You can distract yourself and pretend otherwise, but the need for spiritual connection is so entrenched in the human that it is dangerous to suppress it. It will come out in you raging about your bullshit job or complaining about your life. Unless we nourish that need constantly, we succumb to the dull, earthly pains and occasional pleasures that deny us true happiness.
But have at it. Pretend we are just founts of logic and reason who just need to grasp our shared humanity. And see where that gets you.
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.
Every person you encounter is an archetype- a model of how to act, present oneself, and live. That means every blue-haired, tattoo-ridden barista you see is an archetype of what it means to be a woman, a barista, a cool chick, or whatever other angle a person might take. Even if you are not aware of it, you are receiving messages from each person you observe and many you do not think you are observing.
It is hard to grasp this idea until you become a father of a son or a mother of a daughter. But as a parent, you notice eventually that you are always being watched. You are under continual surveillance, even when you think you’re not. So, when you walk around in flip-flops or unshaven- unless you live without any human contact or cultural intake- you are modeling a style, a set of values, and a way of living. Think about that.
To children, particularly young children, a parent is a God-like figure. When you rage about traffic or the many little annoyances of daily life in front of your children, you are presenting a negative, angry way to look at the world. And one that you may well transmit to your children. When you wield such enormous power over children’s lives, it is critical that you not be a tyrannical or abusive God. In fact, it is your job to build strong, confident, competent people to better the world around them. So, notice who is around you and how each person influences everyone else even just a tiny little bit. Even you.
Enough to be a good person, at least. I’ve always felt my values were more or less in the right place. I’ve always lived a kind of pseudo-Christian life. But what about the OTHER person? What guides his or her behavior or what limits it, at least?
You never really know until that other person gets a chance to hurt you. When you make yourself vulnerable in marriage, friendship, business, etc. you hope the people you are engaged with are decent, reasonable people. But you never really know. And you’d be surprised how some of your friends and family members might behave when given a little bit of power.
So, a few questions to ask yourself. What guides human behavior? What constrains it in the absence of God or a religion? The answer to the former is typically selfishness, the latter, not much. You may say you’re a “good person” who is governed by “logic and reason,” but what is logical and reasonable to you may not be to the next person. And either way, how do you articulate this to a young person? How do you pass the values of “logic and reason” on to the next generation? WHAT do you pass on to the next generation?
When the proverbial sh#t hits the fan in life, who are you dealing with? Is it a loyal and decent person whose values can be trusted or a selfish, egotistical manipulator like the devil?
From time to time each of us gets bogged down in negative thinking. It’s inevitable. We may be sick of our job or in a dying or stagnant relationship and uncertain about the future. Here are 5 things to do when you’re feeling stuck:
1) Go on a retreat. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia used to advise harried people to go on a retreat annually to make time to reflect and step out of the rat race.
2) Travel. It never hurts to get a change of scenery for at least a few days to get you out of a negative pattern of thinking.
3) Talk to a therapist or a life coach. Men tend to be hesitant to do this. It is expensive and it can feel like a waste of time, but it’s important to check in with a professional from time to time.
4) Take some tests. Aptitude tests and personality tests can help you figure out what is holding you back. A few that I’ve benefited from over the years are:
After 40 years of searching for meaning everywhere and anywhere else, I finally found it. It was right there alongside me the whole time in the form of my many family and friends who have modeled Catholicism so beautifully. Thank you and God bless you all. Happy Easter!