Click Map for Details

Flag Counter

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Dumbing Down of a Nation (Turning from God)

Matthew 7:12 (NIV)

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

An abiding theme in the study of the Old Testament is the cyclic pattern of Israeli history that was typified by (phase 1) returning to God; (phase 2) initial widespread improvement; (phase 3) and then upon growing wealthy and self-sufficient in their own eyes forgetting God; (phase 4) followed by once again skidding headlong into disintegration.  At some low point Israel once again returns to God and the cycle repeats.

I would like to speculate upon the impact of the exercise of the Golden Rule on society by way of its impact on human intelligence. Let us take a simple example. Two boys each have a dog. One boy is characterized by living the Golden Rule; the other is totally self-centered. The boy living the Golden Rule understands that relationship is the whole point of having a dog. He wants to spend time with his dog and treat him as the boy himself would want to be treated.  From a distance perhaps, the visual of their companionship looks idyllic and devoid of passion. In fact the opposite is actually the case. The boy strongly empathizes with his dog and would risk his own life in an instant should he happen upon the dog flailing in torrents of water following a storm. The boy thinks of his dog often and imagines places he would like to take his dog exploring the countryside. In short, for the boy having a dog connotes not property ownership or playing the role of an absentee landlord, but instead passionate commitment to the nurture and well-being of the dog together with cultivating in concert a rich dynamic relationship. Let us suppose the operation of the brain during proactive empathetic nurturing is quantifiable on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high).  I would contend that the operation of an empathetic-nurtuing brain is many times vital, emotionally intelligent, and creatively alert than the self-contented one. To sustain life through nurturing requires meeting a multitude of daily challenges and profound, widespread intellectual exertion.  Nurturing always entails on a practical level taking up the ownership of problems not wholly egocentric.  Helping others grow always yields the companion dividend of growing oneself.

In contrast let us quickly sketch the self-centered boy. To him the dog is primarily property that he stakes in place with a steel spike in the yard. He belittles relationship as unmanly. The dog languishes in all weather and flinches during rain and lighting storms.  The boy bullies and domineers his dog and has little or no interest in his well being.  No one is surprised that the little sandy patch of yard where the dog must eat, sleep, and defecate is littered with trash. The boy could not be bothered.  No one need ask if the dog is happy. The only question is how long will he live?

My contention is that a society which smirks at the Golden Rule is dumber than dumb.  That society will lose mental alacrity and eviscerate the civil passion to nurture. No one need ask if such a society is genuinely happy. The only question is how long will it survive?  

Print Page