There is a rather large, bulging problem that is about to burst through our culture and overtake the world. The problem has many aspects to it. Humanism. Marxism. Darwinism. Pantheism. Atheism. Socialism. The underlying issue is that people in societies around the world are drifting further and further away from truth. It’s happening in our government, politics, literature, music, art. Anything that defines our culture. But the worst part of it is this. Our culture is shaped by smart people who know what they want, and our culture is made up of people who are blindly following the smart people around, because they think the smart people are wise.
But there is a difference between being wise and being smart. Wisdom is founded in truth; smartness is founded in how quickly our brain functions, how we size people up, our intuition.
Our presupposition is that truth is something external, something that’s not found inside ourselves.
Napoleon didn’t change the world. He wanted to, but he only ended up changing France, really. Darwin changed the world. Marx changed the world. Voltaire changed the world. Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, all these philosophers changed the world by their influencing thought.
Many of these philosophers had a problem. They did not believe that truth was external. They looked inside themselves for the answer. It reminds me of when G.K. Chesterton talked about the Hindoo saints. Their eyes were closed, looking inward. The Christian saint’s eyes were opened wide, looking for truth without.
Now, I need to say something about Darwin here, because I listed him as one of the greatest influences. You may say that he was looking for truth externally, because he was studying the natural world. The thing about looking for truth internally is saying: “I will explain truth, what I think truth is.” Which is what Darwin basically did with his ideas. He used evidence to explain his ideas (granted he explained the evidence against his ideas.) But the Christian saint who is looking with eyes wide open for truth externally is looking for something that is not explained by him, but is explained to him by the source of Truth
Changing the world does not begin with finding one good person and getting him into government. It starts with making influences that will make better people. It doesn’t start with a general who thinks he might be able to overrun the world and rule it. That ends in chaos.
No, changing the world starts with our literature, our music, our art. If you want to change the world by being a politician, that’s fine. But do something that influences the young generation. We need to be a generation producing books, music, art, philosophies, that point to ultimate truth, so the next generation can be better.
We can’t be the people blindly following the smart people around. We have to be the smart people. And even if you’re the follower, be a smart follower. Be smart enough to resist the flow of culture.
But don’t be proud. Pride is what makes us fall, pride is what leads us away from truth, down our own path. Remember that life every is a struggle, a fight. It has its moments of bliss and joy, but overall, we are struggling for what is right. We are fighting the world, the flesh, the devil, and the fight never ceases, especially in this reformation of our culture.
We must go through some of the pain of learning. I would like to say now that we’ve become pretty stupid people. Here we have a wonderful brain and only use a small fraction of it. The temptation is to use less and less of it. But let’s take care of our bodies and our minds. It’s not easy, it’s hard. We don’t feel like doing these things.
But really, we live in an education driven society where no one learns anything. Let’s change that, please. Love learning, love studies, love the hard, laborious work. It will do you good in the end. It doesn’t matter who you are. You don’t have to be a rich city kid who always got straight A’s in school. You don’t have to be a grown up. It starts now, with whoever you are, and however old you are.
But just remember something. We can only know the extent of something to an extent. Learning is a frustration. It takes faith to learn, so if you have any, expect to use it. We will never know the full extent of something. But as long as these other smart people are shaping our culture, we have to be just as smart to counterbalance them. We must be strong, confident, courageous, but we must be humble, accepting the fact that our bodies are finite, that our minds are limited, that we can’t know everything, or know everything about everything.
Just remember it starts with the books. The latest song. The newest painting in the art museum. That’s where you start. Be a painter, an architect, a writer, a musician and reform our culture. That’s where it starts, with ideas.