Diversity and Multiculturalism: Longing for “The Other”
Diversity is a natural result of globalization. However, Globalization is meaningless if it does not unite Humankind for a common purpose. Diversity must come naturally – or not at all. Artificially imposed diversity weakens a nation, it does not make it stronger.
To follow nature means to obey God. Unfortunately, our public schools avert from all forms of catechism and laugh at God. By ridiculing religion, liberal atheists are turning away from not only their origins, but their very substance – religion is extremely important for every human being’s mental health and equanimity. If you think you are too “scientific” and too “smart” to believe in God, allow me to remind you that Albert Einstein believed in God, as did Isaac Newton and Aristotle… How does that make you feel? It should make you feel humble and inquisitive, not pompous and condescending.
Indeed, religion is important as a founding stone on which culture is built. However, it cannot be just any religion in any society. A society which rejects its religion – in order to tolerate all while having none – is volatile, internally weak, susceptible to being attacked both from within and without. When atheism reaches the point of no return, the individual feels empty, abandoned, unloved. This translates into the feeling of the society at large. Civilization suffers. If you deny the existence of God, you are unable to accept true love and forgiveness.
Being empty within, people either start to crave for their roots again, or reach out to the dominant nations and their religions. The first is a historical and philosophical process: we crave not just for our constitutional founding roots, but also for our past leaders, our legends and myths. When religion disappears from our lives, myths must take its place, in order to sustain social structure and cohesion. Recently, we have seen it with the re-emergence of Star Wars, fighting the imaginary enemy, an inter-galactic monster, a many-headed dragon in the form of saucers and robots. You must not offend the fans – “It’s a religion,” they say. True. A myth re-unites the society and fills individuals with their proper “social function.” We exist not merely to create and pass on our individual heritage but, above all, to foster and reinforce our nation, to further our culture, to support our civilization.
All our national mottoes express this culturally unifying function, stimulate us as individuals to persevere in our small pursuits and deeds, in order to create one great America! New Deal, Great Society, Yes We Can… Every time we come in contact with a foreign culture, we try to be tolerant, but we cannot be tolerant of the “other” which never accepts US, our culture, our religion, our myths and legends. When I hear CAIR attacking our system of laws, suing an employer over “Muslim prayer breaks” for employees (settled in Pickering v. Board of Education (1968) 391 U.S. 563), when I hear the Mayor of Philadelphia stating a religious killing “in the name of Islam” had “nothing to do with Islam…” I wonder whether the Americans who stand by in silence or even further such outrageous acts of forced assimilation by “doing as they are ordered” (in the famous words of an infamous Dachau supervisor) know what they are doing? Sociologically speaking, they are committing genocide upon our culture.
Whenever in history a society and its culture was in crisis, people turned to religion. When religion failed to support them, fairy tales and myths rose into prominence. People would also inevitably turn to their governing bodies, their chosen, appointed or elected “heroes” to stand up for them in times of need… Where are they now?
The reason why young atheists in the ranks of Sanders-Clinton followers do not see the cultural emptiness they have been thrown into is because they were told State stands for God, and there is nothing the State could not do: take property from one, give it to another; take guns or allow them; dole out money, forgive debts, refinance mortgages, regulate markets, provide for the poor of the world…
“What does ‘your God’ do for you?” they will ask. “Look at what Obama can do!” They will pause at our silence and say: “Your God can’t stop ISIS! But Obama – at least he is doing something…” But what? Those youthful idealists have never really suffered, they have never known real poverty and never been subjected to the rule of a dictator. It is the suffering, the poor, the sick and oppressed that always turn to God – and, unlike Obama, God is always there for them.
In our materially rich, spiritually poor world, we are trying to revive the great minds of the past: Hegel and Marx on the left; Kant, Locke, Hume on the right; Aristotle and Plato on both sides. However, it is not the works of these thinkers that we read, but interpretations or snippets of wisdom and quotes, 140-character Twitter “treatises” with Facebook links and U-Tube “sources.” Only the tip of the iceberg comes up on the screen. The soul, the heart… they remain empty.
With this emptiness, this demise of one’s own religious and cultural roots, the insatiable craving for “the other” arrives. What follows is the assault on language: deconstructing texts, creating “narratives,” complaining about “the tone.” Politicians dabble in our language as if it was a cake they themselves are not too eager to eat: a nip here, a poke there… Perhaps “my people” will like the marzipan, the politically correct façade? What they are doing is smuggling “the other” into our language. What they can, they erase (e.g. the word “nigga” in Mark Twain). What they cannot erase (e.g. the word “terrorist”) they ban: all of a sudden, it is a “T-word.” Raping the English language, they are molesting our culture. What is our culture but the mother who gave them birth, weaned them from pups. It is a crime too atrocious, whose consequences I dare fain to contemplate.
The “other” is something we want to revere, in order to fill the void within left by God. Thus, populist demagogues come and go, trying out their grin-and-gaggle on us. Of course, some will always fall for the front, because the absence of God makes the human being shallow. Character cannot mature in shallow waters. Those who have fallen for the ideologue, to them, the Ideologue is the deity, and nothing will change their minds. If Sanders says this about the Wall Street, then it must be true. Sanders’ word is their commandment.
What they do not see is that economic conditions are only manifestations of inner spiritual life, which means God within: faith in oneself and love for one’s country. As they do not believe in God, they are empty inside. Their economic struggle is conditioned by their spiritual emptiness, and reflects it in their conduct, which is that of a herd of sheep, not autonomous, independently thinking individuals. Before you go without and scream mottoes and follow your populist demagogue idol as if they were a god, you ought to pause, turn within yourself, and reflect upon what lies beneath the crust, the façade, the marzipan on the promised paradise.
