The Madness Of Men
Trying to make sense of the world in these trying and rapidly changing times is a challenge which exasperates the boundaries of logic and reason. To ask existential questions, such as why are we here and what purpose do we serve is even more frustrating. The ideology of one individual is often far removed from that of another and, as such, common threads and beliefs spin far and wide.
Trying to make sense of man is probably the best way to understand why the world is in the condition we experience today. For it is because of man that hunger exists, poverty runs rampart and wars are fought which change the face of the earth in rapid time. To be fair, it is because of man that we have technology, production efficiencies, communications, NASA, computers and the internet. Man is responsible for the world we know; and it is the nature of man to survive at all costs.
Through the ages there have been many variations of what are commonly defined as the failures of mankind and they are freely shared by people everywhere and in all walks of life in the pursuit of power, authority, status and wealth. While some may question if authority is a legitimate concept, few can deny the uncontrolled oppression of others for the advantage and profit of the few.
The nineteenth-century mystic, G. I. Gurdjieff tells an ancient story about the implantation of a neutralizing device, into all of mankind, which was designed to prevent humans from developing "objective consciousness", because, if they knew that their prime purpose on earth was meaningless, they would become convinced of their slavery and be unwilling to continue; surely, they would then destroy themselves. So the creators of mankind developed and installed the organ Kundabuffer, which had two functions; one, to cause human beings to "see reality upside down", and secondly, to engender in them sensations of pleasure and enjoyment to ensure the survival of humankind.
The enhanced Kundabuffer capacities for pleasure and enjoyment provided a tranquilizing effect which resulted in an addictive craving for insatiable demands for power, wealth and material accumulation, leading to the human qualities of egotism, vanity, conceit, greed, self-importance and oppression. Thus, humans became susceptible to being manipulated and exploited by leaders, war-mongers and ideologues for self-serving and profiteering motives.
The story goes on to say that the organ-Kundabuffer was removed once the earth was populated by a sustainable number of inhabitants, yet the remnants of it's effects live on today, and we see it displayed daily in the actions of our leadership in Washington.
A recent news article suggested that the majority of Republicans and about half of the Democrats in our elected and appointed offices claim to be Christians. But what is a Christian if they fail to live by the Golden Rule ? Do they do unto others as they wish to be done unto themselves ?
As Christians, they are surely aware of the biblical ramifications of the Seven Deadly Sins. Those attitudes and behaviors to be avoided as taught in Sunday Schools and preached by every organized religion. Let us take a look at the Seven Deadly Sins, and see how well our leaders are following the Christian way of life they claim to adhere.
The first represents Anger. Anger is freely expressed when a person doesn't get what they want, or believe they should have. Egotism plays an important part, as one believes that we have the right because of some innate notion of self importance. If one isn't the recipient of what they believe they deserve, anger may turn to wrath. Self-interest often becomes rage, followed by hatred, violence, impatience, revenge and vigilantism. The book of Proverbs warns of "the hands that shed innocent blood." Has, anyone besides me, witnessed an attitude of anger against the current president, not because of his policies; (as they are often in line with the opposing party's interest) but because he is a Black-man in power over a White-man's fraternity ?
Lets look at the second Deadly Sin; Greed. Wow .... who can ignore the actions of our elected officials in their blatant accumulation of wealth ? Having an inordinate desire to acquire and posses more than they need, politicians seem to be masters of accumulation; many have multiple residences and properties, numerous automobiles and live opulent lives of excess. Hoarding power and status, they hold on to their positions of influence long beyond their ability to be logical, reasonable & useful. Perhaps it was poor potty-training, but most appear to be anal-retentive. While the national retirement age is near 65, many politicians, judges and officials are unrelenting and only give up their power and positions on, or near, their death-bed.
Thirdly, the Deadly sin of Sloth may be witnessed. How many days does a Congressman go to the office; how many week-long holidays are observed ? How many debates are poorly attended & role-called votes missed ? The job of representing the public's interest, the people of the country for whom they are employed is difficult; however an all-expenses paid golfing trip to Scotland, a junket to the Caribbean, a meeting in Los Vegas, a paid talking engagement, all take precedence and representing corporate interests are a whole lot more fun and profitable. Acedia; the failure to use one's talents and gifts for the good of mankind, takes a back-seat to pleasing the financial backers. Politicians are apathetic and listless about representing their constituents and many are too lazy to read the bills they pass into law.
Pride is the fourth Deadly Sin. It is not difficult to see the Pride displayed in elected and appointed officials. Many believe themselves above the laws they created, and pick and choose which ones they want to abide by. They face charges of ethics violations with little consequence instead of criminal prosecutions for their wrong-doings. The office they hold seems to be a firewall against any questions of accountability. Authoritarian disposition is a pre-requisite for holding public office. With a desire to be more attractive and more important than others, vanity and narcissism are a must in order to get elected or appointed. The humble man is trampled under the feet of Authoritarian excess, and Pride fails to recognize the work and efforts of others. How many times have we witnessed one man taking on the ideas of another and call them his own; then switching to another if his Pride is challenged ? In the book of Proverbs, Pride is defined as a "heart that devises wicked plots."
The fifth Deadly Sin is Lust. Beyond Dante and Aristotle's suggestions that Lust relates to sexual manipulations, adultery, fornication, and unclean-ness, (which we frequently find our elected and appointed officials engaging) Lust is better defined as a lack of self-control, resulting in lechery; seeking power over others, manipulation, seduction, blatant lies, untruths, mis-information, and lies by omission in order to control situations and people. Lust is defined in biblical teaching as "he who soweth discord among his brethren."
Envy takes the sixth spot on the Seven Deadly Sins list. A human trait experienced by almost everyone at one time or another. Jealousy and an insatiable desire to have something, to be some-one special, to be looked up-to, to be like another who appears to have more or better surroundings, accomplishments, possessions, authority, power and wealth than ourselves. Okay, it's a human trait not limited to politicians, but it becomes dangerous when people try to achieve through deceit and lies. Sadly, Envy also includes taking pleasure in another's misfortunes. Watching powerful people face their downfall has become a national pastime in which many take pleasure.