Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

Among the most certain and melancholy ways to recognize a civilization or society is facing terminal decline is when it ceases to look toward a brighter future and when it is caught between two unacceptable alternatives–nostalgia in the greatness of the past or short-sighted moves designed to appease the masses today without any regard for the future. When both of these approaches are combined it is very likely from a historical perspective that a society, no matter how great, is in deep trouble. It is one thing to recognize this fact, though, and another to examine why, and so let us do so here today.

So long as an institution or a society has a vision for a better future, it can maintain the support of its people throughout grave difficulty. A love for the past alone, without the prospect of a better future, only turns a society into a retirement community, where fading memories and gloomy reminisces about the good old days drive away those who are young to abandon their roots and culture for alternatives that offer something for the future rather than a long and grim lifetime full of regrets. No matter how great a society or institution once was in the past, it will not endure unless it continues to have something to offer for the present and future. If all we have is the past, we can write antiquarian historical works about the dead culture, like that of the Etruscans, and get on to life in the present.

As a student of history, I am by no means suggesting that anyone should ignore the glories of the past, if they can be found. On the other hand, if all one has is looking to recapture the past without a vision of a better future, then the past has ceased to have meaning. This is what makes traditionalists in general so problematic. Most traditionalist rhetoric paints a false picture of a past without its hypocrisies and problems and then presents that regressive vision as a counterfeit future vision. Only attempting to resurrect the past indiscriminately ends up resulting in a zombie apocalypse, as a rigid adherence to the forms of the past without taking the problems of the present into consideration makes the past undead by attempting unnaturally to prolong institutions beyond the point where they are truly alive and well. Sometimes old forms, no matter how treasured they are, must be left to be honored and treasured as historical memories and inspirations for the future, if they no longer command the loyalty and love of the greater society at large.

After all, man was not made to slavishly copy laws and constitutions and traditions. Our institutions are created to serve us today and to serve our interests and help us fulfill our dreams and goals and visions for tomorrow. If they cannot do so, then they do not deserve to exist, no matter how revered they have been. Edmund Burke was wise in pointing to government as an organic covenant between the dead, the living, and those yet unborn. Those who are genuine conservatives do not conserve the best of the past simply because it is old, but because it is good, and still relevant and still serves our best interests now and in the future. So long as the past still lives and is still able to be purged of its corruption and the natural process of decay, it is still alive and still presents a future-oriented vision. But all too often I see from those who consider themselves to be conservatives only a longing at the past without any idea of a better world that a sound understanding of the past can help us create.

But traditionalism is not the only ditch that societies can fall into, even if it is a popular one (one of the saddest examples being that of the city of Novgorad in Russia). Another telltale sign that a society or institution is in a terminal state of decline is when the exigencies of the present and the interests in a given elite in holding on to power overwhelm all concern for the future. When short-sighted actions are taken against the longer-term interests of an institution or society, and when little thought is given to the future ramifications because the short-term pressures are so immediate and urgent, one knows that the institution or society is in grave danger of collapse, because short-term thinking rarely translates into long-term success.

One of the crises of a wide variety of nations today, whether we are talking about the United States, Europe, China, Thailand, or their populace, is the debt crisis. Whether we are speaking about our personal debt (whether in building it up or attempting to get rid of it completely) or that of our societies, all too often our financial goals are largely short term. We borrow tens of thousands of dollars to earn degrees in the hope of landing good jobs that require such degrees, and often do not find them, making it impossible for us to handle our financial obligations. On the other extreme we may live very simply and seek to avoid any debt at all but have no greater vision or purpose to invest in for the future, enjoying neither present pleasure or the possibility of a better tomorrow because of our fears about the future.

In many cases, the behavior of governments as well as private citizens oscillates between greed and fear. We demand results now and are not willing to take the time to build for a better future either in our personal or business relationships, and our governments and corporations are the same. What are the quarterly results? What is the weekly unemployment data? What is the price of gasoline at the pump or food in the grocery store? There is no long-term loyalty, because we are seeking the immediate fulfillment of our wants and needs. A lack of long-term interest or planning, however, eventually comes home to roost. Without loyalty we cannot expect for happy or enduring personal relationships, stable or successful lives, or a bright future with loving institutions of family and community. All of these require a future vision and tangible steps taken to achieve that future in order to endure present suffering or overcome the wounds and errors of the past.

