491 Comments

25 years ago I was on a ventilator in the hospital paralyzed from the neck down with a mysterious illness. College had killed the last of any belief I had in God, along with America - both replaced with some kind of vague relativism and a smug disdain for anything sincere. Unable to move or speak I was conscious but essentially buried in my body. The understanding was I would either not make it at all or - maybe if things turned around - make it and never walk again. I was terrified, at my lowest point, and for the first time in years I started praying. All I can say is God came to me in that moment - or more I was with God and God was with me. It was an experience of profound bliss, sheer joy, torrents of pure love, complete peace and a deep understanding. I knew I would be ok and that even if I didn't make it I'd be ok anyway. It's the first time I experienced something larger than myself and at the same time something that I was part of fully. One important and totally loved drop in an ocean of pure Love.

Purpose is like that. It's the ability to sit with and accept pain and difficulty and challenge. It's knowing things will be ok. And that you're both part of and in service to something infinitely larger than yourself. It's living your life not as a one and done but as a continuum.

It's sad to me that Americans have lost our ability to both accept the challenges and to love each other and everyone else in a transcendent way, to recognize that we are interconnected - though individually we're not all that powerful, we're all here now and part of something that is enormously powerful and has a unique ability to profoundly change the world for the better. Young people are being taught that it's better to anesthetize and shield from difficulty and challenge instead of looking deeply into it, accepting it and finding opportunity in it. That doing the right and loving thing isn't necessary when it's the hard thing, which it so often is. that they're a singular point in time, not both a unique and amazing point in time and part of an infinite wave. They are taught to define their lives through a sense of shame and shaming, not a sense of being profoundly loved and given a unique gift to choose a love bigger than themselves in this lifetime. It is no wonder they are depressed and anxious. How alone and senseless that must feel.

For me it wasn't an easy recovery and I did have to relearn how to walk - but it was a near full one. That experience is the most cherished of my life, and I'd do the whole thing again a million times over. Is every day of my life since a perfect day? Yes and no. Sometimes things are tough and I feel temporarily defeated. But that's the thing about living your life with a sense of purpose and hope. It's buoyant. Happy Spring, Happy Easter everyone.

Expand full comment

Thank you, what a beautiful and pellucid account. I read Job 10 today as part of the Moravian yearly cycle of texts, and the experience of paralysis you describe sounds very much what is depicted in that chapter. I’ve read Job many times, and always found it rather unsatisfying--it seems to conclude with a kind of “I make the rules so I get to do what I want” declaration by God. But reading your comment, I can see that Job arrives at an understanding similar to what you so compellingly describe. Your comment today should be appended as a midrash to the text of Job. Chag Pesach Sameach and Happy Easter--Christ is risen!

Expand full comment

C.G. Jung's ANSWER TO JOB might be exactly what you're looking for.

Expand full comment

Wait wait another Moravian in the wild????

Expand full comment

Pretty close to home base, actually . . . we live a few miles from Bethlehem, PA

Expand full comment

I grew up in one of the southern province churches. I joined the Episcopal Church when I moved to a place where there weren’t Moravians, but growing up Moravian left a pretty indelible theological mark.

Expand full comment

I'm not actually a Moravian personally but my mother is a resident of Moravian Village in Bethlehem and I have enormous regard for the Moravians, their spirit, their good works, and their spirituality. I participate by reading the Moravian texts every morning. They're truly wonderful people. During the 22 years I lived in Australia I was an Anglican, ie Episcopalian.

Expand full comment

Amen. People don't realize that when you go through that spiritual awakening how profound and life changing it is. How you would do it all the same, every bit of pain, fear, and anguish. I know, and would do the same thing.

Expand full comment

I'd love to hear your story sometime

Expand full comment

I think this may be the best comment post I've ever read.

Expand full comment

What a powerful story! Happy Easter indeed.

Expand full comment

Way to rock life VA. Thank you for connecting suffering to your satisfaction of life. It is what creates the depth of how we paint our lives. The cessation & avoidance of suffering in modern life is the suffocation of life itself. Those who choose that will always feel a void in the love department and will not be engaged in living life to the fullest, which is very sad as you pointed out. If they believe in infinite love which is defined as God by some, Universe by others, or any other name; you have the birth of hope in hand when you need it most instead of a pill.

Thank you for the gift you wrote today. Your words enriched me.

Expand full comment

Probably the best comment ever! Thank you. It is often the deepest despair that propels us to find our soul.

Expand full comment

We need God more when we’re suffering. I hope you can make a believer out of a non-believer by sharing your beautiful experience. Thank You for sharing!

Expand full comment

Thank you so much for this comment. We live in a time when these Truths need teaching, and our young have been cheated in their education and left unprepared to live a full adult life. The Universe is a Saint Factory, reincarnation and karma are real, and your growth in God’s direction is always supported in some form.

A strong clear voice urging us onward is that of Jordan Peterson. His YouTube videos are invaluable.

Expand full comment

Wow! Seriously wow.

Expand full comment

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

Expand full comment

Beautiful, brought tears.

Thanks for sharing.

Expand full comment

Thank you, so much, for sharing your story.

God bless.

Expand full comment

Guillain-Barre??

Expand full comment

Hi yes. severe case. 3 months in the hospital.

Expand full comment

I've known a few people in my life who also went through that. One (father of one of my best friends) did not survive the vent. He was a WWII vet and life long smoker, altough I don't know if his smoking mattered. That was in the mid-1980s. More than a decade later, one of my law partners went through it. Same as you - 3 mos. in hospital including on a vent, Then a long time in rehab facility. He had to relearn to talk, walk, etc. Used a cane for a while. He was an avid golfer, and I believe was eventually able to swing a club again.

Expand full comment

Different people seem to experience it differently with different outcomes it seems. I know a few who survived but had partial paralysis also.

Expand full comment

Precisely what I thought. Most recover tho it can take years. But pretty scary stuff

Expand full comment

You have been blessed with a level of understanding that today's hedonists find difficult to accept.

Their problem, not yours.

Expand full comment

Enjoyed your great post. Thank you. A nice read on Easter.

Expand full comment

What a gift you learned.

Expand full comment
Apr 8, 2023·edited Apr 8, 2023

Interesting to see an old argument against humanism resurface. When we killed God, we replaced him with ourselves, resulting in pathological self-absorption and the worship of ourselves. Now, the good thing about the Christian God is that death is no great barrier, as he’s prone to resurrection.

Expand full comment

Thank you. Great comment. What we lost when mankind decided it no longer needed God was the idea of ourselves as fallen sinners needing God’s forgiveness and redemption. Think of all the attempts in recent history when mankind acted as though it could be its own God---they have all ended in catastrophe. Yet we don’t learn.

A belief in God comes with restraint on our evil urges. To quote Dostoyevsky, “When there is no God, all is permissible.” Right, and chaos follows. We don’t even acknowledge evil exists anymore.

On this Holy Saturday before the “Superbowl of Christianity”, Resurrection Day, I am going out on a limb here and suggesting to readers to find a church and refind God in your lives. Open yourselves up the his love and forgiveness. Find something bigger than yourself to believe in. It will be a refuge in a world-gone-mad.

Expand full comment

NCMaureen, Yes....And his love and all that comes with it is FREE. I second Maureen’s suggestion.

Expand full comment

I won’t debate the false choice of needing god to bring purpose to one’s life. Instead your point about mankind abandoning god. How about the other way around--god abandoning mankind. A serious a analysis of our history suggests this is the case. All the great miracles believers stake their belief in god somehow ended with the alleged resurrection. A belieber now carries that heavy burden to justify their existence. There are better ways. How about saying hi to your neighbor and taking a keen interest in listening to them talk about their life.

