we’re behaving as adolescents, outsourcing hardship, focused on sex instead of on meaningful human contact, and isolating ourselves by technology.
Last night I didn’t sleep well because something I had for dinner didn’t quite agree with me so I turned on the TV. I’m not sure what channel was playing the program, but they showed the latest trend in pornography, which involved the use of sex toys on a prostitute in a studio, directed by the paying subscriber at his/her home. For that, the subscriber pays $7 a minute.
It was very sad to see this. In fact, it was downright depressing – the most depressing thing I’ve seen in the past year or so.
How much more of a descent into loneliness and alienation can you get than that? I shudder to ask, because I know someone else is already working on something even worse.
I have posted before on the culture of pornography enveloping us. Maybe it’s the aftereffects of last night’s dinner but right now I’m not optimistic at all as to what it bodes for our children.
The emphasis on ever-young ever-sexual images in today’s world (a phenomenon which is not limited to the USA – to the contrary) and the de-emphasizing of human contact will make our children’s lives ever more difficult.
Increasingly, more people become obsessed with youth to the point of self-mutilation through plastic surgery. Old people are relegated to retirement homes and their contributions are ignored. We force ourselves to think only in terms of everlasting youth and vitality.
Aging has become a sin, possibly the only sin left.
In yesterday’s comments, GM Roper commented about ageing and death,
I remember my other grandfather, who was a minister, reminisce about growing up close with death and dying and how it was a natural and necessary part of life. The differences seem to me to be huge. We ignore death and so we become afraid of it, we do not cherish our homemakers who deal with all of the necessary steps to making a house a home a hearth more than a place to cook food and all the little enjoyable (and sometimes not so enjoyable) things that go into a life between the first wail after birth to the last gasp at death.
When we become comfortable with who we are, then and only then can we begin to be comfortable with where we are going.
Francis W. Porretto expands on the subject:
An advanced civilization will respond to an unpleasant but predictable necessity [i.e., death] by creating such dedicated institutions. The tough part is paying the resulting institutions the appropriate degree of respect. After all, we didn’t create them because we actively wanted to, but because all the alternatives were worse. So our young must endure developmental conditioning that will predispose them toward respectful behavior under dispreferred circumstances: funerals, visits to nursing homes, hospitals, and the homes of failing relatives; coping with smelly Grandpa. The conditioning doesn’t always take, but we do the best we can.
There are other trends afoot, of course. Medicine continues to increase our lifespans, and certain elements of medical research suggest that even aging itself is curable. No one could fail to be attracted by the possibility of a prolonged life in a state of youthful vigor and attractiveness. But no matter how good our biologists and physicians get at prolonging our lives and vital forces, we will still die, from accident, disease, violence, or suicide. One of the unpleasant trends in contemporary thought is the promotion of the contrary view: that sooner or later, mortality itself will be “cured.”
I don’t believe it to be possible, but let’s postulate it for the nonce. If Mankind were to lose its cognizance of and respect for death, what would happen to our attitudes toward life? Would it not be immeasurably cheapened? Would we not slide inexorably into complete ennui? No life, infinitely prolonged, could possibly be significant. Any dividend of achievement, love, or experience would sit atop an infinite divisor. Quotient: zero!
Or imagine rather that immortality were available only at a high monetary price. That would be all but certain; it would be the greatest medical advancement of all time, and no doubt would be available at first only to the most fortunate few. What then? Would we not have created a new have-not class? Wouldn’t that class raise a cry unprecedented in the history of Man? Let slide the question of whether there’s necessarily any unfairness involved in having to pay for such a treatment; the ululations would still drown out all other speech or thought. The resulting convulsions could well destroy society.
We prefer to keep those who tend to the dead on the margins of society. At the very least, But not only are they of us; they are essential to us, and to what it means to be men.