Monday, October 31, 2011
TERRY EAGLETON 4
I continue to share thoughts here about Terry Eagleton’s 2009 book “Reason, Faith, and Revolution”.*
Continuing with his useful look at Nietzsche, Eagleton reminds us (p.19) that Nietzsche didn’t find anything ‘heroic’ about the New Testament stories of Christian virtue at all. Better, Nietzsche insisted, to Go Base and Go Primal (my term for it), and it is this gambit of Nietzsche’s that has contributed so deeply to what became the wreck of Modern Man (in the generic, not the gender sense). (And don’t let’s get me started on Postmodern Man yet.)
As the orchestra of Christendom’s Vision broke up under the successive derangements of the Reformation (where the players insisted they could do a better job with the Piece than the conductor and wound up re-writing the Piece to more ‘genuinely’ capture the Composer’s intention) and the Enlightenment (where other players decided to cut out the emotions and passions and score the Piece only for half the human instruments, i.e. the Mind and Reason), along comes Nietzsche and tries to score the Piece for only the emotions and the passions.
‘Heroism’ for Nietzsche means – in the absence of Man being made in God’s Image – that Man must seek to ground his conception of himself only in the emotions and the passions, especially those powerful ones from the Classical (and, not to put too fine a point on it, pagan) era when in that era’s great literature (think Homer, especially in the ‘Iliad’) Great Men sought to do Great Things and live with High Passion: war, strife, self-assertion, mastery of others and mastery of self … that sort of thing.
The ‘High’ bit is good – as I’ve been saying, there is a hierarchy (yes, that awful and un-Correct concept) within human beings: humans have capacities not only in the Emotional and Rational departments, but also those capacities can be seated within a more primitive and primal self (and self-centeredness), OR within a more advanced level of deliberation and thought-guided capacity.
This actually reflects to some great extent the make-up of the human brain as it has evolved. The brain is comprised of a basic Limbic area that retains the earliest primal ‘reptilian’ capacities of the organism: an ability to respond to any external stimulus in such a way as to ensure the basic animal survival of the organism; a Midbrain that reflects the relatively more advanced ‘mammalian’ abilities to Fight or Flee from stimuli evaluated unthinkingly as dangerous to the organism; and then the marvelous and uniquely human Pre-frontal area that yields the amazing abilities i) to think things through, ii) to postpone immediate response-action (Fight or Flee) in order to consider and deliberate upon the context, iii) to postpone immediate gratification of the primal urges in light of more abstract or 'idealistic' purposes or considerations, and iv) to imaginatively stand outside of oneself and consider a possible course of action from the standpoint of some imagined point of view outside of oneself (even, in the Christian view, by empathizing with the viewpoints or needs of others who are not oneself).
But Nietzsche was terrified that being ‘civilized’ as he saw that concept developing in his mid-late 19th century European world, was simply draining the Greatness from human beings. The urban, office-working or salaried human being was simply conforming to powerful societal pressures and neglecting what he saw as the ‘real’ (later philosophers would call it the ‘authentic’) human spirit.
Worse, he felt that Christianity had actually introduced a profoundly worm-like rejection of the Great Heroic virtues and passions. Christian virtues such as ‘love’, compassion and respect for others had led, he thought, to what amounted to a profound rejection and lack of respect for the Heroic Self. Christianity, as Gibbon had opined a century before Nietzsche, was nothing but a ‘slave mentality’ with its sacrifice and its turn-the-other-cheek cowardly refusal to stomp on whatever got in the way. The Romans were envied; interestingly enough, the same way that the mobster Don Vito Corleone was envied in the 1972 film ‘The Godfather’: to an America already starting to feel that it was losing its grip, here were people who could get things done and stay on top and – also an American necessity – drive really great cars.
And, he added, all that Christian stuff had led to the downfall of the great Roman civilization: once Constantine had made Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire all of that mealy-mouthed, milktoast, namby-pamby ‘love’ – especially for others – had sapped the humans of the Roman Imperial era of their ‘genuine’ Heroic passions. And things had gotten no better as Western civilization added urban, salaried, law-and-rule-boundaried living to the original Christian frakkery of ‘love’ and self-denial and so forth. (Marx, a contemporary of Nietzsche, added 'bourgeois' to the mix and the Boomers really went to town with being against that.)
So Nietzsche wanted to get Western humans back to their primal and Heroically Great self, and rejected all the Christian and ‘modern’ stuff. He wanted, he specifically said, folks to strive to be an Ubermensch: a term that literally means Over-man when you translate it, but came out in English as Super-man.