Expand full comment
Apr 8, 2023·edited Apr 16, 2023

I agree. My view, and just mine, is that God is a human construct that people find comforting and decide to believe in. The invention of creation myths, deities, rituals, and commandments is ubiquitous in human culture across time and place. It makes the mysteries of life and death less scary. And poignantly, we are all 100% certain that our particular god, myths, and afterlife are the true ones.

We’re thinkers, and we know we’re going to die. But we don’t know why. We feel helpless, like the infants we once were. So we invent heavenly parents. Then coincidences look like miracles. At its root, the longing for a supernatural, all-loving/all-punishing, heavenly parent is biological.

Religion brings out both the best and the worst in people. Extraordinary acts of charity, sacrifice and selflessness; unspeakable cruelty, depravity, lust for power and control. How many millions of people have been killed in the name of god? We just can’t escape being human.

For those who find religion helpful, carry on! It’s our right. But for others, a life of meaning does not require religion. I used to seek higher order truth in religion. But for me, ultimately, it made no sense.

The two game-changers for me were Viktor Frankl’s masterwork, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” and “The Illusion of God’s Presence: The Biological Origins of Spiritual Longing” by John Wathey, PhD. I agree that it’s essential to have meaning and purpose in life, and to be connected to the world through love. How we get there is an individual matter.

Expand full comment

I like your essay very much, Beeswax, thank you for sharing it. There are many paths to meaning, purpose, and loving thy neighbor. God works for some, not for others. Either is fine with me as long as the choice is not imposed on those who think otherwise.

Expand full comment

Yes. Thank you.

Expand full comment

Your arrogance is stunning. "False choice" "God abandoning mankind" "a believer carries the burden to justify their existence". You are simply foisting your doubt onto every one else. You are who Ms. Boyle's is describing in the article.

Expand full comment

Stunning? How is his view more arrogant than "On this Holy Saturday before the “Superbowl of Christianity,” Resurrection Day, I am going out on a limb here and suggesting to readers to find a church and re-find God in your lives. Open yourselves up the his love and forgiveness"?

I'm not knocking God; I'm a believer, Jewish edition. But believing that someone needs church and God's "love and forgiveness" to have a purpose in life, or to act nobly and morally, is just as arrogant as thinking religion is hooey.

Expand full comment

If you do not understand the difference in the condemnation of the language I quoted and the nicely worded suggestion you quoted I cannot explain it to you.

Expand full comment
Apr 9, 2023·edited Apr 9, 2023

I understand the difference. I simply don't agree that his view is arrogant, let alone stunningly so.

NCmaureen needs God in her life to provide purpose. David does not. Both views are valid and neither is arrogant. Why did you condemn one as arrogant but not the other?

Expand full comment

David, I agree that one doesn't need God to live a moral and purposeful life. (I believe in God, but the purposeful life I have is independent of that.) But those who do need God, like NCmaureen, don't need to justify their existence. Belief and non-belief require no justification to anyone.

Expand full comment

This is just secondary to the issue under discussion.

The author of _Bowling Alone_ (referenced in the article) is also famous for conducting studies that showed that increased diversity led to decreased levels of social cohesiveness. At the individual level human beings are free to find purpose however they want (or not).

But at the aggregate level the abandonment of religion is leading to a more fractured and polarized society with plummeting levels of social trust. Given that why should anyone be surprised that rates of violent crime are sky rocketing?

Expand full comment
Apr 12, 2023·edited Apr 12, 2023

That we are no longer forced to pledge allegiance to X or be voted off the island is a social good, not social ill. The culturally enforced straightjacket of "men rule, women submit, Christ is King, no blacks, Jews, or Irish need apply, the only good Injun is a dead Injun, and I'm bored, Earl, let's do us some queer-bashing, is best left in the rear-view mirror. Social cohesiveness at the point of a gun is not cohesiveness, it's prison with a nicer name. Women can even get credit cards without their husbands' permission these days! Sure, this freedom makes society a little more unruly than The Good Old Days, but's it a worthy tradeoff.

I hardly think violent crime is skyrocketing because Americans are walking away from Christianity. The U.S. violent crime rate has been plummeting since the Nineties, the same time period The Great Abandonment is occurring.

Expand full comment

Your information about violent crime rates is completely incorrect. If you look at the homicide rate for the US it peaked in 1992 and has been falling ever since--until about five years ago when the rate started increasing again. In 2020 of course after the pandemic the national homicide rate saw its greatest year on year increase in modern recorded history (and quite possibly the largest such increase ever for the United States).

Plus homicide rates differ significantly by racial group. The rates for whites and Hispanics right now are relatively high but the rate for poor blacks is higher now than it was in 1992, meaning that it's the highest it's ever been in modern recorded history.

Do crime rates correlate with a lack of social cohesion? There is research that seems to indicate that they do. The problem is that as religion declines nothing is replacing it in terms of social glue and the country is fragmenting into multiple mutually hostile warring tribes. For example, racial tensions between blacks and Asian Americans right now are probably the worst they've been since the Rodney King riots.

Expand full comment

Thank you for sharing this. I’ve come to learn that the need to justify my existence is pointless when I no longer view life as journey that demands purpose. Just enjoy your life and the beauty it holds and allow that to inspire you to increase the well being of society. If you need to channel this endeavor through a religious practice, go for it. Just know that religion isn’t a prerequisite to live a meaningful life.

Expand full comment

"religion isn’t a prerequisite to live a meaningful life."

Well said, David. Religion is one of many ways to live a meaningful life, but only one. If religion is embraced voluntarily and not imposed on the unwilling, more power to those who drive that path. I take the scenic route instead :-)

Expand full comment

Reading the Bible does not need "Religion" either. We all believe in something.

Expand full comment

Did you read the article? Notice the titles cited: _Bowling Alone_ and _Coming Apart_?

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

Sure. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. See ancient Greeks and Babylonians. These ideas were not new.

Expand full comment

Can you offer an example? That would be interesting. I think it's pretty well established that the bible is built on what came before it but then honed into a powerful tract. You're acting like it doesn't count if it used concepts that came before it for inspiration. That's not really a valid argument against religiion or its potential for good.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

God bless you! Perfectly said.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

AMEN 🙏 A life with GOD is infinitely better than a life without. 🙏

Expand full comment

To you and millions of others, of course. Others differ, and their view is equally valid. Whatever gets you through life with purpose and morality is good.

Expand full comment

At an age when most normal people would be six feet under, I hobble along , cane in hand, in my expat community trying to find some 'Purpose" other than another marguerita to keep me going. the only one I have come up with - and trust me, this one is not easy,-- is to speak up when

I hear the vicious remarks about the Orange Man or the people who support him . I have kept my own council for years fearing that I would lose friends I cannot afford to lose. But now, I figure most of my friends are in nursig homes or "sleeping with their ancestors" as they way and with it is hard to make friends anyway when you in are in your mid-80's so just bite the bullet. Suprisingly, when I have, another fearful soul will speak up and say "thank you for saying that"

Expand full comment

Ms. Dorothy I wish I could meet you in person! I bet you’re a force to be reckoned with.

Expand full comment

So your purpose is to live in an expat community drinking and socializing with other Americans with TDS? Come on back to the USA and volunteer to read to kindergartners. Now that’s a purpose.

Expand full comment

Thank you for your advice to move back to the US of a and read to kindergartners. However I am pretty old maybe too old to move again plus I am what we call an economic refugee, I don't drink, and I do read to kindergartners although they are Mexican children. So I thank you for giving me the advice you give and I hope you have a great weekend

Expand full comment

Class Dorothy. Pure class.

