Tag: industry

Sorcerers Control?

Sorcerers Control? posted in Eleison Comments on October 28, 2017

In a recent interview the Managing Director of Mercedes Benz, a state-of-the-art German firm for the production of high quality motor cars, painted a picture of mankind’s near future in which computer software will disrupt most traditional industries, and in which their own main competitors will no longer be other motor car firms but Google, Apple and Amazon! Law, he says, nursing, car driving, insurance, real estate will all be substantially affected by computers. By 2027 10% of everything produced will be 3D printed. By 2037 70 to 80% of jobs will disappear. Cheap smart-phones will make world class education available worldwide, and so on, and so on. But such dramatic predictions need to be put in their place, which is secondary. Machines are only machines, and computers are only machines.

It is ever since the Industrial Revolution broke out over mankind in the 18th and 19th centuries that men began to wonder what the inhuman machines meant for the future of human beings. Since then many a wise observer has raised serious doubts as to the ultimate impact of the materially more and more marvellous inventions, but mankind as a whole has only hurtled forwards, trusting that the onrush of machines, compounded by electronics and computers, could only be more and more beneficent. Yet is it a wise or happy man whose nose is always buried in his smart-phone?

The basic problem is that machines are purely material while human beings are primarily spiritual. So the most useful of machines can only sub-serve what is primary or most important in the life of human beings. Man is indeed composed of material body as well as spiritual soul, so that material machines can certainly serve his body, but that body is merely the carrier of his spiritual soul for the duration of his brief life on earth, and then at death either the soul without supernatural grace drags the body down to the eternal torments of Hell, or the soul with the grace of Christ lifts the body, normally through the temporary torments of Purgatory, to the permanent bliss of Heaven. Either way, whatever the body may have done or not done to the soul during life, after death it is the state of the soul which determines the fate of the body, and not the other way round.

However, in our terrible times even Catholics can lose their grip on these elementary realities of body and soul, life and death, so let us turn to music to illustrate the limitations of matter and machines. In a modern recording studio there may be dozens of high-performing machines and thousands of brilliant buttons, knobs and dials making up ever more perfect machines for the recording of what? For the ever more faithful reproduction of sound? What sound? The sound of a human being either singing or playing an instrument. And why record it? Because the recording will sell and make money. And why will it make money? Because music is a unique language for expressing emotions in the human soul, and be it Furtwaengler conducting a classical orchestra, or the Beatles strumming on guitars, the human musicians are by their musical gifts expressing through the material means of orchestra or guitar in the material-spiritual language of music those spiritual emotions which a whole public wants musicians to express for it. And if the musicians are soulless, the most brilliant of recording engineers will never make a living. In every human art, the mechanics are necessarily subordinate to the artists.

Therefore the more spiritual are the lives and activities of men, the less seriously will they take merely material upheavals in human affairs, such as the managing Director of Mercedes Benz evokes. On the other hand the more men turn away from God, the larger such upheavals bulk in their lives. Readers, take a spiritual Rosary into your material hands, and leave well behind you the looming disasters of our materialistic “civilisation.”

Kyrie eleison.

Interior Cave

Interior Cave posted in Eleison Comments on October 23, 2010

Visiting Subiaco put me in mind of two lines of Latin verse which situate in succession four founders of great religious Orders in the Church. Besides sweeping over three quarters of Church history, the lines also suggest why so many a Catholic soul today is hanging onto the Faith by its finger-tips.

Here are the lines:—Bernardus valles, colles Benedictus amabat,

Oppida Franciscus, magnas Ignatius urbes.

A free translation might be:— Bernard loved valleys, Benedict took to the hills

Francis worked towns, cities Ignatius tills.

In chronological order (slightly upset here by the demands of the Latin hexameter), St Benedict (480–547) sought God in the mountains (Subiaco, Monte Cassino); the Cistercians, galvanized by St Bernard (1090–1153) came down to the valleys (notably Clairvaux); St Francis (1181–1226) roamed amidst the small towns of his day, while the Jesuits of St Ignatius (1491–1556) led the apostolate of the modern city. One might say the modern city took its revenge when Jesuits, with Dominicans, led the collapse that was Vatican II (e.g. de Lubac and Rahner, S.J.; Congar and Schillebeeckx, O.P.).

