I have a problem with the Modern World. I don’t like it. I first noticed it with art. Always hated modern art. I never could quite put my finger on why until I came across a definition of art by Carl Jung, “…the work of the artist meets the psychic needs of the society in which he lives, and therefore means more than his personal fate, whether he is aware of it or not… He has done his utmost by giving it form…” This is not what I see in modern art. It is not what I see in modern society. It’s the same base problem.
Okay, let’s go back. Way back. Aristotle. He says there are four causes on how to know something.
The first is the Material Cause. The Material Cause is what something is made of. The Material Cause of a pencil is wood and graphite.
The second cause is the Formal Cause. The Formal Cause is what we would call the design. Take the pencil of our first example. The wood of the Material Cause could just as easily become a table and the graphite could have been used as a lubricant in machinery. It is the Formal Cause, or the design, that is different.
The third cause is the Efficient Cause. The Efficient Cause is how did it get that way. Therefore, back to the pencil idea, the Efficient Cause of the pencil is the pencil factory.
The forth cause of how to know something is the Final Cause. The Final Cause is what is it’s ultimate purpose of being. For the pencil it varies to being an artist’s tool, or a writer’s tool, or a tool to teach children how to hone fine motor skills.
This is what we have lost. The Final Cause has been taken from society. The works of the nineteenth century philosopher Nietzsche states that “There is no objective order or structure in the world except what we give it.” Martin Luther of the fifteenth century removed books from the Bible because they did not agree with what he believed that the Holy Spirit was guiding him towards. The gradual removal of the Final Cause way of looking at things has made a world that Aristotle could not even recognize.
The modern world has no Final Cause in art. It used to be that the purpose of art is to glorify God’s creation, now it is only what the artist chooses to express himself. It does not glorify God, or meet the psychic needs of society but to glorify the artist and meet his desire for money and fame.
The modern world has no Final Cause in Legislation. If purpose of legislation is justice, then without the Final Cause then justice does not mean what is right, but what is right for me, what is right — right now. And legislation has become ‘what I want, so who are you to tell me what to do.’
The modern world glorifies the phrase, “Be Yourself!” I got to be me. I express my own identity. I determine the meaning of my life. Which has turned this glorious world of nature and art and literature into instragram me! People used to want rights as God intended, now all that matters is what I think, me, me, me and what I want and the world has to change to serve ME. The modern world pushes the idea, no, it glorifies selfishness.
The deletion of the Final Cause is deletion of God.
Peace be with you.