That is to say, he wanted, humans – or at least those with the chops for it – not to conform to what he saw as the ‘depths’ of Christian mushiness, and instead to live ‘over’ and above all that; living their lives and Shaping themselves according to the ancient primal passions that in Homer’s ‘Iliad’ made humans powerfully and in-your-face and are-yew-talkin’-to-me ‘real’.
The human self was, in Nietzsche’s vision, a powerful war-horse, and you don’t want to break its spirit with too much of the reins and the pulling back on the reins: let that sucker run wild and free on the battlefield, carrying the warrior-you into the heat of battle where the warrior-you would do Great Things and cover yourself with blood and glory, come hell or high water. Sort of a ‘damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead’ approach to being a human and living your life among other humans. Sort of a ‘just do it!’ approach.
Now from a brain-geography standpoint, this is actually a call not so much to recovery of the genuine or Echt human possessing all of the skills of the marvelously complex and evolved tripartite brain, but rather a regression to the primal and Limbic brain bits, where you simply motivated and directed your human self using only your earliest, most primal and least evolved brainpart.
A human following his advice would become a Heroic war-horse or bull in a china shop, and all other human beings would either be cast as fellow-Heroes or as ‘last men’, weak and cautious and prudent Untermensche (Under-men) who, he thought, had betrayed their ‘real’ humanity and chosen to live as Christian cattle.** Such an Untermensch is truly, he thought, a traitor to what it really means to be Human.
So it comes down to the question: What does it really mean to be Human? And in answering this absolutely vital question you have to consider the complexity of the brain and the resulting lower and higher elements of the human self, and also the fact that you are living with a whole planet-full of other humans, and – in the Christian view – that you are also living on only one Plane of Existence (PoE) and there are other PoE’s and even a God up there beyond what I call the Mono-Plane of this dimension of existence.
Having tossed out most of that, and having tossed out any Beyond or God, then Nietzsche, like so many other thinkers, had to come up with a vision of what it means to be Human that somehow anchors the human in this-dimension and in whatever resources the individual human alone could lay claim to. For a job that big, he had to ‘valorize’ one or another part of the human self, and he chose to go make his stand not only on the emotions and the passions – as did the Romantics of the early 19th century who opposed the mind-based Rationalism of the Enlightenment – but also on what are conventionally called the virtues of the Heroic Age so vividly expressed in Homer’s ‘Iliad’.
Christianity had a much larger starting-point: a Multi-Planar cosmos governed by a God who made humans in the Divine Image; and that Image, most clearly and vividly exemplified in the life of Christ, revealed to humans both God’s nature and their own: a nature grounded in Love.*** (Check out what I say in this Note before you read further.)
Before Nietzsche, you recall, the 17th century English poet John Milton, in his ‘Paradise Lost’, had made the character of Satan more interesting than the Good angels: Milton too, for all his gifts, seemed to think that being ‘good’ was really sort of a bland, wimpy thing compared to the glorious, if tragic, energies of a created being that denies its created-status and tries to go it alone, telling God that ‘You can take this creation and shove it; I’ll do it all myself’. (You may want to take a look again at the Notes to my immediately previous Post where I talk about Frank Langella’s remarkable characterization of Count Dracula in the 1979 movie.)
But if you really really embrace the vital and dynamic complexity of the Christian Vision, then you are into the most challenging human adventure of all, becoming a Master and Commander of a human self that is Shaped in God’s Image and comprised of the whole welter of complex abilities and potentials, which you have to i) grow into and ii) respect in all the other human beings on the planet (who, to make things more challenging, may or may not be having much success at Mastering and Commanding their own selfs).
This is not for kids.
Eagleton tries to get a handle on things (p.21) by talking about the ancient argument about Law and Desire: should humans Shape themselves according to some Law or to their own basic Desires? Much beer and many bongs – to say nothing of astronomical quantities of ink – have been used up over time by folks trying to figure out where they stood on that Question.
But the Question is dangerous because it’s wrongly posed. In the Christian Vision it’s not a matter of the human being – in all that vitality and complexity of the individual self – having to either truckle to an externally-imposed Law (and thus be a traitor to his/her own individuality and will) or else cut loose from any Law and simply become a ‘Heroic’ self-centered and primal and passionate ‘individual’.
This is a non-problem because it is a falsely-conceived view of the human situation.
