Our Adolescent Society
Adolescents try to find their happiness in others. This is instinctive
in adolescence but it overlooks
the serious fact, a person must establish some stability of self first,
before moving in on others or with others.
Jesus said “The Kingdom of God is within you,” (Luke 17:21) A primary
job in building a stable self is
first to cultivate the spiritual self inside of you. After you have
established a spiritual identity in God,
or cultivated the ground of God inside yourself, that is, have developed
virtues and established
some identity in God, only then are you ready to seek others to
complement your life.
None should expect their happiness to be found in others until they themselves have first established a foundation in living, a relationship with Christ, good values and habitual virtues to guide and fall back on. Do not add others to your circle of self and expect happiness without these basic Christian values. Be fair to others. Do not expect others to make your empty or unfulfilled life. It is not fair to others to be burdened with the responsibility for your happiness.
You must first learn to be happy yourself, then go to seek others to make more happiness. A general rule of thumb of wisdom is : if you are happy, then you may look for more happiness by making others happy. “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” said the Apostle in Philippians 4:11. If you have lived inside yourself with God enough to learn how to control yourself and make a life without being miserable, you are then probably ready to include others in your life. Then no one need feel sorry for the others you hope to include in your life. Instead we know ahead what joy and grace you will bring to those so fortunate as to be included in yours.
By using the term “adolescence,” do I refer to young people only? Certainly not. Adolescence in the world today means people of all ages and sexes who have simply never spiritually grown up. Maturity is relative and I have known immature minds of all ages caught in the eternal adolescence that is much of our society in America and the West today. The people who are rare today in our largely adolescent society are people who have spiritually matured to even the most basic wisdom.
We in America live in an unusually silly, shallow and adolescent society. In many things like movies, the adolescent values of our American society have proved catching, rather like a disease to those exposed to them. It is true that America has helped plunge much of the world into an adolescence in values. The world has not grown out of that yet. But in time much of the world will grow out of it. Why? It will not work forever for serious decisions to be made lightly by the immature and extremely shallow. One day the piper must be paid.
Our era in history has been one of an explosion of youth and an explosion of money. These have encouraged perpetual immature values around us. For example, in our nation I think it is obvious, access to too much money, has-made the government and some people senseless about money. We see this regularly. Such money explosions will become more common in other countries due to the growth of manufactured goods and informational services over the world.
Accompanying the explosions of money are exploding populations of excess children that many nations are unable to handle. Even in America most education is a degraded disgrace staffed largely by education course liberals. Thus the world is besieged with excesses of money undermining fiscal rationality while excesses of under-educated hot blooded youth in under-developed countries tend to the wrong impulsive decisions that undermine reason, judgment and common sense. Youthful riots are common.
Neither the explosions of money or the explosions of population seem to have given the world much wisdom. Fun, maybe. Wisdom? I doubt it. Yet what I suggest the world really needs is not necessarily the end of fun and money, but to add some spiritual wisdom and spiritual living to the quiver of arrows a sane world desperately needs. But I am not sure whether America or the Western world today is morally and socially quite sane. Right now I would say a good case can be made for near moral and spiritual bankruptcy. Let us be honest, shall we? I am informed the divorce rate in Sweden is somewhere around sixty-four per cent. That is among those who get married at all. Even if the figures err, they are still far too much. How about ever increasing American illegitimacy? Even among those who do get married, how many are children raising, not rearing, children? Morally the West is sinking like the Titanic. The ship is going down with regular explosions of excessive money, excessive population, and the unceasing torpedo war on stable values that is liberalism.
Now “liberalism” is a catch word easily thrown at people. So I would prefer to be more definite about it. By “liberal” I mean those favoring denial of the existence of God, a denial of the possible existence of a spiritual world, and generally opposed to any forms of stable, revealed morality that come from religions.
As I have experienced it, liberalism works steadily to deny the benefit of any compassionate and moral contributions of religions. Therefore liberalism represents to me a particularly troubling mind set. It is an attempt to make people mutilate their natures by eliminating God. It seeks to turn humans into spayed spiritual grotesques. This I think is against nature’s vision of a healthy person.
Liberalism seeks to produce in humans spayed, spiritual grotesques that are similar to castrated persons. That is a person deprived of their natural spiritual and religious instincts and joys. This is most unwholesome and unhealthy. It creates people no longer with all the resources God created them with. As you are, I am sure, aware, spirituality is one of the greatest human resources of energy and enjoyment mankind has been endowed with by nature’s God. To seek to socialize it is understandable. To seek to deny it is madness. I suggest America and the West have degenerated into the madness stage of degradation and denial.
Unsound, extravagant, senseless, and unbalanced with money, not even able to educate and socialize the excesses of population inside national borders, in liberal denial about the existence of basic human impulses of religion, generally adolescent and lacking wisdom in decision making, the world faces the future. At first blush the situation seems comic. In a way it is. Then it seems tragic. That it also has promise of. But it badly needs a reawakening of spiritual wisdom, not just the mish-mash of organized religions fighting with each other, but the spirit wisdom, transcendence and regular quiet moral sanity that can come from God in times of prayer and quietness.
I seriously fear the present times in America and the West have not left the young (as they get older and more mature) with a back drop to fall back on of a firm relationship with God or any enduring moral values. After all, to have liberalism in religion to fall back on is fighting with one’s back to the sea. Or building one’s castle on sand. The only thing you can be sure of is that in time it will go under. What then of a future without spiritual re-awakening and thought out reformations? I suggest a spiritual awakening is a great need in America and the world. It can help to balance the warped thinking of our time, the denial of our natures, and the increasingly adolescent mind set on decisions that is too much with us.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.