We want to define what’s right and wrong for our selves, have final say-so, and determine our own identity.
We think we are our own expert on everything, and need nobody or nothing else outside our selves.
We long for all control, and love to be in control.
We can’t handle the pressure of carrying the weight of the universe.
We can’t make even one other person cooperate with our plans or accept our self-crafted identity.
We can’t even fix ourselves, heal ourselves, or control our selves.
We are mortal, and cannot control time or reverse the clock of aging.
We want to be our own gods or goddesses, but can’t help but worship every kind of all-consuming substance, cause, relationship, or experience.
It’s a double-bind.
We both love and hate ourselves.
We congratulate and condemn ourselves.
We put relentless pressure upon ourselves to succeed, and yet are desperate for deep rest of body and soul.
We want to be alone and self-sufficient, but are desperately lonely and find our selves all alone in a crowd.
We’re supposed to be happy all the time, but are inwardly tormented by feelings of loss, depression, and inconsolable pain.
We gain applause, yet are troubled by inescapable feelings of inferiority and failure.
We hate the stress, but can’t live without adrenaline.
As individuals and as a society, we are certifiably crazy.
We want to quit indulging our vices, and want to keep right on doing them more and more.
We want to lose weight, and keep right on eating junk food.
We want to be materially content, and keep right on shopping with borrowed money.
In other words, we all have a problem with ambiguity, with wanting opposite things at the very same time.
We resist limits, yet are subject to limitations.
We need governing, but are against the government.
We want more programs, but want somebody else to pay for it.
How did we end up this way?
Nietzsche had it right.
When modern society dethroned God (beginning in its highest intellectual circles in the late 1800’s in Europe, 1920’s in the USA), most people didn’t realize “God was dead” (i.e. discarded and replaced with the Self).
They went on pretending there were eternal values, ultimate meaning to life, and unchanging, absolute standards of right and wrong located outside the self in God.
They didn’t understand that everything was now permissible.
They didn’t realize, if God were eliminated, all the sovereignty, authority, and responsibility of governing the universe would devolve back on each self.
It would be a universe without limits, and a universe with all the pressure, on everyone.
Driving Us Crazy
We would go berserk, grow increasingly frenzied in our using and abusing of everything beautiful and good, and ultimately commit national and social suicide.
Some would play the part of the Superman, who through the sheer “will to power” would dominate all others.
All battles would be battles for control between the super-people, while the rest of us watched.
Most would be self-absorbed peons who would steadily lose their will to do anything at all.
As Huxley foresaw in Brave New World, the vast majority living in the future utopia would be self-absorbed and out-of-it on the state-supplied drug, soma–making them easy to govern.
Is that not us today?
If my thesis is true, the cure for our craziness–this impossible pressure to be opposite things at the same time and utter inability to handle a no limits universe– is blessedly simple.
Restore God–bring back the rightful King of the Universe.
Repent of our failed attempt to dethrone and replace God with our self.
Turn away from our self-identies, and let Him define what we are and aren’t, once more.
Resign from the throne as a failed usurper, and, if we won’t go peaceably, fire ourselves from the job and bar ourselves from the castle.
Recognize that our inability to live life well apart from God suggests that the foundational thesis, there is no God, is itself impossible and ought to be called into question.
Realize that He, not we, is the final authority and that we answer to Him for everything–including how we treat others.
So we can be small again and have clear limits again and know where to go again and what to head away from again.
There is a solution!