Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Fatigue Society

The modern age has been called the "Fatigue Society." By this is not meant the fatigue that comes from living a busy life, but the fatigue that arises in this busy life from not knowing what to select to do among the many things we would like to do, which can produce  pathologically induced feelings of tiredness. The seminary professor writing for the Kyeongyang magazine says we often hear the humorous phrase: "The idle man is dying of overwork."

In the past, work often brought on fatigue, but at least it was always clear what had to be done. The world we lived in was separated from the world of others, says the professor, and we could depend on our own society to reinforce our way of acting and to protect us from the threatening and dangerous world of the other.

Today's society has changed, he says. The values are no longer shared by  our society. What is of value is the personal vision and convictions of individuals. Other people are of little interest and somewhat of a burden. The family is no longer seen as a refuge but a hindrance to personal development. The individual and not the family is what is  important.

It used to be the imposition of rules--the can't dos of life--that  made life difficult, but today, the professor says it's not the negative rules of life that tend to overwhelm us but an over-abundance of the positive that brings on fatigue and many mental difficulties. Parents still support their children by giving them what they need, but parents often don't receive back the respect they had in the past. 

This is also seen, says the professor, in the life of the Church. Among Catholics, the Church was once seen as speaking for God. Sins and punishment were clear; the teaching and commandments were basically understood and leaving the Church was to put in danger your future life.

But all this is changing, he says. The old procedures are no longer considered valid to many Catholics, feeling themselves no longer bound by the old ways. One can follow, they believe, the teachings of Jesus without the Church, whose teachings are considered by some as outdated; a person's decisions and convictions are considered more important. Peace of mind has priority over working to evangelize society. The emphasis on the relativity of truth, while forgetting or denying its absolute character, has made the existence of the Church problematic, he says.

In the past the Catholic Church and atheism were in conflict. Today there are thousands of different beliefs that have tried to find the answers to the mysteries of life, pain and death.  No longer is Christianity unique among the religions. Which means, the professor believes, there has to be a difference in the way Christianity is presented. Stressing the  Commandments-- our obligations is  not going to do it. We are going to have to show what has been lost in the changes of society and the love God has shown to humanity and  creation.

Pope Francis, in Brazil during the World Youth Day, stressed that we must fight against an unhealthy reliance on money, on honors and pleasure, which seem to be the sole goals of many. The fight against our materialistic culture by the Church must be waged; without this encounter the Church will not have a  place to stand on. Yes, the professor admits, life for many has progressed, becoming more comfortable and enjoyable. We have, however, lost what  is important: joy, peace freedom, love and hope. The Church has to stress what we have lost, the professor says. We have to find the words that will move hearts, dispelling the darkness that encompasses so much of society.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this interesting post.

    Perhaps the Church could lead by example as Pope Francis is attempting to do, and always remember the Golden Rule.

    In a simplistic view of life purpose, I like to think we were put on this planet to help each other, to learn joyfully, live peacefully and to experience love.