Expand full comment

Agree completely---pure class.

Expand full comment
founding

Bless you Dorothy. I too am an expat, further south in Panama. My heart breaks for the USA but I'll never go back. I'm trying to mentally divorce myself. Sanity exists and rules here. It certainly does not in the states.

Expand full comment

Dorothy, I would be more inclined to join you in insisting we chill out on "Orange Man" jibes if (a) Trump didn't insult non-supporters on a regular basis, and (b) MAGA supporters did not routinely rip "addled nursing home escapee diaper-wearing drooling pervert Slow Biden" the same way. I wish we'd all dial back the rhetoric, America needs to calm down.

"Sleeping with their ancestors" is the best thing I've read today, thanks.

Expand full comment

> When we killed God, we replaced him with ourselves

For some that's true, but then a new religion surfaced: Wokeness. Again, there was something to Believe in: Social Justice. It's quite notable how the new religion maps over the old one, just the names have changed, for example we still have Original Sin, but now we call it Whiteness. Whereas the Children of Israel were formerly held in bondage by Pharaoh, now The Victims are held in bondage by White Privilege. Moses, however, is a composite: Kendi, DiAngelo, Sharpton, etc. all offer to lead God's Children to Transition. For a reasonable price. We still have Confession, but it's called the Struggle Session.

Expand full comment

It's a form of Gnosticism. Its believers see themselves as the Elect, possessors of knowledge that no other humans can comprehend. Thus, they see themselves as superior beings, and therefore entitled to rule. Others are sub-human to the Elect; the common man is a burden, and deserves no better treatment than farm animals -- possibly worse.

Expand full comment

I like the comparison. Certainly when some kid decides he Knows that he's really a girl, he is accessing Hidden Knowledge. In about the same way the Lived Experience that the Victims have is a form of Hidden Knowledge that whitey can't hope to understand but must accede to. Indeed the Victims are the Elect because their claims cannot be challenged and suffering -- how the Victims have suffered! -- is proof of persecution thus proof of saintliness. Indigenous Ways Of Knowing are also Gnostic.

Expand full comment

Well put!

Expand full comment
Apr 8, 2023·edited Apr 8, 2023

I think that is true. I'm not sure that I believe in the conventional God, but I do believe that Christ lived and that his message was misconstrued by his disciples, as recorded in the New Testament, that "God" resided in a physical Heaven and that Christ was the only son of God. I believe his message is that each one of us has God within us, that you are also a child of God, but that we must each dig within ourselves to find God and the holy spirit that binds each of us to the other. Without this self-knowledge and without the understanding that the only way to find happiness in life is to work to make others happy, one's life will be empty and meaningless, leading to a form of atheism that is truly nothing more than self-worship.

Expand full comment

Hi Jeff, I would ask you to consider if we have to dig to find God within ourselves, does that not make God a person created in our image? If He is created in our image, would this god, of our creation, be able to guide us, succor us in our troubles, or redeem us from our sins, or save us from death? I would posit to you the answer is, no. I would go further and say only in Jesus will one find meaning and purpose in life that transcends circumstances and removes our fear of death and lack of meaning.

Expand full comment

I wholeheartedly support you in your understanding of God and your love for Jesus.

Expand full comment

"only in Jesus will one find meaning and purpose in life that transcends circumstances and removes our fear of death and lack of meaning."

Only? That's not remotely true. Billions of people worldwide lives lives of meaning, purpose, and comfort without Jesus. I'm one of them. I'm genuinely happy that Jesus works well for you, but not everyone is a Christian.

Expand full comment

Thank you for your courtesy, Shane. You're right not everyone is a Christian, and they find hope and consolation in their self-designed lives. But at one point or another self-designed doesn't work and they need someone more, Jesus steps in when they ask and makes all the difference.

Expand full comment

You're very welcome, Cynthia, and to you in return. I have no issue with people seeking Jesus, because we all need to believe in something bigger than ourselves to make our spin on this planet a good and moral ride. Embracing Jesus is a far better way to cure what ails you than liquor, meth, and other escapes. My only point was that this has to be voluntary, not imposed on those who seek other ways, whether that be other religions, service to humanity, or keeping Nature alive and well. God works through many channels. Happy Easter to you.

Expand full comment

"I believe his message is that each one of us has God within us, that you are also a child of God, but that we must each dig within ourselves to find God and the holy spirit that binds each of us to the other."

But this is part of the message of Christianity! The Orthodox call it "Theosis"; Catholics call it "Sanctification." Through belief in Jesus we come to the sacraments, which give us a real, physical and spiritual participation in his life, the life of God, which makes us children of God and, if we allow it, transforms us from within into participation in the Divinity Itself.

In Christianity, we do have "God within us" - THE God, a personal God, who made heaven and earth. And the bond we have between each other is The Church.

I think though, that there are two reasons why people (especially Americans) fail to find this in Christianity:

1) The predominant form of Christianity in America is Protestantism, and the fundamental basis of Protestantism is a rejection of a) infused, transformative grace that leads to genuine theosis / sanctification in favor of imputed justification ( aka "Just accept Jesus and you are saved" ) and b) a rejection of the institutional structures the provide unity and sacramental life.

(I don't mean to be offensive to Protestants; I grew up a confessional Lutheran and, even twenty + years since my conversion to Catholicism in college, I have a lot of sentimental affection for that tradition. But Luther really threw the baby out with the bathwater when it came to the nature of grace and the importance of the Church.)

2) While the idea of an divine aspect in my inner soul is attractive to most people, a transformative relationship with a *personal* God, a God who is a *someone* rather than just a vague inner spirituality or goodness, is hard for people because it demands a relationship, and that relationship, like all relationships, demands that we transform ourselves in ways that might be challenging to us in order to grow into that relationship. It's one thing to be vaguely "spiritual" - it's another to believe in a personal, indwelling God that wants to *transform* us with concrete demands and principles about what a transformed life in relationship with Him looks like.

I think a lot of modern people are afraid of that kind of personal relationship with the Divinity for the same reason they flinch at relationships like marriage and parenthood - the level of commitment and demands to conform my will to one outside my own can be terrifying.

But it is so worth it if you can make the leap.

Expand full comment

I might be a humanist, maybe even an atheist. These labels don’t carry much value and their definitions are blurry. The form of humanism that I carry is not at odds with a belief in something greater than ourselves.

I believe that God is a creation of the marvelous human mind that presents itself in every culture around the world throughout history. The structure of religion gives us a language to describe that which is greater than ourselves.

I believe that Christianity is not factually accurate. I was not raised with its concepts presented as truths and therefore my analytical and evidence-seeking mind developed before my faith in miracles could take root. Yet I see the value in and am struck with awe at the concepts of a virgin birth, stone tablets containing the rules for life, healing the sick when all hope was lost as Jesus did in the streets, feeding the hungry by multiplying fish, life after death, and accepting and forgiving humanity and myself for all our brokenness.

I believe that there is something greater than ourselves. In fact, this is an inescapable reality that one needs only to slow down and notice. The world happens around us regardless of our intentions. Plants grow, Earth turns, water runs, people live and die, and my thoughts tumble forth from some place I cannot see.

I believe that purpose in life is crucially important and that I struggle to know what mine is. Raising good children is a purpose in my life that is largely fulfilled. There are so many problems and so much need in this world, it is difficult to know where to apply oneself. I want to give homes to the homeless, peace to the addicts, food to the hungry, and protection to all the sentient creatures and their natural environment. I want to continue experiencing the richness of the world with my family and beloved friends. Here I rest in the higher power to grant me the wisdom to recognize opportunities for courage to act on those opportunities to achieve my purpose.

