On History, Master of Life

In approaching history, it is common to focus exclusively on the technological advancements of civilizations and the great figures who made such progress possible. While there is nothing inherently wrong within those limits, what truly matters is recognizing, for each historical period, what ordinary people felt and thought. In fact, from history, we should be able to glean knowledge of the broader context in which our lives unfold: the evolution of thought, if you will. If we can put ourselves in a position to understand the reality of those who came before us, then it becomes possible for us to comprehend why we hold certain worldviews and what our contribution might be to further progress. In other words, by precisely identifying our place in the broader development of civilization, we can understand the direction in which we are moving.

Therefore, as simple as it may be to look around and identify the problems surrounding us, the only way to find a solution that is both lasting and reasonable is to recognize their causes, and address them directly. It took more than a thousand years for the modern worldview to develop, and thus, the only way to truly understand the current condition is to go back to the tenth century and then traverse the millennium empirically, as if we had actually lived through that entire historical period within the span of our lifetime.

Let’s imagine living in that period, in what we now define as the Middle Ages. First and foremost, it is crucial to acknowledge that the reality of this era is entirely shaped by the powerful ecclesiastics of the Christian Church, who, from their elevated positions, exerted a profound influence on the minds of the people. The world they described as real is primarily spiritual: in other words, the reality they depicted places the theory concerning God’s plan for humanity at the very core of existence. God had placed man at the center of His universe, surrounded by the entire cosmos, for a singular purpose: to attain or lose salvation. In this solemn trial, each individual faced a choice: to follow God, or succumb to the hidden temptations of the Devil.

Obviously, the only ones interpreting the Sacred Scriptures, and therefore the only ones capable of determining at any given moment whether an individual was behaving according to God’s rules or being deceived by Satan, were the men of the Church. Each individual could decide whether to follow their guidance, with the certainty of being richly rewarded in the afterlife, or accept the consequences, hence eternal damnation and excommunication. Every aspect of the world, no matter how insignificant it might seem, was interpreted in spiritual terms. Every event in human life, whether it was an earthquake, a storm, a bountiful harvest, or the loss of a loved one, was considered a direct manifestation of divine will or the malign influence of the devil. Themes such as climate, geological forces, agriculture, or even diseases had yet to have an explanation, and would be explored in later epochs of history.

This worldview, however, didn’t last forever. On the contrary, between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, it began to crumble. Indeed, evident compromises by the clergy started to surface, such as the violation of the vow of chastity or a blatant collusion with power, which became apparent when rulers defied the dictates of Sacred Scriptures. These improprieties alarmed the population, as the men of the Church, exclusive interpreters of the Scriptures and self-proclaimed sole arbiters of salvation, had always asserted themselves as the only effective link between man and God. Tensions escalated until a group of individuals led by Martin Luther called for a complete break from papal Christianity, declaring that the Church had become corrupt and, therefore, its role as the guardian of truth should come to an end.

In this way, new Churches were born, founded on the idea that each individual should not only have personal and direct access to the Scriptures, but also the freedom to interpret them as they prefer, without the need for any intermediary. The clergy lost their credibility and, consequently, the entire world they had built is called into question. The once-clear consensus regarding the nature of the universe and the purpose of our existence as a human race, as described by the clergy, began to crumble.

The population found itself bewildered, lost: up until that point, there had always been a higher authority defining reality. All knowledge came into question, and the world underwent a radical transformation. Before the end of the 1600s, it had already been indisputably demonstrated that neither the Sun nor the stars orbited around the Earth, as declared by the Church: in other words, humanity no longer occupied that luxurious position at the center of God’s universe. The Earth was nothing more than one of many planets in the universe, orbiting around one of many suns, belonging to one of many galaxies. Humanity was no longer special. The relationship between God and man had changed, and even the nature of God itself was being reconsidered.

And it is on the basis of these premises, and this confusion, that the Modern Era begins. A growing desire for democracy and a widespread distrust towards any form of authority, be it papal or secular in nature, permeated society. Definitions based on faith and speculation were no longer automatically accepted, and in order to avoid the repetition of past mistakes, people were no longer willing to take the risk of a new group seizing control of reality, as the Church had done before.

