Monday, June 23, 2014

In the Mind’s “I”

Most puzzling to me is how so many delusional lunatics in this crazy world think they can rally their cause by killing innocent people and then themselves. Obviously I am no psychiatrist, but a finding rational explanation is unlikely even if I were. It simply makes no sense.

On May 23, a young man in Isla Vista, California, murdered six people and then killed himself in what he called retribution to punish women for rejecting him, or “starving him of sex” as he put it. Thirteen others were injured in random attacks. The perpetrator apparently thought women had an obligation to service him sexually, and when he found none willing to do so, he decided the appropriate action was to kill anyone he happened to come across. Entitlement mentality so extreme, it includes taking other people’s lives.

The killer’s parents had connections to the film industry. Washington Post movie critic Ann Hornaday wrote a column placing some of the responsibility on the “toxic double helix of insecurity and entitlement that comprises Hollywood’s DNA.” She went on to say, “For generations, mass entertainment has been overwhelmingly controlled by white men, whose escapist fantasies so often revolve around vigilantism and sexual wish-fulfillment (often, if not always, featuring a steady through-line of casual misogyny).” The perpetrator’s “rampage may be a function of his own profound distress, but it also shows how a sexist movie monoculture can be toxic for women and men alike.” Her column drew an angry reaction from those in Hollywood she targeted.

Ann Hornaday has a point, but “Hollywood’s DNA” may be traced to a culture shift that began at the Lambeth Conference in 1930 when the Anglicans became the first Protestant denomination to allow artificial birth control in some circumstances. Soon the dominos began to fall and most Protestant faiths followed suit. The sexual revolution really took off with the development of the pill. Once the procreational component was removed, sex became primarily recreational in the eyes of many. While Hollywood may not have caused this distortion, the media certainly accelerated its spread. The Internet also contributed by making pornography readily accessible to the masses, furthering the image of women as objects of pleasure.

In his 1968 Encyclical, Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI warned “that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.” How prophetic! Today the movies and media in general reflect and promote this lowering of moral standards. The Iska Vista shooter certainly bought into this twisted culture.

Secular society tends to pooh-pooh these notions that its problems are rooted in violations of the natural law as created by God. The proliferation of artificial contraception, same-sex marriage and gender manipulation, have ramifications never anticipated by their promoters. Even the current movement to legalize marijuana flourishes on a perceived entitlement to self-gratification. Failing to acknowledge any spiritual or moral consequences removes the rein that holds us to certain standards. Circumventing the stability provided by God’s firm hand allows mores and mind-sets to sway in the wind. Makes one wonder where our society is headed.