I appreciate the Free Press comment section because it literally pops my bubble. I agree with some of what I see posted here. I chuckle instead of becoming offended at posts where democrats/liberals are generally cast as stupid, reckless and godless. Since I was granted the privilege to vote I have voted for democratic US presidents and have vehemently defended the party platform to anyone who would discuss it. No longer. In 2024 I may write in Nellie Bowles. Today I find myself confused about what the two parties in our system actually stand for; I’m aghast at both sides. The FP and its subscribers are so much closer to the truth of the important matters at hand than any of the cast of characters on the reality show of politics that is presented to the people by the media powerhouses of the 21st century.

Thanks for reading. Happy Easter everyone.

PS I initially posted this comment as a top level thread, but it gets buried by the default "top first" sort. So, posting as a response to this thoughtful thread so that some eyes will see it.

Expand full comment

I agree. I was raised Catholic but I am not sure if I believe in a "God" up in "Heaven" but I do believe there is an immense power that the human mind cannot comprehend. I believe that all religions and their respective God is an attempt to understand that power. I do see the value in some religions teaching values such as in The Ten Commandments. Not a bad set of rules to live by. However, the extremes of religious zealots really disturbs me and unfortunately causes so many problems in the world. I prefer not to practice any organized religion but live my life with kindness, gratitude, compassion and giving in whatever way I can. I do believe having a purpose is important no matter what it is as long as one is not hurting others. Narcissism, being selfish and self centered not included.

Expand full comment

We need to tell the stories. If we don't, people will find something else to fill the "God-shaped hole in their hearts."

https://joelelorentzen.substack.com/p/faith-by-default

Expand full comment

When we killed God and replaced him with ourselves, as you say, the family was a casualty of that effort. Family is where we first learn how to love, sacrifice, be disciplined, and be generous in spirit, all of those things that are good. Without emphasizing the family as a rock-solid support system, founded on objective truth, we set ourselves up to fail at a societal level. I think the author points to an aching to return to God, family, and objectivity... an ache that's only growing.

https://buildingdocs.substack.com/p/rocks

Expand full comment
Apr 8, 2023·edited Apr 8, 2023

Find a purpose you will be better. Hitler did that and things did not get better. Stalin had a purpose and things did not get better. Pol Pot had a purpose and things did not get better. The author misses the mark in that the purpose MUST be guided by ethos. It can be borne from pathos but if it is not tempered by logos extreme disaster may follow.

For far too long, children have been taught to decide by emotion (thank you SEL) and adults have placed emotional appeal over facts and truth; objective truth has been supplanted by "my truth". Jean-Jacques Rousseau has been subtly forced down our throats for 2 decades through education and media and we are seeing the impact.

Expand full comment

Just hearing Cackles the Clown (our VP) prattle on about "my truth" or "her truth" drives me over the edge. I wish I could give 1000 "likes" to your derision of it and recognition that "objective truth" is the only truth that matters.

Expand full comment

It’s the result of all the postmodern theory being pushed by colleges. Instead of one truth, everyone has their own truth, determined by a scale of oppression. It’s all dumb and will hasten the decline of an American education.

Expand full comment

I don’t think that 95% or so of people who have graduated from college in the past 70 years have been educated. In Chicago there’s a Coyne College. They specialize in the trades. People graduate from Barber and Beauty Colleges. They basically learn how to make a living in their areas. In the same way, people go to Wharton School to learn how to make a living in finance. What neither of the schools offer is how to live. That is, they don’t educate.

Expand full comment

I agree with you, Daniel. But too many people on this board insist that one doesn't need college, just go to trade school and you'll make a terrific living without going into tuition debt, etc. etc. Learning to plumb an apartment complex is good and noble work, but kids who do that miss out on a humanities education, which is crucial to living in Western society.

Expand full comment

Nope they don’t teach life skills unfortunately!

Expand full comment

70 years really should be 20. That used to be the domain of The Humanities. Hasn’t been for 25 years. Saying college has been worthless for 70 years, though, is being disingenuous at best.

Expand full comment

The humanities, as taught in our schools, were already drifting in that direction back in the 1970s. I had my own run-in with a leftist professor in 1978. He gave me a zero on a term paper, without correcting it, because he disagreed with some of my opinions. Since that paper was 50% of the grade, I failed the course, and had to take it again (under a different professor).

Expand full comment

I didn’t say they were worthless, because people who graduate college make more money than most of those that don’t. My suggestion is that they are all basically trade schools, teaching people how to make a living in their chosen profession. Attendees just won’t get an education there. If you want an education, you need to become autodidact, or, attend a truly Liberal Arts school in the old sense.

Expand full comment

I went to an engineering school. I did take some humanities and social sciences. I confess I might not taken as many if they weren't required. But, instead of the typical English-composition class that the STEM students only take because they have to, I think they would be better served to have classes that unwind the thread of the sciences back to natural philosophy. After all, that's where the "natural sciences" came from. Math was also regarded as a branch of philosophy. All of this I learned on my own.

Expand full comment

Hasten not only the decline of education, but the decline of America, think we just about there with or without God!

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

Students no longer are taught how to think, they are taught what to think. Sad.

Expand full comment

Robert Lifton called them “Thought Terminating Cliche’s”. It is a threat to our democracy. Reproductive rights is health care. Black Lives Matter. Trans Rights are Human Rights. No Person is Illegal. That is all that is taught in the humanities and it is quickly spreading to every discipline. As James Lindsay has pointed out, these are foundational to the left’s Operating System.

Expand full comment

Yes. My youngest, who went to college in the middle part of the last decade told me that all of his friends knew how to get A's. Just regurgitate the idiotic cant they were being fed. At least then, however, none of the kids believed it. It was all just a big joke.

Now it's not so funny.

Expand full comment

And this sort of thing is one reason why enrollment in the humanities has fallen off drastically in recent years.

Expand full comment

Cackles the Clown? You just made my day.

Expand full comment

"......recognition that "objective truth" is the only truth that matters."

Hey Bruce. What of metaphorical truth? "On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing; he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken"

Geologically unlikely but metaphorically true. I view our inability to apply the right lens to subject matter as the deeper problem- faith issues through a faith lens, scientific issues through a scientific lens etc. If you go to a comedy show insisting that horses can't speak to bartenders you're not going to have much fun.

Expand full comment

Agree. But cackles wasn't speaking in that context. She was advocating a fluid truth, which is the bedrock of her party's lunacy.

Expand full comment

Of course, the real issue there is that, although they advertise that every person's "truth" is equally true, they don't really believe that. The validity of your truth is directly proportional to your place on the political correctness scale.

Expand full comment

The seventh day point is not about truth at all rather it is about faith - what one believes in the absence of proof. I think that capacity is what has been, or is being, largely lost.

Expand full comment

Well, it's something of an epistemic hair-splitting enterprise here Lynne. Christian Articles of Faith are decidedly viewed as truth by a significant chunk of the population. With no negative externalities in my opinion- at least of late.

Then there are secular Articles of Faith:

Thousands of unarmed black people are shot by police annually. The glaciers will all be melted by 2030. JK Rowling is the antichrist. Salman Rushdie should have known what he was messing with. These dubious propositions have significant externalities but are sincerely held by others.

I guess my point is that "objective truth" as Bruce defined it is not an easily boxed off definitive category.

