The bread you are holding back is for the hungry, the clothes you keep put away are for the naked, the shoes that are rotting away with disuse are for those who have none, the silver you keep buried in the earth is for the needy. You are thus guilty of injustice toward as many as you might have aided, and did not.
—St. Basil the Great, On Social Justice (via thepoorinspirit-extras)
He did not merely ask men to turn the other cheek when smitten on the one, to go the second mile when compelled to go one, to give the cloak also when sued at the law and the coat was taken away, to love our enemies and to bless them; he himself did that very thing. The servants struck him on one cheek, he turned the other and the soldiers struck him on that; they compelled him to go with them one mile, from Gethsemane to the judgment hall, he went with them two, even to Calvary. They took away his coat at the judgement hall and he gave them his seamless robe at the cross; and in the agony of the cruel torture of the cross he prayed for his enemies, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
It’s of some interest that the lively arts of the millennial U.S.A. treat anhedonia and internal emptiness as hip and cool. It’s maybe the vestiges of the Romantic glorification of Weltschmerz, which means world-weariness or hip ennui. Maybe it’s the fact that most of the arts here are produced by world-weary and sophisticated older people and then consumed by younger people who not only consume art but study it for clues on how to be cool, hip — and keep in mind that, for kids and younger people, to be hip and cool is the same as to be admired and accepted and included and so Unalone. Forget so-called peer-pressure. It’s more like peer-hunger. No? We enter a spiritual puberty where we snap to the fact that the great transcendent horror is loneliness, excluded encagement in the self. Once we’ve hit this age, we will now give or take anything, wear any mask, to fit, be part-of, not be Alone, we young. The U.S. arts are our guide to inclusion. A how-to. We are shown how to fashion masks of ennui and jaded irony at a young age where the face is fictile enough to assume the shape of whatever it wears. And then it’s stuck there, the weary cynicism that saved us from gooey sentiment and unsophisticated naivete. Sentiment equals naivete on the continent (at least since the Reconfiguration). One of the things sophisticated viewers have always liked about J. O. Incandenza’s The American Century as Seen Through a Brick is its unsubtle thesis that naivete is the last true terrible sin in the theology of millennial America. And since sin is the sort of thing that can be talked about only figuratively, it’s natural that HImself’s dark little cartridge was mostly about a myth, viz. that queerly persistent U.S. myth that cynicism and naivete are mutually exclusive. Hal, who’s empty but not dumb, theorizes privately that what passes for hip cynical transcendence of sentiment is really some kind of fear of being really human, since to be really human (at least as he conceptualizes it) is probably to be unavoidably sentimental and naive and goo-prone and generally pathetic, is to be in some basic interior way forever infantile, some sort of not-quite-right-looking infant dragging itself anaclitically around the map, with big wet eyes and froggy-soft skin, huge skull, gooey drool. One of the really American things about Hal, probably, is the way he despises what it is he’s really lonely for: this hideous internal self, incontinent of sentiment and need, that pules and writhes just under the hip empty make, anhedonia.
—David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest (via chaambler)