Alienation

By alienation is meant a mode of experience in which the person experiences himself as an alien. He has become, one might say, estranged from himself. He does not experience himself as the center of his world, as the creator of his own acts — but his acts and their consequences have become his masters, whom he obeys, or whom he may even worship. The alienated person is out of touch with himself as he is out of touch with any other person. He, like the others, are experienced as things are experienced; with the senses and with common sense, but at the same time without being related to oneself and to the world outside positively.

In the development of both capitalism and communism, as we visualize them in the next fifty or a hundred years, the processes that encourage human alienation will continue. Both systems are developing into managerial societies, their inhabitants well fed, well clad, having their wishes satisfied, and not having wishes that cannot be satisfied. Men are increasingly automatons, who make machines which act like men and produce men who act like machines; there reason deteriorates while their intelligence rises, thus creating the dangerous situation of equipping man with the greatest material power without the wisdom to use it.

Both education and religion need to ground themselves within the story of the universe as we now understand this story through empirical knowledge. Within this functional cosmology, we can overcome our alienation and begin the renewal of life on a sustainable basis. Th is story is a numinous revelatory story that could evoke the vision and the energy required to bring not only ourselves but the entire planet into a new order of magnificence.

Both education and religion need to ground themselves within the story of the universe as we now understand this story through empirical knowledge. Within this functional cosmology, we can overcome our alienation and begin the renewal of life on a sustainable basis. This story is a numinous revelatory story that could evoke the vision and the energy required to bring not only ourselves but the entire planet into a new order of magnificence.

In general, kids have very little tolerance for humiliation or failure. One of a student's most important goals is to make it through the day without embarrassment. Imagine then, the frustration of children with differences in learning, who are at risk of growing up deprived of experiencing success. Naturally, they compare themselves to their peers and siblings. While some may see themselves as "different," many will feel inferior. Unfortunately, these feelings are likely to endure. When they do, serious complications can develop including plummeting self- esteem, behavior problems, excessive dependence on peers, alienation from family, deep anxiety, and a loss of motivation. The sad reality is that a difference in learning, not addressed as such, can lead to anti-social behavior, substance abuse, dropping out, and other serious forms of maladjustment.

Loneliness is caused by an alienation from life. It is a loneliness from your real self.

We have to heal our wounded world. The chaos, despair, and senseless destruction we see today are a result of the alienation that people feel from each other and their environment.

The historical experience of socialist countries has sadly demonstrated that collectivism does not do away with alienation but rather increases it, adding to it a lack of basic necessities and economic inefficiency.

If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.

The organization controlling the material equipment of our everyday life is such that what in itself would enable us to construct it richly plunges us instead into a poverty of abundance, making alienation all the more intolerable as each convenience promises liberation and turns out to be only one more burden. We are condemned to slavery to the means of liberation.

I am breathing in and liberating my mind. I am breathing out and liberating my mind. One practices like this.

Diversity is the magic. It is the first manifestation, the first beginning of the differentiation of a thing and of simple identity. The greater the diversity, the greater the perfection.

The basic mood of the future might well be one of confidence in the continuing revelation that takes place in and through the Earth. If the dynamics of the Universe from the beginning shaped the course of the heavens, lighted the Sun, and formed the Earth, if this same dynamism brought forth the continents and seas and atmosphere, if it awakened life in the primordial cell and then brought into being the unnumbered variety of living beings, and finally brought us into being and guided us safely through the turbulent centuries, there is reason to believe that this same guiding process is precisely what has awakened in us our present understanding of ourselves and our relation to this stupendous process. Sensitized to such guidance from the very structure and functioning of the Universe, we can have confidence in the future that awaits the human venture.

The Universe story is the quintessence of reality. We perceive the story. We put it in our language, the birds put it in theirs, and the trees put it in theirs. We can read the story of the Universe in the trees. Everything tells the story of the Universe. The winds tell the story, literally, not just imaginatively. The story has its imprint everywhere, and that is why it is so important to know the story. If you do not know the story, in a sense you do not know yourself; you do not know anything.

Help us to be masters of the weapons that threaten to master us. Help us to use our science for peace and plenty, not for war and destruction. Save us from the compulsion to follow our adversaries in all that we most hate, confirming them in their hatred and suspicion of us.

In the end, it's the reality of personal relationships that save everything.

Life consists in learning to live on one’s own, spontaneous, freewheeling: to do this one must recognize what is one’s own—be familiar and at home with oneself. This means basically learning who one is, and learning what one has to offer to the contemporary world, and then learning how to make that offering valid.

Now one of the things we must cast out first of all is fear. Fear narrows the little entrance of our heart. It shrinks up our capacity to love. It freezes up our power to give ourselves. If we were terrified of God as an inexorable judge, we would not confidently await His mercy, or approach Him trustfully in prayer.

The more I am able to affirm others, to say “yes” to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them, the more real I am. I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone.

Though there is no use in placing our hopes on a totally utopian new world in which everyone is sublimely merciful, we are obliged to seek some way of giving the mercy and compassion a social, even a political, dimension. The eschatological function of mercy, we repeat, is to prepare the transformation of the world, and to usher in the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom is manifestly “not of this world”, but it demands to be typified and prepared by such forms of heroic social witness that makes mercy plain and evident in the world… mercy must discover, in faith, in the Spirit, a power strong enough to initiate the transformation of the world into a realm of understanding, unity and relative peace, where mankind, nations and societies are willing to make the enormous sacrifices required if they are to communicate intelligibly with one another, understand one another, cooperate with one another in feeding the hungry millions and in building a world of peace.