Tag Archives: Christopher Lasch

Sunday Devotional: Whoever wishes to come after me must deny yourself

Mark 8:27-35

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the gospel will save it.”

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself”.

The above reading from Mark 8 wasn’t the only time when Jesus warned us about narcissism — the excessive love of self that expresses itself as selfishness, self-preoccupation, entitlement, and pride. In Mark 9:33-35, too, chastising the Apostles who were arguing who among them was the greatest, our Lord said in no uncertain terms:

“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”

The late author Christopher Lasch, in The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in An Age of Diminishing Expectations, maintained that narcissism is the disorder of our time. Indeed, the decade of the 1990s is given the sobriquet of the “Me Decade.”

Some are of the opinion that contemporary Western culture itself is narcissistic:

  • Psychiatrist Richard Fitzgibbons observed that the “predominant character weakness in our culture is that of selfishness”.
  • James F. Masterson, M.D., described American society as “signifying the virtual apotheosis of the interested self.”
  • Psychiatrist Alexander Lowen, in Narcissism: Denial of the True Self, said that in his forty years as a therapist, he (and others in the psychological profession ) had seen a marked change in the personality problems of those who came to him for consultation. Instead of the neurotic guilts, anxieties, phobias, and obsessions of earlier times, Lowen increasingly encountered narcissistic individuals saddled with depression, a lack of feeling, an inner emptiness, and a deep sense of frustration and unfulfillment.

Narcissism being “the disorder of our time” is due in no small measure to the increasing secularization, irreligiosity, and outright satanism of contemporary culture. As Fr. Juan José Gallego, the exorcist for the archdiocese of Barcelona, Spain, explains, the Devil’s favorite sin is pride.

See “Satanism as a new political movement in America” and “Satanism is now a cool thing in California, esp. Hollywood“.

C.S. Lewis, too, called pride “the great sin” and wrote that “it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”

Like all narcissists, Lucifer’s choice to love himself more than God only condemns himself to misery. As poet John Milton so perfectly captured the fallen angel’s eternal misery in Paradise Lost:

Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell.

And what’s the antidote to narcissism?

Once again, Jesus had already given us the answer:

To love God with our whole heart, our whole mind, our whole soul, and with all our strength.

May the peace and love of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ be with you this glorious Sunday,

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Narcissism, the First Sin

Godnebula

Exodus 20:2-3 (The First Commandment)

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.

Temptation of Adam & Eve1

Genesis 3:1-5

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Pride

Ecclesiasticus 10:13

Pride is the beginning of sin.

jesus-christ-crucification-cross

Matthew 16:24

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

thorns

Philippians 2:3, 5-8

Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory….
Have in you the same attitude
that is also in Christ Jesus,
Who, though He was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, He emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
He humbled Himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.

The late author Christopher Lasch was convinced that narcissism is the disorder of our time (See The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in An Age of Diminishing Expectations). Indeed, the decade of the 1990s was given the sobriquet of the “Me Decade.” Some are of the opinion that contemporary Western culture itself is narcissistic. As examples, psychiatrist Richard Fitzgibbons observed that the “predominant character weakness in our culture is that of selfishness,” while James F. Masterson, M. D., described American society as “signifying the virtual apotheosis of the interested self.”
Worse still, narcissism has only increased since the 1990s. Psychiatrist Alexander Lowen said that in his forty years as a therapist, he (and others in the psychological profession ) had seen a marked change in the personality problems of those who came to him for consultation. Instead of the neurotic guilts, anxieties, phobias, and obsessions of earlier times, Lowen increasingly encountered narcissistic individuals saddled with depression, a lack of feeling, an inner emptiness, and a deep sense of frustration and unfulfillment. (See Alexander Lowen, M.D., Narcissism: Denial of the True Self, pp. x-xi, and 8.)
Peace and Love of Christ,
~Eowyn

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How the super-rich avoid paying taxes

