The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Knowledge and Guidance from Descent Into Hell

Charles Williams' book Descent Into Hell provides a couple of provocative quotes (well, quite a few, but two in particular for this post) that help us navigate a prickly, angry nation and agitated populace today in our uncertain world. The first quote reads: "It was the hate of those men and women who had lost humanity in their extreme love of themselves amongst humanity." (p. 190) and the second is "So, salvation lay everywhere in interchange ..." (p. 181) Confused? Sure. Let me explain. There are quite a few provocateurs in our society today who are taking advantage of uncertain times to turn us inward and away from each other. They are harping on our independence and stating we should not trust others for help. We should look inward, use only our own resources, and love only ourselves. Of course, this is narcissism and quite destructive. It is a divide and conquer strategy used by those who wish to take advantage of us in a weakened state where we cannot organize and fight for what we know to be right. These agitators come from both the left and the right, the ultra liberal and ultra conservative camps. If we listen too closely to them, allowing them to color our world with a lenses of suspicion, paranoia, xenophobia, and who know what else, we will soon spiral down into an impotent hate of humanity and a love only of ourselves. Get into that state, and we can be driven by fear and hatred to do almost anything. Remember, the first thing that has to happen when leaders wish to take their people into war is that the "enemy" has to be tarred as the "other," a subhuman species worthy of hatred and slaughter.

The second quote provides a solution. Salvation lies in interchange. We were made to be social creatures. We are designed to work best in loving relations with others. All of us are given certain gifts and talents. None of us are given all gifts and talents. We need each other and our pooled resources working together to live well, to be fulfilled, and to have happy lives. However, the drum beat from the provocateurs steadily pounds out a message of suspicion, hate, splintered tribalism and narcissistic self-love over all else. It is long past time we tuned out these dangerous messages, remembered ourselves and our love of others, and started working together to navigate through the difficult waters of uncertain times. If we succumb to our basest fears, we will all be reduced to doing awful things. Let's not go there.

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