If what the Church had stated was wrong, it was therefore necessary to find the truth, or rather, a means through which to define it. A means that was objective and systematic: thus, the scientific method was born. Guided by this new approach, we were convinced that we had found a way to redefine reality and influence public opinion. Through it, we believed we could discover the nature of everything around us, including the nature of God and the true purpose of human existence on this planet. However, the scientific method failed in its attempt to find a new image of God, and did not succeed in resolving the dilemma of the meaning of our existence either.

This lack of certainty and meaning had a very significant influence on Western culture, and people started to distract themselves. It was decided that it was better to occupy one’s mind with other activities and questions until a solution to the original question was found. In other words, four centuries ago, our ancestors responded to that profound sense of loss by dedicating themselves to the conquest of the planet, and the exploitation of its resources, to improve the quality of our lives.

However, ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away, and these distractions concealed a growing concern. Sure, we had a kind of economic security, but we had lost the spiritual security we once had. The questions related to why we lived spiritual events were completely set aside, and then erased. And, in the end, the effort to improve our living conditions has become the very reason for our existence: we have forgotten that, even today, we do not know why we exist.

But without a sense of purpose, moving in the right direction becomes impossible, as there is no destination to strive for. Our lives consequently turn into a fluid and mundane succession of daily routines, where no day truly differs from the next, and monotonous routine takes over. In the absence of meaning, we are dead long before we die, mere leaves randomly moved by the wind. On a societal level, the lack of purpose or direction leads to a range of consequences, some more severe than others. Consequences, incidentally, that the West is already experiencing.

First and foremost, where individuals lack purpose, they risk becoming alienated from work, community, and social responsibilities. Even momentarily setting aside the economic consequences that this decreased productivity can have overall, this alienation leads to a decrease in motivation and a lack of interest in contributing to society. In the absence of this interest, individuals cease to unite their efforts towards common goals, intensifying social fragmentation and polarization, and contributing to a general breakdown of social cohesion. There are, of course, some economic consequences as well: in the absence of ambition, motivation, and determination to reach one’s potential, overall productivity decreases, leading to a decline in economic growth and prosperity. Economic issues only accentuate the social dynamics already in play.

The lack of purpose can also contribute to feelings of emptiness, depression, and anxiety. Unable to give meaning to our lives, it becomes impossible to fulfill our dreams or achieve the goals we set for ourselves, which can only lead to despair and dismay. Purpose provides satisfaction and significance to our lives: it is our fuel. In the absence of purpose, individuals try to fill that void, that overall dissatisfaction, with pleasures that distract them from their depressing existence. Consequently, both mental and physical health are affected: a purposeless society exhibits higher rates of issues such as obesity, substance abuse, and depression.

If it wasn’t already evident how the West serves as a clear exemplification of what has just been discussed, consider the following. A society lacking direction, by its nature, tends to favor pleasures and instant gratification over long-term reasoning and the pursuit of even greater pleasures. The immediate consequences of this mentality manifest in hedonistic lifestyles, with all the degenerations that sexual liberation entails, and dependencies on anything that can provide momentary relief, be it calories or various forms of entertainment. However, all of this also makes us terribly more lonely, and empty.

To be completely honest, the lack of direction certainly prevents us from choosing the right path, but at the same time, it also means we face no real obstacles to overcome: indeed, overcoming obstacles would require commitment and determination to reach some goal. Since we, as animals, are energized by the need to overcome life’s challenges, in the absence of obstacles, we need to create our own problems, battles, and unique characteristics. We need to forge our own identity, as it’s no longer defined by the road we are traveling. It should come as no surprise, then, that we have witnessed the proliferation of mental illnesses in recent decades, where many lost souls have felt the need to identify themselves with this or that, venting their inability to construct a pleasant existence through pronouns, protests, and a futile sense of superiority. And make no mistake, I’m not just referring to alphabet gang, but also to all those activists who rage for virtue signaling, rather than ideals. May those souls, unable to find peace in peace, find forgiveness, and cease to inflame war amid wars.