A vision of the future is what provides us with a sense of perspective that allows us to be patient and to persevere. Where there is no vision, rewards must be immediate and constant in order to be worthwhile, since the future value of any decision or relationship is assumed to be zero in the absence of a long-term view. Acting with the future in mind, and making decisions that pay out well over the long term (and that address presents needs and concerns) requires us to value the future and recognize that sometimes it requires a great deal of time and effort to create something of lasting value. Sadly, this perspective seems to be vanishing, and in its place we have insecurity in all aspects of our lives, and no prospect of a better future unless we can stop living in the nostalgia of an imagined past and stop acting in a short-term way, but instead think about how we are going to make a better tomorrow. It’s not easy, but it’s only a hope of a better future that makes life endurable today.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in American History, History, Musings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

  1. J.Richard Crant says:

    Sad reality check:

    Apathy reigns supreme. How does one go about “making a person care”?

    Remember, “small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”.

    And, “”The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field”.

    Explain the true meaning of these and there you have it…….. Perhaps

    • We’ve gone around the blackberry bush here before on this subject. You cannot coerce people to care, and motivation is different for different people. My main point is that even those who think they are trying to save our societies and civilizations are part of the signs of decay and decadence and not part of the solution. What to do about it? I suppose all one can do is set the best example possible, and hope that we are counted worthy to be a righteous remnant and not perish with this generation.

  2. J.Richard Crant says:

    Sorry for taking you dancing around the blackberry bush but I suppose that I enjoyed our fist dance that I have to ask for another. I would love to hear your explanation of Matt 13:44

    • I’m not offended by going around and around the blackberry bush, just commenting on it. The three “hidden treasure” parables at the end of Matthew 13 are so familiar that I haven’t thought it necessary for me to comment on them at length. Nonetheless, what I take Matthew 13:44 (especially in the context of its neighboring parables) to mean is that there are aspects of God’s truth that are hidden from the understanding of most people and that require careful search and inquiry, but the truths are so precious that it is worth holding on to them above all else. I can certainly understand why this verse would be a favorite of yours, though.

  3. J.Richard Crant says:

    The answer for me is this,

    “Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.

    By sincerely seeking the Kingdom of God and being rewarded by finding it, a person then writes down what he sees and re-writes it in the language of the day. However he writes it in philosophical musings and parables, riddles and ryhme, and this way them who are sincere will not simply give up but will be even more intrigued. Only the half-hearted gives up and we know that God does not want the half-hearted, He wants only the sincere.

    La Promesa

    Todos sus hijos serán personas enseñaron por Dios, y por la paz de sus hijos será abundante, demostrará a firmemente establecido en la rectitud que es auto. Será muy lejos de opresión allá temerá que ninguno y de algo aterrorizando, para ello no vendrá cerca de usted, si cualquiera en todo debe hacer un ataque, no estará en mi órdenes.quienquiera que hace un ataque se caerá aún por motivo de usted.

    ¡Oye allí todo usted sedientos! ¿Venga al agua, y a los que no tienen dinero, vienen compra y comen, sí viene vino de compra y leche aún sin dinero y sin el precio, por qué personas mantienen usted pagar dinero para lo que no es pan, y por qué es su trabajo para lo que no tiene como resultado satisfacción? Escuche atentamente a mí, y coma lo que es bueno, y permitió su hallazgo de la alma que es delicia exquisita en la gordura que es auto.

    ¡Mirada! Una nación que usted no sabe llamará, y ésos de una nación que no ha sabido de usted correrán aún a usted, por nuestro Padre Celestial su Dios, y para el Santo de Israel, porque El le habrá embellecido. ¿Es para disciplina que aguanta, Dios trata con usted al igual que con hijos, para qué hijo es él que un padre no disciplina? Para usted es todos los hijos de la luz e hijos de día, nosotros pertenecemos ni a la noche ni la oscuridad, para todos los que son dirigidos por Espíritu de Dios, éstos son los hijos de Dios.

