Rock in a liquid culture
European society is becoming liquid, according to Pope Benedict XVI, referring to the vanishing stability and increasing inconsistency that characterise it
He was speaking to representatives of culture, art and economics in Venice on May 9.
So is Maltese society. Inconsistency is more strongly evident on all levels.
We are increasingly saying what we do not mean and not meaning what we say.
More seriously, we are claiming that to be inconsistent is a right and a sign of progress.
Liquid positions are far from missing from the ongoing divorce ‘debate’.
Inconsistency is the new logic.
We can be for marriage and for divorce at the same time.
We can be sensitive to the victims of domestic violence while shortsightedly missing out on the pain and suffering caused by the remedy we are proposing.
We can be Catholics and against Catholic teaching and ethos at the same time.
We can believe in Christ and yet remain free to reject any part of his teaching.
We want to strengthen the family and undermine its foundations at one go.
We want to promise lifelong and unconditional fidelity so long as it is temporary and the conditions remain right.
While covering this debate the media bemoans the lack of objectivity that they themselves promote.
They provide the fighting ring for the fights and clashes they condemn from their amoral high ground.
Political parties mix principles with expediency, pushing their not-so-hidden agendas in the name of progress or enlightenment. Champions of freedom of expression censor opinions that differ from theirs, accusing them of the intolerance they themselves practice.
Secularists protesting against any whiff of a crusade conducted by the Church spare no effort in crafting their own against it.
Churchmen give mixed, compromising messages in an effort to appear open-minded to today’s enlightened liquid culture.
Inconsistency is indeed part of our fallen and weak human nature. No wonder that all of us, politicians, sociologists, churchmen, believers or non-believers alike, have our inconsistencies.
The question is: are we courageous enough to admit them instead of making them the norm?
A liquid culture seeks to redefine values to fit our comfort. Being inconsistent becomes equivalent to being practical and realistic, and thus becomes a new value.
According to liquid culture, ideals may be noble but unliveable in practice. Once we turn solid truths into fluid and flexible standards, we become free to pick and choose what suits us and when.
Thus we can freely break our promises in the name of being in touch with reality.
We can profess loyalty and deliver betrayal.
We may genuinely want to be faithful on condition that we remain free to abandon each other when the going gets tough.
Our trust in each other is underpinned by a deep layer of suspicion and insecurity.
Briefly, love becomes a passing emotion instead of being a freely chosen and solid gift of self.
When love, indissoluble marriage, commitment, loyalty, trust, stability and other basic values are no longer considered as the solid foundations of our relationships, no wonder our lives become a broken mess.
One day we will discover that our liquid culture has transformed our society into a deadly whirlpool.
Blessed are those who find the strength to go against this culture.
They will survive to tell their children that deep down, below the treacherous waters, there still exists a solid rock on which real life may be built and true love may be found.
The name of that foundation is Jesus Christ.