How is it that we produce mass-school shooters, drug addicts, gangbangers, serial rapists, and pedofiles in the first world in the 21st century?
We are living in a time obsessed with health, yet we are probably the least healthy group of generations in the history of humankind. What we call ‘health’ is a strange mashup of disparate pieces of individual humanity, as if a whole human is merely the sum of all of her parts.
The truth is that a whole human being is irreducibly complex. A whole human being is infinitely more than the sum of his or her parts. So why are we so obsessed with our sentimental and narrow definition of “health” when it is clear that what we are desperate for, what is utterly conspicuous by its absence is Human Wholeness?
what we are desperate for, what is utterly conspicuous by its absence is Human Wholeness?
It’s not hard to see what I’m talking about. School shootings, the prescription pain medication crisis, eating disorders, autism, depression, sexual disorders of every type, gang violence. It goes on and on.
We live in this ever expanding contradiction because we do not approach our problems with our full resources. We have a well defined sociological tool belt, refined over thousands of years. We have a good idea of what a whole human being ought to look like, ought to behave like. But we have been lead to believe that we really only need two of the tools in the human tool belt; and that the rest of the tools are antiques of a bygone era. It's a fundamental lie.
What are the two tools we use exclusively?
Medicine, by which we mean 'refined and patented chemicals', and Justice, by which we mean 'the blind application of the convoluted, and contradictory, man-made legal code'.
That’s it; somehow we think we can solve all our ingrained and deeply human problems with those two tools alone. If the scientists can’t make a pill for it then the lawmakers in Washington can make a law for it.
As it turns out, there are some things they simply can't. As it turns out the scientists and the lawmakers are also human with their own frailties and flaws.
Don’t get me wrong, the achievements of science in a nation under the rule of law are unmatched in all of human history. But it seems that in answering some amazing questions we have asked exponentially more that we simply cannot answer with just those two tools.
As CS Lewis said in The Abolition of Man “We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”
CS Lewis in The Abolition of Man “We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”
I’m all in favor of strict gun laws, and better mental health filters in our societies, especially in our schools. But I’m also in favor of dad’s staying married and committed to their wives, the mothers of their children. That’s a social tool also, and a phenomenally effective one that fixes human problems long before they even have the chance to exist.
Waiting till you’re married before becoming sexually active is another one, and staying sexually faithful to the one parther you marry. Another one is discipline, first self-discipline and then that of your own children, discipline keeps us from all kinds of unhealthy adictions and gets us comfortable with responsibility. Another is eating real food, and staying out of debt, or you could think of it as buying only what you can afford to buy. How about age appropriate entertainment, especially in the innocence areas of sex and violence? And there is also honesty, especially emotional honesty; learning the ability to deal with your thoughts and feelings; providing children with the tools and the environment to do so, modeling it for them so that they know how.
I wonder how many suicides and killings and addictions can be avoided simply by teaching children appropriate emotional release instead of bottling it up, numbing the pain or uncontrolled rage.
These are the things that lead societies into wholeness, they create clusters and communities of whole individual human beings. They may be simple things, they hardly seem to stack up against the power of our big legislature or big pharma, but all over the world and throughout our western history, it is these small things, not legislation or medicine, that have prevented us from picking up guns and killing our classmates.