Monday, 5 June 2017

The Threat to the West

Last night I watched about 10 minutes of the pop concert in honour of the people killed in the Manchester terrorist attack. I believe part of its intention was to celebrate the West’s values but, as far as I am concerned, it completely trashed them. It left me wondering (not for the first time), what is the greater threat to Western civilization; Muslim terrorism or contemporary popular culture?

If you’re interested I have the answer. It is the latter, if for no other reason than it is welcomed with open arms and celebrated almost everywhere. Consequently it has infected innocent young minds, as well as not so innocent older ones, for decades.  It is one of the main weapons in the fight against spiritual truth and beauty, not to mention the vulgarization of real culture. Any liberating influence it may once have had is long since gone and it is now almost totally a corrupting force. The two opposites of fundamentalist Islam and modern popular culture spring from the same lack of awareness of the Good and the True, and the same narcissistic focus on self. To fight one with the other must leave the demons who are behind both howling with laughter.

Don’t take this as saying that any form of popular culture is wrong. There is room for many things in the world and not everything has to be spiritually uplifting. Indeed not everything should be spiritually uplifting for that would be too much of a stretch for most people and we all need to relax and be entertained sometimes. It's good to sing and to dance and to laugh. But nothing we do should be spiritually degrading either and nor should it be actively against the higher forms of the good, the beautiful and the true, all of which (most) modern popular culture is. When the body is seen as contiguous with the soul then it is fine, even right, to acknowledge its place in the scheme of things. When it is taken out of context and celebrated exclusively for itself, without any sense of the hierarchy of being, then you are asking for trouble.

Don't take this either as suggesting that somehow a pop concert is no better than murdering people going about their daily lives. That would be a wilful misunderstanding of what I am saying here. But our contemporary popular culture is a major contributory factor in the attack on the soul and has been used for some time as part of the demonic assault on true Western values.


David Balfour said...

April 23rd 1979 (pg 140):

"The masters told me that the main reason I had come to Earth was to learn humility...Look for the good in people and the good will come out. Focus on their faults and you will magnify them and your own as well. He told me to meditate deeply on this."

William Wildblood said...

Hello David

Are you saying I'm not practising what I preach or what was preached to me? You could well be right but I think there is a difference between criticising individuals and making general points about corruption in society. When evil is depicted as good we need to say so, don't you think? Still, I don't dismiss what you say and it's certainly something to look out for (if you're saying what I think you are!).

David Balfour said...

I think that the "World is in need" as the title of another chapter in your book suggests. I feel profound sadness for the current state of humanity. It horrifies me that we are living in a world where I fear for the safety of my extended family in London. I worry about my daughters future (she is only just over one years old) living in the modern world where debased modern culture is so vacuous and terrorism is inescapably part of living in it. In that respect perhaps the terrorism is very effective.

As for the tragedy that happened in Manchester (and of course more recently in London) and all of the media circus that followed and this concert thing I have heard people talking about, I can only honestly say that I feel a sadness and desire to reach out to other human beings. I see that deep down, however flawed, this concert is representative of peoples best attempts to make sense of the horror of the thing itself (and yes this is an opportunity to be exploited by other parties with specific agendas). But I can understand the impulse to unite and to console each other in the face of unspeakable acts of barbarity. The impulse, subverted though it may be, is a good one and I feel immense compassion to those involved. If it was my daughter that had been blown up I have no idea what I would do. I find increasingly I am drawn back to my years of studying Buddhism and the truth I felt profoundly in the material I read about this spiritual tradition. When I see the world in such pain I find that I am undergoing a softening of the heart. I also inwardly hear the words of Jesus Christ "Forgive them father for they know not what they do." and somehow inwardly this prompts an intuition within me and a difficult to articulate perspective shift. An intuition that I must find inner peace within the chaos of the modern world and trust in God, in the power of love and have faith in the power of small acts of kindness and those moments when spontaneously other people rise above their daily zombie like states to do something good. There have been many examples of this following the recent attacks and I find this heartening. Not enough, no doubt but a start and a basis for hope. I've tried despair and I really cannot say much to recommend the experience and so I seek for the good wherever I can find it and try to amplify, celebrate and share that.

Of course, this may have wandered somewhat from the point you ask. Am I accusing you of not practicing what you preach? Well, does anyone? I know I certainly don't. I recognize that Jesus did but I can't think of many consistent human examples. I think the major sentiment I relate to in the quote is that its important always to look to balance any natural tendency to see the wrong in the world (after all its very obviously abundant to see everywhere) with a reflection of the type described in the original quote from your book.

Best wishes,


William Wildblood said...

My point was that the terrorism, though awful, inflicts less actual harm on us than the corrupting influences we willingly subject ourselves to, less spiritual harm for sure.

Moreover our response to it, particularly in the media, gives it greater strength than it really has. Over-indulgence in emotion is never healthy and is not the same as real compassion. In fact it trivialises it.

David Balfour said...

Yes, that is no doubt true. I think I got that from your original post. It is interesting to speculate what the world would be like without the media. In the end, ultimately probably much better off. In the short term, perhaps 'civilisation' would collapse since it is ao heavily dependent on it and collectively we rely on it to construct the modern sense of reality. Perhaps some day we will live to see it. A scary and heartening thought in equal measures I find.