In the Christian Vision, the Prime Law is the one that is profoundly built-into us: we are made in the Image of God. Therefore, in order to fulfill ourselves as individuals, we have to express in our own unique and individual way the working-out or embodiment of that Image in how we Shape and conduct our lives. The Image of God, that is to say, functions in human beings like the law of aerodynamics functions in aircraft: the craft is already designed precisely to operate within the laws of aerodynamics, and to ‘fulfill’ the aircraft you have to operate it within the parameters of those laws or else you are going to wind up with a catastrophic monstrosity of a situation and you will not really ever do much flying.
Or as St. Paul never tires of saying, the Law – the Prime Law – is built into us, such that we cannot ignore it without betraying (and failing) our own fulfillment.
The ‘new atheists’ – reflecting the entire Modern West for the past few hundred years – wind up getting rid of the God in Whose Image we are made. Thus, humans have no way to gauge whether they are ‘fulfilling’ themselves or are simply running around like chickens with their heads cut off, or skittering through life like little individual globs of fat and grease on the surface of a hot pancake skillet.
Recall in my prior Posts the image of the native of an isolated Pacific island suddenly one morning finding a modern auto that has accidentally been airlifted to his/her island and left here without an owner’s manual in the middle of the night. S/he doesn’t know what it’s supposed to do or has been made to do, doesn’t know therefore what sort of use will ‘fulfill’ the actual potentials and ‘nature’ of the auto. So s/he may wind up using it as a hut, or a decorative planter, or even an out-house – maybe then happily figuring that this ‘gift from the gods’ has been a real plus.
This is pretty much the situation of the post-Christian Modern situation, I would say. (Let’s not even get started on the Postmodern or Pomo situation yet.)
Atheism winds up removing the owner’s manual or even any conception of what the ‘gift’ is for in the first place. And that’s when you wind up with the type of frustration masquerading as ‘thought’ and ‘philosophy’ that simply figures that this odd thing is either a joke or a mistake or a really bad trick … people go through their lives with that sort of vision (or, if I may, anti-Vision) of themselves and of human being generally.
Or comes up with some burbling, happy-faced, cheerible, maniacal strutting that this thing is really the world’s bestest-ever lawn decoration, or planter, or out-house.
So there is no either-Law-or-personal-fulfillment opposition in the first place. The Prime Law is the only accurate Shape of human fulfillment (in the Christian Vision). You can’t fulfill yourself truly, you can’t get to your Echt Self, unless you Shape your energies and potentials according to the directions that the handy blueprint or owner's manual of the Prime Law provides for you.
And to simply give in to your Desires (or, in Nietzsche’s view, your primal passions) is not to fulfill yourself but rather to betray yourself and get off the Road or the Path and head off into the jungle.
Today, I think, wayyyyy too many folks – especially in the West – are lost in that jungle and trying desperately to believe that they are actually having a good time and are actually going somewhere and getting somewhere.
In an aircraft, you aren’t going to be having a good time for long if you ignore the laws of aerodynamics. With some respect for and knowledge of the Prime Law the aircraft will do amazing things for you, And if not, not.
BUT – in a marvelous but serious-as-a-heart-attack complexity – since the Prime Law is built-into you, is ‘within you’ as St. Paul says, then you can’t simply hope to just coast through life by following external secondary laws made by humans. Law is a part of the Image, and is most totally fundamental to each of us as human beings. So you have to transform – and not simply conform – according to that Prime Law.
Secondary laws – made by humans – are often valuable (to the extent that they help each and all humans flesh out the implications of living together according to the Prime Law). But we are not created to simply be ‘followers’ of stuff imposed upon us from the outside.
Rather, we are made to enflesh and incarnate the Divine Image according to our individual gifts and personality. This means that we must become Inner-Directed (meaning directed from within ourselves) rather than Outer-Directed (meaning that we are directed by forces outside of ourselves).
Yes, traffic rules are necessary and worthy of obedience. But you can’t achieve genuine and Echt fulfillment and human authority as a human being simply by obeying them.
There are different levels of laws. Take an airline, for example.
There are regulations about what color the company planes are going to be painted and what uniforms the crew will wear – the company has complete control over this level of regulation.
Then there are FAA regulations about what altitude west-bound flights can fly at, and what altitude east-bound flights can fly at. These are beyond the control of the individual airline; these are government regulations that every airline operating in that government’s airspace has to follow. Neither the company nor the individual pilot can disregard them just because they don’t feel like following them today or because they feel they don’t ‘need’ them.
