Art is the process of articulating order out of chaos.

Another YouTube channel I’ve been enjoying over the last 2 years is Jonathan Pageau. I am not the artistic type. I am colour blind and tone deaf but I appreciate art. I see artists as people with the gift of internalising the chaos of the world and utilizing it for their own expression. they manifest a type of order out of the chaos they attempt to articulate through their art. That’s why I feel art is important. So society can identify themes and patterns within its own culture. Art that can celebrate what the culture triumphs or to expose what a culture tries to hide from. These are important things to break us free of our own filters and censors and routines which can hold us back as individuals or as whole communities. But it seems like art in the West, at least how it appears to me, is becoming far more ideological and political. Movies have probably been the most glaring for corruption. Movies feel like for the most part they have stopped expressing the chaos of the world and have reduced the work to mere projections of a political narrative. And the narrative seems to be along the lines of “the world is a 0 sum game of power struggle. The entire world is made up of only oppressed and the oppressors.”

And apparently the answer isn’t reform, it’s simply replacement. Not to stop the tyranny but to replace the tyrant. Not to broaden boundaries but to eliminate boundaries all together. And, to me, in an attempt to portray women in nontraditional roles, in the ambition of inclusiveness, movies now subvert femininity from females. Movies seem to now all agree that in a world of power femininity is weak. i disagree. Both that femininity is synonymous with weakness but also that the entire world is just a ridgid power struggle. I also believe that peace is no achieved through power. And those desperate to attain power are not interested in peace. And we should all appreciate the implications of that.

A woman doesn’t need to win an arm wrestling match against a man to exert power over him. We can all agree identity is a complicated thing and the roles we take in society shouldn’t be defined by anyone other than ourselves. But that’s not to say we shouldn’t play our role in society. And boundaries do matter. It brings structure and stability not only to our families and our communities but to our own individual lives. The role you play out will likely reflect the relationships you have. And that’s what we need to be focussed on, relationship building. A relationship is not a power struggle, unless it’s a toxic relationship. A good relationship is a negotiation between give and take.

The world isn’t a power struggle between oppressed and oppressor. It’s a dance of compromise so when we are able to compliment one another opportunities open to us. Your identity does not belong to a group. You are a sovereign entity and you own your unique identity. Your sexuality does not dictate who you are, your income level does not dictate who you are, your political preferences do not dictate who you are, your ethnicity does not dictate who you are. Correlation does not necessarily equal causation. Labels are useful to a degree when you are attempting to articulate your thoughts and feelings but a label is not a membership.

Who you are as an individual is for more complex than mere orientation. There is an intrinsic divinity deep within us all that separates us from every other known species. Only humans can articulate the difference between a stone, a boulder and a mountain. A weed, a flower, a tree. A puddle, a lake, an ocean. We literally create reality through our observations. We don’t live in a world of things, we create things when we assign value onto them, building reality itself. This is what resonates with us when we find ourselves staring at art, trying to understand why it strikes us so deeply.

I think this is the shred of truth behind all this post modern concepts of social constructs and the dissolving of boundaries. It may be true that society constructs and assigns roles to individuals like the way an ant colony delegates to it’s worker ants. But I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why we’d be better off without these boundaries and these roles we’re meant to play out. This is why I’ve come to the conclusion that secularism is doomed to fail. That there’s no coincidence that the vast majority of these neo-marxist activists are also atheists. Because it’s less about whether or not God is some dude chilling in the clouds above and more about whether or not you can have a functioning society when you have removed and discarded an ideal. There is no such thing as a secular greater good. Because we all play out worship and the concept of the sacred. it’s ingrained in our DNA. Just watch people lining up for the latest NIKE pop up store or the latest iphone and you tell me there isn’t some form of worship going on there. We all do it. However God is the only thing that’s perfect and righteous that’s worthy of worship. He represents the greatest Ideal. And we seek redemption because the great ideal shames us all. The same way the strong shame the weak, the beautiful shame the ugly, the smart shame the stupid. Not people but characteristics. Some of which are out of our control but all represent a better life if we can attain it.

