The great collection of Christian values, when applied to how people ought to interact with each other in a sovereign nation can be characterized by the simple idea of Neighborliness. The collective sympathy for one’s countrymen. It bonds men together in the understanding that we are all on a pilgrimage looking for answers. We are all struggling together. And through this collective sympathy, we can look at another man and see that behind his eyes is a mind that contemplates, albeit at various complexities, the matters of life.
Neighborliness allows the American citizen to look after his brothers and sisters. It compels us to be involved in the elevation of others, not for self interest, but for the raising of the waters upon which we all navigate blindly. It allows us to exchange ideas in a manner that benefits all, without the sardonic criticisms of the ironic buffoon who, having no imaginations of his own, lives his existence a mockery to parry the honest appraisal of his peers. It is what drives us to live a life for something higher than ourself, rather than a life solely for ourself. It is what ferries us to the shores of political action when the tides of indifference and hopelessness are all too real. It forces us to seek forgiveness from those who we have wronged, and forgive others who have wronged us. It allows us to see the lives that we can tangibly affect for good in this day, before preaching of far away peoples over which we have no influence.
Our heroes are our ambitions. Show me your heroes and I will show you who you are. The actor will play you a fool. The rich will sell you short. The powerful will crush you. Above all of these is the Man who has sharpened his mind and hardened himself to challenge the pervading schools of selfish thought and live for others through action. He will make the difference.
No man is an island. The life of an island has no purpose. Dares nothing. Helps nothing. Feels nothing. Affects nothing. It is the Island that can watch its country, that once held great promise, burn to the ground. The Island that shrinks from the hard day’s work. The Island that can leave its family destitute. The Island that creates nothing, but is a pundit of everything.
Modernity did not kill God, she merely pretends at his crown, replacing the universal virtues of old with the virtues of self-indulgence. If I am only accountable to myself, then I can never be judged. And if I can never be judged then I am never wrong. And if I am never wrong, then I am my own god. A life without accountability is a life self-centered. You are always accountable, if not to God, then to your fellow Man.
This country thirsts for people who hold themselves accountable to others. Accountable to the well-being of others. Accountable to the betterment of others. The nation’s health depends on it. How can we expect our leaders to understand selflessness if we have our own track record of running with horse blinders? Collective sympathy is not the universal apology for others, but rather the opposite: it is the understanding that we as Americans are all accountable to each for our actions. For our failures. For our successes. For our mistakes. For our triumphs. Rectify what is wrong. Praise what is right. Do what is good.
One thought on “Neighborliness & Collective Sympathy”
Well said, my love.