A YIN/YANG THING

REFLECTIONS ON A GLOBAL SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND SOCIO-RELIGIOUS YIN/YANG PHENOMENON BETWEEN THE DEVELOPED AND THE DEVELOPING WORLD

I had a particularly eventful end to my school week today. Not only did two young women in my Sociology class have a violent verbal altercation and seemed to be threatening to come to blows over it, but the last class of the day and week was noticeably poorly attended in the wake of a very devastating mid-term test for some students and their ongoing displeasure with this particular professor over his didactic methods, which seems to upset the predominantly young female constituency of students in the class.
These two factors gave me cause to be pumped up at the end of my school week, which is rather atypical for me, seeing that Thursdays usually signal significant battle fatigue from a full week of arising at a minimum of 3:00 a.m. and putting my nose to the grindstone to do about 3 hours of homework, course prep work, e-mails, cooking, cleaning and other sundry household chores such as ironing shirts before heading off to Mass for 7:30 a.m. to say the Rosary before Mass at 8:00 a.m., then off to class for either 10:30 a.m., 12:30 or 1:20 p.m. start and finishing around 6:00 p.m., getting home around 7:00, eating, then flaking out on the couch and MAYBE making it through Jeopardy before passing out from exhaustion, only to wake up around 2:20 a.m. the next morning to start all over again.
What was significant about today was that I felt like I was beginning to feel the ‘beginning of the end of the semester blues.’ I’d made it past mid-terms with flying colours and had a productive mid-term break as well and had now completed two more weeks of class since the end of mid-term break. I was starting to feel the urge to maybe coast a little and to ‘slacké la pédale’ like we say in Québec, meaning to take the foot off the gas pedal a bit and to give myself a bit of a respite from the rigorously disciplined routine I’d subjected myself to since the beginning of the term.
This incident in Sociology class and the poor attendance in Social Work class only served to demonstrate to me even more just how much western civilization has evolved in such a short period of time. It got me to thinking about some stuff. This was because the two young ladies who’d argued with each other so violently had had a disagreement over how the issue of race might have played a factor in how they were treated by government workers when they were on Social Assistance. The amazing thing to me was that they were both Caucasian. However, one was arguing that, because of measures now in place to better treat racialized members of society, that she was now, in her opinion a victim of ‘reverse prejudice’ for being poor and Caucasian, whereas the other young lady’s testimonial was the exact opposite and she felt she had been well treated by the authorities, thereby sparking the disagreement.
I thought to myself that western civilization must be really at a very advanced state of evolutionary ferment, either from a ‘devolutionary decay’ perspective, or a ‘revolutionary reconstructive’ point of view, for two young Caucasian women to be at each others’ throats in a college classroom environment where the country they live in is one of the most advanced parliamentary democracies in the world with a very high standard of living, yet there is so much temporal and spiritual poverty that two otherwise rational young women should be abasing themselves to this level of violence and ill-tempered manifestations of character in a world and in a country where they both should have so much to be grateful for.
This made me think that somehow the western world has become a lot more spiritually bereft of meaning since it became more prosperous throughout the 20th century and was exposed to the dubious advantages of materialism, secularism, and especially, the brutality of the two World Wars. The developing world, on the other hand, is still holding on to much of its spiritual sanctification, but is still very poor from a material point of view. However, as it struggles to rise out of this material poverty, it too is being faced with the same issues of rampant secularization and secularism, urbanization and destruction of natural habitats and traditional ways of living, doing and thinking.
What will happen, then, when the emerging world actually ‘emerges’ out of its quagmire of material poverty and deprivation? Will it too make the same egregious errors as we in the west and turn away from the fortitude of religious piety and sustenance and rampantly embrace materialism, consumerism, and alcoholism and so on? Will its quest for material well being also mean an end to its rich spiritual and religious practice? And what about us in the west? As we lose some of our material prosperity, are we in the process of rediscovering and reappropriating and resanctifying our spiritual and religious past and bringing it forth with renewed verve into the postmodern age?
Only time will tell if this sort of ‘yin/yang crossover’ in socio-economic and socio-religious dichotomies will play out and ultimately converge and blend into a new ‘thesis’ on a global scale. Well, time to pack it in. That extra coffee I had after supper has worn off and it’s way past my bedtime. Never thought two chicks having at it in class and few people showing up for another class would move me to such flights of metaphysical daring do! Well, it could have been more hard core than that actually. I could have witnessed some corpulent East German wrestler babes have at it in a vat of Jell-O or chocolate pudding during the Cold War in East Berlin or something. Now THAT would’ve elicited another response altogether!!! Have a good one folks, don’t work too hard, and if you don’t want to slip, don’t go where it’s slippery! (You hear that, girls?)

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