Most of us living do not know the hour of our death. Most of us living are too busy living to think about the one thing we fear most and (erringly) believe we have no control over. When I think of our Lord’s teaching in Luke 21:19 and the lost generation of young minds lead so far astray by only the latest and most radical version of “fundamental transformers”, my heart and soul break. What we would possess by our patience, they are set to forfeit by their ignorance. Willfully, I might add…their fate more blatantly obvious than a mouse trap; as they run gleefully onto their own spears.
I just read a funny cartoon that offers some glimmer of hope. A teacher asks the student to name the three branches of our federal government. The student replies, Greed, Cronyism, and Propaganda…which is sort of a comical synchronicity because I had only that same morning been thinking of the three most dominant characteristics of the average American; Complacence, Indifference, and Apathy. And by our patience He fully expects us to endure those who reject His word to take from the hand that sets the world against us, turning night into day, wrong into right, while posting road signs “To Paradise” on the highway to hell.
I’ve got a great lyrical addendum to the Seeger classic. Where have all the good thinkers gone? Have they been blinded, silenced, lobotomized…bribed? I’m thinking all four, because even the seldom thinkers know that good people don’t just wake up one day in pastures of Complacence, Indifference, and Apathy…they are led to such dark and dreary places over time by those who know that our Executive, Legislative and Judicial can only devolve into Greed, Cronyism, and Propaganda by the consent of the Complacent, Indifferent, and Apathetic. This is exactly what Ben Franklin meant when he replied to the lady who asked him what they had only just created on that day in 1787, “A Republic Madam…if you can keep it.” He knew the nature of man, and of the one who has led the loving parent, brother, relative and friend to turn against their own, down through the centuries. And then of course there’s this brilliant Brandon Smith observation that fit so perfectly into this, my final chapter:
Normalcy bias is a rather horrifying thing. It is so frightening because it is so final; much like death, there is simply no coming back. Rather than a physical death, normalcy bias represents the death of reason and simple observation. It is the death of the mind and cognitive thought instead of the death of the body.
So let’s summarize… Complacency + Indifference + Apathy – Faith + Normalcy Bias = The Death of Western Civilization. Period! And ours would not be the first civilization to die such a death. In fact, a Scot named Tytler first discovered the pattern as it relates to the death (tyranny) and rebirth (freedom) now dubbed the Tytler Cycle:
Bondage>Spiritual Faith>Courage>Liberty>Abundance>Selfishness>Complacency> Apathy> Dependence>Then starting over again with Bondage. What I find truly amazing is that Tytler lived during the times of the Founders when he figured out what we, with all the knowledge in the world at our fingertips, haven’t…as we are nearing the maturity of our own Dependence phase. 😦
There is nothing sadder to my mind than the empty and vanquished spirit in the twilight just before death…which is why most of us avoid nursing homes. Hundreds of thousands upon thousands of ghostly vacant portraits once belonging to the faces of youthful enthusiastic optimism, having given up the ghost while living, now waiting in their silent stupor for the final knock of death. Imagine if we could all see the instant replay of their lives via Warner Wolf’s “Let’s go to the video tape.” We would see the massive endless hordes of not knowing what they wanted not to know…because without a good shepherd, knowing only gets in the way. And Truth becomes the killjoy of all killjoys!
Another way to get a sense of where we are in the Tytler Cycle is, oddly enough, by watching some of the old movies. Take On the Waterfront for instance. Watching it the other day, I realized that me and you are the Terry Malloys! We could have been the contenders! We could have been the somebodies!! And I realized who the real mob in our world is too. They’ve got hit men that murder God-fearing ranchers, and collection muscle that operates through fear and intimidation…with the power to put a lien on the home you worked for, and even put a tap on your income and savings! What we used to affectionately refer to as Uncle Sam, has morphed into an out-of-control raging monster that makes yesterday’s Waterfront Mob seem like a pack of cub scouts! Only most of us don’t see it because, as Tytler would have predicted, we in our classic Hat-On-Backwards-Dependency stage are nothing more than dead men walking…
The healthiest and most effective way to prepare for the end is to imagine yourself at a high school or college reunion. What do people do at reunions? They make themselves bigger! We all do it. The stories about our kids, our toys, and our adventures are all meant to build us up and make us bigger, when the Truth is we shall all have to become much, much smaller to get ourselves through the narrow gate.
Oh yes, there is something else we learn about becoming smaller. When managed properly, it makes us much, much taller…
by Robert Service
It’s easy to fight when everything’s right, And you’re mad with the thrill and the glory; It’s easy to cheer when victory’s near, And wallow in fields that are gory. It’s a different song when everything’s wrong, When you’re feeling infernally mortal; When it’s ten against one, and hope there is none, Buck up, little soldier, and chortle:
Carry on! Carry on! There isn’t much punch in your blow. You’re glaring and staring and hitting out blind; You’re muddy and bloody, but never you mind. Carry on! Carry on! You haven’t the ghost of a show. It’s looking like death, but while you’ve a breath, Carry on, my son! Carry on!
And so in the strife of the battle of life It’s easy to fight when you’re winning; It’s easy to slave, and starve and be brave, When the dawn of success is beginning. But the man who can meet despair and defeat With a cheer, there’s the man of God’s choosing; The man who can fight to Heaven’s own height Is the man who can fight when he’s losing.
Carry on! Carry on! Things never were looming so black. But show that you haven’t a cowardly streak, And though you’re unlucky you never are weak. Carry on! Carry on! Brace up for another attack. It’s looking like hell, but — you never can tell: Carry on, old man! Carry on!
There are some who drift out in the deserts of doubt, And some who in brutishness wallow; There are others, I know, who in piety go Because of a Heaven to follow. But to labour with zest, and to give of your best, For the sweetness and joy of the giving; To help folks along with a hand and a song; Why, there’s the real sunshine of living.
Carry on! Carry on! Fight the good fight and true; Believe in your mission, greet life with a cheer; There’s big work to do, and that’s why you are here. Carry on! Carry on! Let the world be the better for you; And at last when you die, let this be your cry: Carry on, my soul! Carry on!