Alienation

Whoever undertakes a long Journey, if he be wise, makes it his Business to find out an agreeable Companion. How cautious then should He be, who is to take a Journey for Life, whose Fellow-Traveler must not part with him but at the Grave; his Companion at Bed and Board and Sharer of all the Pleasures and Fatigues of his Journey; as the Wife must be to the Husband! She is no such Sort of Ware, that a Man can be rid of when he pleases: When once that’s purchas’d, no Exchange, no Sale, no Alienation can be made: She is an inseparable Accident to Man: Marriage is a Noose, which, fasten’d about the Neck, runs the closer, and fits more uneasy by our struggling to get loose: ‘Tis a Gordian Knot which none can unty, and being twisted with our Thread of Life, nothing but the Schyth of Death can cut it.

Speaking generally, punishment hardens and numbs, it produces concentration, it sharpens the consciousness of alienation, it strengthens the power of resistance.

Man's alienation from the earth... was the beginning of all trouble and misery that have plagued him ever since

Describes the professional artist as a morally suspect, even socially dangerous, conman, who from a deliberately chosen position of spiritual alienation, yet offers the ambiguous, self-serving products of his art, in expectation not only of support and remuneration, but also of social approval and even adoration as genius. [Paraphrased]

The great omission in American life is solitude; not loneliness, for this is an alienation that thrives most in the midst of crowds, but that zone of time and space free from outside pressure which is the incubator of the spirit.

Modern secularity has offered another way of dealing with religious pluralism. As religious traditions lose their importance as means of self-understanding and community identification, their differences and mutual exclusiveness diminish in importance. Alienation from any particular religious faith tends to move the question of religious particularity into the realm of indifference, as life is determined by nonreligious values and institutions. Yet secularity has been no more successful in establishing human community than has the religious vision. The competing claims of nationalism, economic imperialism, and ideological triumphalism are also demonic forms of particularity that have not been able to establish a new universality in human community.

Alienation is a form of living death. It is the acid of despair that dissolves society.

The condition of alienation, or being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of normal man.

We are born into a world where alienation awaits us… Alienation as our present destiny is achieved only by outrageous violence perpetuated by human beings on human beings.

Sin is not exhausted in describing individual acts which aren’t very nice. “Sin” is fundamentally a description of our entire situation, one of separation from God, alienation from him, arising out of our rebellion, our refusal to do his will, our insistence upon the following of our wills.

The seduction of war is insidious because so much of what we are told about it is true; It does create a sense of comradeship, which obliterates our alienation and makes us, for perhaps the only time of our life, feel we belong. War allows us to rise above our small stations in life. We find nobility in a cause and feelings of selflessness and even bliss. And at a time of soaring deficits and financial scandals and the very deterioration of our domestic fabric, war is a fine diversion. War, for those who enter into combat, has a dark beauty, filled with the monstrous and the grotesque. The Bible calls it the "lust of the eye" and warns believers against it. War gives us a distorted sense of self; it gives us meaning.

In the absence of discriminating thoughts, the mind as we know it ceases to exist. Our suffering - our feeling of discomfort, alienation, loneliness - arises because we create a dualistic way of perceiving everything that separates us from the external. When we view the so-called external phenomenal world as distinct from ourselves, then fear arises, fear that we will lose our lives, that we may not continue to exist. Out of that fear come anger, jealousy, greed, hatred, aversion, attachment - all kinds of clinging. All our problems arise out of seeing ourselves as separate entities. We cling to what we perceive as me; my physical body and my ideas, my mind, my thoughts, my understanding, my beliefs, my concepts, my opinions.

There is no alienation that a little power will not cure.

[Paraphrase] The professional artist is morally suspect, even socially dangerous, conman, who from a deliberately chosen position of spiritual alienation, yet offers the ambiguous, self-serving products of his art, in expectation not only of support and remuneration, but also of social approval and even adoration as genius.

I do not believe that children should have to pay for the shortcoming and inequities of the society into which they were born. I do not think that children should have to pay for the real or supposed sins of their parents. And I think it would be shortsighted of a society to produce, by its neglect, a group of future citizens very likely to be unproductive and characterized by bitterness ands alienation.

Infants instinctively resist enculturation because they intuitively sense in it a denial of life that robs us of our spirit and our loving, willing, thinking, being. Resistance is futile. Without exception, these cultural techniques involve carefully masked threats that prey upon the child’s rapidly learned fear of pain, harm, or deprivation, and more primal anxiety over separation or alienation from parent, caregiver, or society. “Do this or you will suffer the consequences.” This threat, in fact, underlies every facet of our life from our first potty training through university exams.

Private property has made us so stupid and one-sided that an object is ours only when we have it - when it exists for us as capital, or when it is directly possessed... In the place of all physical and mental senses there has therefore come to be the sheer alienation of all these senses, the sense of having. The human being has been reduced to this absolute poverty in order that he might yield his inner wealth to the outer world.

We in the contemporary west may wake up each morning to cast out our sleep and dream experience like so much rubbish. But that is an almost freakish act of alienation. Only western society - and especially in the modern era - has been quite so prodigal in dealing with what is, even by the fictitious measure of our mechanical clocks, a major portion of our lives.

Rewarding the unworthy causes alienation; punishing the innocent causes resentment. Those whose appreciation or anger are unpredictable perish.

One single gift acknowledged in gratefulness has the power to dissolve the ties of our alienation