Now, since the causes are clear, and sadly the consequences are equally so, we must embark on the quest for a solution. Naturally, resolution can only arise from a conscious and planned effort, as nothing extraordinary ever materializes purely by chance, and our subject is no exception to this unrelenting rule.

First and foremost, it is imperative to reconsider our archaic educational system. A system shaped in an era when humanity needed manpower; a system that, while capable of molding individuals skilled in the art of obedience and discipline, neglects the noble path of self-realization. We, but especially future generations, are prisoners of a deliberately outdated curriculum, a rigid padlock that stifles critical thinking, hinders creativity, and confines individual potential. Well, we must cast off these chains and embrace a renewal.

The curriculum must be forged in the flames of intellectual rebellion, where young minds can bloom like red roses in a sacred garden. It is necessary to introduce educational programs that allow students to explore their diverse passions, to shape their skills through work that transcends mere survival, but rather embraces the true essence of existence. Among various paths, this is the swiftest route for individuals to catch a glimpse of the reflection of their own souls and discern the veiled meaning of their existence.

In constructing a New Beginning, the second indispensable step is the weaving of communities, fundamental elements capable of intertwining social bonds and instilling a sense of belonging within society. As mentioned earlier, during the medieval period, the individual operated in service to a project much larger than their own existence—God’s plan. Therefore, belonging to and contributing to a community proves to be a method as simple as it is extraordinarily effective in replicating the impacts of such connection on a broader scale. It is a call to collective responsibility, an invitation to work together for a common purpose that transcends the narrow limitations of individual existence. Through active participation and interconnection, individuals can reach the peaks of fulfillment, thereby contributing to the creation of a vibrant and inspired social fabric—a genuine Renaissance for modern times.

In this context, it is crucial that communities are formed by individuals united by values and principles, rather than worldly interests such as money and power. The essence of an authentic community lies in the spontaneous willingness of its members to contribute to its construction and improvement, aware that their dedication will be rewarded with nothing more than the gratitude of those who benefit from it. Non-profit organizations, therefore, emerge as a privileged vehicle for the creation of such communities, surpassing the dynamics of elitist businesses and clubs.

The ecclesiastical institution, and particularly the concept of service within the Church, can certainly be considered a relevant example of how selfless dedication can thrive. Altar servers, for instance, are often young volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to church activities, without expecting tangible financial rewards: they are not engaged for personal gain, but rather to contribute to the spiritual life of the community and play a meaningful role in liturgical celebrations.

To those who will accept the responsibility of building and leading such communities, a challenging task awaits: not only must they outline a calendar of events and projects to stimulate participation, but they must also constantly seek to expand their user base. Individuals leading communities must be willing to listen, accept advice, and foster an environment where innovation and creativity can flourish. Too often, communities languish in inactivity due to poor management or insufficient planning: it is the evident collapse caused by excessive ego, the inability to ask for help, and, most importantly, the failure to accept help when offered.

This is not the path to follow. Communities must build social groups whose members see themselves as equals and, above all, mutually respect each other as if they were brothers. It is therefore imperative to allow those with more experience to act as mentors for younger members, strengthening a sense of support and connection. This dynamic proves particularly beneficial for those who may feel lost or isolated. This collaborative approach is the key to building vibrant communities where relationships are founded on mutual respect and the shared idea that everyone, as members of the same family, is involved in constructing something greater than themselves.

The third step towards actualizing this New Beginning involves ensuring that both creativity and artistic expression in all their forms are not only respected but actively encouraged, for they are fundamental to constructing a meaningful society. This entails supporting artistic institutions in schools, promoting cultural programs, backing emerging artists, and creating spaces where creative expression can flourish without restrictions and judgments.

A society capable of embracing and promoting art and creativity, is a society able to nurture innovation, diversity of thought, and a sense of shared belonging. In this way, a fertile ground is laid for individual and collective growth, fueling the vitality of a community that embraces the richness of its creative expression. Indeed, art, be it visual, musical, literary, or performative, serves as a mirror of our humanity: it is through artistic creation that we explore deep emotions, reflect on the complexities of life, and communicate with others in ways that go beyond words. This process not only enriches our individual understanding but also creates a shared fabric that binds people in a common human experience.

