Anne Lastman A Reflection “Peter,” The Holy Father, Pope Francis, without breaking the line of…
At the dawn of the new millennium, as we face more and more threats both to the human person and to society, we can and must take stock of the situation and the state of the human person especially in the emotional stakes. Where do we find the human person? Is the human person happier in our very advanced society or have we traded in one set of circumstances for another.
An overview of our world would certainly show that irrespective of our advancements in technology, and our understanding of human mind and human body, at the emotional level we have not progressed. Indeed I would even suggest that we have regressed. We have wounded our psyche or spirit and it’s grieving. A daily diet of pain and loss brought into households via all media is the both “manmade” and natural disasters. Since the beginning of the new millennium (2001) the world has been held captive with daily horrors, new sufferings previously unknown enshrouding it with grief. It seems that one disaster is cleared a new one overwhelms us. September the 11th, Bali bombings, London bombings, Indonesia bombings, Tsunami, hurricane, Beslan, Iraqi war, the Middle East war, the new form of terrorism and barbarism of new terror campaigns by extremists.
“How did we get to this point?”
“How did we miss the signs?”
“How can ordinary people do this to other ordinary people?”
These questions can be answered in many ways.
There are those who would insist that we missed the signs because we have become desensitized to suffering due to the non stop visual diet of violence on screens. Most of present society has grown up with onscreen violence, shooting, death, torture, destruction. So much so that today there is confusion between “real” and “reel” violence. Some would say that as a society we have evolved to a stage where the human person is no longer seen as inviolable and divinely made, but a bunch of cells, but not more important than any other creature and quite disposable lawfully. Those that would say this continue to proclaim that disposing of a human being in its genesis and end stage is a right and must be retained as a right. Somehow this makes sense if the human person is no more than a bunch of cells because bunches of cells do little to activate an emotional response. So it has become necessary to de humanize and to remove imagery from the human consciousness. When this is accomplished then then all things become possible. Indeed some would even say that the human creature, unlike the beast is not in danger of extinction. Where the animal creature needs legal protection against the so called human predator in order for the species to survive, the human person can be legally disposed because it is believed and is seen as overpopulating and polluting the environment and therefore better to be culled. (Imagine, a child to be culled!).
It’s interesting this thought because the environment was created to sustain the human, but now the human must be terminated in order not to disturb the ecological balance. Yes we have reached the stage of calling good evil and evil good. A bird’s eye view of the past fifty five years will allow us to see that enormous transformation which has taken place has occurred
Perhaps the sixties can be seen as the water shed of much radical change and the question must be asked, why? The answer is made up of many possibilities. A weakened humanity as a result of two major world wars in one generation. Korean War. Vietnam War. Civil wars. Localized wars. Intense migration and displacement. The community feature of life missing because of migration. All these contributed to the change.
An interesting aspect of the years in question was that for the first time in history wars were not only fought on the battlefields where the so called enemies fought, but were brought into the home and lounge rooms of nations. The cruelty of war was brought before the eyes and heart of populations rather than being left on the battlefront. The cruelty of war was presented daily as a diet, which slowly desensitized to pain. The major wars, combined with the incessant rumors of war combined with the beginnings of tumult at home served to slowly change the understanding about war. The enemy had a face. The enemy could be seen dead. “Our” boys faired well and they “killed” the other. Prior to these wars, battlegrounds were battlegrounds where killing took place but for those at home it could only be imagined rather than visual. Indeed it was for the honour of protecting those at home and this was a noble ideal.
News and television services did much to change our society. The arrival of television; the sexual revolution brought about by the contraceptive pill, the explicit imagery of Vietnam War and other war casualties all contributed to change. Indeed even movies contributed to the “kill the enemy” thinking. The constant seeing of men and women being killed before one’s eyes under the guise of movies and “it’s not real” served to cajole the rest of the human beings into believing that those being killed were the enemy and deserving of such a fate. Slowly the notion of killing the other became more and more a part of the daily diet of incoming information being fed to the viewing and listening public and normalized.
