I've noticed a recurrent pattern in the (rather rare!) general conversations I have with people I don't know that well, or haven't seen for a while; which is that we agree that the old possibilities are corrupted, old goals are closed-off, but this disenchantment is so universal that there are no alternatives - so people end-up doing the old-stuff anyway. Lack of alternatives thwarts change.
Think of jobs, careers, professions, vocations... In the past 30 years all the jobs I know of directly have been destroyed, made into (mostly) mindless-bureaucracy-in-pursuit-of-evil-political-correctness. All the social institutions of size and power (including churches) have gone the same way - so there is no major grouping worthy of support, worthy of enthusiasm, worthy to be a channel of endeavour.
But, because its all - then there are virtually no alternatives - so people just carry on as before or else withdraw and do nothing (or as little as possible).
The three possibilities I can think-of, are 1. to join the side of evil (which is what most people do); 2. work to rebuild some Good institutions (which someone like Vox Day is doing); or completely and utterly reframe one's understanding of the nature and purpose of life (which I what I do).
I did try option 2. for quite a while - I tried to rebuild institutions. I did this in various workplace and professional controversies and campaigns, and also when editing Medical Hypotheses (2003-2010). But I discovered that (as someone without any aspirations to be a leader, and without any abilities as an entrepreneur) it usually boiled down to me against The World, so I always lost!
(I built Medical Hypotheses over six years into a scientific and financial success - but this was snuffed-out in one weekend, without my knowledge, by managerial fiat.)
I have taken this to heart as a lesson that Life - or more specifically God - wanted me to learn. I no longer see my task as one of choosing between increasingly-evil alternatives, but as responding to the challenge of a world in which a different kind of aim is being asked of us... Indeed, as I see it, it is a stark choice between pessimism and despair; and finding hope in places, things, activities that are usually off the map; denied, neglected, rejected, or as-yet unknown.
It is a Quest: of a kind. Life here-and-now is a quest for meaning, purpose and hope - a Quest to a place we don't know, in search of something of which we are, at best, only vaguely and intermittently aware.
And yet, if this is what God wants of me, it is far from being a futile Quest; quite the opposite. It is a Quest which will succeed, so long as my motives are true.
I find this perspective to be exciting and encouraging; and I don't feel it depends on my first persuading any other people to join me, nor do I need to plan, or collect resources. I can just get on with the Quest on my own, immediately, from exactly where I happen to be.
That seems to be similar to the Kierkegaards approach to Christianity, inasmuch as individuals should not orient their lives relative to some abstraction (be it an organsiation, set of ideals, or goal) but instead deal with life (ie people, events etc) on a day-to-day basis.
It seems to me that if someone orients their lives relative to an abstraction (or minor deity) then they will eventually become disconnected from their own lives because they have been focussing on the abstraction for so long that they get disconnected from themelves.
Jesus said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
The world will fight us, and we must fight it. But if we let the world define the terms of engagement and the criteria by which victory will be determined, we've already lost.
Not least because what the world wants (and offers) is everything except for the one thing that matters, the love of God. We can conceptually divide that into our love for God and God's love for us, but that is a mistake. The love of God is such that each fulfills and is essentially part of the other.
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