Needless to say, “the other” may be represented by a culture or religion foreign to our kind. We are accepting of many other religions and cultures today. It is healthy to the extent to which they bring us positive charge, health and wealth – cultural, social, and ethical growth.
Nevertheless, should we be void within, lacking of our own culture and tradition, faith and persuasion, should we not fight for what is truly ours, not stand up when assaulted and maligned – then we would become that herd of sheep at the mercy of an idle shepherd, the idol inviting foreign gods (or prophets, if you will).
What is more, an empty person has nothing to offer in the cultural exchange. When one culture murders, rapes, kills – with the ultimate aim of destroying all other cultures – and the other culture stands idly by, following an idol, it is the latter which will be destroyed.
Our relationship to other cultures should never be that of submission and dependence, but that of reciprocity. The “other” must accept US as we are, on reciprocal terms. The “other” must not be forced upon us, but we must both go and meet each other half-way, for equal benefit, be equally willing.
One example for all: the “meeting” of the Buddhist, Hindu, and Christian cultures: every Friday, by the local pool, people with Indian heritage don their traditional gowns and costumes to dance and cherish and revel their culture. They are peaceful, innocent, welcoming. You cannot not admire and love it. Those ladies look so splendid, with stars adorning their foreheads… it is like a fairy-tale! Of course, on “normal” weekdays, you would not be able to tell: in all other respects, they are Americans. This is multiculturalism.
There will always be emotional strife and struggle, bickering and bartering – that is human and fosters civilization. What stultifies it is killing by suicide-bombers, torture, rape, mass murder… Whenever such actions occurred in human history, they were doomed to spite and ultimately failed – but not without a fight, Mr. Obama, not without a fight!
Interestingly, these “cultural relapses” have always occurred prior to a religious renaissance. Christianity had had this period during the 15th and 16th century. Witches were burned in Europe until the 1750s, roughly about the time we declared our independence. After the centuries of Dark Ages, blights, plagues and terror, a new era began. No wonder it has taken another 300 years for a less advanced religion, stultified by totalitarian rule. Civilization travels from East to West. It reached China and India half a century ago, and now …Iran and Iraq.
The search for the “other” is at the same time the search for the meaning of life. Today, we believe that the meaning of life can be grasped, described, photographed, stored on the computer and reviewed in detail. However, all such depictions are only interpretations. At school, children learn interpretations. Consequently, later in life, these children will become adults used to taking shortcuts by means of interpretations. Gullibility is built into our education. Snippets of reinterpreted “wisdom” surround us. Turning on Twitter is passing through waters, seeing tips of icebergs, rowing on, propelled by the desire to “connect,” to be a part of humanity. Has internet substituted God? And what happens to such youth when they have no God within, no firm moral and ethical roots? What happens when they feel lost, when they cannot shout “USA! USA!” without offending someone – when they “do not belong…?”
Then the search for the “other” ends in disaster: drugs out of desperation, gang-life out of the need “to belong,” ISIS or Starwars (?) – out of the starving Soul. We cannot accept – and will not be accepted by – the other when we ourselves have forsaken our God and remain empty within. That calls for scorn and dominance, which is what Islamists are showing our atheists. At the same time, inner emptiness is not a civilizational but a human dilemma, which is why “our” western youth may sometimes look admiringly at ISIS as “rebels” who want to undermine and overthrow our entire civilization. Their undeveloped minds are not any less or more developed than those of an average youth in our western societies. It takes the experience of everyday struggles for a human being to become “ripe” and appreciate life. Clearly then what connects “our” atheistic idealistic youth and the radical Muslim murderers, is the desire to follow the idol. It is a vacuous and vain desire, which emanates from emptiness within. In the absence of God, they long for something – anything – without.
We have taught them how to substitute religion with Hollywood – legends, myths, fairy tales transformed into a modern setting. However, the veneer of computerized tricks and professional fly-jumps and shoot-outs is all too clear to penetrate. One must be capable of “keeping up the pretenses,” fostering one’s own imagination, belief in the supernatural – before we abandon ourselves to a moving romantic movie or a dramatic chase James Bond style.
There is a strange connection between religion and imagination – one fosters the other. It is a healthy symbiosis, which produces moral and ethical human beings, capable of overcoming suffering and becoming what God wanted them to become; or, for those less “religious” out there: to follow their bliss. In order to follow your bliss, you must believe. Thus, happiness and belief are inseparable.
Social stability comes from the absence of inner and outer conflicts. Multiculturalism is a way of achieving it. Mutual understanding and respect is at the core of Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism… Such civilizations flourish. We ask forgiveness and respect to be respected. We do not slaughter to “earn” a place in Paradise.
Finally, the search for “the other” may result in lack of finding either: a religious root within, outside, without, or a substitute supplied by Hollywood or modern technology. Such a person will remain lost and shall not recover unless helped, set on the right path. All too often, it is these lost souls that opt for painkillers, drugs, crime or suicide. Even some psychosomatic disorders may be seen as effects of inner spiritual emptiness: chronic depression, fibromyalgia, compulsive and manic disorders, gender dysphoria… These are often “scientifically” medically analyzed and causally interpreted. The main causal factors, however, are impalpable – they lie deep in the soul of every individual. The good old saying: “The doctor treats but only God heals” answers all.
What is society like when those who search for “the other” find only such “other” which is equally empty and hungry within? It becomes a society without a state or nationality. Nationality consists of language, morality, religion – even borders are secondary to our language and religion. Empty society is running away from itself, asking for shelter and food – as if God and Faith, belief in oneself, were qualities as palpable as bread and water. The unsatisfied becomes insatiable, asking for more: more and better – food, house, car, money from “the rich…” They look outside for help, thinking more multiculturalism will help – more like us.
But what is “us”? Is “us” the Other?