Finding Direction: The Model of Moral Growth and Moral Decay 2.0.5
We need to resist the temptation to believe that really all people would choose Growth if they just knew the facts. Growth and Decay are at war in us (and have been at war in us) because they are equally strong, but effective for different reasons and with different results. In fact, Decay is often stronger in the short term and for personal advantage – even though this can be dangerous for others and for the natural world. There are many “good” reasons to choose Decay. We need to confront them out in the open.
American popular culture includes many Decay-inducing values. We sometimes ignore them because they sneak in under our radar or in disguise, but the rot of these misunderstandings can destroy us gradually. Decay eats away at the foundations of a courageous, independent, loving life. Should we choose the temporary fun that everyone else seems to seek out and praise, or should we choose a sense of lasting internal joy? Should we choose instant thrills and excitement with a crowd over a mentally and emotionally stimulating and interesting life that would demand individual commitment and effort? Should we take mindless risks without awareness of the long-term consequences, or can we face the intrinsic adventures of life with courage and knowledge? Do we believe that we deserve comfort and ease without effort and care? Do we want security and safety more than responsibility and freedom? Do we make ourselves the measure of all things, full of self-absorption, self-centeredness, and self-concern, rather than noticing and taking into account all the other lives around us?
Without Words We Cannot Think
“Strictly speaking, however, modern advertising seeks to promote not so much self-indulgence as self-doubt. It seeks to create needs, not to fulfill them; to generate new anxieties instead of allaying old ones.” Christopher Lasch (1932-1994), The Culture of Narcissism (1979)