We live at by far the greatest time in human history. Those of us in the advanced world can listen to ANY SONG we want to at anytime. The same with most books and many movies. A city-dweller can order food, alcohol, cannabis, sex, candy, just about anything you can think of at pretty much any time of day. This is a tremendous danger to people who lack discipline.
Thankfully my own indiscipline largely extends to eating junk food, not exercising, and wasting time on Twitter. For many, the indiscipline starts with how you look at the world and what you expect to come from it. It’s better to expect nothing and seek to create that which you desire.
In this era of instant gratification, a lack of discipline can ruin your life. Whether it is poor habits of self-care or not adequately maintaining order around you. Indiscipline makes every problem worse.
Anger is generally viewed as harmful, damaging, and destructive. But I’d like to take another perspective- anger is motivating, energizing, and your mind telling you to take action because things are not right.
I’ve struggled with managing anger my entire life. At times it has gotten me in some fairly serious trouble. However, it has also helped me tackle problems, get stuff done, and stick up for myself and others when needed.
Self-mastery is the key. It is difficult to master your emotions, especially one like anger that at times feels like a train rolling downhill. By applying mindfulness and the principle of detachment, there is an opportunity to redirect that anger towards useful purposes.
It’s not easy and it won’t happen overnight, but slowing down and recognizing the source of that anger may help you channel it towards something positive. Something like hitting the gym or signing up for a boxing class.
Either way, don’t beat yourself up for being angry. There is plenty to be angry about. Just don’t let it cause you self-destruction.
Atheism is bad for your health. How, you say? Well, it forces you to fill up your time and worldview with something other than religion and that is usually something pretty incoherent. Let’s be honest. Religion is imperfect, but it gives a person some structure.
For another, atheism enables the flourishing of anxiety and depression. In a religious tradition you are supposed to put God first, never yourself. So the endless ruminating and dwelling in one’s own mind and about one’s own problems yields unnecessarily self-destructive thoughts.
Then there is the absence of moral guidance. For years I argued with my conservative religious friends about who was more “moral.” I was a liberal and I was wrong. In my travels I learned that without a religion humans are deeply confused about right and wrong. Not the big things. All but the sociopaths get the big things, but we are confused about the smaller ways that we choose good and evil, right and wrong, leaving us vulnerable in the modern world.
After four decades of cussing people out, I’ve decided to stop. I used to be a road rager, an f-bomb-dropper, a middle-finger-raiser, but no more. I’ve decided to exert some self-control and do better.
Believe me, I see things all day long that make me want to pop off. But over time I’ve learned the best way to influence others is by modeling good behavior. Showing, not telling. So I’ve tried to eliminate profanity from my life, something which has the added benefit of eliminating it from my son’s life and the lives of others around me.
I also know that profanity is a sort of temperature of my mood. If I start cussing, it means I’m getting pretty angry about something. Anger is another thing I’m trying to eliminate from my life.
When I was a young man living in Seattle, I noticed something super annoying that folks including many of my friends did out there- frequent ostentatious displays of how liberal they were. This self-congratulatory liberalism, as I called it, annoyed the hell out of me. It took the form of voting for Ralph Nader or covering your car with bumper stickers.
Well, virtue-signaling has gone global. Barack Obama and Justin Trudeau are the best political examples of this. But look around you. Isn’t it everywhere you turn?
And look at your own actions. What are you signaling to others?
Indulge me for a moment. You don’t have to agree with every word, but hear me out.
The availability of casual sex without marriage, fatherhood, commitment, etc. has weakened men. It has made men slippery, less capable of commitment, more prone to dishonesty- generally, less attractive to women.
Giving up casual sex has made women more emotionally confused, less authentic, less happy. Case in point, the Aziz Ansari story.
The result? Fewer marriages, families, relationships. An embrace of atheism and hedonism over all else. And the decline of families.
I’m currently watching Narcos on Netflix and finding myself in the strange position of being both repulsed by and kind of liking the character of Pablo Escobar. He is, of course, a horrible man. But he also is a good family man. He’s much like the Tony Soprano character- a likable, but pretty evil guy. He takes care of his family and he takes care of his crew members (for the most part). He is a provider and a protector, admirable traits to men.
This is why our culture needs stable, admirable archetypes. Without them, we start to gravitate away from the proper role model, JC.
In today’s gospel, Jesus calls on us to not declare false oaths, but to simply speak the truth. This message has been lost in the modern era of talking points and tribalism.
How can we restore the Christian value of honesty, and the related values of humility, sacrifice, service? One by one, every man and woman saying, “Enough! We’ve had enough of the postmodern woke corporate nonsense that pervades our culture.”
It’s time to usher in an era of self-reliance, individual freedom, and optimism. I’m sorry to say this to the atheists, but only Christianity will lead us that way.
Being an orphan is a tragic thing. I know, I was raised by one. It’s even worse when you try to go through life without moral and ethical guidance. I tried. For 40 years, I thought I was a good person and that being so was enough to get by in life. It’s not. Because you need the other people in your life to adhere to a moral code, too.
There is a wisdom to religion that Sam Harris and the New Atheists don’t grasp. It is the wisdom of how to live day in and day out, week in and week out. Live with gratitude and work towards a cause much greater than yourself. There is nothing wrong with accepting some help from a father or the Father.
Come from Jordan Peterson: “Wherever we go, and I mean that, wherever we go… If I go down the street or if I’m in an airport or if I’m in a cafe or if I’m in a movie theater… If I’m in a mechanics’ shop, some person comes up to me every 10 minutes, and they say, ‘I’ve been listening to your lectures and they’ve helped me. And my life is getting better.’… Can you imagine a better way to be greeted when you go out in the world?” -from a recent talk with Dennis Prager.