Expand full comment

I agree truth is not easily defined but my point was that to be Christian, or Muslim or Jewish and maybe other religions, you must first pass the faith hurdle. Do you believe or accept the idea that a Creator is possible? If you do then you go on to believe in a broad range of things that cannot be proven by tools at our disposal at this time and place.

Expand full comment

Thanks for the thoughtful reply Lynne- perhaps going down the rabbit hole on "What is Truth?" is not something we're likely to resolve before next Christmas. But truth and purpose are inextricably linked.

How does the 21st century rational individual process the exponentially increasing reams of information (some true, some warped, some even malicious) and forge a meaningful life? The answer is not obvious to me.

Expand full comment

"Christian Articles of Faith are decidedly viewed as truth by a significant chunk of the population. With no negative externalities in my opinion- at least of late." By "significant chunk" do you mean 3%-5% of the population? Only a small number blindly accept all tenets of the Christian Articles of Faith.

But the point of finding an objective truth requires an adherence to values which put freedom of speech as the method to find it. This is because thought is limited by speech and curtailing speech curtails thought. Once narrative truth supersedes objective truth you can’t hope to find any common truth. Every individual has their own personal truth and not affirming that negate their very existence.

Expand full comment

I like this but I think thought is the basis of speech. Or at least should be.

Expand full comment

Despite your high blown rhetoric, you seem to conflate belief and facts. Facts are what I was discussing. The white car slammed into the black car. The national debt exceeds $31.6 trillion. The Covid 19 vaccines are losing efficacy by the day. Facts are measurable, objective things. They are also, as John Adams observed, stubborn things.

Expand full comment

An honest reading of my post would the nuances of truth and faith Bruce, not the conflation of belief and facts-neither of those words appearing in my post.

If you want to have a narrow black and white conversation, have it with somebody else. The gray space is what interests me.

Expand full comment

You're right, of course, that purpose must be moral and unselfish to be a contribution to humanity. But I think the author meant that, not the "purpose" of psychopaths and serial killers.

Expand full comment

Pol Pot did what he did because he believed in equity and social justice. Purpose is not enough on its own and can be highly detrimental if not tempered.

Expand full comment

Well, yes, of course. Psychopathic killers have purpose, and every one of them is the hero of his own story.

You're stretching the debate further than it needs, though. No one here seems to believe that any ol' purpose will do, but one we recognize as moral and perhaps noble.

Expand full comment

1/4 of the population of Cambodia Pol Pot killed in the name of equity and social justice might just think (if they could do that anymore) a vigorous debate about equity and social justice should be had and pointing that out is not stretching the debate further than it needs to.

Expand full comment

The "Counter Culture" failed. They never offered an alternative that worked. It was all more or less literal pipe dreams. They gave The Man the finger, then became the Man, but without any of the Man's moral compass or anchoring. They were the Man with better coffee and better croissants, a bad attitude, and a never ending sense of mild self loathing that very quietly admitted the failure without the courage to acknowledge and learn from it.

Why would a bunch of teenagers and twenty somethings REALLY be able to improve in a few short years in major ways on thousands of years of human experience and gathered knowledge?

Everything the Left has been doing for the past century has been dedicated to undermining and destroying traditional culture, but May Day and propagandistic BS don't really address the true emotional needs of individuals or societies.

For some time I've been using the image of the scene in Indiana Jones where he replaces a gold statue with a bag of something else, and it fails. He sets off all the defenses of the temple, because it was not a true exchange. We were asked to replace gold with brass, and in far too many cases did so, and are now wondering why we feel a sense of loss.

It is because of loss. We lost something. We gave something away without replacing it.

And I would make this comment. I don't know Ray Bradbury's politics, but in Fahrenheit 451 he was arguing for the value of human Culture as expressed in books. The Left, many of whom were at one time HONEST Liberals, agreed. The bookey people tended to be Democrats. But now those same people will burn, in effect, any book they are told to burn, and erase any author they are told to erase. Shakespeare is a dead white male, and most of them fail to read the greatest author, arguably, in the English language, EVEN IF THEY STUDY ENGLISH IN COLLEGE.

I have spent all my life studying problems of meaning and community, and could say much more, but will end with this. One thing that is VERY clear is WE NEED TO STOP DESTROYING THINGS AND INSTITUTIONS WHOSE VALUE WE DON'T REALLY UNDERSTAND.

The Left needs to stop making things worse. No recovery will be possible where the only impulse is destruction, violence, and death.

Expand full comment

Perhaps Chesterson’s fence should be taught in schools instead of the gender unicorn.

The Marxist takeover of education is currently the greatest threat to America and it is well underway. It will take more than a generation to reverse.

Expand full comment

"Well underway"? In the public schools it has been COMPLETED!

Expand full comment

I will add that when we replace the wisdom of a Shakespeare with a blind and indoctrinated hatred of "whiteness" what has anyone gained? Everyone is stupider, angrier, and not comforted by anything but violence and aggression and dictatorial control of largely innocent people.

Expand full comment

The Left are nothing more than the Taliban who blew up the ancient Buddha statues. Vile, destructive and stupid.

Expand full comment

No, they are much worse. The Taliban had and have positive stable beliefs, even if many of them are odious and their stance is that of radical intolerance.

The cult of Leftism has only two pillars: conformity to a constantly rotating story; and the destructive and sadistic use of power. It is unstable madness. Yes, it is all papered over by paper thin rhetoric, but they can be known by fruits, which are conflict, poverty for the many, intolerance, and unhappiness.

Expand full comment

"The Taliban had and have positive stable beliefs . . ."

Oh, hell, no. Unless you believe Hitler had his faults, but hey, he painted halfway decent landscapes.

Expand full comment

The two are not at all the same, are they? Godwin's Law is somewhat out of fashion, but it still remains profoundly lazy to use the IDEA of Hitler in inappropriate ways, I guess in an effort to make an apparently strong argument with weak ideas.

Expand full comment

If you think the Taliban have ANY positive stable beliefs, your ideas are far weaker than anything you claim about mine.

Expand full comment

Do you want to argue no Muslims have any positive beliefs?

Expand full comment

And what does your rant about communism have to do with anything? Taliban are Islamic psychopaths, not communists.

Expand full comment

Very well put.

Expand full comment

Thanks, Lynne. I hope you're having a delightful Easter!

Expand full comment

Very peaceful. How is your Passover?

Expand full comment

Likewise. Kept myself busy helping mom transition to her second month of widowhood, which at 93 isn't easy for her. But she's doing all right considering. Love me some strong women like my mom . . . and, I think, you.

Expand full comment

I find most of what you’re saying to be very poignant, but I feel like you’re missing your own point by blaming one side for all the corruption. It’s everyone’s problem, as we’ve all played our parts creating it, albeit in differing, dichotomous ways. Our civilization has always existed in yin-yang, my friend.

Expand full comment

It has. But at this point in time in our society one side has seized control and seeks to impose its idealigy on the other. The side being subjugated must either resist, which of necessity means acknowledging (blaming) the wrong-doers for their wrong-doing, or comply. This IS yin-yang in action. Kumbayaa has not worked.

Expand full comment

Whether I agree or disagree with the things you have pointed out about the atrocities occurring on “the left”, someone could easily make the same argument about “the right” on the other side. If you truly can’t see that, and you truly believe your side is the righteous one; that there is no merit to any of the values espoused by “the left” (despite the multitude of obviously misguided actions undertaken) then it seems the logical conclusion of your argument is all but upon us: War in the streets so you can take your country back.

Am I wrong?

