The descent of man

This is an ironic coincidence, that we Christians build our dogma around the fall of man, while evolutionists theorize about the so-called descent of man, from pondscum or some ameobic thing like it (just kidding). Either way you look at it, the direction is downhill. I suppose downhill is easier than trudging upward, but then downhill doesn’t descend forever; there is an end to it eventually, a leveling out.

Maybe that stopping at the bottom is hell, if you view life and its end in religious terms. Or maybe it is poverty, if you’ve got a humanist worldview.

Although we Christians emphasize the point that man is fallen–depraved–at least our revelation offers a hope of eventual ascent to heaven. These days, our hope–considered naíve by many– is, I think, more convincing than the humanist alternative. Stalin and Mao proved that communism is hell. Nowadays we’re proving that even capitalism is hell.  Hitler proved that (national) socialism, which is the commie’s evil twin, is also hell. Hell on earth. Watch out; it could happen again.

But the hope of Christ is based not on our faltering efforts (individually and collectively) to save ourselves, but rather, on the finished work of the crucified/resurrected one–his atonement for our shitty sin,  and then overcoming death to prove the point that he knows what he’s talking about.

If I could write a play to change the world–to wow the Tony people and then garner oscars for the movie version–could it have a more spectacular plot device than some guy resurrecting from the dead? I don’t think so. Not even Bruce Willis or Tom Cruise could perform such a feat, much less endure the agony that preceded it. Not even Mel Gibson could endure that.

I mean what could be more convincing than raising up from the dead? But then you gotta believe it, or it doesn’t work. Faith is the thing that makes resurrection work for you. That’s your part of the story; God’s already done his.

God, the Creator, did write such a story, an epic, and he set it in actual history, beginning with Adam and Eve and so forth, and Abraham and Moses and all that, right up through Jesus, Paul and John. Then he had the book published. You’ve probably heard of it, if you’re a bibliophile.

But back to the descent thing (it never fails to happen): While Adam and Eve were falling from God’s grace through their sin, outside of Eden the cro-magnon hominids were, perhaps, descending by successive mutations to full homo sapiens descentive glory.

There is a lot we still don’t know about the human race, but one conclusion we can make is this: our species has perfected the art of screwing up. Marx thought otherwise; he posited a steady progression through capitalism, dictatorship of the proletariat, and eventually evolved communism. But look what Stalin and Mao did with his doctrine. You can’t figure how to make the human society thing work. It always descends, after a pyrric flash in the pan, to dystopia.

I mean, for instance: It makes perfect sense, from a rational standpoint (although not yet a practical one), that we should develop energy generation through solar power technology. We’ve been talking about it since the 70s for good reason; but no American company has really made the breakthrough that would propel solar roof-collectors to mass market efficiency and low-cost affordability. The wallstreet crowd doesn’t seem to be interested in taking a chance on the prospect; they’re too busy playing poker with derivatives and credit default swaps. So our gov. finds what seems to be a good solar-developing company in California, and sinks a half bill into it, thinking that Solyndra might be the group to make the difference. But then the enterprise fails, goes bankrupt. Damn.

Why? Because they couldn’t compete with the Chinese! The commies! who are doing everything faster and cheaper than we can because so many low wagers work there, while all our people have gotten rich, fat&happy, and comfortably numb, and so we can no longer compete. I mean, these Deng-reformed Maoists are overtaking us with their hybrid Hegelian-synthesis neo-communo/capitalism!

A hundred or so years ago we were going great guns with full steam power, pulling stuff out of the ground and making cool stuff out of it and selling it to each other, making money hand over fist and then selling it all over the world. Now everybody else in the world, except the Europeans, are doing all that wildwest development faster and cheaper. Shanghai, Singapore, Bangalore, Sao Paulo are doing now what New York and Chicago were doing a hundred years ago. What are New York and Chicago doing now? Crying the blues and watching reruns of sex in the city.

We, the Brits and those other European post-colonialists, taught the “third” world pretty well. Those developing nations have learned their capitalism lessons thoroughly. They learned it, like all children do, by example. Their mutant version of capitalist development will survive our fittest attempts to catch up.

And the trains, in China. Don’t get me started. I’ve ridden on a couple of them. Let me tell you they are fast, and they are impressive. Our Prez points out, correctly, that we were building vast infrastructure and railways across America, back in the day. And why we can’t we do it again?

It’s the descent thing. Our trains have run out of yankee ingenuity somewhere between stations. While the Chinese maglevs whiz along at 200 mph, although they do sometimes run into each other. Watch out, sloppy safety regs ahead.

Our whole damned nation, and sooner or later the world itself, is running out of steam, or out of oil despite the frickin fracking. And runnin out of money, though there’s plenty of the printed stuff floating around. Our mph and our gdp is in a long, decelerating descent.

But there is an ascent from the devolving madness.  A sufficient tranche of preferred stock has been purchased for me, and for you, if you choose to invest your time. It is a company not of this world, although it is in this world. I will be ascending on its prospectus soon, with a little help from my resurrected friend. I hope to see you there, if not before.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

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