So, where do we go from here?


There is no prescription we can give you here that ensures any transformation in the culture or in the way you might feel.  Partly, because technology, such as this, is not the answer and often part of the problem.  The answer lies in community – relationships united in the quest for common principles, virtue, and the meaning of truth in the search for authentic life.


What we can suggest are two important guidelines to help navigate the remains of damaged relationships, fractured communities and broken spirits.


1. Commit yourself to the pursuit of truth –to what is right and decent.

Part of this pursuit requires a commitment to knowledge.  We may need to be open to views that rise above mere modern trends, and need not be suspicious of ancient ways of seeing the world.  But not all our efforts are to be educational.  Much of it you may already know within you – a basic understanding right and wrong that is engrained in the way we are formed.  Here, we must resist the temptation to rationalize those behaviors that pursue only our selfish desires.  While this may stimulate our flesh, it violates the human spirit.  For example, substance abuse is a poisoning of the body.  An unnatural alliance that creates an unnatural dependance…an artificial happiness.  We know that in the core of our being, but the commitment to sober-mindedness also requires a desire for virtue.   It requires a belief that this virtue will produce, over the long haul, something infinitely more meaningful and fulfilling.  Virtue is a triumph of the human soul, but it escapes most.  We could continue on…most people know it is wrong to pursue pleasure for their own stimulation at the disgrace or expense of another, void of all responsibility.  Most know it is wrong to neglect the responsibility of family relationships.  But to lay down one’s immediate desires for the sake of a more meaningful existence is for some a inexhaustible task.  And in this way, most are slaves.  Slaves to our own whims and desires.


Reflect on the following well-known quote:

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”


2. Find a community of people that are committed to growing with you in these values and virtues.


Faith - whether religious, philosophical or scientific – is most fully lived out in community.  The context of relationships is what challenges us to grow beyond ourselves.  True community can provide accountability - a lost component of virtue – as we struggle to become more than we are.  It is not judgmental or arrogant, but rather appreciates the interdependence we have as we travel alongside one another towards a common destination.  We are not merely our own, and embedded in the very meaning of our lives is the effect we have on one another – for better or worse.  Part of our commitment to virtue is tied to aiding in the betterment of “us” as a whole.  Virtue, like faith, always lives and breathes in true community.


3. Resist the urge to run


Our world is certainly evidence of mankind’s inclination to the fight or flight response. Our reaction to conflicts is usually either to explode or avoid.  But in these situations, our commitment to work through conflicts for the greater sake of relational intimacy is truly the mark of humanity.  We survive as a culture through relationships, and yet it is the personal survival instinct to fight or flight that is destroying the very essence of these relationships.  In the previous dialogue, we outlined the dissolution of trust in those institutions that were once viewed as secure…the disintegration of a network of social and relational stabilities.  When this happens, we will subconsciously revert to personal survival instincts (to fight or flee). And yet we are called to something infinitely more meaningful and lasting.  Something that can only be achieved through unfaltering commitment to one another in the belief that something greater can be achieved through “us” than can be through “me”.  It applies to families, friendships, communities of faith, and the like.  It is what it is to be human, and it is vanishing in our time.  The fruit always exists where the limb is the most shaky and fragile.  But to climb out on this limb, to be vulnerable at risk, courageous in our pursuit of something sweeter, and determined in the aftermath of a fall…this is a triumph of the human soul.