Friday, April 19, 2013

Modern Orthodoxy



We say we live in modern times and we call ourselves modern. I keep wondering what we do that is radically different from our previous generation or the one before that which gives us a reason to call ourselves modern. Oxford dictionary gives the definition of the word Modern as a person who advocates or practises a departure from traditional styles or values.  I am speaking in a contemporary context. Have we really departed from traditional styles and values of the past two generations to call ourselves modern? If yes then, what styles and values have we moved away from?

When we look at our lives there is a cyclical nature to it and also presence of a strong pattern:

  • -          Everybody earns for living
  • -          Everybody has relationships
  • -          Everybody has kids
  • -          Everybody has ups and downs in life
  • -          Everybody worry for their kids
  • -          Everybody looks towards their kids marriage
  • -          Everybody has sensual pleasures
  • -          Everybody has fears

When we face a particular situation it appears as if we are the only one caught in such a situation and struggle through it cursing this world to have put us through such an ordeal. However when we open up to people about our problems, not only do we realize that others have faced similar situations we also realize how trivial our situation appears in comparison to that of somebody else. This either makes us realize our folly in feeling we have a huge problem on hand or gives us the courage to face our problems on our own. However there is nothing new in this, both the situation and problems appear repetitive and cyclical in nature when, we take the entire mankind into account. Fundamental problems of human life and living remain unresolved as we get to embroiled and held up with seemingly insurmountable problems of our lives.

With a strong prevalence of institutionalization, we have entrusted various institutions with the responsibility of solving fundamental problems of human living. Spiritual is left to the religious institutions, gathering skills to earn a living to Education institutions, law and order to judicial institutions, politics to the institution of government and so on and so forth. Once such entrusting has been completed what is left of our lives? We are ready to be totally embroiled in the day to day trivial problems of our lives and unconsciously allow the institutions to dictate terms to us.

So the question arises – how are we modern? Does use of technology makes us modern? Does the entrusting of responsibilities to various institutions make us modern? Does our dressing sense makes us modern? What traditional styles and values have we really departed from to call ourselves modern?

George Orewell says
“Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.” 

“To exchange one orthodoxy for another is not necessarily an advance. The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment.”

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1 Comments:

At April 19, 2013 at 1:49 PM , Blogger Soma said...

Thoughtful! Traditional and orthodox are not one and the same thing. Being orthodox is being blind, being closed to change with biases of an extreme nature. Traditions on the other hand - respect legacy - honour customs which have proved themselves to be good for the individual and society at large. The problem occurs coz most people confuse traditional with being conservative....once again, the 2 are different ideas. Indian society is still (largely) 'traditional' --- of course certain traditions have eroded with time, and many of us are definitely paying the price for those changes. Being modern does nto suggest doing away with old patters -- on the contrary it suggests absorbing wisdom of the past and combining it with goals of the future. Unfortunately the word 'modern' too is misunderstood :(

 

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Modern Orthodoxy



We say we live in modern times and we call ourselves modern. I keep wondering what we do that is radically different from our previous generation or the one before that which gives us a reason to call ourselves modern. Oxford dictionary gives the definition of the word Modern as a person who advocates or practises a departure from traditional styles or values.  I am speaking in a contemporary context. Have we really departed from traditional styles and values of the past two generations to call ourselves modern? If yes then, what styles and values have we moved away from?

When we look at our lives there is a cyclical nature to it and also presence of a strong pattern:


When we face a particular situation it appears as if we are the only one caught in such a situation and struggle through it cursing this world to have put us through such an ordeal. However when we open up to people about our problems, not only do we realize that others have faced similar situations we also realize how trivial our situation appears in comparison to that of somebody else. This either makes us realize our folly in feeling we have a huge problem on hand or gives us the courage to face our problems on our own. However there is nothing new in this, both the situation and problems appear repetitive and cyclical in nature when, we take the entire mankind into account. Fundamental problems of human life and living remain unresolved as we get to embroiled and held up with seemingly insurmountable problems of our lives.

With a strong prevalence of institutionalization, we have entrusted various institutions with the responsibility of solving fundamental problems of human living. Spiritual is left to the religious institutions, gathering skills to earn a living to Education institutions, law and order to judicial institutions, politics to the institution of government and so on and so forth. Once such entrusting has been completed what is left of our lives? We are ready to be totally embroiled in the day to day trivial problems of our lives and unconsciously allow the institutions to dictate terms to us.

So the question arises – how are we modern? Does use of technology makes us modern? Does the entrusting of responsibilities to various institutions make us modern? Does our dressing sense makes us modern? What traditional styles and values have we really departed from to call ourselves modern?

George Orewell says
“Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.” 

“To exchange one orthodoxy for another is not necessarily an advance. The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment.”

Labels: ,