29 March 2011

When a culture passes its peak

The culture of repudiation moves rights and duties from autonomy (creativity and authority) to entitlement (claims and neglect) according to how much opportunity for creative endeavor and growth the collective has, or has lost. 
After a society has passed its peak growth period, its institutions molder and decay because they can no longer activate and credibly rouse the thrill of participation in common creative purpose. The challenge of the true religions is to bring back hope when the culture is becoming exhausted. 
That is point of the story of childless Abram leaving the city of Haran seeking to fulfill the promise of a multitude of offspring and of a purchase on a new, promised land. As a culture passes its peak, therefore, its relation to its land alters from homeland to promised land; and its relation to its future and to the future generations that come of it alters from an anatomical exercise to a collective, spiritual one. 
The Old One enters the picture because the Old One is the carrier of hope. When a culture passes its peak, it has run out of hope for the taking and must now begin to manufacture it deliberately as part of the collective enterprise. The manufacturer-in-chief of hope for a culture is the Old One. The story of Abraham and the story of Israel is really the story of the perpetuation through spiritual means of the moribund but highly advanced culture of Sumer and Chaldea which originated in Ur. 
The role of the Old One is to grant old, decrepid, exhausted but venerable cultures a new lease on life through spiritual institutions that go beyond material institutions. The story of Abram is the story of turn-around, not the story of entrepreneurship and the founding of something from scratch. The story of Abram is the story of starting from the foundation of sophisticated infra-structures that do not need to be conquered because they have become exhausted and are past their peak. Abram’s story is about the mechanism of resilience at the largest scale, at the scale of the national mission and vision.

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