We, as a society, are descending into a new paganism. Paganism never went away, nor could it have, for paganism is the true religion of man as mere material man, even when overlaid with a veneer of spiritualism (it should herein be noted that this new paganism is best described as bereft of spiritualism except on the level of metaphor). At its most fundamental level, it expresses a natural recognition of the most basic and necessary aspects of existence--procreation, birth, sustenance, love, and death--and molds these disparate experiences into a cohesive story-arc of human existence. Thus, the human animal is able to consciously recognize and experience its existence in a way that other animals cannot. As I said, this is quite natural and quite as it should be. But does this natural recognition break down on some level? What of death? Can a human person face the reality of his own death square on without an actualized sense of a continuation of the story? Presumably there are individual human beings who can (though perhaps these may be defective humans by some definitions, since they are not the mass of mankind) but if our experience of the modern age has shown us anything it is that the mass of men will avoid the consideration of this reality at all costs. They thus deny the efficacy of their existence. Or, if their terror is great enough, they will make of their fellow man a sacrifice to the god of the self, and take their fellows with them into the beyond in an orgy of violence. Such an act is the last refuge of meaning in a nihilistic universe. May we not live in such a universe!