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that the rich are not like you and me.
Tyler Durden writes for ZeroHedge, Feb. 15, 2013, that 1% of Americans control over 40% of the United States’ wealth. But those making $10 million or more a year pay an average income tax rate of only 19%, which is a much smaller percentage than middle class folks like my husband and I pay!
Despite all of Obama’s and the Dems’ tax-increase talk, those increases will  not affect the super-rich. The truth is many members of Congress are among the super-rich — Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Diane Feinstein come to mind — and the super-rich are protected by both major political parties.
I’ve often wondered how the super-rich shield their wealth from taxes. Here’s how:
rich
Writing in The Atlantic in 2011, Chrystia Freeland reiterated what the late and brilliant Christopher Lasch had first observed more than 17 years ago in his book, The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy: There is a new global super-rich elite that is transnational and anational. Having more in common and identifying with each other, their concerns are global instead of national. Put in a different way, this new global super-rich are internationalists, not nationalists. Among them are the American super-rich.
Freeland writes:
[… the rich of today are also different from the rich of yesterday. Our light-speed, globally connected economy has led to the rise of a new super-elite that consists, to a notable degree, of first- and second-generation wealth. Its members are hardworking, highly educated, jet-setting meritocrats who feel they are the deserving winners of a tough, worldwide economic competition—and many of them, as a result, have an ambivalent attitude toward those of us who didn’t succeed so spectacularly. Perhaps most noteworthy, they are becoming a transglobal community of peers who have more in common with one another than with their countrymen back home. Whether they maintain primary residences in New York or Hong Kong, Moscow or Mumbai, today’s super-rich are increasingly a nation unto themselves.
The rise of the new plutocracy is inextricably connected to two phenomena: the revolution in information technology and the liberalization of global trade. […]
As with the aristocracies of bygone days, such vast wealth has created a gulf between the plutocrats and other people, one reinforced by their withdrawal into gated estates, exclusive academies, and private planes. We are mesmerized by such extravagances as Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s 414-foot yacht, the Octopus, which is home to two helicopters, a submarine, and a swimming pool.
[…] another defining characteristic of today’s plutocrats: they are forming a global community, and their ties to one another are increasingly closer than their ties to hoi polloi back home. As Glenn Hutchins, co-founder of the private-equity firm Silver Lake, puts it, “A person in Africa who runs a big African bank and went to Harvard might have more in common with me than he does with his neighbors, and I could well share more overlapping concerns and experiences with him than with my neighbors.” The circles we move in, Hutchins explains, are defined by “interests” and “activities” rather than “geography”: “Beijing has a lot in common with New York, London, or Mumbai. You see the same people, you eat in the same restaurants, you stay in the same hotels. But most important, we are engaged as global citizens in crosscutting commercial, political, and social matters of common concern. We are much less place-based than we used to be.”
[This…] helps explain why many of America’s other business elites appear so removed from the continuing travails of the U.S. workforce and economy: the global “nation” in which they increasingly live and work is doing fine—indeed, it’s thriving.
Read the rest of the article, here.
~Eowyn

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New Jobs Created Are In Low-Pay Industries

Flipper & Hamburger


Last Friday, the Obama administration trumpeted that the economy is reviving because of the alleged decline in unemployment and concomitant increase in the number of new jobs. But according to Gallup, the U.S. unemployment rate actually rose to 10.3% at the end of February. Worse still, most of the new jobs are in the low-pay “hamburger flipper” sector.
Here are excerpts from Zachary Roth’s March 9, 2011 article for Yahoo! news, Jobs Returning – But Good Ones Not So Much

Lower-wage industries — things like retail and food preparation — accounted for 23% of the jobs lost during the recession, but 49% of the jobs gained over the last year, a recent study (pdf) by the National Employment Law Program found. Higher-wage industries, by contrast, accounted for 40% of the jobs lost, but just 14% of the jobs gained. In other words, low paying jobs are increasing as a percentage of total jobs, while high-paying jobs are on the decline.
• Meanwhile, the percentage of those working who have part-time jobs and want full-time ones surged in mid-February to 19.6% — almost as high as it was a year ago before the recovery began, according to Gallup numbers. That suggests, of course, that a large number of the new jobs created over the last year are part-time.
• And a recent Wall Street Journal analysis found that even though productivity rose 5.2% from mid 2009 to the end of 2010, wages increased by just 0.3%. That means only 6% of productivity gains were shared with workers. In past recoveries, that figure has averaged 58%. This time around, far more of the gains went to shareholders, in the form of profits, which are at record levels.

In other words:

  1. The Obama administration’s rosy picture about the economic recovery is a lie.
  2. The structural change in the U.S. economy which has been going on for some time now even before the present recession/depression struck in 2007 is real and our government is unable/unwilling to do anything about it. The structural changes include:
    1. The outsourcing export and loss of manufacturing jobs;
    2. The movement down of those workers to lower-paying low-skill low-education “hamburger flipper” jobs; and
    3. The socio-political consequence is a diminishing middle class that bodes ill for democracy’s future
  3. Conservatives shy away from this, but the miniscule 0.3% wage increase despite a 5.2% increase in labor productivity means that American workers are being screwed by their corporate masters. Remember what the late Christopher Lasch warned us in his prescient book, Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy:

There is a new global elite — comprised of multinational business corporations, Hollywood and pop music, news media, and professionals (bankers, traders, investors, lawyers,) — who are not nationalists because they make their living in/from a global market. The Americans among them have U.S. citizenship but don’t really care about America or the American people. They have more in common with their cohorts across the world. That is where their hearts are, and it’s not America. 

~Eowyn

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