For is not the progression from hill to city a progression from being alone with God to being only with man? Industrialism and the motor-car make the modern city with its soft life possible, but in doing so they generate a daily environment steadily more artificial and cut off from God’s Nature. With the material comforts increase the spiritual difficulties. In fact big city life is becoming so inhuman that the liberal death-wish may soon bring on the Third World War, to devastate urban and suburban life as we know it. Then if, for a variety of reasons, a Catholic cannot take to the hills, how does he stay out of the mental institutions?

One answer is logical. He must live with God, inside himself, in an interior cave, leaving the world to rush all around. He must turn his own heart into a hermitage and at least his home, if he can, into something of a sanctuary, while respecting all natural family needs. That does not mean living in an unreal world of one’s own, but in the real world of God within, as opposed to the fantastical world of the Devil without, pressing on us from all sides.

Similarly, the Newchurch has closed countless monasteries and convents since Vatican II, which leaves rather fewer openings for a soul which may think that it hears an interior call from God. Has he led them up a blind alley, or has he let them down? Or is he maybe calling them to lead a religious life within, turning their little flat in the big city into a hermitage, and their godless office into a field of apostolate, by means of prayer, charity and example? Our world is in grave need of Catholic souls that radiate outwards their inner peace and calm with God.

Kyrie eleison.

Rampant Reality

Rampant Reality posted in Eleison Comments on September 4, 2010

“But, your Excellency, how can you possibly declare (EC 163) that the Lord God is the one true solution for all social problems of a big modern city, such as your friend presented them to you in his own city three weeks ago? What does God have to do with politics or social problems? I always thought He was only concerned with things like religion and spirituality!”

Ah, my dear friend, who is God? Not only did He Himself create the soul of each one of us and the matter out of which our parents put together our bodies, but also He goes on creating them for every moment that they continue and will continue to exist. He is thus closer to each of us human beings than we are to ourselves. So the Church teaches that any offence against our neighbor is first and foremost an offence against God, because He is more deeply and closely within us than we are in ourselves. So whoever offends neighbor, offends more deeply God, and whoever never offends God will not offend his neighbor. If then in the parish and school of the Society of St Pius X (EC 163) parishioners and children learn to put God first and His Ten Commandments, are they not learning to solve all big city problems, between neighbor and neighbor, at their root?

Let us recall the social problems of my friend’s big city. In the outlying suburbs mostly white people are living beyond their means in falsely luxurious mansions. They wish to appear rich, and dream of being rich. Are they not worshipping materialism and Mammon, i.e. money? What is taught on the contrary in the parish? “You cannot worship God and Mammon. It is one or the other” (Mt.VI, 24). In the inner suburbs, mostly non-white people to a large extent neglect their housing, to the despair of city planners, no doubt. But is it not a similar form of materialism to measure the good life or the goodness of souls by the maintenance of one’s housing? Cleanliness may be next to godliness, as the saying goes, but what do the parishioners learn?—”Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things will be added unto you” (Mt.VI, 33). In other words, seek godliness first, and the cleanliness will follow.

Finally in the inner city the city’s industrial life-blood is ebbing away. Why? Is it not capitalism itself that, in pursuit of greater profits by the subordination of industry to finance, has out-sourced American industry? Is it not the putting of money before men that is causing the ever worsening unemployment, the de-populating of the city-centres and the transfer of all power to the money-men who are using that power to transform faster and faster the once proud United States into just one humiliated part of their global police-state?

How could it happen? By the whites turning away from God, resigning (as my friend implied) from their God-given mission to lead the world to Him, and by their worshipping Mammon instead as the supreme reality. Long may the little parish and school of the Society of St. Pius X, outside the city, make the supremacy of God, of Our Lord Jesus Christ, rampant!

Kyrie eleison.