Saintly Thoughts

Of Humanity and Complexity

Those of you who have followed my musings for any length of time may have noticed a subtle shift in my philosophy.  I was once enamored with systems of control and complexity such as the modern nation-state, organized according to rigorous and meticulous balancing of the various natural and necessary components of society.  Separation of powers in governmental structure, for example, is one such complexity.  As a lawyer I am naturally drawn to such systemic balancing as a way of allowing some semblance of order and justice to prevail in society; and to prevail as against the tendencies of individual persons whose actions might cause such a system to collapse.  And I still think, as a whole, this idea of balancing against one another the opposed tendencies of the human soul has some merit.  But I wonder at what point the complexity of such balancing becomes so onerous that it threatens to crumble under the weight of its own edifice?  Furthermore, I wonder if what is really required to approximate a just society is really more external process or is rather a reordering of the human soul?  For I tend towards Solzhenitsyn's view that the line between good and evil cuts right through the center of the human heart.  If this is the case, then the very individual person is a constant battleground between conflicting feelings, emotions, ideals, and grievances.  If not balanced against the nature of the self any one of these impulses can plunge a person into madness and evil.  True, external circumstances and supports might make this turn that less likely, thus I do not wish to say that there is no place for process based thinking.  But we cannot structure a society purely around treating the external symptoms.  This would be like treating a man with a broken leg by only giving him pain medication and never mending the leg.  He might feel well enough to function, but he will never be free of the medication or walk as well as he might.  But from a societal point of view, it is as though we cannot reach any consensus on whether or not a leg can be mended, or even whether or not there is such a thing as a leg.  And so we build castles in the sky, ever more complex systems of law and control.  Have you noticed that the language that the masters of these complexities speak--our law makers and managers--often makes little sense?  It is often an idealized language of control as unreal and separate from the actuality of lived human experience as the incantations of wizards and witches.  Is it possible for the human to pursue the truly real in such a condition?