Through this text I wish to engage you in a discussion regarding the relationship between ourselves and the religious experience- not necessarily religious belief in the orthodox theist sense, but rather the wilful adoption of moral principles on an individual basis, without any physical coercion or external input, fostered internally just as those prescribed by religion are held, regardless of society’s attitudes as they currently stand or the permissions granted to us by the state. The core idea at the heart of this investigation is to understand how we can distance ourselves from any instilled or unquestioned ethics, something that is oddly commonplace in a world so obsessed with the individual’s tangible experience- what material wealth they possess or how much attention they garner- yet with such little care given towards individual psychological experiences, and how the gradual removal of individual agency from morality through socialised norms, expectations and enforced laws has created a culture of people unwilling to question those norms and therefore unable to understand the significance there is in obedience or disobedience to them. There is a climate of lethargy in ethical thought, morality is thought of as being formed around the laws and principles of society at large, which none can function outside of, however much they may disagree. To provide an antithesis to this we will examine the ideas of C.G. Jung and Soren Kierkegaard on the topic, examining their utility in giving us a new perception on faith and religious devotion in a way that both strips away the long-defunct role of religion in enforcing moral uniformity whilst breathing into it new life, giving us an opportunity to use the process of religion as a defence against the thoughtless, materialistic individualism that is prevalent throughout the west and as a tool to deconstruct and analyse the normative prescriptions that are impressed on us.
This is less of a question of inheriting the culture of ones’ parents through their genetics, or that culture itself is ingrained to the genetic makeup of each cultural group– there is little question that such a thing is possible– but more a question of how much of what we call ‘culture’ exists in all of us.
Tradition appears to be a familiar, yet quite obscure notion in our present times. It is often overlooked and certainly never given a full critical apprehension. Our current era bears the stamp of a profound disdain for a real appreciation of its value. It is partly due to the fact that we live in a society reluctant to recognise anything that is independent from the will of the individual, anything that transcends it throughout the ages. Tradition has evolved from a very concrete meaning (in the Roman world, tradere meant to hand over for safekeeping) to the more abstract understanding we have of it today, and this subtle evolution should not deter us from asserting that the societal force behind both conceptions is a vital constant for all human societies. Tradition is the carrying over of laws, customs and habits, from a generation to the next on a given land. This article will explore some political, cultural and literary trends that have claimed to uphold tradition ever since the Enlightenment philosophy made its way through the decisional structures of Europe. It will assess their pertinence and the kind of legacy we can extract from their experience.
If the confirmation bias, this desire to be surrounded by and exposed to likeminded people is natural then why should we be concerned that facebook, twitter and other news feeds are becoming ‘personalised’ and offering ‘tailor made news’ ? There are two main reasons I will explore here and suggest to — rather, I will plead with — you to reject the personalised news feeds and the next time you’re offered to have your news ‘streamlined’ , ‘tailor-made’ or made ‘just for you’ , say NO !