HIGH AND LOW, EXALTED AND FALLEN: HOW CIVILIZATION HAS FALLEN BY ATTEMPTING TO RISE ABOVE THE NATURAL ORDER AND THE WILL OF GOD, AND HOW WE CAN TRULY RISE UP AND BE EXALTED BY HUMBLY SUBMITTING OURSELVES TO GOD’S WILL.
I was speaking with a fellow parishioner at lunch time at work today. We were discussing various issues of a theological nature, and the subject of humanity becoming co-creator with God through the emerging field of the life sciences came up. Another of my fellow parishioners around the table wondered aloud as to why we need any of these emerging scientific and technologically-driven reproductive methods to begin with when nature can look after things on its own.
I mentioned to her that from the time of the feudal lords, humans have developed the temporal wealth of this planet for their benefit, and this has moved forward from there to the industrial age, with the factory owners being the new ‘wealth creators’, then the information age, with producers of information and information gathering, storage, processing and broadcasting devices becoming the current ‘wealth creators’.
I went on to add that the next era of wealth creation will likely be in the life sciences, and that therefore, it didn’t necessarily have anything to do with whether we really needed all of these new life sciences products and services, but rather that a need was being created for them as they emerge onto the market so as to guarantee their commercial viability.
This is where my fellow parishioner and I parted company. He being a marketing man disagreed with me as to my statement about the life sciences people ‘creating needs’ for their products, implying that capitalism creates needs for material possessions which we really don’t need, which he disapproved of vehemently. Instead, he argued that the capitalist system creates products which in turn satisfy human needs, which, supposedly are, in his opinion, unlimited.
I, on the other hand, put forth the idea that it was the capitalist system which essentially has created the notion and has marketed it, and has convinced humans of it, that our needs are unlimited. In fact, in economics class, the first thing you learn is that this discipline is based on scarcity of material and human resources, but unlimited human needs and wants, which, in my mind, is a mindset which has been created out of thin air by the capitalist system to legitimize its existence and its process and agenda of developing the world’s animal, vegetable and mineral, as well as human resources in a totally unsustainable fashion, which the capitalists themselves admit is the case since they admit openly that scarcity is the order of the day.
This, in my mind is a system which goes against the laws of nature and consequently against the laws and the will of God. We are taught in the Bible by Saint Paul in his letter to the Romans, chapter 3:3:20, where he says ‘…for through the law comes the knowledge of sin’. Here ‘the law’ he speaks of is the law of man, not the law of God. The laws of man relate to the arrogation, disposition of money, power, property and prestige, and resolving the inevitable conflicts which emerge between humans over such things, which essentially result from not obeying the laws and the will of God, and by having chosen to attempt to make ourselves Lord and master of the earth, by attempting to exalt ourselves, by raising ourselves up above the natural order, which is ordained by God and his will, by having chosen to subjugate the land and its people, and to make us all subject to the laws of man.
In an ideal world, the laws of man would not be necessary, because humanity would be in perfect communion with the will, and therefore the laws of God. Only by making ourselves low, by humbling ourselves temporally and spiritually in his sight, can we be truly exalted and do the will of God and live according to his law and enter into the fullness of his Grace in his heavenly Kingdom.
So, my needs are definitely not ‘unlimited’. I can do without a lot of things. I don’t need a big screen HD plasma TV. And even if I had the money to buy one, I wouldn’t. My fifteen year old 19 inch colour unit works just fine. My DVD player broke a while ago. I had it fixed instead of throwing it out and getting a new one. I didn’t want to contribute to the mounting pile of techno junk piling up in our landfills. I drive a 13 year old car. Even if I had the money to buy a new one, I wouldn’t. I’d buy another used Corolla. Because I don’t want to stimulate more extraction of resources from the earth.
I think that my fellow parishioner will notice that there are a lot more people like me than he realizes. There are whole virtual communities throughout the planet who exchange used goods absolutely free. It’s called ‘freecycle’. There’s just so much material overabundance on this planet that you can now almost live without paying for practically anything. There’s even a movement called the ‘freegans’, who are organized throughout North America who live off of thrown out food. There’s so much fresh food thrown out in this world everyday that these people are able to live simply by picking through recently thrown out garbage in large cities such as New York.
Some do it as a lifestyle; others are low-income workers who do it out of necessity. In any case, there’s definitely a glaring misallocation of resources in society which is un-Godly and flies in the face of the laws of God. Whatever the life sciences end up ‘creating’ as ‘wealth’ you can be sure it will be principally for the benefit of those living within the bounds of the laws of man.
We as Christians and as Catholics, however, need to answer to a Higher Authority and to make our lives and the lives of those around us pleasing in the sight of the Almighty so that we may show ourselves worthy of inheriting eternal life. For this we must attempt as much as we can to live lives which are spiritually exalted yet temporally reasonable without depriving ourselves of the necessities of life, and by the same token avoid becoming spiritually abased by attempting to overly exalt ourselves by succumbing to sin, especially the seven deadly sins.
So I’ll leave it at that. I’ll let the post-modern ‘feudal lords’ ‘create’ as much ‘wealth’ as they see fit to do. I don’t have to partake of it if I choose not to. The weeds won’t grow if you don’t nourish them. I don’t like weeds. How ‘bout you?