I confess, I've never read the Bible in its entirety. But this parable about Jesus comes to mind, and reverberates with respect to this culture, and these times.
And as they were traveling along a road, he said to a certain man, "Follow me."
And the man said, "Let me first go and bury by father."
But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their dead."
Interpretations of this shocking, and therefore probably true story vary from bland, with Jesus supposedly meaning, "you shouldn't lose yourself in your grief," to this bunkum from a California Zen dharma teacher: "Jesus was overvaluing the eternal and empty side of things, is dazzled by it."
To my understanding, Jesus was simply saying, "Let the inwardly dead bury the physically dead." Therefore my question doesn't have to do with what he meant. My question is: Is only darkness, through its millions of mediums of the dead, operating effectively in human consciousness?
We Americans are the all-time masters of the all too human desire to have things both ways. The collapse of Pax Americana, American exceptionalism and the American spirit mean that that illusion is over. The New World has become just another dead land filled with walking dead.
We've come full circle. Reporters in Las Vegas covering the media-hyped release of OJ Simpson were staying at the same hotel were an untrained sniper machine-gunned 59 people to death and injured over 500.
Was it an "unfathomable crime," in the deadpan tones of the mass media, or has it become an all too familiar event in America and beyond? The preternatural efficiency with which the authorities responded and are reporting on "the incident" provides the answer.
The overwhelming euphemism for inward deadness is "numbness." We have become habituated and adapted to these horrific events. They are normal now, and the line between politically motivated terrorism and domestically incubated mass murder has become a distinction without a difference.
The human heart, what's left of it, cannot tell the difference. But the human mind, the source of the evil, continues to distinguish, divide and distract from what is happening to the human soul.
The difference between Jesus' time and now is that man has run out of room to be the violent, rapacious creature he has been since "fully modern humans" emerged over 100,000 years ago on this beautiful planet.
Progressives, by definition, believe in progress. But social progress is the veneer of civilization, subject to reversal, as we are presently experiencing. Inward, psychological and emotional progress simply does not exist. It's radically change or perish now.
The depth and scope of the human crisis is still being denied in the ivory towers of academia and by the global commentariat of specialized "experts." They cling, as much as the mob, to nationalism, and believe that national identity is the cornerstone of political organization.
Anyone who dares point out how atavistic nationalism has become is labeled "utopian." They really believe stupid things like, "It's a politically deadly idea that strong national identities are anachronistic, even dangerous."
Not that long ago, even in human evolutionary terms, we were all indigenous people, living in rough balance with nature. Why didn't we grow into human beings from that stage? Why are humans now degenerating so?
Whenever the topic of how we are pushing our limits on this earth, ecologically, and in direct proportion inwardly and emotionally, I'm almost always met with the cliché, "people in every age have believed it was the end of the world, and it wasn't."
My response is that that may be true, but this is the first age when people have cited the fear of future apocalypse to avoid the one that is actually occurring in the present.
It has nothing to do with biblical "end times" and all that rot; it's a question of facing the limits of human fragmentation and destructiveness, inwardly and outwardly.
The American people perished as a people over a generation ago, right around the time of the OJ madness.
The question for the living now, wherever we live, is: Is it too late for our age? Things hang in the balance; one stands or falls on one side of the scale or the other.
You can't kill the dead. Stop surviving and start reviving and thriving, beginning within. One growing human being outweighs a thousand walking dead.
Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He welcomes dialogue. firstname.lastname@example.org
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