And then, third, there are the laws of aerodynamics. This is the level of Law that is built-into the very nature of powered flight and this level is beyond even the control of governments (let alone individual pilots). You follow this level of Law or you crash (if you ever get off the ground in the first place). Not because the Law-giver has decided to punish you by crashing you, but simply because this is the way the whole thing has been created to operate.
The Boomers, my generation, kind of lost sight of that huge difference in the types of laws, and figured that if it’s a case of doing it my way or some other way, then I gotta be me and do it my way. Kinda kewt, but as a philosophy and vision of life it’s totally inadequate. You might as well figure you can consume only candy-bars and coke (the … non-liquid kind) and then wonder after a while why your life doesn’t seem to be working out well.
AND THEN on top of all that, there is also the fact of what the Christian Vision calls Original Sinfulness: there is an abiding tendency in all humans to just say ‘The hell with it – I’m gonna do what I feel like doing and that’s all I’m gonna do and I don’t care about anybody else and I don’t respect anybody else and what I want is what I do and nobody tells me otherwise’.
Which usually before long also means that ‘If anybody else gets in the way of what I want to do, then to hell with them’.
And you can see where a world can go off the rails really really badly. And the beat goes on, and the band plays on.
Original Sinfulness comes along with ‘freedom’. If God is free and wants us to share in that life, then we need to be free. Otherwise this world is just a great big divine train-table in the play-room, with God arranging all the little figures and little trains and scenery and little toy houses and toy cars and toy people and just passing time making them do what He wants them to do.
It’s a way to pass the time, but in the Christian Vision it’s not what God is really up to and it’s not what God is really all about.
But in the atheist vision, what else is left really? We are somehow toys on some huge train-table, and either we settle for that – like it or not – or else we try to do what we desire to do and some big hand will suddenly move us around back to where we don’t want to be.
Not much of a reason for getting up in the morning. And more reason to just hit the candy and the coke really hard (or, to use a phrase from a recent President, ‘just go shopping’).
And who would want to bring kids into a world like that? And who would want to go through all the trouble of having and raising kids – won’t they just add one more level of obstruction to doing what you want to do? What’s the point?
You see where this sort of ‘philosophy’ can go.
As Eagleton puts it, we wind up being the ‘dead who won’t die’ (or haven’t died yet even thought we are pretty much ‘dead’ on the inside – which also brings us back to vampires and such un-dead but still walking-around monsters).
Who can really call this a life?
Nicely, he characterizes this (p.22) by saying that what such atheist-Moderns call reality is really just the “remaining precipitate after the love of God has been removed”. Bingo!
It’s also like saying that a corpse is just a human-being with the life removed. (Or the ‘soul’ removed, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.)
And it leaves no room for the ancient Axial (especially Jewish and Islamic and Christian) concern for the anawim, for the ‘poor’. In one sense this means the literally poor, those who haven’t got access to the resources for sustaining even basic human existence.
In another sense, we are all anawim (and walking dead) if we haven’t really got the life of the Law – the Prime Law of God’s Image – alive within us. And as you may have noticed if you’ve gone to a funeral home for a wake, no matter how much you gussy up a corpse and put really nice clothes on it and surround it with lots of stuff, the dead remain rather clearly and stubbornly the dead. You can’t call that living.
So, Eagleton bravely and rightly asserts, it’s only by staring straight into the Medusa’s face of life’s terribilita, its terribleness, that you can ever really start to walk the Walk. You have to look at the human situation, and your individual human situation, straight-on: its dangers, its pains, its challenges, its bad bounces.
But you can’t do that all on your own and stay really sane. The shock of seeing life in terms of the iffy and often painful possibilities that are within it is not something human beings can do all on their own and still keep their mental and emotional balance. They either become scared rabbits or monsters when they try to do that.
That’s why – as Eagleton immediately goes on to say – you have to have some Help from Beyond.
And in the Christian Vision, that is where the Crucifixion comes in: God says that the only way to get through the accumulated frakkery that results from a whole lotta human beings indulging their Original Sinfulness and not turn yourself into a rabbit or a monster is to look things in the eye, see them for what they are, rely on His Help and his Love, and go through it.
The alternatives are a) becoming a rabbit constantly trying to hide from the awful reality of Original Sin’s effects (but then also hiding from your Echt self) or else becoming a monster and trying to force Sin to pass you by or make others pay for the frak that Sinfulness has brought into your personal affairs (and thus calling your monstrous self your most 'real' or 'authentic' self).
