Endless Progress: The Ideology of CancerBy: Thomas Buhls (4 responses.)
It’s important to have the maturity and realistic sensibility to know that not all things can grow and increase indefinitely.
The Traditionalist Youth Network believes that perpetual growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. The model of history which suggests that “progress” is always in the direction of more technology and greater license for individualistic and selfish behavior is unstable, unhealthy, and above all else is unnatural. Not even cancer can “progress” indefinitely, as it will kill it’s host in time and then die with it.
All humans are capable of accomplishing great things, but without the power of self realization and understanding the limits of power and creative energies man becomes cancer. The only safeguard which stops man from becoming a cancer unto himself and upon the world is humility.
Christian author G.K. Chesterton says the reason that we have people embracing the ideology of cancer is because of a displaced humility.
“It is only with one aspect of humility that we are here concerned” Chesterton said, “humility was largely meant as a restraint upon the arrogance and infinity of the appetite of man.”
Wants and desires are natural impulses for any person, but surely it is only the sociopaths or the completely infantile who believe that all impulses can be satisfied. That’s the behavior of cancer. It consumes endlessly without consideration or moderation, and in the end it is the unrestrained and limitless growth which is also it’s undoing. The behaviors and lifestyles associated with modernism, consumerism, and cosmopolitanism are the same. They are lifestyles of unrestrained consumption and self indulgence where people just want to be happy.
Even Chesterton admits that man has an infinite appetite, but what should be stopping us from becoming the cancer is humility. The whole purpose of losing oneself in a lifestyle of indulgence, radical individualism, and secularism is to find great, unending, and unbounded happiness.
If modernism were an energy drink, the slogan would be, “Decades of satisfaction now, and no consequences later!”
The problem with modernism and the quest for more technology is that it decreases the size of the world, skews man’s perception of self, and grossly inflates his standard’s for happiness or satisfaction.
Philosopher and Communication Theorist Marshall McLuhan describes technology as an extension of man. What is important to consider is that the constant quest for more technology changes the ways we interact with each other when we still haven’t learned how to use the technology we already have.
Technology speeds up the rate of human interaction and fundamentally changes the way we communicate with each other.
McLuhan gives us an example of what he means, saying, “The railway did not introduce movement or transportation or wheel or road into human society, but it accelerated and enlarged the scale of previous human functions, creating totally new kinds of cities and new kinds of work and leisure.”
Our technologies allow us to communicate any distance instantaneously, effectively making the world smaller and ourselves bigger. The key to responsible use of technology and a more lasting happiness is to make oneself smaller.
This brings us right back to Chesterton and his desire for humility. Chesterton asserts that the pathway to happiness and the ability to enjoy anything at all lies in man’s ability to be humble.
Chesterton describes this state of humility saying, “Giants that tread down forests like grass are the creations of humility. Towers that vanish upwards above the loneliest star are the creations of humility. For towers are not tall unless we look up at them; and giants are not giants unless they are larger than we. All this gigantesque imagination, which is, perhaps, the mightiest of the pleasures of man, is at the bottom entirely humble. It is impossible without humility to enjoy anything– even pride.”
As technological “progress” improves every day, take a moment to use your “gigantesque imagination” and see the world around you with humility and make yourself just a little bit smaller. Don’t be a cancer upon the world.