In this era of feel-good everything, the feel has become better than the achievement. So we pass “non-binding resolutions” (translated: stupid nothings that we admit to being nothings but since we have this really cool buzzword-approved slogan for it we sound like we’re actually accomplishing something) instead of using whatever bully pulpit we’ve been given and power we’ve been entrusted to make this world an actually better place. Even if I don’t agree with you, at least I’m not going to be too busy laughing at your paltry yet stone-faced serious attempts at positively nothing when you actually DO something.
The famous Scopes “Monkey” Trial of the last century has repercussions extending into nearly every facet of modern existence and western culture and society. We like to think that evolution has it’s effect on the culture primarily in the realm of science and discovery. It’s easy and convenient and doesn’t make a mess when we relegate, seperate, compartmentalize, and minimalize the effects of any philosophy. But just as God makes demands touching every aspect of our lives, the religion of Humanism has impact and purpose far beyond the sterile walls of the laboratory.
In a recent post I mentioned Abraham Maslow and his most well known addition to human psychology, the Hierarchy of Needs, which is a supposed process through which humans can achieve self-fulfillment, satisfaction, or purpose and meaning in their lives. The hierarchy peaks with a state called, famously, “Self-actualization.” Self-actualization is that point at which the base or primative human needs, like bread and water, security, friendship and the like are fully satisfied and we are freed to fill more enlightened needs such as morality, creativity, spontaneity, and the like. The path to self-actualization lies through our freeing ourselves from the burdens of prejudice and guilt and being who we are truly meant to be.
Self-actualization is the result of the application of the evolutionary postulate of all things tending towards order from chaos, which of course flies in the face of the proven Third Law of Thermodynamics, the law of entropy, of a closed system changing from order to chaos, from creation to decay with a measureable ultimate result of zero. Maslow believed that the young human child is the perfect example of a self-actualized being. He said that “as far as I know, we just don’t have any intrinsic instincts for evil in human nature.” So by following our truest, deepest desires we will achieve that nirvana of humanism, self-actualization (I dunno ’bout’chu, but I still think Heaven sounds loads better than nirvana or whatcheveryacallit they say’s we gonna get). Now look at a baby, selfishly hoarding toys that it won’t even play with. A baby crying and screaming in wholy unrighteous indignation because it’s slightest whim lay unfulfilled. I can think of something beside self-actualization which might better describe their mental and emotional state.
But the real meat of the issue, the point I really want to make here is in response to an article I wrote even earlier, one of the founding articles of this blog. In November I wrote an article in which I explored one of the reasons I thought homosexuals reacted to Christians with such anger, hatred, and vehemence. I now have another reason, a more fundamental reason, and one which carries with it a greater responsibility for the Christian, and a greater condemnation for the sinner.
Because we as Christians stand in the way of humanistic self-actualization with our belief in a righteous God and a fallen, sinful and reprobate man, we are the enemy to those who seek to
“be themselves” with the intent of self-actualizing. All hate and anger from those chasing self-actualization directed at us should be because of our standing in the truth.
Philosophy, apologetics, and the ‘big questions’ fascinate me. There is a reason the ancient scientists were also philosophers: they understood that the search for truth, whether physical, supernatural, or psychological, was the same search, and all honest and accurate observations would point the same direction. For the most part, famous philosophers across the ages have denied the reality of God, or denied His willful activity in current history, and so they were limited to finding only purposelessness and emptiness at the end of their searches. But also over the millenia there have been those who’ve valiantly defended the cause of Christianity, finding how it “made sense” to our finite human minds. In the recent century, two particular men stand out as having a particularly impressive effect on our understanding of ourselves, our life, purpose, and the ‘big questions’.
C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud are two names not often seen together, but their lives contain many intriguing parallels and they struggled with and wrote about many similar issues. C.S. Lewis, “a very ordinary layman of the Church of England”, is perhaps best known as the author of the children’s series “The Chronicles of Narnia“ but I knew him first as the author of “Mere Christianity“, an impressive discussion of the superiority of the Christian faith in addressing the issues of life. Freud, on the other hand, was a renoun atheist with a prolific pen who we credit with creating much of the field of psychoanalysis as we know it today. They have been brought together masterfully by Professor Armand M. Nicholi, Jr. of Harvard, who has taught a class comparing and contrasting the teachings of these two profound thinkers for the last 25 years. The book is “The Question Of God” and I recommend it unreservedly.
Over 25 years Mr. Nicholi has amassed an impressive catalogue of writings, interviews, private and public letters, and general teachings of both these men, and he has put them together in a compelling narative which, for what could have been a dry academic tome, is a jem. I found the book a page-turner, and it’s svelte 300 plus pages belies it’s depth. So pick it up, brew a cup of your favorite brew, get a good fire burning, and dive into this excellent chronicle of the personal truth quests of two brilliant men.
I’m sorry for not posting in the last few days. I just moved to Chicago and found the place I’m staying initially does not have internet at this time. I’m gonna make some time to get to Panera and post some more in the next few days. If you want to be notified by email when a new article is posted you can subscribe here.
While you’re waiting though, if you want to read a good series of articles presenting an unpopular view on a hot-button issue, the National Post of Canada has published a series of articles on Global Warming taking a view that I’ve agreed with for a long time and yet does not enjoy wide support in the media and global leadership. Dr. Edward Wegman, whose work is reviewed in the first article sums up his disagreements with the establishment in this statement: “I am baffled by the claim that the incorrect method doesn’t matter because the answer is correct anyway. Method Wrong + Answer Correct = Bad Science.”
You can find the series of ten articles published at the National Post website Canada.com. I’ve listed the linked titles in order here:
- Statistics Needed
- Warming Is Real – And Has Benefits
- The Hurricane Expert Who Stood Up To UN Junk Science
- Polar Scientists On Thin Ice
- The Original Denier: Into The Cold
- The Sun Moves Climate Change
- Will The Sun Cool Us?
- The Limits Of Predictability
- Look To Mars For The Truth On Global Warming
- Limited Role For CO2
There is a distinct difference between what a business must do and what it can do. An organism or organization must do what is necessary only to survive: for a living organism that includes intake of energy and defensive acts of self-preservation, for an organization that includes intake of money. An organism or an organization can do what it wants. Usually this involves actions that improve the strength, influence, power, and overall viability of that entity.
There are moral and social laws which apply to organizations as they do to organisms. These are neither needs nor wants, but a third category: external requirements. All moral requirements ought to hold the same level of importance as needs to any entity, and to the point that entity upholds these moral laws, we call that entity “moral”. The key difference between an actual need and a moral requirement is that usually there is not a thought process necessary to recognize an actual need, while moral laws require thought and usually practice. We know we need food, so we put something in our mouth. Compared to a moral requirement which might be better described as a set of goals rather than set methods and these goals are not necessarily concretely and practically defineable or specifically actionable. Don’t harm, but if to prevent harm you must cause hurt? Don’t lie, but what if you’re protecting good from evil, innocence from destruction?
Focusing on Corporate Responsibility: Is maintaining unprofitable operations a need for any reason a need? Of course not. Might a company want do maintain an unprofitable operation for the convenience of it’s customers? Possibly, though one would expect that company would be anticipating some greater payoff that justifies its currently unjustifiable expense. A company pouring itself out through convenient but unprofitable operations may have the love of the world, but they’ll soon only be crying at the companies grave.