And, since each of us is human, then at some point or another each of us has brought our share of Sin’s effects into the world whether we meant to or not, and each of us has made our little compromises and cut corners on fulfilling the Divine Image within us just to make things a little easier for ourselves.
Atheism can’t really begin to address this level of complexity. It’s like trying to do the math of quantum-mechanics with a pencil while you’re half in the bag and watching a dvd at the same time while also texting or tweeting to half a dozen other people in pretty much the same condition you are.
The best atheism can do is to say ‘man up’ or just say ‘screw it’ and then go do whatever it is that will make you feel a little better for a bit.
Not much chance of making any progress in the Great Human Challenge there.
Now a point that brings things a little closer to home is that to some extent ‘secularism’, especially as it has developed in the West in the past few decades, has to buy into some sort of ‘atheism’ in order to do what it wants to do.
In order to create more conceptual and social ‘space’ in people’s minds, a whole bunch of different ‘revolutions’ that got rolling in the West since the 1960s had to get rid of much of the sense that there are boundaries or limits to what people can do, and even to get rid of any sense that there is any Shape to human nature or the human self.
Instead, the big emphasis was on – had to be on – ‘freedom’ to do whatever you want and be whatever you want to be. Nothing could get in the way of that: not traditions, not customs, not laws, not even any Prime Law or even any ‘human nature’, and not even any God if that concept (secularism can’t really bring itself to think of God as a Person) is somehow going to tell you what you can and can’t do.
The Boomers were big – really really big – on not being told what to do. Why should they let older people or old ways get in their way, since Boomers knew so much more than anybody else and anyway it was a ‘brand new day’ and a whole new world and nothing was the same (before 9-11 ‘changed everything’ the Boomers had declared that they had ‘changed everything’).
North Americans, especially, have always been liable to this type of illusion. Compared to the Old World of Europe where life existed in layer upon layer of human history and experience all jammed in together on the same space where centuries of prior generations had also lived there lives, the New World was a fresh start (if you ignored the indigenous populations and their cultures and civilizations) with no pre-existing cities and jurisdictions and huge never-before-seen tracts of fresh land rich with abundant resources of all kinds.
It was a Whole New Game and it was, sorta, ‘totally fresh and free’. And the ‘American’ would be a New Man (generic, not gender), even a New Adam (and Eve) who would start human history all over again. Back in the day, God was also signed-on as clearly agreeing with this proposition.
After a while, God simply became the sort of rich grandfather who had turned His kids loose on the estate and told the rest of the world that whatever these oh-so-speshull ‘kids’ did was OK with Him and everybody else should learn from them. Or else.
The Puritans came over and tried to live in a genuinely godly way, according to their lights. But the temptations of such a richly endowed land with all its possibilities for fun and profit and even for genuinely human betterment and improvement in living conditions proved too much. (Although even Thoreau realized that just because you improve living conditions tremendously doesn’t mean you have achieved Echt human betterment: looking at the new-fangled railroad zipping along at 30 miles an hour he observed that it was “an improved means to an unimproved end”; what good, really, does it do to get from Concord to Boston in a few minutes rather than a few hours, if you still haven’t got any really Echt human goals when you get there?)
The bits about Adam and Eve in the Garden with that Serpent mostly got lost. Writers like Hawthorne and Melville and even Poe in his way tried to remind folks that the darkness of Sinfulness had followed humans to this brave New World. But others, like Emerson and Whitman and many preachers, just figured that if God is Good, then so are human beings and anybody who tries to ‘depress’ you with ‘sin-talk’ is just trying to ruin your day and lead you off the great American highway of Abundance and Success.
Of course, many of those writers and preachers had lost the critical distinction between ‘laws’ and the Prime Law or they didn’t really believe in Original Sinfulness because it was all ‘sin talk’. Or both.
And on the basis of this Great and Good American Warrant, presumed to be ordained by God, then slavery and the subjugation of the indigenous tribes was part of the overall Great and Good Thing.
And in the late 1800s when American industry had reached the point where it needed new markets and American wealth could fund a world-class navy, then President McKinley got down on his knees, prayed about it all, and decided that God wanted the country to take over Cuba and the Philippines and start having some real ‘impact’ on the world. His vice-president Teddy Roosevelt – soon to replace him as President when McKinley was shot to death by an anarchist – couldn’t agree more.
And so into the 20th century, where America has had a decidedly mixed record of making the world a better place, but did indeed withstand and subdue the truly monstrous realities of fascism and communism.
