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"how To Fight The Man"


GeorgeW
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David Brooks, a center-right columnist with the New York Times, has an article today that may be apropos to this forum. He examines the best way “to fight the man.” He begins by discussing a viral video called, “Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus.”

 

http://www.nytimes.c...the-man.html?hp

 

He doesn’t argue against anti-institutional thinking per se, but suggests that a deficient set of institutions be replaced by a better set. And, they should be based on a thoughtful view of reality.

 

His argument might be summarized in the following quotes:

 

For generations people have been told: Think for yourself; come up with your own independent worldview. Unless your name is Nietzsche, that’s probably a bad idea. Very few people have the genius or time to come up with a comprehensive and rigorous worldview.”

 

“Effective rebellion isn’t just expressing your personal feelings. It means replacing one set of authorities and institutions with a better set of authorities and institutions. Authorities and institutions don’t repress the passions of the heart, the way some young people now suppose. They give them focus and a means to turn passion into change.

 

What sayeth PCs?

 

George

Edited by GeorgeW
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Actually, I kind of have to agree with him. Though their always will be those "Neitzches" within any given society that are neccesary to providing a counter-balance point, as a moderating force.

I have myself struggled with, still struggle with, recognizing and accepting that most people really either do not care to or don't have the mental faculties to really try to understand what's going on in any of the world beyond the end of their own nose, and at the same time accepting that is just how they are, and to not feel myself superior, them inferior for it. But those people are very vulnerable to being easily swayed and influenced by political and social forces that present their messages in the form these people can most relate to in their lives, that of "entertainment". I know many that are of the bent to keep up with the progress and performance of all the major sports teams, what's going on in reality tv shows and spectacular crimes and crimminal trials that make headline news,, following celebrity gossip, that I've noticed seem to be forming their own ideas about various contenders in political campigns, races, based on the same kinds of things involved in their choosing favorite teams in sports events or participants in tv reality shows. It does seem their "world view" IS based on mass entertainment.

 

These same people do seem to also rely heavily on "what they are taught/told" in matters not only of religion, but even laws of the land as they might affect or apply to any of us. They seem very responsive to and trusting of aparant authority figures and institutions. To remove existing ones would for the, create an unstable void.

 

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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In society I see different levels of play in sports and education. Some institutions are nursery schools babysitting people who just want to follow. I would like to see higher institutes of contemplation where the four walls are used more in silence, contemplation in a temple like the word con-templ-ation so people don't have to be told, but come to recharge and then go outside to become active and activist.

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I agree with soma. Religion has to cater for everyone, there are strata within in a pyramid of understanding. The base strata would be those who are at the beginning of their faith journey and those who find comfort in being led. The middle strata would be condidered those who are experiencing some form of awakening; a questioning sceptical stage (where I am!). The top of the pyramid might be considered those who have reached a point in their journey where they have attained a universal approach to religion, almost transcendant of religion. People of course fall off the pyramid from time to time, others don't climb but remain static. This is how I like to envisage or rationalize the faith journey for me. James Fowler's stages of faith model puts it far better than I ever could:

 

http://faculty.plts....html/fowler.htm

 

http://www.usefulcha...s-of-faith.html

 

Paul

Edited by Inthedark
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A while back, I was listening to a talk that Marcus Borg gave on the subject of spirituality, especially as related to those who define themselves as being "spiritual but not religious." A question was posed to Borg, "Can I be spiritual without being part of a religion or without going to church?" Marcus' answer was, yes, of course you can. Our relationship with God needs no mediator. "But," said Borg, "religion is the way spirituality has found traction in history." He likened spirituality to sex and said that although it could be enjoyable alone, it is much more fun with someone else involved. :lol: In Borg's opinion, trying to be spiritual alone is like each of us trying to reinvent the wheel all on our own.

 

Personally, I'm a bit wary of the language of "authorities and institutions" although I'll grant that this is how most religious paradigms often act. I would rather use the language of "values and communities" which, imo, are more relational terms.

 

What much of this comes down to, again imo, is whether or not we believe or want to entertain the notion that PC is or should be an influence (notice I didn't say "force") for good or for change in our world. Some, it seems, see PC as simply a means of finding personal inner enlightenment or peace or unity with God, and that is certainly no small thing. Others, finding much commonality in similar values and community may see PC as influence to transform our world into a better place. This is where I would agree with Brooks that joining together with others who hold to similar values and the strength/meaning/relations found in community could act as a focusing lens to turn passion into change. And this is where I think PC could improve its skills beyond simply criticizing the "former set" of religious authorities and institutions, and offer a "better set" of values and community. Diana Eck says that this might be the transformation of mainline Christianity from "institutional Christians" to "intentional Christians." It's interesting to think about.

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This is where I would agree with Brooks that joining together with others who hold to similar values and the strength/meaning/relations found in community could act as a focusing lens to turn passion into change.

 

I am inclined to agree with this as well.

 

In the more secular arena, I think of the Occupy movement. While I think it did accomplish a little consciousness raising (which could also be transitory), the lack of organization, focus and structure may leave it without having accomplished very much.

 

George

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