In times like these, it’s another reminder to contemplate about God
Towards the end of last month, I posted on Facebook:
“Whenever I hear about a school shooting in the US, I usually don’t Google for more information. It’s depressing as it is to hear about it, and I’ve become desensitised to such news.
I accidentally found out this afternoon that the school in the news this time is a Christian school, and that the shooter is transgender. I found this to be incredibly harrowing.
I could Google for more information, because I am tempted to do so, but I can’t. Whatever the truth and facts of the matter are, this news story will only escalate tensions between Christians (not all) and LGBTQ people (not all).
It is a public fact that I am openly both Christian and trans in identity. I cannot think of a more harrowing news story, the perfect narrative to escalate such tensions, especially from an Australian (Sydney-centric perhaps) perspective of late.
Yet Easter coming up will be another reminder that my ultimate identity is in Christ. And all I can do now is do what I’ve been trying to do in recent years: be not ashamed, and live my life with my identity in Christ. In simple secular speak: crack on.”
It’s been on my mind ever since. Sort of related, but these quotes came to mind today:
“The fundamental problems, he says, are a dark triad of social maladies: a bloated elite class, with too few elite jobs to go around; declining living standards among the general population; and a government that can’t cover its financial positions…
The problems begin when money and Harvard degrees become like royal titles in Saudi Arabia. If lots of people have them, but only some have real power, the ones who don’t have power eventually turn on the ones who do…
“You have a situation now where there are many more elites fighting for the same position, and some portion of them will convert to counter-elites,” Turchin said…
Elite overproduction creates counter-elites, and counter-elites look for allies among the commoners. If commoners’ living standards slip — not relative to the elites, but relative to what they had before — they accept the overtures of the counter-elites and start oiling the axles of their tumbrels. Commoners’ lives grow worse, and the few who try to pull themselves onto the elite lifeboat are pushed back into the water by those already aboard. The final trigger of impending collapse, Turchin says, tends to be state insolvency. At some point rising insecurity becomes expensive. The elites have to pacify unhappy citizens with handouts and freebies — and when these run out, they have to police dissent and oppress people. Eventually the state exhausts all short-term solutions, and what was heretofore a coherent civilization disintegrates…”
“I think he helped us understand what would happen to Europe if it were to lose its religious faith. In his finest book Shame and Necessity, he put forward the view that Europe today — Western civilisation today — is in the same basic state as the pre-Socratic Greeks. And he may well be right.
Last year Ferdinand Mount wrote an interesting book called Full Circle, in which he suggests that we are back in the situation of third-century BCE Greece. That makes a lot of sense to me; much of what we are hearing from philosophers and scientists today is very similar to the position of the stoics, the sceptics, the cynics and the epicureans. But that is not a happy place to be, because although people in third-century BCE Greece didn’t know it — it’s hard to know you’re living in BC anything — they were going to be followed by second-century BCE Greece, which experienced decline, after which Greece did not survive as a living society for very long. A century later it had more or less suffered a complete political eclipse.”
Things are not looking good in the West. I know that I can’t change the world, that I can only contemplate all of this from first principles…