My Sequel to Radical Son
Reflections on my journey.
We are born into this world with no explanation of why we are here or where we are going when our journey is over. Out of these mysteries a desire is created in each of us that our lives should have some meaning and not be random and without purpose. For the religious among us this desire is requited through faith in a divinity who has a plan for us, even though it is hidden now, to be revealed only after we have passed into the next life. For others, this desire is fulfilled through a crypto-religious faith in “social transformation.” Through human efforts - so goes the creed of the social redeemers - a new world is possible in which injustices have been vanquished and human harmony prevails. These are the impossible – and therefore destructive - dreams of the revolutionary left, which provide their acolytes with a license to act as gods, lay waste to civilizations, put generations to the sword, and never look back.
The consolations of a radical faith are formidable. For believers, it provides a home in a heartless world, which otherwise would take no notice of their existence. In Radical Son, I described my own grappling with this all too human plight and its consequences. To give up the revolutionary illusion is to provoke a spiritual crisis. It requires one to confront the fact that the world can never be fixed; to accept, as the preacher observed so wisely, more than two thousand years ago: There is nothing new under the sun.
In Mortality and Faith I spelled out the consequences of this observation for radicals:
There is no redemption in this life. Generation after generation, we transmit our faults and pass on our sins. From parents to children, we create the world in our own image. And no power can stop us. Every life is an injustice. And no one can fix it. We are born and we die. If there is no God to rescue us, we are nothing.
Here is why you cannot change the world: Because we – all six billion of us -- create it. We do so individually and relentlessly and in every generation. We shape it as monarchs in our homes and beyond, when we cannot even master ourselves. Every breeder of new generations is a stranger to his mate and a mystery to himself. Every offspring is a self-creator who learns through rebellion and contrition, through injury and error, and frequently not at all. This is the root cause that makes us who and what we are – the good, the bad, the demented, the wise, the benevolent and the brute. We are creatures blind and ignorant, stumbling helplessly through a puff of time.
I would add to this now, a Judaeo-Christian caveat: that we are corrupt in our natures, born to rebel even against a paradise that was given to us - even against God. We lust, lie, steal, cheat, covet and kill. We make all too human mistakes that injure and deform. The more power we are given – especially as revolutionaries and reformers – the more dangerous we become. There is no one overseeing us to administer true justice and wise restraint. Humility and caution should be watchwords to guide us. But these are anathema to the missionaries whose goal is to command the future and bend it to their will.
We are multiplying too fast to civilize the next generations let alone our own. We are a planetary menace to living creatures. We cannot arrest our growth, slow it down, or order it. We are therefore hostages to the worst among us. The wise warn us to tend our own gardens, to treat with love and kindness those who are close. We listen but cannot maintain our focus, and forget.
Agree with this or not, it is what I see, and why I have reconciled myself to this truth: the struggle is endless and will always be, and we will not always win.
 Mortality and Faith, p. 56
 Ibid., p. 63