May 2021- Man or Lapdog
As man continues to mistake comfort as a means to true happiness he continues to dehumanise himself and ultimately comfort quickly becomes the executioner and the tomb of happiness.
May 21, 2021
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
How long has the world been holding its breath? This prolonged apnea brings man to the brink of suffocation.
Paralyzed by the contradictory statements and actions of governments, men live under the constant threat of an enemy described as invisible and all-powerful – at least if we listen to the journalists who keep hammering brains already numbed by comfort and slogans.
This virus issue has been already sufficiently discussed and there is no need to keep going at it. On the other hand, focusing on the harmful role of comfort and slogans could allow us to understand some of the causes of the present situation.
After the throes of the last World War and the tensions of the Cold War, the world has let itself be consumed by a race for progress in order to ensure survival. By a very natural process, progress has come to be measured by comfort. Not surprisingly, in retrospect, even after the Cold War officially ended, the momentum of technological progress (and comfort) continued. There is now the possibility of anyone having the illusion of holding the world in his hands while using a phone…
The search for comfort at all costs has replaced the humble practice of virtue and has thrown into oblivion the age-old law of effort. The fact is that man has always made fidelity to his duty of state a point of honor. Experience has shown that this daily renewed effort is the only path to happiness.
This common-sense attitude is true wisdom. It allows man to attain his happiness, which consists in the peaceful acceptance of his condition as a man: a limited and dependent being.
In the past, man knew the joy of a job well done, the happiness of building a happy and united home. Beyond his efforts, man had the deep pride of transmitting to his children the understanding of the nobility of the work by which man collaborated in the building up of society.
Everyone fulfilled his role and respected the efforts of others, not hesitating to lend a hand when necessary. In families and in society there was a current of virtuous friendship, which formed souls and prepared them to face the dark hours which are not lacking in human life.
The pursuit of happiness was still a fragile thing, as nobody is ever safe from disasters. But everyone respected the fragility inherent in sacred things (which they knew true happiness to be), by living in mutual respect and participating in a common effort. As progress became more and more important, the virtue-inspiring search for happiness gave way to the frantic search for comfort. That was the death-knell heralding the passing of that world where men’s lives radiated true happiness. The trap of seeking comfort at all costs destroyed –and continues to destroy– what is properly human in man by reducing him to slavery.
Comfort gives man immediate satisfactions which only meet the needs of his body to the detriment of the essential needs of his soul, which aspires to spiritual realities. Thus, comfort quickly becomes the executioner and the tomb of happiness. In reality, man is exhausted by running after comfort, which only brings him sense-perceptible well-being, which, of its very nature, is a temporary thing. He quickly becomes a slave to this endless pursuit. Perhaps comfort is the most dangerous addiction because of its universality…
Running after immediate satisfactions is exhausting. Man cannot rest in them; neither can he find his happiness in them. On the contrary, sated but always dissatisfied and grasping for more, he withdraws into a shameless individualism where only the emotions which delight him count, as a caress delights an animal. The fragile pursuit of happiness has been replaced by the economics of emotions.
The life-giving interchange of virtuous friendship has now been broken. Men are now only interested in what they can get not what they can give. Thus, they forget how to love and be loved with that love that is proper to true human society.
The will is not the only faculty of the soul which finds itself debilitated by the soft tyranny of comfort. The intelligence is also attacked by this domination of the law of least effort. Thus, it is no longer rare to hear the adjective “comfortable” being used to mean that the person agrees with what has just been said to him (“I am comfortable with what you are saying…”). But being comfortable with what one has just heard and assenting to a truth are not the same thing.
To agree is to judge something as true and to adopt it as our own by an act of our intelligence. It necessarily leads to choosing to live according to what we have grasped.
To settle for intellectual comfort is to refuse to do the hard work of thinking and judging. It is to follow along with the flock and repeat the dominant opinion. Nevertheless, the “comfort zone” is preserved…
The dominant opinion is articulated by a few short sentences which hardly express a thought but only impress the imagination. Thus, the slogan – the intellectual counterpart of the comfort that wounds the will. Let us be clear: slogans sterilize our intelligence.
Slogans (originally the war cries of Scottish clans) are widely used in advertising and their effects are well known. They shrink down our intellectual horizons but are remarkably effective in manipulating a majority into thinking something that feels profoundly and comfortably true. They are a politically correct dish served to an audience that has acquired a taste for the poison of the day.
In this process, the intelligence itself receives a wound that can be fatal.
Comfort and slogans are a godsend for those who want to dehumanize the human race and reduce it to an animal state where essential survival instincts dominate. Mankind becomes conditioned to react instinctively to external solicitations.
We must ask: what difference is there today between a man dead to his human heritage of judging and loving and Pavlov's dogs drooling at the sound of their master’s bell?
We fear that the answer is: not much. We have merely progressed towards being better trained and more contented lapdogs.
Away with the masks!
In Christo Sacerdote et Maria,
Fr. Yves Le Roux