Disillusioned with Humanity?

7 02 2013

Disillusioned with Humanity?

Job’s wisdom came with an interview with God. I often think how different we would all be if we each had ‘an interview with God’ and would thus be able to realise how great He is and how small we are, but it’s not like that. It seems that the Lord in His wisdom allows us to go our own way but then He either brings or allows (and there is room for debates in individual occurrences) things to cross our lives that make us question the views that we had of ourselves as almost divine-like beings.

But real life for us begins when we proceed along, to use a picture that Jemima Khan has recently used in respect to her attitude to Julian Assange over the principles of WikiLeaks, “a journey of admiration to demoralisation”.  So much of the time we live with self-admiration but we only come to a place of reality when we become demoralised over what we are really like. Then we come to God for help.

Our society in the UK is going through a journey from admiration to demoralisation. We, as a society at least, abandoned God back in the last quarter of the twentieth century and became a self-admiring society that, free from its religious shackles, could now grow up and reach its full potential. Yet the truth is that in any and every area of our society over the last ten years we have been found to be drastically wanting and demoralisation is setting in.

Being cut free from the strictures of absolute morality, government authorities and media, all made up of self-admiring individuals, have opened the doors to liberal freedoms –  but these chickens are now coming home to roost.

In the financial realm, the mockery of the bankers continues unabated after over five years of mismanagement. I recently came across a comment written by Clive James a couple of years ago that seemed to describe it all so well: “Even the legitimate financial system had all the trappings of a racket, including a wonderful mechanism whereby which the banks that lost your money were saved from ruin by being given more of your money so that they could award it as bonuses to the very people who lost your money in the first place.”  That is the bizarre nature of the world without absolutes that we have created.

If we move into the realm of relationships and sexual freedom, even the most liberal of writers is now forced to concede that it is not going well.  In a world freed from absolute morality, it is no wonder that promiscuity so often undermines marriages and committed cohabitation alike, it is no wonder that many men struggle with sexual imagery in their minds that drifts into reality and produces sexual abuse, rape, child abuse and so much more, it is no wonder that teenage pregnancy rates, abortion rates and STD rates are at almost epidemic proportions, it is no wonder that young people and old alike despair at ever finding that elusive quality called love.

It takes a Sunday journalist to state it clearly: “Children fare best, and are less likely to be a problem to society, if they are raised by married parents. Those married parents are far more likely to remain together – and so provide a stable home life for their families, as well as being a socially cohesive force in the community – than are those who are unmarried. These are just bald statistical facts.”  But it seems most of us don’t like the facts.

Perhaps the icon for demoralisation should be Jimmy Saville. If he was guilty as so many seem to claim he was, wasn’t the guilt also spread through those who turned a blind eye to him. Expediency was obviously the name of the game in the world freed from absolute morality. Only now, it seems, after he is dead, is the curtain being drawn back and the magnitude and extent of the sin revealed.

Demoralisation is striking in every quarter. In the realm of politics, in recent weeks I have now twice heard, from what were once staunch Conservatives, about both Prime Minister and Chancellor, the equivalent of “This man must go!” and yet the alternatives seem equally bad. Moral ethics appear to have no part to play in modern politics, only what is expedient or seems good at the time to an unanchored mind. Much of the malaise experienced within this society today must be laid at the feet of politicians and media people alike who have their own present-day agendas built on nothing less than what seems good to them today. Already we have said, the chickens are coming home to roost, but still they plough on opening further doors to future social chaos. Today’s laws thus create tomorrow’s chaos.

I have heard a few comments of “There must be an alternative to all this,” but generally society acts like the frog in the saucepan of water bring gradually brought to the boil, and seems unaware of just how bad things are. Self-admiration is a difficult thing to overcome; indeed it often takes crisis to shake our self-sufficiency. Whether we are suffering from the effects of global warming or from a cycle of unpleasant weather systems, as a country we have been getting pounded by the weather for the last few years.  Perhaps it is only those who suffer flooding again and again who begin to face the reality that they are small and puny and have little or no power in the face of such things. We will eventually learn to build flood-proof houses but we are slow to learn how to do that, and to recognise our own frailty and need of God’s help.

Perhaps the process would be accelerated if London was seriously flooded. That would be a wakeup call! But would that bring such people as our national leaders to their senses? The book of revelation shows crisis after crisis but still the stupidity of mankind meant they failed to turn to God for help. Self-admiration can be both the most blinding and the most stunting characteristic of the human race. How tragic.

In the midst of the process that I have referred to as “a journey of admiration to demoralisation”, we fail to face the truth that all of us are human beings prone to getting it wrong.  The recent classic case of Chris Huhne, a man who found himself getting caught doing one relatively small thing wrong (speeding), shows the folly of self-admiration that desperately seeks to cover up any failing. In his case he sought the help of his wife, but when the marriage broke down, found himself exposed and then had to tell lie after lie for years to try to cover it up. One sin (speeding) + one sin (conspiracy with wife) + multiple sins (lying and denial) = rejection of an MP by society. How much more simple would it have been if he took a driving ban originally and the whole thing passed into obscurity. Instead self-admiration dragged on for ten years before demoralisation set in and the truth was faced.

