I imagine scholars of trivia all across campuses on this planet engaged in protest, deeply engrossed in research in a university library while doing graduate studies. The Ph. D student working on a thesis that just has to be done or the short story for a class. Insight there has to be methodological. All Christians in the society that we live in today have an intensified disenchantment with their faith at some points in their life. They often ask themselves, ‘am I spiritual enough’ instead of that refrain that we hear so often, ‘am I good enough’ but where does the disenchantment come from?
Anything I buy it Religion is like traveling to another universe. You have to come prepared with a survival kit for the wilderness history that seems to include antiquity and Christianity. I have found answers in both religion and spirituality. Humanity will always be full of love for antiquity and aware of the sharpening vision coming into focus of modernity. Is religion the future no matter how modern life clashes with it, the tensions that arises alongside the chemistry, the unidirectional crises, and the maladjusted behavior found in humanity and our neighborhood communities?
We can stand on platforms but we will always stand in judgement of each other. We embraced social media the same way we embraced every pop culture icon in the history that preceded it. Christian guises, texts, images, rituals, religion and media have always been a part of modernity. Why stop now right but has Christianity always wanted recognition? She has survived wars. She speaks. She speaks. When it comes to worldviews in modernity in the West, the synthesis of antiquity and Christianity in the world today and other places. Certainties disappear in the wake of the synthesis of antiquity and Christianity like coins thrown into a fountain. What is the Christian fall-out in the end? In a way, why has Christianity survived?
The only thing that seems most obvious to me is that modernity in the West cannot exist without the history of antiquity and Christianity. We find antiquity in a museum being propped up and groomed into the formation of dust. Only intellectuals and busloads of children on school trips supervised by a teacher or teachers will find it there. Time standing still. The hourglass is standing still. What is in the power of my hands? What is in my power? As a Christian, it is to go to church on a Sunday morning, to read the bible, to do good deeds, to have a spiritual nature, to guide children whether or not they are mine, to say grace before every meal (these of course are rituals).
What does antiquity and the art of modernity in the West mean to men and women in their mid-thirties these days? Do they give it any thought? Think of how far we have come in history to this day, this hour, this very minute. Perhaps in a way they are all rivals. Modernity, antiquity and Christianity. They all have their own identity theory. The grandeur of antiquity is profound. Every man and every woman is a prophet but not every man and every woman is a Christian. At the end of the day after the dust has settled in the cities and the countries of the world, at the end of the memory work of our education, the fact that there are poets and artists everywhere stops us from thinking with an experimental clause in our thinking when it comes to modernity.
Modernity will always be there in the same way that antiquity will be there but not Christianity. Why is it different when it comes to religion in my perspective? We will always be washing away our sins by putting up a masked face, putting on a costume, an elaborate stage play, a dramatic pose and going through rituals.
Lost souls are we and on the other hand, lost souls are we are not. We are not lost yet. We are not the wasted generation yet. In South Africa, the burning fires of the past and a kind of tomorrow land that exists sometime in the future confront us. This tomorrow land has a kind of domineering attitude as every society ever did. It is the latent past of modernity that brings with it a kind of territorial tenderness. People and poets who live in poverty think nothing of modernity, antiquity and Christianity. The gods they serve are a loaf of bread. Their professors are their hunger pangs.
The feminist that we are confronted today either embraces will, religion, or spirituality. There are no longer any heroes waiting for us in parliament or the political climate of the day. There is something beautiful in thinking that modernity in the West is based on a synthesis of antiquity and Christianity. If we continue to think this way, then I think there will come a time when we will re-examine what we have to come to know of power.
The struggle between spirituality and the external world. Our environment and climate change. Perhaps then, the feminist’s paradigm will shift when it comes to happily ever after, the sexual transaction, husbands and the reality of them. What does the word ‘synthesis’ really mean? If we were always going about life separated from each other, not linking up with other human life and creating chains and catalysts then we all would be poorer for this experience.
Human life has its traditions and rituals when it comes to Christianity. I have a mind of my own. Can we be truly lost in the cosmic, can I be lost in cosmic Africa if it was not for antiquity? Modernity’s predicament is this. It is antiquity that remains unknown yet there is something distinct and infinite about it and in the end Christianity remains a religion. What becomes of religion when it can longer feed the masses loaves of bread and fishes? When it can no longer indoctrinate the working classes? When it comes to modernity and the holocaust what was the main emotion there?
Marriage and family in modern times has changed so much. Filled with consequences, overarching dilemmas and overwhelming disappointments. At least humanity can say, ‘we have antiquity’. There is a beauty and an elegance when it comes to the synthesis between antiquity and Christianity for it triumphs over the abstract, the metaphor, camp. All of that dissolves and evaporates and what is left in its place is a kind of distillate. For the female subjects, they feed their babies in the early hours of the morning. They will sew.
