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Oh dear. Here we are again...
There is an alarming trend in modern views to see life as a wonderful thing, completely free of care, or purpose, or consequense.
This is the unfortunate outcome of several shifts in our existence. firrst and foremost, id the governance of the west. The vast majoority of our nations are ruled by liberal democracies - and therein lies the problem. How can a democracy ever possibly rule?! It is supposed to be an amalgamation of all the people of a nation elected to run things - not rule. So we have false democracy, which takes the average citizen out of the equation for years at a time. In Britain, the national parliament may sit for up to 7 years - and in that time they are accountable only to eachother and the judiciary. Sounds an awful lot like the Inquisition of 40k, doesn't it? So Average Joe Bloggs is completely removed from what we are told by our trusted leaders - and in a nation that prises EDUCATION EDUCATION EDUCATION!!!! he knows it. So, he says, what our country does is not my responsibility. And quite right - it isn't. But that leads him to be careless and to feel that he as no greater responsibilities, which cannot be true if our race is to survive another 1000 years.
The second shift is one of religion. Religion generally exists in 2 capacities in the modern world - it has either devolved to basically being a pathetic squib and the odd car boot and bake sale, or it is artificially maintained and used as a weapon. The second of these is an issue that does not generally affect the european west, so the first is the issue I wish to raise. The majority religion of the west is seen today as one of love, brotherhood, tolerance and forgiveness. THAT is a very modern idea, and not one that I think will catch on. Prevously, religion prepared people for what they could expect from life - a fairly relentless collage of misery and trials, the majority of which you will be lucky to overcome. This situation hasn't changed - we just have more material comforts and lovely anti-depressant drugs to convince us that it has. You may be tinking that you don't recognise this state of affairs - congratulations, you are the lucky minority. Life is not a big hug from a beardy man and a pat on the head for saying you're sorry. Life is an inquisition and if you dare to try to escape the cycle of trials you will be eradicated.
But why? Why is life an inquisition? To put it simply, that is what humans were designed for. We are too evolved and not nearly evolved enough, all in the same breath. Our minds can comprehend with absolute clarity the direct results of our most mundane actions. If I touch fire, it will hurt. That is nice and simple and what we were supposed to deal with. That way we could avoid doing things that cause us and eachother harm. BUT - we are a thinking and vastly intelligent race. We make solutions, but each solution has 2 problems. In the space of 100 years, we went from 2 men on a glider to travelling through the air faster than the speed of sound. And that is just an example. Each and every interaction we make with the outside world today has consequences so far reaching and so convoluted that we cannot possibly comprehend them. And it is this comprehension that brought us into being. When Homo Sapiens first lived in tiny tribes, we were well aware of our actions and even right and wrong - the term "fired" as in to be sacked from a job, comes from the tribal times, when a tribe member who was no longer welcome in the tribe for whatever reason, the rest of the tribe would burn down
(fire) their dwelling, thus avoiding the need to kill them. This is an example of cause and effect - the tribe member is alive and can find another tribe and be happy. Today a blank face in a suit fires an employee, who may starve to dath, or commit suiceide - but because those consequences are so abstract and so removed from what we can comprehend, we excuse ourselves from taking notice. We let it happen.
Imagine if our distan ancestors had taken this attitude. Would we have expanded at all? Doubtful. And now we're killing eachother. The west is on its knees, amidst an economic crisis, relations with the east are deteriorating, we are at war with many of the followers of Mohammed (PBUH), and it is all because of this lack of vision. The west hurt the east, but they cannot truly be blamed, because they were genuinely ignorant of their actions. We hurt the east to better the west - the thigs that we could see. Yet another example of our lack of overall vision. But this is not a western condition - it is a human one. We regularly forget tht we affect millions through the tinyest action. So we need to remember. We need to remember our responsibilities. I do not in any way advocate the excesses of our past - the Inquisitions, the crusades, the secret orders, the genocides or any other blight on our racial record. But I do advocate vigilance and remembering the fact that your actions have effects.
And this brings me back to my original point. Purpose. Human beings do have a purpose beyond our own continued existense. That is clear simply by the fact that EVERYONE looks for that purpose. If you say you don't, you truely are a liar. If there were nothing to find we wouldn't all look for it - that's how you can spot a fraud/cultist/nutter a mile away yet another facet of our incredible abilities. Is there a shiny man in the sky who's going to make everything ok? No. But we do have a purpose - there is a reason for us to be. It's coded into us, into our genes, into our very being. And one day we will find it - but we have to survive that long. And if we don't remember our responsibilities to eachother, we won't. Think on.
Much love, thechaplain.
PS - if you read this far, say so and you might get a nice surprise.