I was reading a fascinating and orthodox book titled: "Leave your Life Alone by Hubert Van Zeller. Most surprising was that fact that it was written in the 1970s, a time of turmoil and descent from the Church. He writes:" In spite of its concern with outward things, western society has ever been so concerned about its inward troubles. Escape into materialism has shown itself to be a boomerang and we are all more locked up inside ourselves than ever: the boomerang has come back in the form of a ball and chain. That is why we bore one another so incessantly: we are fellow prisoners whose recreation is to talk about ourselves . We revel in our prison sentences while preaching freedom, we are so earger to outdo one another with our permissiveness that the only real freedom worth having is missed." Indeed, it seems that the pop-psychology approach of caring for ourselves first, has led us into an obsession about self that has taken the form of "self-consciousness", "self-determination" and self-evaluation". Aldous Huxley writes wisely of the negative impact of self-empowerment and caring for self philosophies--a widely misguided cultural phenomenon that has perhaps lead us into becoming a society afflicted with clinical depression. Huxley writes: "The systematic cultivation of self-awareness may as easily produce undesireable as desirable results. Where personality is developed for its own sake, and not in order that it may be transcended, there tends to be a rising of the barriers of separateness and an increase of egotism". The evidence, right now, points towards this separateness pervading the American landscape and causing isolation and a notable increase in depression and anxiety. The National Institute of Mental Health, reported in 2004, that approximately 26% of adult Americans suffered from a variety of mood and anxiety disorders, representing close to 58 million Americans. There is indeed a malaise sweeping through American society, causing a restlessness of the soul, and compromising the individual's ability to cope with the demands of daily life. A data health management firm, IMF Health, estimates that in 2007, pharmaceutical sales of antidepressants in the US topped $11.9 billion, an amount that should cause alarm. The talk of treatments and remedies for depression remain centered on the prescription of antidepressants and on coping mechanisms for getting through the day. For those who are spiritually minded, the culture contaminates Church teachings regarding selfless charity as a remedy for ailing souls, and whispers to the soul the perverted notion that an inward examination will bring peace. There is something to an inward examination of conscience that is good, but Van Zeller cautions the reader that there is a danger, when seeking knowedge of self with too much zeal, that can lead the individual into discouragement and confusion. Van Zeller claims that when an individual looks inward and asks the question: "What do I feel bout the problem?" rather than "What does God feel about these things?, "he ceases to be a spirtual person". He further writes "Among the first fallacies of today is the one which believes that worry and fear and guilt can be exorcized by talking about them. Do you wonder that we all become bores?" Could it be that the cure for our depression epidemic is to not worry about our own situation, but to simply feed the hungry and clothe the poor? for in doing so we feed and clothe Jesus himself?
Our Lady's Tears Productions has begun the filming of our second documentary which will explore the depression epidemic in American society. Pray for our endeavor and help us, if you can, by visiting our website: http://www.ourladystears.com/ and purchasing our documentary on the Theology of Human Suffering, in addition to chaplets and rosary beads.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Forgetting Ourselves and Finding Healing in the Divine
Posted by David James at Monday, August 30, 2010
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