Now this country faces a far different world. And since its Abundance and economic power have been spent, the belief that whatever it does is God’s Will (or, in the secular version, is Democracy’s will to liberate from every oppression) is now liable to become unpleasantly mixed in with the urgent need to Grab other people’s stuff and souls in order to keep on top. And of course, ‘on top’ is where it belongs … or so it has for so long seemed to be so.
And all of this on top of a population that has for so long been told that there is no Beyond, no Shape to genuine human behavior, no boundaries and no limits to what the sovereign and ‘totally autonomous’ Individual (and his/her totally Sovereign government) can do.
And now the country faces the same deranging terror that individuals have always faced when they beheld the terribilita, looking the great beast of human existence in the face, up close and personal, without the artfully arranged bars by which Abundance and worldly power caged the beast. Like in ‘Jurassic Park’, the monsters are now loose and all around: not the monsters of other peoples, but the monsters of Fear and Terror, and with them come the sadly common human responses of Paralysis or – the opposite response – a brassy, violent, in-your-face Heroic primitiveness such as Nietzsche wanted to see in his Ubermensch.
Nietzsche’s options aren’t really very good, for us an individuals or as a nation: Be an Uber or be an Unter.****
Atheism and its step-child secularism aren’t going to be able to help anybody, here or anywhere else. There are no limits on the self (or the government); total autonomy means that you get to do what you want and there will be no consequences or blowback; there is no Shape that such ‘liberated’ humans (or their government) need to conform to and transform-toward; there is no Beyond that can sit in judgment; there is no Law built into the human self (or that has any jurisdiction over the government).
This was the madness of Faust and Dr. Frankenstein, and of the world-shattering totalitarianisms of the last century.
That Cross, somehow now appearing to have much more reality – and also much more hidden and mysterious dynamic power rooted in God’s own Image – needs to be looked at a lot more carefully.
*New London: Yale University Press. ISBN: 978-0-300-15179-4
**Half a century or so later the Nazis would take up the Ubermensch trope: all the Germans were the Ubermensch ‘master race’ and peoples like the Slavs and the Jews were just an Untermensch herd, to be used or gotten out of the way for the convenience of their ‘masters’.
This wasn’t quite what Nietzsche was looking for: he did not simply equate one’s nationality or ‘race’ with being Uber or Unter; he was looking for particular individual human beings who would have the courage to kick off the Christian traces and get back to the Heroic basics (using only those primal brainparts and Shaping their lives totally around their primal passions).
You see where ideas can lead, even beyond what you actually envisioned. You want to be really careful with ideas: they are powerful motivators of humans, adopted as ‘ideals’ around which people will not only Shape their own lives but through which people will conceive of the world and all the other people around them.
All sorts of things can happen that you yourself hadn’t actually envisioned or planned for; yet it’s your ideas and the ideals others derived from them that will fuel those consequences.
Ideas and ideals require an awful lot of thought, and a serious grounding in ‘reality’.
For Nietzsche, Christianity was ‘unreal’ when measured against his idea of what most fundamentally makes humans Human. For Christianity, there is a whole lot more to being Human than Nietzsche realized, because there is a whole lot more to Reality.
***The English language fails us here, since it has so few words for the many many shadings and definitions that English tries to cram into ‘love’ (which today has to cover everything from having sex to fulfilling the Divine Image). What Christianity means by ‘love’ is an vital, dynamic, and powerful amalgam of a) powerful caring respect for self and others as made in the Divine Image and b) a faithfulness to that Prime Directive by Shaping yourself according to the requirements of that Caring Respect for yourself and others that c) is sustained by an ongoing mutual relationship with that God Who started the whole thing in the first place out of His Caring Respect for humans and seeks for all humans to fulfill themselves by Shaping themselves and their lives-with-others according to that Caring Respect.
There aren’t many more dynamically complex yet utterly vital dynamics to master in human life, even if you have some mastery of the math involved in quantum-dynamics or the mechanics of the 16-cylinder gasoline engine.
****Nor is this at all a ‘gendered’ type of thing. America has quite a roster of females in positions of elected or appointed national power, and rather than putting any brakes on things, they are helping provide a front for it: America must go out and ‘liberate’ from ‘oppression’ all those countries and peoples that ‘just don’t get it’. And gobble up the local resources while they’re in town. This is the National Nanny State allied with the National Security State, and it is simply a 21st-century ‘secular and liberal and progressive’ form of the colonialist ,We Know Better Than You' game of Grab-and-Keep.