Friday, August 2, 2013

“I’m not a monster, just sick.” Ariel Castro and 49 Fewer Shades of Grey


                Judge Michael Russo really got it right when, after Castro’s statement to the court, which verbalized his detachment from reality, he noted that Castro was a narcissist.  This is the root of the problem.  Narcissism builds into a sociopathic personality which builds and becomes practically interchangeable with the psychopathic personality; while not every narcissist is a psychopath every psychopath is truly a narcissist.  The hallmark of this personality is an inability to empathize with others.  To disregard your fellows suffering if it suits your personal agenda and to believe that you’re personal agenda is actually really everyone’s agenda.  Castro, for instance, insisted that the women he kidnapped were actually happy in the house.  It highlights the world of the narcissistic psychopath and the potential blind spot of us all.  We believe that what we do is valid and even good simply because we are doing it, others may not understand but how could they as they lack the rarified view from one’s own skull.

                There is a social aspect we should consider too; the individual experiences the world through the filter of themselves, but it is getting easier and easier for narcissists to find validating information coming from society.  Their interior life is bolstered by a world which seems ever increasingly sympathetic to their hopes for broader acceptance.  The women of the world are not helped by the success of a novel which features fantasy rape scenes, though it is written by a woman, and therefore it becomes charitable to lovingly and verbally jettison the tome.  It is merciful to napalm music videos which exploit women and apply social pressure for the artists to seek reconciliation from those which he has publicly injured.  It is necessary to boycott companies which exploit women’s bodies and feed women and men a message of superficial accessibility void of psychological, sociological, and spiritual truth. 

The problem is that we are losing the ability to identify these sources of social and personal rot.   Society and the individual are locked in the proverbial spiral of death falling from the sky towards the unflinching and diamond hard earth, which represents the truth in this analogy.  We must see though that the truth is not the destructive power in the analogy, it simply is, and evil destroys itself.  Evil consumes itself.  Evil is a cancer which envelopes its surroundings until the organism, humanity, dies.

The anti-thesis is obvious: self-sacrifice, service to others, basically being a loving person.  The problem is that the discomfort this produces causes the individual to flag, to wilt.  Communism insists that the balm is material; that the economic and material benefit associated with the proposed altruism would create this loving society of the disinterested self.  The result instead is abject materialism.  The comfort we seek is not truly about material wellbeing or Castro could be vindicated if he fed and sheltered the women he terrorized, he becomes a Stalin figure teaching society his will or Mao chaining workers to their machines because their sacrifice serves an imagined good but actually serves a privileged few.

Our motivations require something more than materialism, they require spirituality; but they require more than spirituality, they require religion.  The reason for this is that we need to follow a path to God, through God, and in God, which the sacraments of the Church provide.  We see this through the example of the Trinity.  Jesus personifies the will of the Father, not Jesus’ own will, which exemplifies Jesus’ love of the Father.  The Holy Spirit does the will of the Son of God which is the ultimate expression of love for Jesus.  Does this then set up the Holy Hierarchy?  No, rather God the Father exemplifies His love through the words He expresses through Jesus who insists that the greatest must be the servant of all.  God made everything from nothing and holds it together through a constant act of His conscious will.  If He did not serve all He would simply allow those who disobeyed Him to return to their natural state of actual, as opposed to merely poetic, oblivion.

So we have a Trinity which could easily be construed as a hierarchical system but which gains its true nature in it’s being the prototypical loving relationship.  The Trinity is totally open to its members as its dignity is never compromised by any of its members.  The Trinity seeks only to serve, only to love, and that love bore the fruit of all that God called “good” which was created out of that love and is inclusive of the entirety of creation from the beginning.

Jesus stated that everyone who does the will of His Father is His brother and sister.  We become a part of the mystery of the Trinity in the same methodology as the Trinity, and we discover the same life giving fruit which is born of that love.

The ultimate culmination of that love was the crucifixion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ; but more than that, the fruit of Jesus’ obedient love was the realization of the fullness of human life and it’s potential through the Resurrection.  The simply material appreciation of the world is the cross.  It is the instrument of death.  We who believe in the promise which Jesus embodies die to the material of the world in favor of a greater reality which is the fullness of truth, Jesus, and we share in His life, His death, and His Resurrection.

                We seek not our own monstrous will, our own truly evil and narcissistic self-interest, and our idolatry in which we fancy ourselves as a god.  We understand that truth by definition can only be One, Holy, and Perfect.  It is not increasingly smaller increments of grey. 

“Perfection is founded entirely on the love of God: ‘Charity is the bond of perfection;’ and perfect love of God means the complete union of our will with God’s.” St. Alphonsus Liguori

Without this love of God, which is exemplified in the love of charity. Our society is becoming a reality which we will use that house in Cleveland as an analogy for.  May we seek the love and will of God brothers and sisters in Christ.

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