One thing is certain. When it comes to protecting our children, there are no easy answers. Sure, we could do a better job of flagging those that are correctly or incorrectly perceived as a danger to themselves and others. Although the powers that be would likely do so with the kind of coercive labeling that may outcast them for life. We could arm our teachers and administrators. That is until such time as one of them, holding a gun, is shot by a uniformed and adrenaline charged police force bursting into a chaotic active shooter situation. Then, of course, there’s always the solution of making it more difficult to obtain guns, as if someone blocked from buying one won’t be able to 3D print one.
We could home school our kids. But just how do we do that without depriving them of healthy socialization challenges? And, on that point, just what is a “healthy” socialization challenge? Our schools clearly have other problems. There are the mean kids whose chief delight is bullying the most awkward, socially challenged, or vulnerable of their peers. There are teachers that are fond of saying “There is no such thing as a stupid question.” Then, a small percentage of these very same teachers give condescending answers in ways that embarrass or shame a student before their classmates.
There are parents, so marginalized through a lack of education, a loss of legal standing, or some other impediment to participation, that they fail their kids in ways not thoroughly understood. There is a counterfeit wisdom that pervades the judiciaries, the legislatures, and the executive mansions. It is one that angers our youth while also offending the finely tuned hypocrisy detector that is an integral part of the critical thinking skillset essential to the process of education. We have taught our children well. And we can be assured that, when they call BS, it is because the Emperor has no clothes and that the prostituting politician is a BS artist first and foremost.
By contrast, statesmanship demands that the problem solver is precisely focused on mitigating the causes and not just the effects. Joseph Malin’s 1895 poem, The Ambulance Down in the Valley, underscores the kind of shortsightedness that costs lives. There’s no shortage of politicians advocating for the inclusion of anyone, who suffers from any form of mental disharmony, in a database that is designed to operate at the core of, what is in essence, a sophisticated shunning system. These same politicians have not come to grips with the fact that their efforts to gut every promising health care initiative, one that might even chance to include comprehensive mental health services, weakens the fence at the top of the cliff.
During the dark ages human knowledge and most of its derivatives were largely under the control of other retardant forces, at that time operating in the name of an institutionalized church. During the enlightenment, a great humanity began to view the fresh flow of information as trifurcated. Facts, meanings, and values as they are effectively streamed through the complementary intellectual disciplines of science, philosophy, and religion are surprisingly synergistic. It became readily apparent, the technique of isolating one’s self from the totality of objective reality is a dead end.
The Humanist Societies of England, as well as Humanist Manifestos One and Two, defined their value proposition as “Religious Humanism.” The secularization hypothesis denies this provable fact and thereby places its own value proposition on a plane of unreality. It resides at the heart of chaos. The faulty belief, that as societies progress through modernization and rationalization, faith loses its authority in all aspects of social life and governance, relies on revisionist history and a definition of religion that betrays the reality of its etymology as well as the great majority of contemporary use cases.
The term religion stems from the Latin religiō, meaning conscientiousness. Regina Westcott-Wieman, in her 1935 book Normative Psychology of Religion, wrote “The characteristics of religious behavior find their differentia in the basic definition of religion: Religion is devotion to what one holds to be supremely worthful not only for himself but for all human living. As has been pointed out, the two elements which persist and stand out strongly are devotion and supreme value. Where religion is genuine, we shall find these two elements in the functioning relationship between the devotee and his operative situation.”
As the term is used today one can be religious about auditing their bank statement, washing their car, and clipping their toenails. To the secularist and the materialist, religion refers almost exclusively to a stained glass faith. Although, it is only the religion of final value that asks the question “Is there a God? And, if so, what is my relationship with this God?” Whether or not one embraces a religion of final value, religion is the domain of values and the substance of goodness. The religionist advocates something.
The intellectual disciplines feature a triune relationship that is indissolubly linked. This intellectual triad has been knocked off balance, in the minds of some, through the attempted transformation of our society away from close identification and affiliation with religious values. True religion is always personal and always positive. Materialistic counselors that fail to recognize this fact are self-limiting to the point where they can offer very little of value or be, for that matter, truly effective.
The remedies we often depend upon are not only half baked, they are half baked without leavening. They fail to differentiate between gravity laden physical realities and the uplifting value of spiritual realities. The brain is an electrochemical mechanism. The mind is en-circuited on a higher level. It is a spiritual endowment that precisely interfaces with a healthy material brain. Whether one’s concept of spirituality refers to the collective consciousness of a great humanity, or it places its faith in an approachable God, the Latin term spīritus, refers to an activating and breath imparting force.
When spiritual growth is stunted, maladjustment occurs. Emotional cascades are often the result of rumination which focuses attention upon the symptoms of one’s distress. This may be accompanied by a fixation on the possible causes and consequences, as opposed to the search for a solution. Often one becomes self-loathing or directs their hatred towards others. At this juncture certain cognitive distortions may also come into play such as dwelling on the negatives and disqualifying anything positive. A de-facto preference for faulty perception could result with what psychometrician Renée Grinnell described as leading to systematized delusions constructed to protect the coherence of a single central delusion.
A unified personality is dominated by love and that promotes a fermentation of those things that serve to nourish the soul. A loving person tends to cultivate an appreciation for the enduring value of individual advancement in one’s self as well as one’s friends. The qualities of a spiritual person include loving service, enthusiastic appreciation, enduring peace, forgiving tolerance, sincere fairness, unfailing goodness, courageous loyalty, merciful ministry, unselfish devotion, undying hope, confiding trust, and enlightened honesty.
Just why do you suppose such a predictable array of positive qualities presents whenever spiritual growth occurs? Could it be that such a maturing individual is exhibiting an affinity for the same golden rule that is embraced by each of the world’s major religions? How would you like to be treated? True wisdom is not dependent upon a stagnant collection of negative injunctions. It is rather, continually refreshed through experiential growth complemented by a series of positive admonitions.
Health, mental health, is always dependent upon continual growth. Such growth may occur independent of intellectual understanding, philosophic acumen, social level, cultural status, or other acquirements. But it must be conversant with reality. Accordingly, growing individuals inevitably seek to align themselves with their highest and best understanding of reality. Such trueing only takes place in light of actual conditions. For only then can an individual become the arbiter of their own destiny and become effective in improving those conditions.
When politicians are focused upon funding their next campaign, they turn their attention to special interests while catering to their every indulgence. A self-serving, money grubbing politician exemplifies all that is wrong within a seriously diseased system of governance. As with any cancer, such interstitial malignancies must be excised if altruistic service, in the form of true statesmanship, is ever to take hold.
As we examine causes and effects, it becomes abundantly clear that there is no positive change in the absence of that spiritual idealism that serves to advance an individual or group from one level of attainment to the next. At the heart of true statesmanship is a fervent desire to serve a greater good. The true leader must be service motivated. The statesman is occupied exclusively with the highest and best interests of a broad constituency. By this means, he or she becomes a remedy for a variety of concerns, an emissary of social uplift, and a leavening that serves to inspire the next generation of leaders.
— by Robert H. Kalk
© 2018 Used by Permission