The world’s drama car­ries on

Truro Daily News - - FAITH/RELIGION - Don Mur­ray

Wasn’t it a sum­mer? But now the trans­for­ma­tion has hap­pened. The school buses are back on the road. Our chil­dren and youth have given up the joys of sum­mer and set­tled into the rigours of ed­u­ca­tion. The rest of us turn to meet the year that lies ahead. (All this with a pause for Do­rian and its af­ter­math).

What­ever the cal­en­dar may say, a new year spreads be­fore us.

The machi­na­tions of pol­i­tics and world af­fairs seem im­mune to the pass­ing sea­sons and abide with us al­ways. The year ahead prom­ises the play­ing out of some of the ba­sic ten­sions that have be­set hu­man­ity for eons.

Hong Kong is an item in prac­ti­cally ev­ery news cast.

It is a mi­cro­cosm of the con­flict be­tween democ­racy and dic­ta­tor­ship that is ap­pear­ing through­out the world. The Hong Kong con­fronta­tion seems in­evitable. The sim­ple back­ground is that a demo­cratic en­clave was set up within a dic­ta­tor­ship. Nei­ther can tol­er­ate the other. They are fun­da­men­tally dif­fer­ent ways of un­der­stand­ing how coun­tries are to be gov­erned; how power is cho­sen and ad­min­is­tered.

Gov­ern­ing is a haz­ardous busi­ness at best. Win­ston Churchill is sup­posed to have said that democ­racy is the worst form of govern­ment imag­in­able, un­til you con­sider all the oth­ers. We see a rad­i­cal con­ser­vatism emerg­ing in many places that is un­der­min­ing demo­cratic in­sti­tu­tions. An in­de­pen­dent press and an in­de­pen­dent ju­di­ciary are es­sen­tial to a well-func­tion­ing democ­racy. In other words, there must be an in­formed pub­lic liv­ing within gen­er­ally accepted rules and the means of en­forc­ing com­mu­nal stan­dards. In the U.S., Don­ald Trump is at the top of a mul­ti­tude who are un­happy with their democ­racy. The seeds of dic­ta­tor­ship are be­ing sown. The same forces are alive in prac­ti­cally all democ­ra­cies.

There are other fun­da­men­tal ten­sions at work – racism, sex­ism, ageism, and all isms. Peo­ple see life and world in dif­fer­ent ways, and they are not al­ways com­pat­i­ble. There are many things that di­vide us.

Re­li­gions are far re­moved from be­ing of one heart and mind. The dif­fer­ences among re­li­gions is mi­nor com­pared to the ten­sions within each. There are all kinds of shades and de­grees but the di­vi­sion is of­ten de­scribed as fun­da­men­tal­ists/ mod­ernist, those who take the Bi­ble, or what­ever their sa­cred lit­er­a­ture is, lit­er­ally as their ultimate au­thor­ity, and those who ac­cept sci­ence and other ways of know­ing. Nei­ther way of see­ing un­der­stands the other. I prob­a­bly don’t have to men­tion that I am on the “mod­ernist” side.

At the per­sonal level, an abid­ing di­vi­sion is be­tween our own needs and com­pas­sion. We all have the need for per­sonal iden­tity and se­cu­rity. Some­time that is pro­vided by a po­lit­i­cal party or a re­li­gion; or some group or ide­ol­ogy that one holds. It is easy to find our iden­tity and se­cu­rity by be­long­ing to some group. The need to belong is the pri­mary dy­namic of youth gangs.

Find­ing our iden­tity within our­selves is the chal­lenge we all face. Most of us are mix­tures. I cheer for the Blue Jays – a hard task these days – and the Maple Leafs, and no doubt much worse things. Find­ing in­ner iden­tity does not do away with the chal­lenges and ten­sions of life and world. We hold these chal­lenges within our­selves.

One of the most trans­form­ing mo­ments of my life came when I read, “the ten­sions of our mod­ern world have come to rest in us.” That was back in the mid1960s in Wil­liam Hamil­ton’s, The New Essence of Chris­tian­ity. My life-is­sue has been the loss of a tra­di­tional faith and the need for a spir­i­tual con­nec­tion with some­thing pro­found and all en­com­pass­ing.

Carl Jung says that if we are able to hold the di­vi­sions of life and world within our­selves that even­tu­ally there will be a res­o­lu­tion. For me that came with the dis­cov­ery of Carl Jung and the trans­form­ing of re­li­gious be­lief and lan­guage into psy­cho­log­i­cally mean­ing­ful ex­pe­ri­ence.

Know that the di­vi­sions within life and world live within us. Your chal­lenge for this New School Year is to be aware of what your in­ner be­ing is urg­ing you to do. Hold it. Med­i­tate upon it. Act on it. You can help re­solve the big is­sues which now face our world.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.