I wasn’t going to post anything today, but then came across the following quote from David Bentley Hart (taken from his most recent book – The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss – for which I unfortunately do not have a page reference), which so well summarises everything that is wrong with contemporary Western culture that I had to share it:
‘Late modern society is principally concerned with purchasing things, in ever greater abundance and variety, and so has to strive to fabricate an ever greater number of desires to gratify, and to abolish as many limits and prohibitions upon desire as it can. Such a society is already implicitly atheist and so must slowly but relentlessly apply itself to the dissolution of transcendent values. It cannot allow ultimate goods to distract us from proximate goods. Our sacred writ is advertising, our piety is shopping, our highest devotion is private choice. God and the soul too often hinder the purely acquisitive longings upon which the market depends, and confront us with values that stand in stark rivalry to the only truly substantial value at the center of the social universe: the price tag.’
In this short statement is encapsulated all that is at the heart of our cultural and moral dissolution, our sense of existential malaise, and the decline of religious affiliation/observance. It cuts so deeply to the centre of our problems, and the fundamental reasons as to why we have fallen so far from grace, that it needs no further commentary. Hart has said all that can be said, and said it (as usual) very well.