The other day, my son and I were having a meal together – a rare occasion. Between bites, he told me the plot of the latest science fiction movie that he watched. He wanted to know, if, like the characters in the movie, I had an opportunity to be god-like and change people or events, what changes would I make.
I answered that God is love. He created us to love Him and love each other as ourselves. If we all did what we were created to do, the world would be such a great place that no people or events would need changing. This was a simple answer that has been around for a long time. The big question is how do people impact/change history and how does history impact/change people.
Or, to put it another way do people impact/change cultural norms, or do those norms impact/change people? Students, professors, philosophers and theologians have been tossing that one around for centuries.
In making a case for the philosophy of Personalism, a belief in the I/Thou equality, yet uniqueness of individuals, my favorite op-ed writer wrote the following:
Our culture does a pretty good job of ignoring the uniqueness and depth of each person. Pollsters see in terms of broad demographic groups. Big data counts people as if it were counting apples. At the extreme, evolutionary psychology reduces people to biological drives, capitalism reduces people to economic self-interest, modern Marxism to their class position and multiculturalism to their racial one. Consumerism…as shallow creatures concerned…with pleasure and having stuff.
As I see it, Personalism is a more sophisticated way of saying, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The trick is to get out from under all of the baggage that our culture dumps on us.