Expand full comment

While both "sides" have issues (that's why there are sides) I think what we are witnessing now is far beyond that. I do not think a list of atrocities by the right can given. I listen for specifics and do not hear them with the exception of overreach about abortion. All I hear are name calling and hostility. We had a situation last week where Christians including three children were murdered and the Left, up to and including the President, was only concerned that there not be backlash against transvestites. The only Democrats willing to meet in the middle are viciously attacked by their side and several have left the party as a result thereof. I do not see any interest in discussion of the issues. Many Democrats (Joe Biden, Katie Hobbs, John Fetterman will not even debate). Discourse is simply not to be had.

Not in my personal life, not in the public sphere. Without the ability for meaningful discussion -between us as individuals and between our elected leadership - I see no resolution.

Expand full comment

Are you saying you don’t think the right is seeking to impose its ideology on everyone too?

That’s literally the yin-yang battle that has been waging throughout the existence of human beings: Both “sides”, trying to impose their views upon one another, albeit by severely differing methodologies. The part that I’m amazes me about the back and forth is that people who are saying, “oh the left this”, or “oh the right that” don’t appear to realize, at least in modern society, that each “side” needs the other to to temper the extremes on both ends. That is how we made it to where we were ~20 years ago.

Then the perversities of the internet age came along, mucking everything up and creating these echo chambers and bad incentives that have made it so we don’t feel like complete fools continually calling each other names and waiting for problems to solve themselves. You could call it corruption of our primitive programming.

Expand full comment

No I do not think it is the right that is trying to impose its idealogy. It is the Left. Redefinition of gender. Diminishment of parental rights. Imposition of ill-conceived and ill-advised green policies which weaken both the nation and the individual. Likewise ill-advised and ill-conceived monetary policy. A $32,000,000,000,000 national debt and a President who refuses to contemplate spending cuts and who has implemented policies which have greatly increased the interest to be paid on said debt. A President who refers to all who do not agree with him as "Ultra MAGA" and worse. The weaponization of various executive agencies to ferrett out trifling at best and fictional at worse wrong-doing by those on the right while turning a blind eye to blatant misconduct, some of it quite egregious, of Democrats. Collusion of those agencies with legacy and social media outlets to censor speech and the free flow of ideas, and deliver mis- dis- and mal-information while professing to combat same and the associated election interference as a result thereof. Imposition of mandates to require the purchase of health insurance from 3rd party, for profit entities by every human who draws breath and thereby replacing health care with health business. Allowing spies and spy devices free access to the nation. Calling for those who speak out or question any of this to be boycotted, fired, disciplined or otherwise cancelled. Physically assaulting a female swimmer invited to a college campus to speak about the reality of competition with males. Shouting down a federal judge invited to a college campus to speak. There are far too many instances of these last two examples to list. I could go on, and on, and on with example after example after example which is what leads me to believe that dialogue with Leftists, which includes the vast majority of Democrats, is pointless as it is something they are not interested in, because they are intent on imposing their besotted will on everyone. By any means. It is vile.

Expand full comment

I was thinking everything you just said. I am a health coach and I watched as every scientist, doctor or health coach I followed get censored by the Left, even when they were talking about facts that have been agreed upon for years. Many of my friends were so mean - I did not recognize them. And I am married to a police officer... All the people who posted police videos do not really care about the people who died, and are still dying, from the lack of police presence. I get so tired of everyone saying - well the Right... Where is the Right "winning"?

Expand full comment

Oh my goodness girl you have truly hit the demonized by the left trifecta - a Christian health worker married to a law enforcement officer. And we are all expected to surrender our intelligence to exist in our society.

Expand full comment

Within the realm of emotional health many diverging viewpoints are possible. But emotional wellness and madness are two differing things. To give up EVERYTHING for NOTHING is lunacy.

Expand full comment

The points you make about the behavior on “the left” are abundantly evident and equally abhorrent. You have no disagreement here regarding the lunacy occurring on “the left”.

Something that has been on my mind for months is how there needs to be new terminology for the woken left, perhaps “neo-left” or “neo-leftist”, so once those who’ve been corrupted by these viewpoints realize how broken they are, they’ll have a left to walk back to. The left and the right, grievances aside, have to stop working to destroy each other if we are to have a civilization, and railing against one side as the cause gets us nowhere but exactly where we are right now, because the only thing that gets heard when you make an argument in this way is that “the left is bad,” which makes people on that side mad and and people on the right feel affirmed in their own “righteousness”. Meanwhile, we’ve lost the point of the argument. Welcome to nowhere.

Expand full comment

I call anyone capable of having an intelligent, principle based conversation a Liberal. Being a Liberal is good. But as I use the words Leftists BY DEFINITION are not Liberals, and you will never hear me call them that. They have no interest in dialogue, debate, or learning. They are witch hunters and book burners, without the redeeming features of some positive belief.

Expand full comment

Are leftists not the people you’re actually describing when you are speaking in your posts about “the left”? What’s wrong with calling a spade a spade and referring to them as “leftist” rather than lumping classical liberals who fall left of center into the junk pile, which is what everyone seems to do when they talk about “the left”. My point is perhaps that would fan less flames that are only complicating our society’s dumpster fire of a mess.

Expand full comment

The distinction is between sane and insane.

Bari Weiss first got my attention by making the same distinction. We can debate policy, but its not possible to debate people screaming “NO DEBATE” and backing it up with threats of physical violence and immediate social violence as bad as they can inflict.

Put another way, I want the 1980 Alan Alda back, not what we have today. Even Norman Lear and Meathead have lost their minds.

Liberals on the left are few, but by definition, in my terms, they are open to debate, and must understand clearly exactly what I am talking about.

And I am a conservative but call myself Liberal. Not all conservatives are liberal either, but if you want to have polite disagreement, that is by far the likeliest place to find it.

I don’t like mobs. The Left as I define it consists in nothing but managed mobs.

Expand full comment

The irony is that Bradbury is now regarded as "right wing", and you find "Farenheit 451" in any school anywhere. Nor will you find "1984", "Animal Farm", "Brave New World", etc.

Expand full comment

Ah, another God shaped hole article, albeit well written.

If only one thing has become apparent over the last few years it’s that climate zealotry, racial activism etc does not satisfy the human quest for meaning and fill aforementioned hole.

We’re going to need to go deeper folks.

Expand full comment

This is the conundrum of modernity. People are born into a society that is stabilized by a moral structure grounded in religious beliefs. Then they go to school and learn from Darwin that human value systems are based on no reality that is independent of the social interactions of humans as an evolved species. The implicit logic of this is that cultural norms are relative, which devolves into the nihilism of Critical Theory that we are all living through at the moment.

When Nietzsche said God is dead, he wasn’t celebrating a liberating insight, he was just pointing out that humans are utterly alone.

The problem is that a call to return to God is simply a dead end. All worldwide statistics show that religiosity is decreasing.

Expand full comment

Spirituality and organized religion are not the same thing.

Expand full comment

Indeed but it’s a Venn diagram with a very large overlap.

Expand full comment

Actually statistics don’t exactly show that religion/spirituality is decreasing worldwide https://www.pewresearch.org/religion/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/

Expand full comment

So, demographic trends will increase Muslim populations as a percentage. That’s sort of my point. The secular west is in decline demographically and in terms of cultural cohesion. The irony is that the embrace of empirical methods/science has led to unparalleled material prosperity but loss of strong religious faith. I think this is why progressive ideology feels like a rudimentary religion trying to fill the void left by the naturalistic worldview we’ve embraced since Darwin.

My bet is that Islam will also gradually secularize.

