Blog Post for July 12, 2016

We are all lonely for something we do not know we are lonely for.  How else to explain the curious feeling that goes around feeling like you miss somebody we’ve never even met.

David Foster Wallace

+ + +

One could think of Wallace’s haunting words as in some ways the product of the disenchantment produced with the pivot away from God and sacramental consciousness in favor of the primacy of man and reason at the end of the Middle Ages.

With this – man, it can be said, began a lonely march away from peace and happiness and toward the heavy burden of self and self-importance in but one dimension: the mortal world unprotected by God or God’s mercy.

Ironically, man’s freedom to explore the natural world, in the oddest of ways, contributed to man’s reduction.  How so?

The capacity to examine the natural world held the likelihood that man might exalt himself, believe in his own divinity, power, importance – that he create an estrangement from his own nature and longings that would bring him not esteem so much as the inevitable specter of isolation and loneliness.  Yes, becoming full of a “buffered” self, man became empty – one who in time would feel lonely for “something” (God, an invisible reality, life beyond the mortal frame of reference, etc.), one does not even know he is lonely for.

The point is this: history moved from “the God hypothesis” to the “no God hypothesis.” The latter producing man so full of himself, so “stuffed to the gills” with himself that he was quite empty and unable to offer an explanation for things unexplainable.  He lost access to mystery and to the experience of the experience of man or the Divine, and to speak in a poetic voice of each. He lost the capacity for intimacy, for intimacy with another, knowledge of himself – man lost intimate contact with his true self.

Man in his freedom and dignity succeeded in maximizing himself reduced, while minimizing God. It follows that man sought in one form then another reliance not on God’s order for man, but man’s order for man.  Arise, the hollow and shallow political man!

What was once thought to be a divine and sacred order of existence became a secular, and the desacralized order of imperfect man seeking to govern imperfect man and growing sicker, more lost and lonely by the decade.

Today in the U.S. and the West we might know this calamity as the secular versus the Christian way of being.

With life without God we know “the curious feeling” of missing “someone we’ve even never met.”  Such is life of man without God.  We are, it seems, in the desert for forty days in the company of Satan.  Such is the tragic and injurious state we have “created” for ourselves.

Shalom.

Advertisements