Southern Beliefs

The problem with the world cannot be summed up simply. Though perhaps there are ways that we can get some understanding of the root cause, though of course in doing this there is the danger of being naive. Because people are complex and cultures being a manifestation of man’s inner life, a root cause may be impossible to find. Through it is easy to see that we have as a species a deep, abiding, self destructive streak within us. It is manifested in our religions, politics and of course our family situations. Possibly it is from the family that the problems from one generation to the next are past on…. our societies being formed from the bottom up, instead of from the top down. The sins of the father and mother are passed on to their children and perhaps worsening as time flows its onward course. Endless cycles that also tend to spiral downward if not understood and dealt with.

Photo by peterjr1961

I think we are at a crossroads at this time as a species. Perhaps we always are, but some times seem to be a lot more “interesting” than others, as well as more dangerous to live in. Our knowledge and technology seems to be growing at an ever increasing pace but perhaps our maturity is not keeping up with it. I think if an age could be given to mankind, I would say we are about 13 years old, with a great deal of knowledge that we don’t know what to do with. Well, there is a good chance we will destroy ourselves, at least on cultural level. For there are no guarantees that our present level of advancement will continue and in fact could be easily lost and we could be thrown permanently back to a more primitive way of life. We are like teenagers taking up smoking. Knowing the health risk and the awful, slow and painful death that can come from this habit, yet taking it up anyway so that one can look cool or simply belong, thinking foolishly, “well we all have to die from something.” I think most people believe there is something wrong with the way thing are going, even if they can’t put their finger on it…, yet we continue even if the future does not look so pleasant, on our destructive way.

We hate those outside our group, or if not actual hate, perhaps we fear those different, or if not that, have some unconscious contempt to what we regard as inferior. Prejudices are perhaps the most irrational thing about us, we know it, yet we let them persist by actually believing them, which then descends into bigotry. Yes, I think being 13 years old fits us as a species.

Now it is true that many out there proclaim that they are rational and objective about reality, yet they fall into the same juvenile trap… they have only contempt and disdain for those who think and believe differently, so they in fact are just as much a part of the problem as those they deride. It seems to be an endless merry go round for us. See, I am falling into this trap as well by stating the above. Though I don’t consider myself one of the “rational ones” who perhaps really do see thing better than the rest of us.

There are many groups, religions and ideologies out there that say they have the answer, yet the problem is this. The word “Christian” means “little Christ.” Yet I think we (me being a Christian) can come across as being “petty, narrow minded, anal retentive Christ.” No wonder we have little influence in making the world a better place. Well I think we have done some good, but we could do a lot better. However, I think the same can be said of most groups. Few of us can live up to our ideals, I know I don’t, but that is easily forgotten when it comes to judging others. Lots of stones being tossed at lots of class houses, but little actual communication, unless snide remarks and putdowns are counted as communicating something of value. It is easier to look at others than at oneself. The pot does love to call the kettle black.

I don’t think things will get better soon, but in fact will get worse. Perhaps it is because it is something we need to learn and it is when backed into a corner that we seem to learn the fastest. Our perhaps die, which is a real possibility. I know many have trouble with this, but we also have trouble with believing we will die as individuals; so to think our culture(s) can die, is even more difficult. I have seen a lot of changes in my life and one of them is the coarsening of our culture and it looks like the center is disintegrating at an ever rapid pace. Of course I could be seeing this only through the eyes of an old man, or one rapidly becoming one, so hopefully I am way off target here.

In the United States, I often think we have lost touch with our past and when that happens, we become rootless, aimless and fearful. I would suppose that leads to distrust as well as anger. People are tired, overworked and our technologies instead of making our life simpler only add to the burden of work and information that needs to be dealt with. Some kind of center needs to be found so that some rest can be experienced. If not, well inner fragmentation will only worsen and perhaps, this will again simply be passed on to the next generation.

Mark Dohle

Mark Dohle

I am 62 years old and have lived in the Atlanta area since 1971.  I am Catholic and my faith is important to me, yet as I age the mystery continues to deepen, so I read broadly and try to keep things somewhat open ended. I work with the aged and the dying. I was in the Navy for four years and I guess I am life of center when it comes to politics, but not too far left. Actually, I am kind of a political moron.

I am the third of  11 children; ten still alive, one died in in 1958, three days after birth.