The Altar Of Oneself

One of the things that most drive me mad these days is the superficial, feel-good fluffy nonsense I see all around me. It is not only the stupidity in itself that grates me. It is, rather, the loss of religious feeling that it exposes.

Where I grew up, people were inserted in a system of values that was not decided by them. Faithful or atheist, leftist or right-wing, old or young, they all knew that …. they don’t make the rules; that they are not the arbiters of right and wrong; that it would be absurd to demand that they are “affirmed” in anything just because they have decided that this is the way they want it. Even Commies had a system of rules that they had to accept.

This is not the case anymore. Nowadays, it seems that everything is right because I say so. From purple metallic hair, to tattooes, to being 350 pounds heavy at 29, nobody can be criticised. The loss of religious feeling put an end to a socially accepted standard of norms.

People who don’t believe in God have no polar star in their lives. They also have no accepted, morally solid standard of goodness anymore. Therefore, everyone becomes his own little god,  and demands that everybody else worships at the altar of himself.

These new microreligions are childish, emotional and, more often than not, outright damaging. 300 pounds at 29 means a change of lifestyle or a likely early grave. A body covered with tattooes leaves marks that will be, one day, either regretted or even uglier to look at than in years past. Purple metallic hair out someone as immature and childishly rebellious, or childishly insecure, if not worse.

“Always be yourself”, stood on a coffee mug proudly exposed in a window shop.

Yourself is the new deity. Worship it at all times.

Obvioysly, “yourself” could be, and it actually is in most cases (yours truly included) a deeply flawed individual who should, like yours truly, actually think about how to become a better self, rather than bask in the feeling of his own unique snowflake greatness.

In past times, people thought “always strive to get better; always strive to get nearer to God; always strive to deny your flaws and to scalpel yourself into a person nearer to salvation”. Even when they weren’t religious, they would always understand the need to try to get nearer to that particular “religion” they had embraced. A coffee cup with “always be yourself” would have sounded, in those times, not only unbearably cheesy and superficial but, most of all, deeply wrong in the message it is obviously sending.

I miss that common  sense, that grounded feeling of being among responsible adults. It seems to me, increasingly more often, that I live among overweight, superficial, middle-aged children going through life with zero awareness of what is really important, but with a great, great opinion of themselves, at least officially.

I know that not everybody is like that. Still, there are enough of them to feed an entire business of cheesy mugs, cheesy pillows, and cheesy mottos put on the wall where a crucifix used to be.

So, irrespective of how sinful, superficial, godless, pink-haired, drug-addled, or donut-addled you are, remember that you are a unique snowflake, wonderful just as it is.

The only thing you have to do, is to always be yourself.

Posted on June 24, 2021, in Traditional Catholicism. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. A person with a mug saying, “Always be yourself” way back when would have come across as a conceited jerk who was flaky and full of herself (I can’t imagine a guy with such a stupid mug.). Today it says that you live by your own retarded development.

  2. There must be an absolute, a standard that transcends the individual, the nation and even the society and the culture. If there is no absolute then… anything goes. Big fish et littler fish… or not… depending on what they feel like doing at the moment.
    Here in the United States we are seeing that on a societal level as we discover that the “big fish” have been eating the smaller fish for awhile, merely not ostentatiously. It has become ostentatious and smaller fish (citizens) are getting angry.
    The only transcendental being is GOD, the Creator, the maker of all things and He who handed down the Law. His Word. We transgress at our grave peril.
    Even (so called) atheists don’t want to be pulled from their beds and eaten (a bit melodramatic, that) and search for some “rule(s)” to keep themselves safe from those who want whatever it is they think that they have.
    But the bottomline is, that without God, we have nothing at all.

  3. and cheesy mottos put on the wall where a crucifix used to be.

    There is a direct inverse relationship to a cheesy wall motto and the reality that abides within.

    “This home is full of love!” means, we fight all of the time and hate each other.

    Etc, etc.

  4. grassrootgonzo

    It is as if the world is being taken over by toddlers. They throw (deadly) tantrums if they aren’t obeyed/don’t get their way, they cannot be reasoned with logically, and their aims are simplistic: power and obtaining what others own by simply taking. They are desperate to join, be liked, yet rip to shreds and destroy with extreme malice anyone who thwarts or disagrees with them.

  5. I’ve always thought it a bit depressing to think one could be doomed to always ‘be yourself’. I remember a coworker confiding in me once, that she kept making bad choices with her life. She wanted advice so I suggested she just re-invent herself…think about her ideal self and then work at being that. She laughed at me. I told her I was serious and she told me it was impossible. I told her it wasn’t, that it just took some effort. She was your typical 20-something liberal type. As far as I could tell, when last I saw her, she was still making the same bad choices. It’s pretty sad that we have a world full of people like that.

  6. Kathryn Dresen

    What I absolutely cannot stand are the overaged adolescents so prevalent who tire of being married, who forget vows made until death, and are, as you put it, in “lurv” with someone else’s husband or wife.

    Society and “the church” understands. Just fill out the papers at the tribunal describing your lack of due discretion and incapacities and get your DON, Declaration of Nullity. It’s that easy.

    Your “former” spouse will eventually run out of tears, and the mental ” health” field will appreciate treating your kids. It’s job security for them.

    That’s the altar of self that I see too often all around me, and that I am really sick and tired of.

  7. My coffee mug says “I’m a Catholic. What is your superpower?” God bless~

  8. Mary K Jones

    Maggycast, I love your coffee mug! I’ll search for one. 😉

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