We all here in the West must encourage a totally new different attitude which can enable us to better face both our present crisis of values and the radical changes ahead which might cause our swift decline. In Europe especially religion is waning and people sometimes embrace weird beliefs. Rich countries should be full of happy people, all the requirements for happiness (or serenity) being present. Nonetheless one has the impression that often void rules and that people don’t know any more which are the right choices in everyday life.
Rome is the city of the soul (as Byron and Victor Hugo put it), of our authentic Western soul, since Europe and the West were shaped here and these roots are sacred -to me surely, and I think and hope to most of us. These roots we have to rediscover in order to better open up to others in a new spirit of humanitas and conciliation (two chief components of the everlasting Roman mind). We all here in the West must encourage a totally new different attitude which can enable us to better face both our present crisis of values and the radical changes ahead which might cause our swift decline.
[ read more in Man of Roma]
Referring to Western contemporary societies, numerous commentators and artists have talked of a decline-of-the-Roman-Empire type of situation. It is an interesting analogy, since in those old days the official Roman religion wasn’t so attractive any more and innumerable oriental cults were spreading among the different classes of the Roman society.
Well, actually what we see here in Europe and America are all these people turning towards oriental religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, or doctrines like Scientology, or even Neo-pagan movements growing in Anglo-Saxon countries and probably originating from a disappointment towards Christianity and its different varieties (above, an image of the Neopagan Goddess and the moon).
A woman, a friend of mine, is starting to adore some crazy coloured stones she always brings along wherever she goes. Amazing, no doubt.
… Many Muslims, vis-à-vis such Western spiritual crisis (and relativism), react in different ways, from a total acceptance of consumer society values up to forms of moral rejection or even active reaction (which unfortunately also lead to terrorism). (…)
[ read more in Decline of the (American) Roman Empire]
I abhor the Islamic fascists, as you call them, Rob. These repugnant people have made the world much worse than it was before, in my opinion. But if we do not understand that many of them are also motivated by some sort of moral disgust towards some ways of the West, we miss an important point.
Take Bali, Indonesia. The islamofascists hit Kuta twice in 2002 and 2005 with some bombs and killed hundreds of people, mostly Westerners. I have been to Bali a few times and I believe it is not by chance they hit the Kuta beach area so much.
Bali is the only Hindu island in a country, Indonesia, mostly Muslim. This was symbolic to them, not many doubts about it, but I think a main point was also they hit right a place in Bali (Kuta) where the Westerners most succeeded in totally corrupting the local people who are now selling themselves in various ways for money, while in other parts of this great island the Balinese retain their unbelievable dignity and their incredibly refined cultural values, yes, so refined that even peasants look like princes.” (…)
[ read more in Western Values, Again (1)]
In general I believe this simple thing: science provides a lot of answers but still voids are left (what is the meaning of life? How do we choose between right and wrong? Are there any absolute values? etc.) that might progressively be filled up, although so far they are not, thus leaving those who rely on science only with questions unanswered and inner tranquillity precarious. Humanities are able in fact to make up for further answers (philosophy) and for reconciling our soul through beauty (art).
[ read more in Buddhism, Science and the Dalai Lama]
As for Antiquity as much respect as I may have for that era and it’s people I pretend that the mores then current are not relevant today.
Well, I don’t know Paul. Here in Europe religion is waning, people are trying to understand what their values are and sometimes do embrace weird beliefs (have you ever heard of the Temples of Damanhur in northern Italy?)
Personally, I prefer to get back to our Greco-Roman roots, which is not a barren exercise, ancient thought being totally incorporated in modern thought.
I was steeped in classicism and Catholicism and Greek Orthodoxy. A potent mix. However over the years I have taken leave of organized religions but not of the values I got from that environment. As many seem to have done, I have not thrown the baby with the bath water.
I confess I feel some void since I used to sincerely pray Jesus and my guardian angel before going to sleep until I was 12. Then I stopped. I attribute to this imprinting – not to Jesus’ power – the fact that when I go to bed I often need to read deep books, and I found that classics, poetry etc. work well for me, they give me peace and help me counter today’s superficiality. Am I a neo-pagan? No Paul, I am not. Art and thought suffice.
[ read more in Change and Continuity in History. 1 ]
[Looking habit up in the on-line Webster we read that it is “a behaviour pattern acquired by frequent repetition.”]
So it seems that all we need, in order to live a better life – CP argues – is just practising regularly what makes us live better, while at the same time gradually abandoning what makes us live worse. Very easy to say but very difficult to realize – CP continues. The reason is that very few people know what makes us live better, i.e. what are the things that make us live happily, which are of course the most convenient and advantageous to us. … In short, there are so many people around who visibly make the wrong choices, which are disadvantageous choices. These people consequently live worse and worse, while they could live better and better.
Could this be one of the fundamental problems of our so-called rich countries (I’m asking myself?) They should be full of happy people, all the requirements for happiness (or serenity) being present. But since so many people are evidently unhappy there must be necessarily a problem of ethical confusion… (ethics is a branch of philosophy which encompasses right conduct and good living – a definition taken from Wikipedia).
[ read more in Ethical Confusion & Ancient Teachings ]