    Usted ustedes mismos también como viviendo piedras son construidas una casa espiritual para el propósito de un sacerdocio Santo, para ofrecer arriba el espiritual sacrifican aceptable a Dios por Jesucristo. Por lo tanto todos que oye estos dichos míos y los hace serán likened a un hombre discreto que construyó su casa sobre la masa de piedra, y todo tomó de la misma bebida espiritual, para tomaba de la masa espiritual de piedra que los siguió, y esa piedra carne masiva el Cristo, ciertamente por lo tanto usted ya no es extranjeros y a residentes extranjeros, pero es conciudadanos del Los santos y son miembros de la Casa de Dios, y usted ha sido construido sobre la base de los apóstoles y profetas, mientras Jesucristo El Mismo es la piedra angular.

    En la unión con El el edificio entero, para ser unido armoniosamente juntos, crece en un templo Santo para Dios. ¿El Dios que hizo el mundo y todas las cosas en ello, siendo como éste es Señor del Cielo y la tierra, no habite en la mano los templos hechos, el Cielo es mi trono y la tierra es mi escabel, qué tipo de casa le hace construye para mí? o lo que es el lugar para mi resting?, las manos hicieron todo estas cosas, no hizo?, para es contenido en la escritura,? ¡”Mirada! Coloco en Sión una piedra escogida, una piedra angular de base, precioso, y nadie fe que ejercita hace en ello por cualquier medio viene a la desilusión”.

    Realmente entonces, el objetivo de este mandato es el amor fuera de un corazón limpio y fuera de una conciencia buena y fuera de fe sin hipocresía, si hablo en las lenguas de ángeles pero no tengo el amor, yo he llegado a ser un pedazo que suena de latón o un címbalo que suenan. Y si tengo el regalo de profetizar y es informado con todos los secretos sagrados y todo el conocimiento, y si tengo toda la fe para mover montañas, pero no tener el amor, yo no soy nada, y si doy todas mis pertenencias a alimentar otros, y si entrego mi cuerpo que puedo jactarme, pero no tener el amor, yo no soy ganado en todo.

    Sí, para esta muy razón, por su contribuir en la respuesta todo el esfuerzo serio, el suministro a su fe, la virtud, a su conocimiento de la virtud, a usted conocimiento auto control, a su auto resistencia del control, a su resistencia devoción Santa, a su devoción Santa cariño fraternal, a su cariño fraternal, el amor, el amor no trabaja mal a unos colinda, por lo tanto amor “es” la realización de la ley.

    Muchos limpiarán a sí mismo y se blanquearán a sí mismo y serán refinados, y los malvados ciertamente actuarán malvadamente, y ningún unos malvado comprenderá, pero los teniendo penetración comprenderá. De hecho, así allí será suministrado generosamente a usted la entrada en el Reino eterno de nuestro Señor y el Salvador Jesucristo……………Amen y

    I am going to watch Tom and Jerry

    • Have a good time watching Tom & Jerry. I think that your inference is definitely reading far more into the scripture than is necessary. I don’t think that one necessarily has to write in hermetic ways to cover one’s truth in philosophical jargon and allegory to keep it beyond the understanding of most people. Nonetheless, it is pretty clear that Jesus Christ spoke in parables to confuse others–He is God and He has that right. I think we have an obligation to speak the truth as we know it, and I don’t think I have to try very hard to write or speak in such a way as is difficult to understand. I do believe that the truth is made difficult enough, even without others making it intentionally hidden, that it requires a wholehearted effort. After all, no one putting his hand to the plow and turning back is fit for the Kingdom of Heaven.

  4. J.Richard Crant says:

    Even you reminded me to “not be throwing pearls to the swine”

    • That is certainly the truth. I think we begin with the riddles to test others to see how serious their interest is, and once they have shown their commitment we can speak with them as Jesus spoke to the twelve and how God spoke to Abraham and Moses, plainly and face to face. But one must show one’s self worthy first. Fortunately, there are many riddles and tests for us to prove ourselves to God and to other seekers of truth.

  5. J.Richard Crant says:

    I see, and just how long is it okay to follow a blind man then?

  6. Luzer says:

    I just follow the blind man until he falls into the ditch and then i turn away lol 🙂

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