|Back to the Garden (c) 2013|
"We are stardust; we are golden -- and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden..."
-- Joni Mitchell, "Woodstock"
Sometimes "getting it out" of one's system by writing in one's journal isn't enough, so I thought I'd share these thoughts with you, Gentle Readers.
I've been increasingly troubled by the hubris rising in our Western culture in the last several years. What is "hubris"? The Oxford Learner's Dictionaries defines it as "being too proud"; the Oxford Classical Dictionary gives a bit more background, including:
Hubris, intentionally dishonouring behaviour, was a powerful term of moral condemnation in ancient Greece; and in Athens, and perhaps elsewhere, it was also treated as a serious crime.
The best ancient discussion of hubris is found in *Aristotle's Rhetoric: his definition is that hubris is ‘doing and saying things at which the victim incurs shame, not in order that one may achieve anything other than what is done, but simply to get pleasure from it.
The cause of the pleasure for those committing hubris is that by harming people, they think themselves superior;
Hubris has always been with us; it's what resulted in Adam and Eve's being tossed out of The Garden by God. Whether or not one takes the Bible literally, "The Fall" is a tale of testing humanity's humility. The Tempter uses the thought of "freedom" to do what one wants whenever one wants to do it, the lure of the pleasure of self-will, the heady feeling of being powerful, to entice the humans to intentionally dishonour God and go their own way.
Whether or not one accepts the presence of a higher power or a divine intelligence or a Creator or The Rule of Law to ensure civil society...well...it seems to me that of late...
- In the flouting of public health measures in the name of "freedom";
- In the passing of laws in some places to control who gets to vote for those entrusted with government;
- In the threats of invasion of one sovereign nation by its neighbour in the guise of "security" in the neighbourhood;
- In the lying, cheating, stealing or simple showing off of the very wealthy in some places, to see what they can get away with;
- In the bullying of health care employees on their way to work or coming off shift;
- In the descration of public property and the threatening of other humans in the guise of "protest"; and/or
- In the blocking of traffic such that others are unable to get to medical appointments or hospitals in the "cause" of "freedom"...
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
-- Mark 8:36 (New International Version)