Expand full comment

So.. I happen to live in an area highly populated by Christians. When people talk about “our society” we mean some people but not others… Hasidism, Black churches, and recent immigrant Hispanic Catholics. Not to speak of Mormons. And so-called New Age beliefs are spiritual so there’s that. If you spend time on Perhaps these surveys are about institutions and not beliefs.

And national surveys tend to miss cultural pockets. And yet we each live in our own cultural pocket. I just think it’s a lot more complicated than material prosperity yields unbelief.

My hypothesis is that societally it isn’t cool to believe in spirits anymore.. even in theology schools (other than certain groups) direct experience with the Spirit is downplayed. And a church without Spirit is indeed an empty shell. IMHO.

Expand full comment

Darwin, Nietzsche, statistics...you’re looking in all the wrong places.

Expand full comment

I don’t agree. The problem is not looking at all.

Expand full comment

I’ll respectfully disagree. We live in a time when we are bombarded with information. Feeding your mind junk is like feeding your body junk.

Expand full comment

All good but your last paragraph feels very pessimistic and misguided. Statistical trends do not have any bearing on whether a course of action, a belief system, or even a so-called fact, is true, right, virtuous, etc. To assert that religion is a dead end on such strangely chosen grounds feels at odds with the rest of your post.

Expand full comment

People believe that their faith in God gives them the strength to act morally--- “true, right, virtuous”; the non-religious are at a moral disadvantage. That’s why you uniformly see comments from believers prescribing a return to God as the solution to society’s ills.

My problem, which I admit is pessimistic, is that that from the evolutionary perspective it’s the coalition around the shared belief in God that is more potent than whether God actually exists. As more people get away from a literal belief in God it weakens social cohesion.

Expand full comment

Thanks. It was less the critique of religiosity per se that I found dispiriting, rather the use of a statistical trend to support your point.

Truth and virtue are rarely arrived at through consulting statistical trends of popular opinion.

Expand full comment

"All worldwide statistics show that religiosity is decreasing." You need to expand your understanding of "religiosity". There are many "gods" in societal belief systems and there is a rotating system of belief that accompanies these "gods". They are run alongside of, compete with, and supersede the God of the bible, the traditional Western belief system. None of them are divine, and none of them are eternal, yet they are religiosity in fact!

Expand full comment

The decline in America’s traditional values is disturbing on many levels. I don’t recoginize America anymore. What I see evolving, in all aspects of American life has no purpose and unfortunitly there’s no way back. We have lost our American story, and without a common story that brings us together, where is the pride?

Expand full comment

A nation of obese, credulous and obedient serfs is what our globalist overlords thirst for. Deny them that and they wither away. A nation of fit, smart, sentient and skeptical citizens would not have installed a senile imbecile as it leader.

Expand full comment

I spent a day at the African American Museum in Washington DC. Traditional America is most definitely not a model to aspire to. We progress and that makes America the greatest nation on earth, but we have much work to do.

Expand full comment

Oh please. Progress! Forward!

I think we've seen those words on 1930s Soviet propaganda banners. And certain leftist rags in America.

Expand full comment

Bruce please stop. To deny the impact of slavery had in American hostel because of the 1619 project is low.

Expand full comment

No propaganda here. Go to the museum and live it yourself.

Expand full comment

Just looked at their website.

"The 1619 Project: A Symposium On Reframing History | Smithsonian Institution."

"Book Discussion With Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain Kicks Off Black History Month Programming."

No propaganda?

Expand full comment

That is just a different type of propaganda.

Expand full comment
Apr 8, 2023·edited Apr 8, 2023

Maybe we are lost because we've become untethered from what really made life worth living. A family to build, love and nourish. A man or woman to cherish and protect. A man fulfilling his historical role as provider, worker and protector. A woman hers as the giver of life, the nurturer, the light of her family. All with a deep purpose and a belief in the goodness of God and the bonds of family and friendship. The more we turn our back to this, the more lost we will be. A "purpose" based solely on self will never fill the hole in our souls. Only service to others. And to a higher power. We all can see that. Let's not pretend otherwise.

Expand full comment

I live a traditional life. My husband provides, I am the caretaker of him, the house (and the children when they were here.) I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Expand full comment

Me too. By choice. I had a come to Jesus meeting with myself when my kids were very young.

Expand full comment

Bruce, if you lived in my SoCal neighborhood, I would invite you out for a craft beer!

Expand full comment

If you lived in my (sometimes) NYC neighborhood I'd take you to look at the freak show. Lol. And then we'd both need something stronger than beer!

Expand full comment

I think back to when President Obama said, “You didn’t build that.” That is, you’re totally dependent on the government, so don’t take credit for your accomplishments.

Expand full comment

Obama is a lost soul... there is no advice he ever gave which is worth following. He was not very good for the country as one looks back.

Expand full comment

I agree. He is forever a lost soul. He has hundreds of millions of dollars without having a real job in his life. His former admin is now in charge "fundamentally transforming" us and he still will not be a fulfilled man.

Expand full comment

And worst of all he did nothing for ‘his’ black community, he didn’t even lead them in spirit or mind.

Expand full comment

I think at one time he attempted when he suggested that the Black community would be better off if fathers were more involved in the raising of their children. He jumped away from that as fast as he decided that marriage wasn’t necessarily between a man and a woman.

Expand full comment

Yep, he is forever lost and his actions show it.

Expand full comment

Is it official that he’s the one in the Easter Bunny costume “redirecting” our acting president ?

Expand full comment

I think Obama's "You didn't build that" (while it may have been taken as offensive by someone who built a business from the ground up,) was referring to exactly what this article implicates. No man is an island and no man (or woman) builds anything alone.

Expand full comment

Attributing gentle motives to B. Hussein Obama would not be my first instinct.

Expand full comment

As I recall it, the implicit notion behind the attack was that no one could have built a powerful company without the government’s help.

While true in so far as it goes, it’s equally evident that the growing powers of the administrative state along with Democrats’ desire to perpetually raise taxes, produces a less strong and competitive business environment.

Expand full comment

No he meant that we serfs need to straighten up and appreciate the crumbs the government dispenses after seizing the bread we produce. He, and those who subscribe to this tripe, wholly fail to understand that the citizens built and maintain the government through our largesse, NOT the other way around. We travelled a long way from JFKs "[A]sk not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country[.]" to Obama's you owe the government and you are not doing enough. No wonder he weaponized the IRS.

Expand full comment

He was totally alluding to his lifelong belief in the need for more government in everything.

Expand full comment

So what you are saying is that he was lousy at expressing himself - albeit he repeated that phrase ‘you didn’t do that’ many times- without any clarification.

Expand full comment

Yes, that was bad, however, I believe the worst thing he said in public is the worst thing I've ever heard a living POTUS say when he declared, "If my daughter made a mistake, I wouldn't want to punish her with a baby!" His callous disregard for innocent human life still shocks me. I assume that is a glimpse into his own self-reflection that he was a "mistake" and that being born was a punishment for his mother. It's very sad, but the saddest part is that he didn't even think that if his daughter were to have an unplanned pregnancy, that he would not step up, welcome his grandchild, and raise his grandchild if his daughter was unable. He would rather kill his own grandchild than suffer her "mistake".

I believe this lack of human regard is what permitted him to "surge" Afghanistan and send tens of thousands of Americans into that meatgrinder with no intent to defeat the enemy and end the war. Because he lacked this intent or purpose, he should have ended U.S. involvement there on the day he was inaugurated, but he does not have the level of self-awareness to understand himself. This makes him only a partially formed adult, which led to the greatest betrayal of our warrior class by a U.S. president. Even Biden's Bagram Bugout, as shameful and as contemptible as it was, does not equal Obama's disgraceful act of cowardice.