This is what Nitsche lamented when he proclaimed that God was dead and that we all had blood on our hands that won’t wash off. If you remove the one shared sacred ideal that is manifest as God then we can’t help but look to others for worship. And all the things we regard as sacred inevitably reveal themselves to be hollow and fake. Why do people achieve celebrity status? Did they dictate those terms to us or did we project it onto them? Celebrity politicians, chefs, musicians, actors, etc etc. We seek them out so we can partake in worship over their guidance just to inevitably be let down by any one of numerous scandals that come out. Because they’re just human like us. Why wouldn’t they be flawed, like us? Because we’re looking for God in them, but we’ll never find it. And this makes us cynical about society as a whole because we are too stubborn to admit when we are wrong.

I am not one to really be quoting scripture or speaking about God as though I know him. I never grew up with faith and was an atheist for most of my life. But seeing what secularism produces has forced me to admit that I was wrong. I am on my own journey to build a relationship with God and come to know him. But what I see now is the value in what God represents. Not just the greatest ideal but a way of life. By building a better relationship with God we also build better relationships with those around us. The virtues of the bible quickly become a compass to guide you through life.

I do believe the bible contains truisms about humanity that we fail to identify in ourselves. And I believe when it is applied properly God’s truth allows you to see past your own biases. It allows you to truly choose the path in life that actually leads you to a destination, rather than wondering through the fog of secularism. It’s only when you have purpose in your life that you actually have a destiny. And without a purpose you devolve into utter despair and drag everyone around you down with you. This is true with addicts, if you really want to be saved, you turn to God. That’s true for all of us at every stage in life but only more prominent to those at rock bottom.

It was Shakespeare who wrote “all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and entrances. And one man in his time plays many parts.” I have always found that line profound and deeply true. But as I continue to observe how things have been playing out I think a better analogy is that the world is really just one big game. To where men and women are the players. With each one playing it’s own role. I say game because there’s a phenomena that plays out with games. In order to open opportunities you must first set restrictions. You must first build boundaries and everyone must abide by a set of rules. Otherwise the game cannot function. No one claps for a game without any rules.

Look at chess. You first draw eight of vertical lines on a board. then eight horizontal lines criss crossing those vertical lines. Then you end up having 64 spaces from which you can utilize to navigate your chess pieces. You have pawns, rooks, bishops, knights, a queen and a king. These pieces all have their own unique functions. Every piece plays a role in achieving the objective of checkmating the opposing team’s king. These simple boundaries may seem arbitrary but it’s by creating these restrictions that you open up millions of opportunities of combinations, maneuvers, tactics and overall strategy that has inspired thousands of books written time analyzing the game. But the game is only fun when everyone respects the rules. You can apply this to most games.

To relate today’s culture to chess, people are now questioning the rules and boundaries of society. Trans issues, race issues, gender issues, age issues, we are living in an era re-evaluation. Which, don’t get me wrong, is necessary. Nothing and no one is above scrutiny. Maybe we could re-engineer the game of life to shrink the inequalities of our minorities. But is it possible to actually achieve true equality? What does actual equality even mean? These are extremely significant changes that are being posed and it’s true that some changes may be dangerous but no change at all may be grave. But there’s a hysteria that’s been bred into today’s youth where they think if it doesn’t happen overnight the actual world will actually end. And that’s not a healthy mindset when seeking to implement change.

That’s like saying why should rooks and knights be different from pawns? Why does the victorious outcome revolve around the king solely? Why are pawns sacrificial? All valid critiques but the answer isn’t to just turn everyone into pawns. Or to turn everyone into kings. The game just wouldn’t function. The game just wouldn’t be fun. The game would lose it’s purpose. And no one would want to play it out. And that’s what’s at stake in attempting to level the game of life. It’s also fair to callout when rules are not being followed. When outside sources manipulate the game to dispossess the players. Capitalism is under assault because there are forces at play like vulture capitalists who aren’t playing by the rules. That kind of corruption doesn’t just hurt people, it brings the entire game into question. That’s fair.

