization worth holding onto, let alone continuing to propagate? Can we, emphatically, state that its very existence doesn’t change our manner of thinking; behaving; socializing; etcetera? Are we truly okay with this current mode of being to continue, as is, despite how much hardship it has wrought, upon us and our brethren? I will leave these series of questions for you to contemplate upon, fair and noble readers, without prejudice or pressure(s) of any sort. I merely hope that, at the very least, I’ve gotten you to think a little differently than perhaps you’re accustomed to thinking about the very fabric of our existence and individual purpose(s) upon this earth. As always, I wish you all the absolute best; take care; and God bless one-and-all. But, and forgive me for this, before I leave you, entirely; I’d like to do so with the following quote, which comes from one of my all-time favorite movies: a choice that will come as no surprise to anyone, especially after the nature of this discussion. The film, of course, I’m alluding to is The Matrix.

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” –Morpheus (The Matrix, 1999)

Musings, Reflections

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