I have no formal training in history, literature, anthropology, or religion. I was sent to schools as a kid that put restrictive limits on what it called ‘secular’ knowledge. I was in my late thirties when I began to give myself lessons in all of these things. And only in earnest the last five or so years did I really seek to learn more than facts but to put context to those facts and begin the task of painting an image of Man’s quests. What a wacky quest it’s been.
The biggest change in my thinking as I’ve attempted to learn and study was a gradual but certain feeling of boredom and distaste for modernity. The sheer power that the West began to acquire did what power often does and corrupted the West entirely. In the dogged pursuit of equality for all mankind and individuality, Something Else snuck into the power structure. Something decidedly of Primary Evil descent, and began to help the West twist itself into something frightening.
Though I am not fully in the camp of, say, Brett Stevens, in terms of saying flat-out that democracy is a lie, I must say that evidence abundant proves that democracy carries with it the Seeds of Pride, seeds which humans find very difficult not to plant, nurture and grow into Hubris. So attractive is the fruit of Hubris until it rots into Nemesis that we rarely see the ugliness until it is far too late.
And so the West’s quest to create some sort of Utopian ideal of a Community of Man morphed into something ugly. We look on Ancient cultures as backward and un-enlightened because they adhered to strict ideals and morals, despite their own propensity to get it wrong very often. These ancients understood that living up to strict, moral traditions was all but an impossibility, yet the act of exerting force of will over one’s own desires was a good thing, even when only symbolic. In the West today, we often tend to see this a hypocritical. We seem to think that sharing every bit of our own ugliness is the only ‘honest’ way of living.
So we, in the West, will brook no tradition which requires from us hard work, honest assessments, and consequences for doing things incorrectly. We will celebrate empty traditions with all the money in our pockets, propping up the trivial as important. We will tolerate rampant crime, murder, usury, corruption, lies, and being monitored at all times yet we will not so much as question this, much less ourselves, against the fact that perhaps traditions that require us to be more than just individuals eeking out some cultural dream of success had a definitive purpose, a purpose that had our betterment as a species at heart.
We Westerners compartmentalize everything. This is one area in my own thinking that I’ve chosen to break down very directly. I know far too many fellow Christians who know nothing of occult knowledge, Ancient cultures or other religions, save their own. And, in compartmentalizing their ideology in such a way, have missed so many of the true meanings of the words in their own Holy Book. Knowing nothing of numerology, occult practices (and from when those practices came), demonology, metaphysics, etc., the goings on of the world perplex them, and too often it ends up becoming a trap wherein the only solution to the problem of ‘the world’ is for ‘the world’ to end. I’ve been there myself many times. But this misses the real teachings of Yeshua by light years.
But when you begin to put it all together, the world, the universe itself, becomes larger in exponential ways. You start to see correlations between such Judeo-Christian ideas as, say, the Nephilim, and the legends and wonders of cultures thousands of miles way, or hundreds of years away. It gives you a new map, and the Bible becomes more than a dusty tome of rules you only crack open on Sunday morning. The whole thing becomes a tale of Goodness and woe and misery, redemption and awe, wonder and tragedy. You can read the works of other religions without the unfounded fear that comes from not knowing the true worth of one’s faith. And the only way to find that worth is to dig it up, clean it off, and test it, over and again. If faith is so weak as to have no more value than fool’s gold, proven fake with one or two glances, I wonder what is the point in that faith.
I think, to some degree, the reason that we Westerners have done such compartmentalizing and hiding (because it is hiding) is simply to escape the neverending onslaught of noise.
Thanks to CNN (being the first 24-hour ‘news’ network), we have a ‘world stage’ and that stage never, ever shuts up. Our own entertainment devices drive us mad by assaulting us every moment with competing ideas. For the most part, it is all slick sophistry. But, like the aforementioned things we will tolerate to side-step tradition, we won’t turn them off. Instead, we have to build walls in our minds, compartments where we put ideals and beliefs we think are our own, until everything outside these compartments seems an enemy, something we’re at war with. We in the West seem to think we’re at war with everything.
Modernity seems to me a terrible ruse we’ve perpetrated on ourselves. But, to quote Nick Fury, until such time as the worlds ends, we will act as though it continues to spin on. We’ve got to live in this mess. For me, I’ve found a good bit of quieter understanding of it all by looking to the past, to Man’s journey, to see that there really is nothing new under this sun, rather, we’ve just lost a good bit of our collective memory of our own past.