Today’s digression: What would it really take to move us towards a mature culture — the impact of our acedia.
I am finding that one of the aspects of writing a blog is to find a balance between:
- responding to current issues (because I feel some excitement about the issue), and
- maintaining a theme (such as daily life in a mature culture) over a few days.
Thus, in making choices as to what to write each day, I create digressions from the themes I am developing. I usually consider these digressions valuable to the content of the themes, and also recognize that writing a blog is not that of writing an academic article (which I have been doing a fair amount in the past few years). As always, comments would be welcome on the choices I am making.
So, today’s digression: in writing about daily life, I have been pondering as to what would need to happen in our current culture to make us move towards a more mature culture. Ultimately we need to become:
- individually committed to our personal growth as human beings, and
- fully cooperative with each other, not just lip service to cooperation, but a deep commitment to do the hard work required.
Both of these requirements generally entail extensive and very painful work. They also require that we recognize, both individually and culturally, we are the problem. As said years ago by Pogo: “We have found the enemy, and he is us.”
In a previous post, I indicated that the nature of change requires hurting in safety, a vision that fits, tools for the transformation, and the overcoming of our acedia. I’m going to introduce acedia here, and come back to it (and the other aspects) in later posts.
So, what is acedia? The description I like best is that “acedia objects to the effort required in living into a relationship of love” (equally, instead of love, I could use the terms charity or cooperation). In my PhD, I defined acedia as any combination of laziness, fearfulness and self-righteousness that blocks this effort.
What has prompted my current digression is the announcement of the appointment of Boris Johnson as UK foreign secretary, and the reaction this appointment has stirred. I do not know much about Mr. Johnson other that what I read in the occasional newspaper, and I have no interest in criticizing any human being, but the reactions expressed in this BBC article suggest to me a man of emotional immaturity, someone at high risk of self-righteousness, and therefore highly unlikely to be committed to cooperation, let alone his own personal growth.
I could be wrong, in two ways at least. I could be wrong in my assessment of his character; if so, I apologize. But I could also be wrong in that his appointment could lead our culture into deeper pain, something which, unfortunately, we may require before we are willing to move into greater maturity. Sometimes change occurs in the most unpredictable of ways.
We live in such interesting times!