At a corporate level we are hearing yet again of the failings of the NHS, this time because of deaths occurring while in NHS care. Yes, of course we can do better but for the moment we are going through the media frenzy yet again where truth is hazy. Only this morning I read of nurses who dropped an 86 in the ward and two weeks later the lady died. Whether the two things were linked is unclear, but people (nurses) are human beings and from time to time they get it wrong. Did they drop that lady purposely? Of course not!  In fact so fearful were they of repercussions that they pretended it had not happened. Self-admiration seeks to cover up and avoid truth.

The recent snow brought many school closures and with them, criticism about wimpish schools. One good article on the subject suggested it was nothing to do with that, but more that head teachers were fearful of litigation. The payouts that have been paid in recent years by education authorities for even minor natural injuries, things that happen in day to day living, like tripping over, have been incredible in both numbers and size. This is a society failing to handle its demoralisation by blaming whoever it can – except yourself – and, along the way, making capital out of others. Greed and selfishness walk hand in hand with self-admiration. And all the while, God in His goodness, is quietly working to bring people to their senses. As I’ve asked before on these pages, how long will it take?

The Loss of Truth

8 06 2010

It has been over a month since I last wrote here. I fear writing. I read so many good writers and wonder whatever have I got to contribute and how badly I compare with them. Yet I find myself here, clicking on a keyboard again.

The election has gone and the dust has settled. Our new Prime Minister makes seriously ominous noises about the difficult times to come, even with talk about our whole lifestyles changing, yet somehow I have this feeling of unreality. Yes, I am sure there are people unemployed now who were not two years ago. Yes, I am sure I  am paying more tax now than I was two years ago but bizarrely life continues on and on. I’m not sure what is real or true any longer. Where I live there are still as many people out shopping and still as many people taking holidays. Is that genuinely coming to an end soon?

I suspect that when we move into the realm of Government policy we should never try thinking about truth. The last government put much stress on the values of early learning and reports today say we spend £5B annually on early years provision.  A report from the Office of National Statistics now suggests there is little or no impact on outcomes from starting children off that much earlier.  On a day when my third grandchild is starting nursery school for the first time, I am grateful that it is there, but am under no illusions about its impact on her which comes far more, I am sure, from her parents (and hopefully grandparents!!!).  I have this horrible feeling that so many chickens bred in the past thirteen years are coming home to roost. The truth was not out there!

I recently stood in a Freeport, looking around as my wife shopped in this environment that is artificial and soulless. It is supposed to be a place where you can buy good more cheaply than in the high street, yet it seems they are cheap because they are the rubbish end of each firm’s products, the cheap and nasty end. The range of shoes or clothes didn’t even seem as good as in the high street. We were being sold a lie. I will stay away for a long time until my memory has dulled and my wife asks that we visit again. That Freeport appears a place of deception. The truth is not there.

In the past month we also had reported in the media, a court case involving three young children and questions of the ability of young children to tell the truth was questioned. I have also heard of a case of a man of otherwise impeccable morality being accused of abuse by a girl of eight – and being found guilty on no more than her word, despite contrary evidence and despite a dubious background of child and immediate family.  It is a seriously worrying world where our fear of abuse has frightened us into a loss of perspective where truth has been lost.

And then there have been the funny phone calls. The first one was several weeks ago, purporting to be  from a Building Society and started out asking for security information. I assumed a scam and put the phone down. A week later a similar call, apparently from NatWest bank starting out the same way. Ditto response –  but I started wondering. A few days later a further call apparently from NatWest. This time I asked questions which seemed to fluster the caller who talked about my loan application. I haven’t made one I insisted. He left sounding even more flustered. Yesterday a fourth call, apparently from a firm of surveys who had been instructed by a man from NatWest in Birmingham to carry out a survey for us on a house in the district we were thinking of buying. No, we weren’t. Is someone trying to take NatWest for money in my name?  Have you tried making contact with a bank recently on the phone – not easy! Eventually I gatecrashed  a girl at the security side of the credit card centre who eventually transferred me to the fraud people, who appeared very laid back. Perhaps it happens so often they don’t care. Oh well, I did warn them.   Identity theft is a major industry today and it’s all about lies and deception.  The truth is out there somewhere – perhaps!

I fear because my God is concerned for truth and justice and both seem to be in increasingly short supply in our society today. But it is Summer and so when the sun  shines we can forget about the nasty elements of life – but they are still there. My only hope is that even as truth seems to have gone out on the tide, one of these days it will come rushing back in and life will change for the better. A misguided hope? Time will tell.