The loss of our interiority

According to the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), man has learned far too much and has forgotten what existence is and what interiority means. Systematic thinking has no eye for matters that are essentially related to existence. Internalization means a liberation from system-thinking. In other words, by paying closer attention to the inner voice of our conscience, we free ourselves from ideologies, stereotypes, and other prejudices or abstractions that undermine essential human-to-human relationships.

Kierkegaard warns that humanity is in for a disaster if too abstract thinking (in the form of systems) makes the ethical and the religious fall away. Logic alone does not bring us to awareness of what the ethical demands of us. Kierkegaard: “The only reality there is for man’s existence is his own ethical reality.”

We are now two hundred years further and during this time our knowledge is increasing exponentially. Information technology is taking over our knowledge and, through Artificial Intelligence, has almost infinitely more knowledge than a human being can ever comprehend. Would this mean, following Kierkegaard, that we have moved even further away from true life? Have we completely lost our inwardness or our subjectivity? What does existence still mean for today's man?

Because we live in a time when all kinds of ominous developments seem to be escalating, a breakthrough in human consciousness may become possible. So I express myself with caution. That breakthrough will be so radically opposed to the lifestyle we are used to that this change will seem unlikely to many. It is a rejection of materialism and hedonism, in order to place the Ego at the service of the Other. In the first place with the people with whom we feel connected by blood, a common history and culture, shared norms and values and traditions that we cherish. This also means a recovery of family life, village or neighborhood life and of the fatherland. Serving the Other means caring for our  environment, striving for self-sufficient agriculture and horticulture, and restoring the old landscapes. In short: we strive to create a common 'home', where connection and solidarity reign.

On a more personal level and with regard to our social relationships, the emphasis will be on inwardness and meaning. A meaningful life and meaningful relationships are inspired by the unconditional and selfless love for the Other. This is the core of Judeo-Christian ethics and has produced in the European civilization the best that human beings are capable of. Internalization leads to  the realization that we as individuals are responsible for the meaning of our lives. We are then no longer in the service or rather: we are no longer the slave of what others dictate to us, but it is about the personal choice to take responsibility for the Other.

On this basis, Europe will be able to play a decisive role on the world stage in the transition to a new era. All people and all nations will take responsibility in their own “home” in solidarity with each other. This will bring an end to poverty, to oppression and to the abandonment of the weak. An era without war and aggression is coming into view.

An example can clarify the transition to an age of inwardness. Make the choice to have children. There are two strong arguments young adults can use to convince themselves never to father children. First and foremost, they can then continue to enjoy their freedom for life. They can interact freely with friends. They can opt for a flexible job, because there is still plenty of employment. They can undertake long journeys and make contacts or work together with peers in distant countries. The saying „Carpe Diem" applies to this first argument. Enjoy the moment and every beautiful day and experience.

The second argument is of a different order, because it concerns concern about the future. While we may enjoy every beautiful day given to us (a sensible attitude), the terrible looms on the horizon. We don't want that children will be the victims. This concerns the ominous developments that seem to be getting more and more intense. Climate change will make large parts of the earth unlivable and barren. Nature is being destroyed more and more. Animals and plants are dying out and this seems irreversible. Pandemics will definitely resurface. Tensions in the world are rising, with the greatest danger being the accumulation of nuclear weapons. Who wants to hand children over to such a future?

If fewer and fewer children are born, humanity will die. This will primarily be the case with white people. Other races will then take their place and bring here the misery of their own civilization. Eventually the tribes exterminate each other. Enough reason not to bring children into this world.

The age of inwardness will make a totally different sound. It is no longer about personal enjoyment, about material happiness and about chasing exciting and fun experiences. Nor will it be about feeling victimized by disaster. The person who prioritizes his inner self will cherish an environment in which he cares for others. He does not leave his parents and his family. He begets children to pass on his love to them. If he finds himself in dire circumstances, he will show solidarity with his fellow human beings and he will know that in the community in which he lives, charity always wins. Even in the face of great shortages and severe natural disasters, the experience of being able to care for others will make people happy. In short: in the age of inwardness, love for the Other will make every life, including that of the child, meaningful. We multiply so that love does not leave the world.

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   © Juliaan Van Acker 2024