Thursday 1 February 2024

Passivity and refusal of responsibility: Why the Millennial Spiritual Transformation led us to hedonic materialism and value inversion

I have often written about the (approximate) millennium - when so many people felt there was an approaching spiritual breakthrough, yet the spiritual changes that actually happened were the opposite of spiritual. 

So that we now live in a shallowly hedonist, materialistic, short-termist, gullible world - more evil than ever in history, because of widespread and officially-media encouraged (increasingly even mandated) value inversion. 

I have suggested that the millennial spiritual change was a change of consciousness (endogenous, primary and presumably divinely-destined); by which that which had been innate, instinctive, spontaneous and (often) traditional - lost their grip on our minds. 

We found ourselves cut-off from our previous immersion in a kind of general consciousness; and therefore both gifted and forced to choose. 

We must now choose; whereas in the past our values came naturally: partly inbuilt, partly absorbed from society (and most human societies shared most of these values).

We became able to choose our fundamental values: but more, we were (and are) compelled to choose them. 

We might therefore have chosen to believe and live-by almost anything! 

We might have chosen some purposive, meaningful and hopeful assumptions and values! We might have chosen to live in divine creation, with a god/s who loved us personally, and took an interest in each of our lives. We might have chosen to believe in Jesus Christ who enabled us to have a resurrected and everlasting life in Heaven; by following Him on the other side of death...


But instead, overall and overwhelmingly; we of The West (in particular) rejected these possibilities. Going from my own responses and efforts, and what I have seen in others; here is my best guess as to what happened. 

Instead of making positive and hope-full choices, (and en masse) we chose rather to believe that both the reality of the universe, and our personal lives, are causally-determined and/or random; and that our own life will be objectively arbitrary, a temporary blip, and therefore objectively futile in the larger scheme of things. 

Consequently the mood of our times is one of fear, resentment at our situation; at best barely staving-off a suicide-seeking despair by continual distraction and projection.  

What went so badly wrong? 

Why did so many people choose so self-destructively, so miserably - to believe everything to be pointless? 

Why have so many people doubled-down on this decision?


Looking back at the end of the twentieth century and the hopes and expectations of a better and more spiritual world to come; I think the main reasons were passivity and the refusal of responsibility

The hope for a global spiritual transformation and awakening; were passive hopes that this would be done-to-us. Indeed, the idea of un-sought yet profound change was (and often still is) regarded as a hallmark of validity, authenticity. 

So people hoped and expected that everyone would be made more spiritual; everybody's consciousness would be raised-up by some external force or change. People's attitude was one of waiting for this to happen-to-them. 

The most we would need to do, for this to happen, would be to assent to its being-done: we would need to agree to being spiritually uplifted, but would not need to seek it out (and indeed, there was a feeling that to seek it out would be to open oneself to self-deception) . 

The other big factor is a refusal of responsibility. This operates at many levels, and may masquerade as humility, or public spiritedness. 

Thus people may decline to take full and personal responsibility for their spiritual and religious evaluations because they defer to "The Church" as contrasted with "mere little me". Meaning whatever church they already believe is true, must be right. Or when (as usual) the whole church is not united; then deference is due to whatever particular authority within that church is regarded as primary. 

Or personal responsibility for belief is set aside in favour of some supposedly pragmatic benefit; such as a belief that some-thing ought to be believed because it is beneficial for raising children; or perhaps regarded as beneficial for society at large or in the long-term. 

In other words; my sense is that some people shape their religious convictions around what they choose to sustain on the basis of what they believe to be a socially-helpful fiction; rather than taking ultimate responsibility, and then discovering that they have (apparently) thrown-out some valued social benefit.  

But this kind of deference and pragmatism are, ultimately, to put the cart before the horse; since (for Christians) what is most authoritative and/or beneficial can only be decided on the basis of real truth. 

And when we have pre-decided against taking personal responsibility for discerning and determining real truth, we are not able to evaluate if it is truly better to defer and decline, rather than to make a stand for our inner convictions. 

In sum; I think that there really was a change of consciousness that progressively (and over some years) swept-through The West (and maybe the world?) at around the millennium. 

This transformation pretty-much closed-off the remnants of that spontaneous, traditional and often-unconscious modes of religiosity which had been in-place throughout Man's known history; such that we can now only become spiritual by a conscious choice, by actively seeking, and on the basis of taking very personal spiritual responsibility. 

That means aiming to make ultimate choices from our-selves and for ourselves.

And only after that has been accomplished, should we turn our personal attention to potential social benefits.  


Kathlene said...

This correlates with my own personal experience. In the 90s I felt a strong spiritual stirring and sought out people, groups, and books to help answer that call. Around 2001 when the "war on terra" began there was a negative shift and it seemed any spiritual focus was refunneled into that global elite project. Worse, as the internet became more prominent in our lives, people (myself included) became "addicted to distraction" and got lost into various mind-numbing and vice-inducing rabbit holes.

Awakening from this sloth and slumber has been gradual for me due to the reality I found myself in that I could not ignore any longer. My state and country's government, my family, and my life were noticeably deteriorating. Then came the birdemic which made it even more obvious to me how bad things were.

My awakening required personal self-examination and turning back to God. This requires daily repentance which is often painful but liberating for the soul.

"Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:32

Bruce Charlton said...

@Kathlene - Thanks for that.

It seems that whenever somebody relies on Any form of external institutional guidance nowadays, as the bottom-line assumed reality; then he will sooner or later be led astray.

lgude said...

Like Kathlene, I too have found that taking active responsibility and realising the absolute necessity of repentance is what has changed my life. There is also Grace which cannot be forced, but learning little by little to do what we ought and stop doing what we now we ought not do is, as St Paul realised, the hard part. For me. that work is done inside in what Joyce called the 'smithy of the soul' where self deception cannot be so easily maintained as in the comfort of outer institutions. I trust Meister Eckhart was right when he said the Love is harder than Hell, and stronger than Death. God Bless.