However there’s no coincidence that feminist champions like Emma Watson are lonely failures, referring to themselves as “in a relationship with themselves”. An attempt to yet again change the rules to hide from the utter failure they’ve become. Feminism has always aimed at tearing down barriers and in many ways you can wisely argue that certain barriers needed to be torn down. Maybe doing so actually opened opportunities for women for the better. But an entire generation of men and women who can’t interract is not good for society. An individual can only be dispossessed for so long before they lash out. Incels are not good for society, whether male or female. Also those who find themselves walking through life literally without any friends. It’s reaching epidemic levels. We are in a relationship deficit that needs to be addressed and not be pointing fingers at one another.

These identity group alignments are hurting society. But it is in our DNA to be tribal creatures. That’s what brought us to become social creatures. But there are good, healthy tribes and there are bad, cultish, toxic tribes. The problem with tribal groups is that a mob can reduce any great individual to a mindless patsie for bad ideas. Otherwise good people actively participate in riots. Social media has only hurt our ability to form relationships but even worse it has no forgiveness over interactions. Social media really has revolutionized the way we can interact together but the problem is when it becomes weaponized for political purposes.

I do believe that a modern civil war is playing itself out. Our elections clearly indicate to us that people are using their votes strategically to wage wars against others, rather than what the votes were intended for. To vote for what you believe in. And that’s muddying the waters of our political parties when people like Trump who are by no means a conservative end up leading the conservative party. Calls for progressivism in a Canadian conservative party full of social conservatism because the Liberal leaders have forced their parties to be so rigid in their ideological niche that people become dispossessed and politically homeless.

Sure, political parties need to adapt to a changing society but we are a society that is built on a foundation of values that we cannot turn our back on. And making a conservative party less conservative and a liberal party less liberal isn’t the answer. The Canadian liberal party has turned their backs on God to embrace secularism. But here we are with a PM who is promoting the sacred ideals of modern feminism as the basis to all his policy making. We fought for the segregation of church and state just to have our highest office indoctrinated by ideology. And it is bleeding over to our institutions all over the country, including our laws.

The diversity, inclusion, equity ambitions are resulting in a mono-culture that is exclusive and engineering disparities as per “positive discrimination” initiatives. Because the ideology is consistent. It believes we live in a tyrannical society and its solution is to merely replace the tyrant. The problem is we don’t have a dictator. There is no man behind the curtain pulling strings to create barriers to access opportunities. It’s no one else’s fault that your life sucks. It’s just your fault. You may have valid grievances and may raise good arguments why some things need to change. But the harsh reality is that you are failing yourself and there are likely way more things wrong with you than there is wrong with society. And you’ll never change a single thing if you cannot change yourself. It starts with you. Then it permeates through your family. And that’s the impact you have within your community. And it’s the collective contributions of communities that shape this country. And the interactions of countries that determine the greater destiny of the world.

Tearing down society only tilts the world closer to hell. Maybe that’s what you want. But ask yourself, deep down, what exactly are you mad at? Yourself? Your family? Your community? Your country? The whole world? Or is it God himself as you generally just loath humanity itself. I believe it’s this dispossession that is what made great societies of the past crumble and die. And if we’re not careful, the exact same will happen to us. If we aren’t aligning ourselves with what’s good for ourselves then we are tilting the entire world towards hell. Until we can replace God with an equal greater good we have no choice but to fall back on the bible and it’s teachings to realign society. If meaning and purpose is what you seek then learn the bible and applies God’s virtues to your own life. Then watch your life improve. And maybe then we can all have a much more productive conversation on what needs to be changed. Until we die and the next generation forgets absolutely everything about history just like we have now. History is absolutely repeating itself and it’s up to us to decide how much bloodshed is acceptable before we’re willing to back away from that cliff’s edge.

We need art to remain organic and come from an honest place of curiosity and the unknown. As long as it’s used to promote politics and preach narratives of self righteousness, I’ll just continue to tune out and keep watching my reruns of Christmas Vacation and the Naked Gun trilogy. I mean, why do you think all these throwbacks to the past are trending now? Because people are so sick of being told how to live and have lost faith in the institutions meant to guide us through life. People want to take the road less traveled, not walk a one way street towards a dead end. That’s not the way the game is played.

 

 

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.

-Thomas Merton

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