Its amazing. All we want is for things to “get back to normal”. As we are reeling from the impact of one tragedy, it seems to just hit us again with multiplied vengeance. Has the world always been this broken? Am I just not waking up to the realities which have been so neatly tucked away from my sight all my life? It seems to all be going to hell before our very eyes.
Perhaps the paragraph above expresses my naivety. Of course the hurts of today do not come out of nowhere. They are emerging in their full bitter flavor after generations of poisonous marination. They are surfacing in rapid succession, and it is overwhelming. Like a person who has just been told they have 6 months to live we as a culture want to recoil into denial, repeating confidently, “What? How can this be? But I have felt totally fine up until now!”
This perhaps sounds like an odd question. What do you mean? Doesn’t it just exist? One of the most difficult concepts for us Westerners to understand is the fact that much of the world is not like us. Though we boast in our pluralism, it actually seems to backfire on us and gets in the way of our ability to truly grasp the core differences that shape our world. One such difference is the presence and nature of true liberty.
We are often confused by such places like North Korea, or the radical terrorism of the Middle East. We betray our lack of understanding when we say such things as, “They just need education! If we can bring them Western ideals and discoveries they will be enlightened, civil and reasonable, like us.” Perhaps we don’t actually say these things out loud but I think that these are the ideas often sit at the base of our thoughts and impressions.
It is an essential characteristic of us humans that we seem to never stop in our quest for truth. Survey any age, any culture, at any time, and there is one thing that you are bound to find: people asking and seeking answers to some of the most fundamental questions of life. Some of us more than others. Yet all to some extent. There is always an element in all of us that is hungry for answers. We cannot settle down to merely being utilitarian; that is, to merely fulfilling our role in society, going to work, paying the bills, and calling it good.
What is all this talk of validity and foundation? What is the big deal? Can’t we just let people believe what they want? Can’t we just stick to what works for us now?
The trouble here is that we think that as long as my ideas work for me right now all is well. The deeper reality is that we long for answers that will last, that will build us up with time, that will stand the test of trials. I would imagine that there is nothing more devastating than watching all that you ever thought to be true crumble and disintegrate. Continue reading