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Tag Archives: modernity

Discovering times gone by

This afternoon, I did something terribly old fashioned. I just sat in the garden reading a book with a sun hat on. Old fashioned because everyone else seems to be doing something. In fact, it seems positively sinful to sit at home and enjoy the sun’s warmth. Actually, I was reading the witty an enjoyable ‘The Perfect Summer’ by Juliet Nicolson. Its a social history of the summer of 1911; the last beautiful season before the Great War. No wonder then it is subtitled – dancing into the Shadow. However, despite the growing storm clouds, there was something appealing about those years. In particular, the less pressured life when personal news came through the letter box and world tidings via the newspaper. No social websites, emails, mobile phones and satellite TV for them.

Of course there is much from that age that we would not tolerate for a minute today. Yet their pace of life with its weekly routine must beat our 24/7 obsession. Their seasons must have the pleasure of reacquaintance ship that our unbroken desire for the fruits of the globe dulls. Their joy at a perfect summer must have been greater than ours faced as it is with a constant stream of days that all seem the same in their rapidity of passing. So maybe we should,from time to time, bring some of the peace of nearly one hundred years ago back to our living of these frenetic times. Hopefully then we too will rediscover a perfect summer by visiting times gone just by being still.

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Is Life Meaningless?

Personal meaninglessness – the feeling  life has nothing worthwhile to offer – it is… as a separation from the moral resources necessary to live a full and satisfying existences (Anthony Giddens; 1991)

If the modern world is anything, it is about increasing control. From the depths of our own genetics to the simple changing of our TV channels, we like to have control. Control then make us feel powerful and hard-wired into our DNA. Yet it does not make us any happier? For we too easily worry about our controlling choices; are putting enough away for a pension, is our travel plans changing the climate or is vote condoning the right political policies. And so with control and choice goes anxiety. The fear of what we are becoming as a result of being ‘self-made’.

This is why as in previous ages, there remains a need for some external source of what is right – an ultimate moral source – a font of wisdom as to how to make our life choices. And that  is what religious people attribute to the will of God and his purpose for us. For them, life contains purposeful decisions which in turn bestows on it meaning.

 

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