Religion 221: Less is More, Time for New Paradigms…

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Christian church in Ethiopia

If the Renaissance man was our hero of the 1500’s and the scientist our hero of the 1600’s, then Enlightened Man was the paradigm for the West in the 1700’s and the entrepreneur was the paradigm in the 1800’s. But then the paradigm in the later 1900’s took a dive and our new culture hero was the wild man, the playboy, the gangster, the rogue, the drug addict, the bad boy, the bad girl, the streetwalker, you get the idea: so what is the paradigm of the 2000’s? The hacker, maybe, or a terrorist? Sounds grim…

Or maybe it’ll be a ‘gender-fluid’ ‘metro-sexual’, born and bred to do the exact opposite: never bear nor breed. Such dirty work is better left to specialized breeders and the truly old-fashioned who know how to do little else. LGBTQA’s have better things to do with their specialized hardware, especially now that non-traditional marriage has largely withstood court challenges. Now nothing is prohibited. That might help ease population pressures…

Now there’s nothing wrong with gender fluidity, IMHO, no more than any other sex obsession, and good ol’ meat-and-potatoes non-stop T & A is as bad as anything else, BUT… I’d like to suggest a new paradigm for our heroes of next century, if not the current: monk, priest, and saint, the less encumbered with materiality and materialism, the better. Sound familiar? Yep, sounds a whole lot like the early centuries C.E., when early Christians would whip themselves into a bloody mess, if not a frenzy, waiting for holy mass, if not communion…

These new priests will have to be scholars, too, to transmit the accumulated wisdom of dying empires on to future generations, just like the isolated Irish and Brits from York did before. Those days are long gone of course, and the saintly ascetic might be as misplaced in the current century as the Renaissance Man was in the last, but there are eerie parallels…

For one: confidence in secular government is at an all-time low, and when this happens, can the sound of crumbling be far behind? For another: people are quite able to make other plans on their own, and there are signs of this already happening. If the hippie commune partially defined an era a half century ago, then ‘intentional communities’ may define the next, randomly scattered, yet still connected—by Internet…

But there needs to be some glue, some psychological existential mortar to hold it all together. Christianity did it before after the fall of Rome, but I doubt that it is up to the task now, if for that very reason. Of the established religions, Buddhism is by far my favorite, but it, too, may need some updating for modern adherence. Sustainability is the key, and respect for nature…

Of course these priests/scholars will need to be Renaissance men and women, too, since the old capitalist-era labor unions and hierarchies will be long gone before too long. Travelers will be the messengers of culture and eyewitness transmitters of current events, but priest/scholars will be the ministers, spreading tolerable tidings of jury-rigged joy: we will survive, and this, too, will pass. At some point populations will decrease and we can start rebuilding. It’s hard to reproduce while traveling, trust me…

The next world will have to be one replete with technology, but maybe not so many machines, and certainly no fossil fuels. They should be largely gone by then, except coal. Bicycles will rule the roads, roads left over from the previous Age of Automobiles. No new ones will be necessary for many hundreds of years, if ever.

Gardens will be everywhere, and crafts will supplement modest incomes. The latest innovations will not be gadgets, but guides to the latest self-potential and personal transformation. Sound like the 1960’s? We were just waiting on the necessary technology way back then. Less will be more and the meek will inherit the earth. It’s already started…

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