There will always be shifting patterns in their reality. The relativity of domestic moments, waves of those kinds of domestic goddess themes as she goes through her day. She has her own interrelationships. She has chores that fill her day. Cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry, exploring her sense of self in the pictures of a glossy magazine. Christianity has her own kind of language rooted deeply in ancient texts. Christianity is a tangled psychological wreck for atheists. The glare and the illumination of antiquity has its own credentials.
It is not religion that dazzles but rather antiquity that does. In the end, it leaves us with a firm sense of isolation. What does Christianity mean to the woman (does it mean much more to the woman than it does to the man)? A woman’s desire is more concentrated and much more focused. She knows exactly what her obligations are. What does Christianity mean to the man? He randomly searches for an epistemological freedom.
If it were not for antiquity then we would not have museums or libraries collecting dust. What the present-day self is looking for in religion, well people might not find salutations there but what they will find there are confessional booths, Hail Mary’s, and hallelujahs. For me personally, spirituality triumphs over religion.
I do sense a kind of confinement when it comes to antiquity. I would go as far as calling it ‘an exploration of the lost years’. Years I did not live in. Years before my birth. Generations spent with teachers. Apprentices looking for mentors.
On some scale that still happens, but today people do not go around talking about antiquity, synthesis and Christianity in the same lofty tones or with a kind of satisfaction. We forget to speak about and separate the ordinary intellectual and remove them from the high octane sphere of wealth, banal education and a cultural diatribe because sometimes the ordinary intellectual can lead us to disappoint us somehow but never antiquity.
We call forth women’s work in today’s society. We look at how she confines herself to the roles that she plays. Mother, daughter, sister, friend, colleague but it was not always like this even ages ago. Mother, daughter, sister, friend, colleague not in any particular order. A woman selling fruit or fish at a marketplace.
The church existed eons ago. As did Christianity, antiquity, modernity. For every era, there is a different modernity. New clothes, new food, new writers, new techniques, new styles, a new psychology that permeates the consciousness and dissonance of interpersonal relationships, family and working life. I think when Christianity first came into play that was when humanity began to place restrictions on human life. Is religion meant to empower but only to empower and uplift the working classes? Humanity is meant to be creative. We are supposed to push mental boundaries, discover the imaginative, we should worship, and if we do not worship God or a god or gods then perhaps it brings our very livelihood into question. We would be a very dull species if we were not creative.
The major advantage of Christianity is that it brings people together who would otherwise not be together. It constructs a mainstream community but with Christianity, there is always a closely-knit state of fear. With all of the emotion that comes with Christianity there will always be the positive and the negative interlaced like stitches on a quilt, woven like details in a tapestry, images of Jesus Christ on the cross being jeered at by soldiers, a crown of thorns on his head, being denied three times by Peter.
Society’s Christians carry that image of Jesus Christ wherever they go. Death and birth. There is always that transcendence that must take place. The human race increases their own suffering. If our work life is disappointing then so will our perspective on society be. My self is my only link to modernity.
My ego is my only link to the external link and Christianity is my link to the postmodern world. School was always disappointing. There was no link there to modernity, antiquity or Christianity. In some ways, antiquity is like Christianity. It may happen intrinsically. In the end, I was always disappointing academically. To answer the question of whether modernity in the West is based on a synthesis of antiquity and Christianity, I would have to say yes. When it comes to modernity, I only have to fall back on female writers, poets and artists from Africa, North America. I just sit in awe wondering at how far we have come from the days of Martin Luther and monasteries. I think of the distance covered as a journey (the destination is not important) other writers, gentle artists such as the South African born poet, Antjie Krog, and Ingrid Jonker. Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Nadine Gordimer’s Oral History, Jann Turner’s Southern Cross and NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names.
Whether or not they are gentle with their work leaves much to discovery. Museums are there for a reason. Sometimes fully understanding that it is still to be found in pop culture is a complete waste of time when everybody has access to some technology. People think rock concerts are a part of pop culture, never realizing that perhaps the day will come when lyrics will be part of antiquity.
The day we forget history and welcome this tomorrow land, I worry about our descendants. Left with a plastic fantastic world. Left with Disney as our most redeeming quality. Left at the mercy of the fake art of television. This is how we will live in the future without modernity, antiquity and Christianity.
I do think a time will come when we will recycle the words modernity, antiquity and Christianity and all that we will end up with is a distillate. They will be like doves released at a wedding.