Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Question of the day. . .

Throughout history there have been moments that could be summarized by a single question.  What is truth?  Where does the authority of the Church reside?  Some of these are questions raised by culture and others consumed the attention of the Church.  It appears that the question of our age has moved from what is a woman or what is a man (occasioned by the trans issue) to what is human?  Part of this is the natural progression of confusion over what other generations might have understood as basic.  Part of this is the fascination with artificial intelligence and its presumption that this will improve us and our lot in life.  But part of this is simply because we lack no common truth or morality and so existential questions become the central issues of the day.

I well recall the video of some man tossing a little dog into traffic and the outrage it created.  All the while, however, our nation was killing babies in the womb at a rate of a million or so a year without the same level of popular disgust.  The strange reactions of some about the women and children killed in the terrorist attacks on Israel is equally difficult to understand -- how can you blame the victims for their suffering or death?  Or I could point to the drumbeat for assisted suicide so that those who can may decide when their lives are no longer worth living and those who cannot will have it decided for them.  The numbing murder and violent crimes in some of our cities is so great and so frequent as to leave us untouched by the horror of it all.  But the crimes of failing to approve the sexual perversions of the day or to dare to misgender someone are practically breaking news.  It is as if we cannot agree on the value of human life but can certainly assign value to other lives or other things as at least equal to if not greater than human life.  In other words, we are not even sure what constitutes human life and therefore do not agree on what should be protected.

As I wrote once before, I am sure that feminism does not know what to do with a world in which a trans person is named woman of the year or competes against women in sports competitions.  What they do not realize is that erasing the distinctions between men and women comes at a cost -- not only to the men and women but to the way we view human life and the value we assign to that life.  The end result of all of this is confusion and incoherence.  Without any agreement upon what it means to be human, humanity itself becomes an abstract idea. Without a commonly shared understanding of human life, what will substitute for life are our ideas, feelings, and desires.  This will turned us all into mere abstractions of the human self and without any commonly held morality or truth, we are all rendered vulnerable and disposable.  One of the terrible consequences of modern day life is not that we are safer or more secure but less.  It is no wonder that we retreat from real human interaction to the safety and insulation of the screens.  

I once thought that the question of our time was "what does it mean to a man or a woman?"  Now I know that this was but a brief moment of pause before we muddled into the bigger question of what does it mean to be human?  Until we can answer this positively, the violence that threatens us at home and abroad will become ever more pervasive as we treat the disposable life by disposing of it.

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