Monday, February 07, 2011

Modern Culture--The Narcissistic Legacy

I read an article this morning which quoted Peter Hitchens, brother of the famous atheist Christopher Hitchens.  The quote is from his book, The Rage Against God.  In this quote he explains a bit about the mentality of the Baby Boomer 60's generation (of which I confess to being a member) who rebelled against their World War II era parents, and, who continue to shape politics and culture in the U.K. and the U.S. today.
We were differentiating ourselves from our parents--the denizens of a worn-down, seemingly defeated post-war generation, a crumbling empire, burdened with ancient and unexamined premises, weighed down by old songs and bored with ancient psalms, eager to cast off the dreary dross we associated with the glum burdens of adulthood. By rejecting our parents' half-hearted beliefs, and refusing ourselves to be parents, we were staving off in our own minds the march of time, the fact of aging, the grim biological fact of our own mortality. By remaining forever rebellious adolescents, we imagined that we need never grow old and die. Having children in itself is in some sense an admission that we must replace ourselves--because we were replaceable. And that is something our narcissistic generation could not admit. And so we didn't.
The entire culture today, with its in-your-face sex and its crude and aggressive stance against Christianity and especially Catholicism is in part, a result of the Baby Boomer generation's obsession with rebelling as a way to avoid the inevitable decline and death that comes for all of us.

This mind-set is ubiquitous; for years, the 60's generation have been making our movies, writing our songs, and filtering our news.  We are surrounded by one generation's sad attempts at living forever in this flawed and sinful world.

Today, there are few "stars" in their own right in the U.S.  People are famous for being famous.  Being on a reality show has become a goal and an aspiration.  Much baggage accompanies this new career.

We mustn't look old.  We mustn't let our children, if we have them, get in the way of our "lifestyle".  The many alternate "lifestyles" so aggressively advocated by today's media  are, in part, a response to and a defense of the lives already being lead by many who followed the Greatest Generation.

We must consciously avoid buying the lie that happiness and fulfillment exist in this life.  We must stop focusing on our own personal feelings and begin to live out the Gospel and spread the Good News to all.


TACParent said...

I believe that happiness does exist in this life. I think God wants us to be happy. As for fulfillment ... I don't think we ever finish growing and learning. I believe that is why we are here.

All that said, I may not define "happiness" as the average person. It isn't about money, success, or possessions. It's about a deep inner peace, knowing that we are loved and cared for. That's happiness. There may be suffering from time-to-time, but deep within knowing we are loved and cared for will get us through.

Dymphna said...

I think the media has been trying to define happiness and success for so long and there are those who believe it.

You are right--we will get through whatever suffering comes our way, by the grace of God.

Dymphna's favorite quotes

"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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