Expand full comment

I had forgotten the Afghan surge. Puts this week's blame the former administration for the withdrawal travesty in a whole different light does it not? Thanks for the reminder

Expand full comment

I like to think of it more as being totally dependent on each other, with the government being just one facilitator of that.

Expand full comment

Except that the the government facilitator is the one with the power of coercion and guns. Not exactly just one among many.

Expand full comment

I had never interpreted it that way, but you make a good point.

Expand full comment

What else do you think that two-bit intellect was trying to say? He was mocking initiative and self-reliance and minimizing the hard work, toil and sweat of those who build our nation.

Expand full comment

Of course. He was stirring up class resentment. One of his specialties.

Expand full comment

Built and fund the government.

Expand full comment

True. And many believe that foolishness. What Obama fails to grasp however is that the government functions via the largesse of the citizenry, not the other way around. WE built the government and continue to maintain it. I despise kings and those who would be king.

Expand full comment

Thank you for this wonderful piece. At 72, daily I still hear my parents parents words, “Your life is not about you. You were put on this earth to make things better for someone else and to give glory to God”. Luckily for me they provided plenty of examples in living that. I am grateful but wish that so many more people were as lucky as I have been.

Expand full comment

Nice article... In regards to the self-love and self-esteem, I think Jordan Peterson has made an excellent point. He's bluntly said, "trying to force people to feel good about themselves if they don't have any reason to do is stupid." His point being that rather than obsess over affirmations, go out into the world, work hard, create things such that you have legitimate reasons to feel good about yourself.

I take great joy and find meaning in writing my Substack. It's bloody awesome and gives me a hell of a lot of purpose in life. As do other things. In earlier ages we might have had these grand, over-arching sources of meaning like patriotism or religion which are now fading, but all hope is not lost. You can still create your own meaning in life.

Expand full comment

I retired almost five years ago and was silly enough to think that life would be trouble-free (or trouble-less). Instead, family matters took a serious turn and the weight of it all left me physically and emotionally broken. I decided one day to pray; what the hell, what harm would it cause? I bought a bible and began reading aloud from it every day and that act alone soothed and comforted me. I took an online bible class and even though the earthly troubles were still there, my perspective was changing. My faith sustained me through the pandemic and the riots of 2020. I managed to conquer many fears during that time and I still learn more and more each day.

People flee Godless governments. In 1989, we celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Look at what a world without faith has brought us. We can't even define ourselves anymore without getting into a heated argument or worse. Our country is filled with powder kegs from many different sources; all waiting for the chance/opportunity to explode. Our cities are falling; even our countrysides are scary with drug addiction rampant.

Perhaps, instead of ___History Months, we should have Pray Your Way Through The Day Month. God is working; ignite something positive.

Expand full comment

I like it, Religious History Month. Schools could teach the history of different religions and the importance of faith in society. They could highlight religious leaders throughout history. Some will push back saying that religious history is violent and has had a lot of problems. Those problems are rooted in the people's pride and greed, not in God or the teachings of the Bible or other religious texts. If the focus is on God, charity, gratefulness, forgiveness and love of God and others.

Expand full comment

We all struggle with our sense of purpose, but our younger generations struggle more. Individual sense of purpose is difficult enough, but we also no longer have a national sense of purpose or identity, which is why we have descended into identity politics. Without purpose, there is no meaning or point to our lives. We are cast adrift on an endless and fruitless search, wandering aimlessly, as you describe. Most of us had a clear sense of purpose growing up in families, churches and communities. And, in this country. We knew what we were about. We could define it. At work we had a core mission, values and goals. It wasn't all harmonious and correct. Community, especially families, can be pretty tumultuous, but their foundations were strong. The path may not have been clear, but we always knew where we were going and the roots upon which we stood. We are no longer rooted in family, community or national identity. The young are quick to leave all behind, easily discarding their heritage and their elders with a never look back policy. Until they need them again. We can no longer define family; we can no longer define community; we can no longer define ourselves as one nation. Our children struggle with all sorts; rudderless, without foundation. Family is. ... It is all life. It is Nature. Natural. Every life form has a family of some kind, every single living thing is born and does not stand alone. We are all connected and intertwined and are consumed by each other. We forget this in the mindless search to describe terms mother, father, sister, brother, friend. In the Australian Aboriginal language (they are the longest surviving race of humanity we know- over 50,000 years in peace and harmony with each other and nature- no wars, no tribalism), there is no word for family. Family just is. Every single thing on their entire continent is Family to them. Every person, every animal, every tree, every flower, every snake, every spider, every organism; the dust on the ground, the air, the rain. Perhaps that is the obvious secret we overlook.

Expand full comment

Ah, yes - the Noble Savage. A myth right up there with the Blank Slate.

Expand full comment

Except it’s not a myth at all.

Expand full comment

You should read more widely.

Expand full comment

You’re archaic and ASSuming. I lived there for 5 years and studied and experienced widely. You?

Expand full comment
Apr 8, 2023·edited Apr 8, 2023

Five years in modern times makes you an expert on fifty thousand years? What you've experienced widely is modernity. Studied what? Aboriginal humans in Australia have never been any more "noble" or less savage in all particulars than other modern humans. Anyway, name calling. You lose.

Expand full comment

You began by relegating an entire continent as savage. Even with noble in front, that’s an ignorant euphemism. You stray from topic to condescend without anything to backup such an offhand comment. And, yes, I studied and experienced first hand since 1985 and have been doing so ever since. I haven’t “lost” anything because there is nothing to “win” here. Also an archaic form of thought.

Expand full comment

“You are not enough.” No truer words. May we never forget that during this most Holy Week. He has risen indeed!

Expand full comment

I’ve been listening to the Bible in a year podcast with Fr. Mike Schmitz. A cradle Catholic now six decades removed from the cradle, this is my first time through the entire book in this kind of linear and systematic way.

I will confess that the OT can be a challenge to slog through each day. But occasionally, I hear a passage or a phrase from antiquity that acts as a sort of loud, shrill alarm bell piercing time and space and calling to us even now, some 3000 years later. This one, the last line from the Book of Judges, seems to have special resonance today: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

Today in the U.S. at least, we are seeing the horrific consequences of eliminating faith in God and doing “that which is right in [our] own eyes.” And Chesterton’s aphorism has become a prophecy: ‘When men stop believing in God they don't believe in nothing; they believe in anything.”

God save us.

Expand full comment

Completely agree on the OT. My favorite part of the podcast is at the end, getting a sermon each day and an interpretation of the reading. What a great way to learn out faith.

Expand full comment

Just recently a CycleBar instructor said, “put yourself first today”, as if so many people aren’t doing that already. People being selfish is a big part of the problem. Me, me, me mentality is rather lonely.

Expand full comment

I hear that ALL THE TIME from the Peloton instructors. STOP IT!

Expand full comment

I do NOT need someone yelling at me while I exercise! I absolutely HATE that!

Expand full comment

There's a cognitive dissonance in bemoaning a poll that showed that only the value of money had increased, while other values had declined, and then valorizing entrepreneurs who are obsessive about succeeding in large part so they can become wealthy.

By the way, the article only put forth what was very important and not what the pollsters felt was th more important result of what was both very and somewhat important. See below if you're interested.

https://robertsdavidn.substack.com/p/brief-post-a-numerical-bamboozle

Expand full comment

The other issue with this poll is that the methodology changed. The latest poll was taken online; previous polls were conducted over the phone with human contact. How much did that one variable skew the answers?

Expand full comment