Promoting art also means immersing ourselves in a renewed embrace of beauty, an activity that uplifts the human spirit, nurtures the essence, and adds depth to our existence. There are various ways to contemplate beauty. The sight of breathtaking landscapes, colorful sunsets, and intricate natural details can evoke a sense of gratitude, inspiring a fervent desire to preserve the sublime beauty of our planet. Similarly, the creation of urban spaces and architectures that embody refined aesthetics can have a positive influence on individual well-being, fostering a sense of belonging and contributing to the shaping of places that not only fascinate but above all, welcome.

There is a reason, after all, why in the past such abundant resources were dedicated to the construction of architectures that delighted the eyes: architecture was not merely a construction of stone and wood but rather a story, a journey through intricate details that whispered tales of bygone eras, where each column and arch left an indelible mark on the human soul. The care taken in creating such works was a tribute to humanity’s innate desire to connect with beauty beyond the confines of time.

Finally, the last missing piece for the rebuilding of our society is faith in a higher order, a great architect of the universe if you will, who observes and judges us. In other words, society needs to reconnect with the divine. Faith and religion, in addition to providing hope and meaning, serve another crucial purpose: they safeguard values. The awareness that someone or something, at every moment, not only observes us but judges us with unlimited powers and knowledge, makes it impossible to act wrongly without fearing the inevitable consequences.

In this perspective, the connection with the divine offers moral guidance, a scrupulous rigor that shapes human behavior. Faith in a higher order introduces an intrinsic moral consciousness, thus contributing to building a society where virtue and integrity are not only valued, but engraved in the very essence of the community. In the quest for a broader meaning, divine faith becomes a beacon, a guiding light that directs the actions and choices of individuals. Faith not only provides a spiritual refuge, but also stands as the foundation upon which rests the entire moral structure of society, a clear call to fundamental values that transcend the ephemeral and reflect the wisdom of a higher order. For these reasons, I do not hesitate to declare: there is no man without God.

When society will have rediscovered faith, then and only then will it make sense to engage in discussions about which religion is “better” or “more right”. Until that moment, a debate of such nature is utterly futile.

The reader may now wonder how it is possible to bring society closer to the divine, but the answer is already present in this very article: in the realization of the first three steps, the fourth emerges spontaneously. It is inconceivable for a society that promotes critical thinking and creativity from the early days, nurtures a deep sense of civic duty and brotherhood, and appreciates beauty, not to gain awareness of an invisible hand, an order higher than our small existences.

When minds are free to explore the recesses of thought, and hearts beat in unison in the sharing of a collective destiny, faith materializes like the long shadow of an ancient bell tower, enveloping society in a symphony of mysteries. In a world where the light of critical thinking merges with the nuances of art, and fraternity intertwines with aesthetics, the presence of the invisible becomes a natural obsession, a revelation that cannot be ignored.

In conclusion, although the resolution of all contemporary Western dilemmas can be traced back to these four simple steps, such a process cannot be carried out by a single individual. Instead, it requires a collective awakening, a shared interest in embarking on this path together. Some, benefiting from the fruits of this slow decay, may oppose it, labeling as megalomaniacal, mad, or radicalized those who attempt to implement what is outlined in this article. However, I can only respond with the following quote from the text titled “The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz”: “Behold my brother, if anyone should now come who were willing to instruct these blockish people in the right way, would he be heard? The world is now resolved (whatever comes of it) to be cheated, and cannot abide to give ear to those who intend its good. Do you see that same cocks-comb, with what whimsical figures and foolish conceits he allures others to him. There one makes mouths at the people with unheard-of mysterious words. Yet believe me in this, the time is now coming when those shameful vizards shall be plucked off, and all the world shall know what vagabond impostors were concealed behind them. Then perhaps that will be valued which at present is not esteemed.

While every effort has been made to accurately translate this article from its original Italian version, some nuances in meaning may differ. If you wish to explore the original text, you can find it here.