The End of the Modern World?

downloadI just re-read The End of the Modern World (1956) by Romano Guardini, a Catholic priest and professor of religion and philosophy. I don’t share his beliefs precisely (being more or less a Jew-dist), but he makes a compelling and frightening case for what we have lost by not having a religious perspective play a role in our everyday lives.

Here is my take on some of his points:

Not having a central spiritual organization of life, now we create our destinies mostly by our own power and those often manipulated by for-profit power entities.

It’s ironic that our philosophy, spiritual beliefs and questions may be the most important things used to guide our lives, yet our early education does not explore these things. They are largely viewed as too personal to be covered in school. Until we have the courage to examine and discuss what we believe, we are in danger.

“Without religion life becomes like a machine without oil, it runs hot, even if its functions, some part of it is always burning out.” – Guardini

The desire to have Christianity or any single religion to hold sway unfortunately (since a single answer would be simpler in a way) is not viable any longer – no one religion has singular possession of truth. However, as we to continue to discuss the common ground to these perspectives (seems to come down to the Golden Rule in many ways), we can evolve a viable faith to guide us.

For me, it is regarding and treating as sacred the miracle of the environment, plants, and creatures of the earth, the miracles of biology and consciousness that constitute human beings.

“Our ancestors drew their subject matter from the religious attitudes which weighed on their souls. We must now learn to draw inspiration from the tangible miracles around us.” (Umberto Boccioni, 1882-1916)

As a massage therapist, it is quite easy to draw inspiration from “the tangible miracles around us” – these miracles of body, mind and spirit that are each of our clients. Perhaps this intrinsically “religious” attitude of massage is why touch and education in touch is so important in this post-modern world. Touch is actual reality, not virtual. It helps us be in touch which who we most fundamentally are without the intercession of doctrine. I believe in touch.