Perhaps a creature of … ingenuity and deep memory is … bound to grow alienated … He suffers from a nostalgia for which there is no remedy upon earth except as it is to be found in the enlightenment of the spirit – – – some ability to have perspective.  (Emphasis added.)

Loren Eiseley

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In a world were excellence is rare and often the object of suspicion among those of lesser depth and ingenuity, excellence heightens alienation.  One must, then, be prepared to live with ingenuity and memory, and in the depth of experience past and present.

As Eiseley correctly identifies healthy existence requires growth of, and life in, the Spirit.

Yes, in the modern world of exclusionary secularism spiritual existence gives perspective, raises you above hazard and inescapable suffering.  For the Christian this means familiarity with Christ and our faith narrative – their incorporation into daily consciousness, and daily life.

Yes, what we find in Christ and the narrative in exclusionary secular culture is an ad hoc monastic life – a quiet, contemplative life, a longing for peace – a consciousness of God and prayer.

Too often we submit unwittingly to culture, submit without understanding its character, its demands, the way it is denominated, composed – the things it asks of us … and it is rare indeed that anyone with a public presence offers us a critique of culture, tells us what costs are attached to participation in it, life in it.

The cost of culture is, often and at present, rather substantial – far too serious to accept it uncritically.  Indeed, culture can produce serious injury – alienation being one.

As anthropologist Eiseley notes: a conscious effort to engage the spirit is very important to sustain health in culture – especially one that would have us neglect our spiritual well-being.

Living in secular culture is, as it turns out, a counter-cultural experience which calls for our attention to our spiritual life.  In this we turn to face what one traditionally sees as a contemplative, monastic existence – a disciplined life of prayer, silence, tranquility and discrete choice vis a vis participation in culture.

Perhaps we might be less compliant to secular culture’s demands and more attentive to our spiritual development.

In spiritual existence we gain perspective and health.

Shalom.

In the hour of my distress, when temptation me oppress and when I my sin confess, Sweet Spirit comfort me.

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