Two parallel realities converge with each other and in the course of their development would either create or destroy each other in the process. There is no energy in the world to unmake this convergence of contradiction which becomes so very inherent in our modern society. The question whether it is still worth it to be moral and accept the strict rigours of religious moral code is a complex existential decision. To believe and accept that the teachings of the church are the “true” canons of morality requires a strict individual discernment. Religion has that inherent power that makes people comply in genetic levels i.e. it can make the father, mother, and the sons and daughters follow in the process. Although today, we see big numbers of religions declining in number and the number of irreligious people rising as well as the number of people taking part in semi-pagan practices.
The two realities start to converge. The first one, consciousness, is baffled by its own being-in-the-world and its seemingly thrown existence into the world. It finds itself in the middle of states of affairs discerning the path towards its own living. It seeks for science and knowledge free of doubt and filled with a network of complex and intricate web of ideas from which it would survive. Then, why not call it reason? Reason had been with the philosophical and theological language since time immemorial. However, let me follow the post-modernist belief that reason and the Enlightenment principles of a moral renaissance through reason has failed. In the process of its development it has not come to complete freedom with religion. As much as Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, and the 18th century thinkers thought otherwise, they have failed since power and the hierarchical paradigm still exist in the social and individual psyche of humanity.
Caused by the failure of reason and religion to provide a moral canon fit for the 21st century, the second reality is derived from the psycho-analytic conception of the brute. The unconscious mind affects consciousness not through rational perturbations like conscience; but it disturbs the mind through a return to the animal. It reminds the mind of its primitive nothingness. It reminds man of its amorality by returning it to its primal state in sexual consciousness. The need for pleasure and desire drives consciousness into an unconscious act of acquisition and conquest. The man in love, let us say, would gamble his whole life for the woman he likes risking the social Diaspora that might follow after the affair. Love makes man return to the primitive amorality and resistance by an artificial construct like reason made human beings a schizophrenic entity within society. This pathological phenomenon is brought by the convergence of the mind conscious of its surroundings and being-in-the-world with an unconscious drive to become being-with-the-world. The world becomes its receptacle and co-naturality with it becomes so obvious.
The co-naturality that I speak of is the same as my relation with the animals of the field and the insects of the soil. They posses different physical being with me; but by the virtue of its being-in-the-world with me and my drive to become with the world, I see the creatures as part of me. Naturally then, moral canons and arguments occur within artificial human constructs of survival. Without the concept of a divine being, morality wouldn’t take shape. The early man void of knowledge questioned the cause of the things around him. The vast sea opened the mind of the Greeks to ruminate on the experience they have of the world. They marvel at the logic they invented and the virtues they have created to maintain peace and order in their small city-states.
However, the 21st century picture is different. We have realized our co-naturality with the brute and have disliked the artificial construct called reason, passed down by our own ancestors. How then should we view our own religiosity in front of these realities; we cannot deny? Everyday Christian teachings are attacked and our practices slowly do not fit in the test of time. In our own personality, we encounter choices which would run contrary to our religious beliefs. In this country alone, the average Catholic could face the problem of pre-marital sex, abortion and birth control; all three are pleasurable means for a good and sound life. Moreover, the Catholic faces his own psychological reality; he discovers his own savagery in his own affections for the other. He discovers the inherent contradiction in his religious practice and his own personal drive. The key is awareness. The 21st century situation does not bring us into a moral debacle rather it brings us to a total reconsideration of our own constructions. We have to scratch out the unessential and form the current into our own development. Religion has lived through a period of persecution as much as our own faith has undergone persecution by an Imperial force. The example of the early Christian martyrs provides us with that docility to form and develop our own Christian identity for the 21st century. The contradiction, we experience are inherent. We would encounter them and would experience them throughout our struggle. The 21st century situation makes us more aware of the events political, social and existential which run along our life, calling us to act with prudence in a manner that would reflect the teachings of Christ given to the Apostles. The example in the Acts of the Apostles inspires us to re-think our social life gearing towards equality and love and this perspective is what we give to the outside world, to the relativistic world which in our century is logically impossible but socially real. This reality has become a topic fought for and against with rigour and intellectual bombast.
I cannot guarantee a new morality. Nor anyone can guarantee a new moral code. What I and others could give is a light that would shine upon you, me and others regaining consciousness of the responsibility that we will face in every choice. Since they occur within a social receptacle, people, experiencing the same thing with different set of values, should not make it a cause for fundamentalism but a mutual sharing of perspective and responsibility befitting our co-naturality.
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