By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The "Honor Less" Society: Everyone For Himself

Cain and Abel. Byzantine mosaic i =n MonrealeImage via Wikipedia
A recent passage I read struck me in its so accurate description of the way so many have thought about morality and human behavior for the past 40 years: we cannot interfere with the lives of others even if they are our children or siblings or close colleagues, we reject communal responsibility as parents and as older siblings and relatives, we follow a culture of non-interference in the destructive, dishonorable choices of those to whom we are bound by family or friendship ties out of a benighted embrace of false privacy concerns (I have to track down this particular source which eludes me right now since I read so many books simultaneously). Then, today, at this link, there is also a book review that speaks of how in past eras moral revolutions were facilitated by a cultural embrace of communal honor, a sense of communal responsibility which is now missing and has been replaced by the very individualistic, socially atomized cult of fastidious non-interference.

That cult of non-interference especially toward the young to whom we are bound by family or other social ties has left many bodies on the field, especially in the area of self-destructive, reckless sexual behavior. The cult of non-intereference claims that it respects the privacy of a child or of a younger sister or brother. The reality is that the cult of non-interference is an expression of selfishness and egotism: self-preoccupation, indifference, complacency, and narcissism. We do not want to bother with the other, much as Cain no longer wanted to bother with his younger brother Abel. We may not outrightly kill others like Cain killed Abel, but we still refuse to be the keepers of the honor of our children and of our, especially younger, siblings. And by refusing to be their keepers, we have in effect killed them very much in the mode of a modern Cain.