The Second World War with its unparalleled brutality, Vietnam War with its screened cruelty was quickly followed by a revolution at home. Perhaps this surfaced because of the images of horror. Perhaps it surfaced because cruelty was portrayed as something inevitable. Whatever it was, the imagery caused pain both to those experiencing it and psychological pain to those viewing it. And of course to alleviate the pain and forget, then the drug and substance abuse culture, which had previously been unheard of, slowly arose. With a “fix” the pain was not so bad. If life was so cheap then it became important to live life to the “full” that is, to experience all manner of excitement.
The bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed us that it is easy to decimate whole populations. Live and let live. Love and let love. Sex and more sex. And of course to assist those who wanted to live a life free from any constraints, the contraceptive devices, pill and all other measures became the response. Perhaps the images of death brought home so clearly and visually brought a sense of terror and finality to those who were not part of the warring milieu. Perhaps those at home were more affected than those on the battlefield, because those at home were powerless to do anything to save the loved ones or even unloved ones. Whatever the ultimate cause, it could be said that the changes were too many and too fast and the response to the changes were equally drastic and devastating.
The ground was cultivated, and made ready to plant. It was tilled and prepared to plant and indeed when a soil is prepared and a seed is planted then of course the seed will germinate and sprout and grow. The soil was planted with different seeds and encouraged to grow. I am reminded of the biblical passages of the Wheat and the darnel both grew together and the Lord encouraged allowing both to grow parallel. Not to pull out the darnel for fear of pulling out wheat also. It is the parallel growth, which has now, appears to have reached a time of needing to pull out one or the other or both the wheat and the darnel.
Since the sexual revolution of the sixties facilitated by the introduction of the contraceptive pill and encouraged by a population of dissenters who had been prepared for this moment, the role of woman also changed. Woman was no longer to be the “supposed” downtrodden partner whose value was measured by her role of wife and mother home worker, but she herself was encouraged to be “other” than what she had been. The new contraceptive mentality served to loosen what some females in the sisterhood decreed as enslaving bonds and free her to be something “other.” The loosening meant that she no longer was to subject herself to the demands of home, husband and children and family. Nurturer, partner and silent commander. The loosening meant that there was a new hat to be worn. A foreign hat. It was not to be a beret or scarf but a war helmet. It was to be khakis rather than a skirt. It was to be as a so-called equal in all things of the man rather than his so called subservient chattel.
As a result of this new woman society was introduced to a new holocaust.
The past wars had been visible holocausts. That is, holocausts of lives sacrificed when sent to war to fight for ideals and family. The new holocaust has been an invisible one where the victims would be offered for the new ideals of hedonism, me ism, consumerism, all the new isms of a new society. And this new idol has been demanding especially of woman. It has demanded most from her. It demands daily global sacrifice of only innocence. This new idol demands babies and the pace of their mothers. This new idol demands nothing short of infants who have not even been born. Abortion.
First, the visible holocaust on battle fields and now an invisible holocaust. Abortion.
Those who went to war on battlefields were told that ideals were the reward
And in the invisible holocaust, abortion, the ideals espoused, that is women’s rights, freedom to choose, etc. are also quoted as the ideal to be embraced. The loss and grief for woman always the target of holocausts because woman has always had to stand by and watch the child of her womb be sacrificed whether as a young man or unborn or even as drug afflicted child who has slithered into a nether world because of some grief. And so the grief experienced by those who viewed the wars on screen and were unable to assist followed by a new silent grief for the invisible holocaust permeates society. A societal grief now blankets the human beings. A grief which is acted out in horror activity of lifestyles, drugs, self-destructive behaviours, and an nihilistic ideals.
The advancements of societal achievements have not improved the life of the human person but indeed those who are permitted to be born then become mourning society. Mourning for its scapegoat losses.