Are We Really Rationally Rationalizing?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure many have benefited from psychoanalysis over the years, yet the “compartmentalization” Freud offered to the thinking world has disturbing consequences.
Our world seethes with emotional and physical difficulties in which we can conveniently categorize into compartments in which we have no responsibility. If we think of something uncomfortable, our ego is reasserting itself. If we engage in wanton sex merely as a means to “still the urge,” well this is nothing more than the expression of our libido. Of course, we have no desire to acknowledge our “id”–“it” merely exists for its own self-fulfillment and who could fault anything for just existing?
In case anyone has not noticed, humanity has issues. People everywhere are trying to find meaning in order to make sense of their surroundings. We have sought meaning in power, in wealth, in change and even in personalities–network television makes millions, if not billions, off the visceral need for people to live out their lives vicariously through characters in “un-reality shows.”
Secularism finds it rather unsettling to embrace the evidence of a “higher power” which surrounds everything. The first response is to look inward. This in itself can be unrewarding since what is “inside” is usually demonstrated on the “outside.” There are some very fine minds who seek to guide the masses by centralizing all thought and motivation on the Self through positivism relying on the belief we have the power to “change” our circumstances. Some circumstances can be changed by us; Newton’s Law demands a reaction to every action and observation surmises this also works in society. I believe the Bible reminds us of this as well: we will reap what we sow.
Now if we are indeed the “center of our being, our reality,” (not a new idea, China used to call itself Chung Kwo or “Middle Kingdom” because it thought it was the “center of all”) does this mean we are then willing to be responsible for our actions? Claiming our egos drive thoughts, emotions and reactions argues against this. Claiming to be the center is nothing more than the rehashing of the “Big Bang” theory–everything started from a single point, we don’t know how it got there and we have no idea what made it go “boom!” It did, we’re here and I’m in charge!
I have a relatively good memory. Having this, I remember most, if not all of my actions and thoughts, though I have relegated many to forgetfulness. I have noticed having this memory produces many things: guilt, fear, loss, humility, arrogance, pride, love, joy, hate and kindness among many others. Granted, not all at once, but these all lurk in the shadows of my memory. If I desire to be honest, these emotions can be overwhelming (literally they can cover me like a flood) and they are convicting. Herein lies my dilemma: why out of all my memories do I consistently have problems with those being most negative and destructive? It’s not that I never think “good thoughts,” but why do the “bad thoughts” cause so much pain and anguish?
Secularism attempts to build a world detached from the foundation on which all that “is” has true meaning. The Self can satisfy for a short time, yet the wisdom of maturity convinces us this is silliness–or as one ancient scholar remarked, “This too is vanity.”
My challenge is this: there exists meaning not in a thing, an event, an ideal or ourselves but in a Person. Such a person must be beyond my own limitations, peccadilloes and idiosyncrasies in order for me not to eventually be disappointed with Him as I have (and all humanity) with other people. This Man came into this earth in the manner of all humanity, yet He lived a life of perfection and died an unjust, undeserved death. He is familiar with all of my weaknesses, He knows how I am tempted to do wrong, yet He loves me in spite of it all. He told people He was the embodiment, that from which all meaning is based, of the Way, the Truth and the Life. If I trust Him, believe Him through the actions of a life changed by Him, I can experience meaning and eternity beyond this moment, the next one and all of eternity that follows.
In spite of my imperfection, He loves me and I have trusted and love Him.