Humans Haven’t Progressed Too Far

There was a cigarette advertisement (if American, are you old enough to remember those?) in the 70s that tried to play off the idea that women had progressed a long way in society–“You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby” they proclaimed saying women deserved their own brand of death-in-a-package.

I’m currently reading in Augustine of Hippo. He talks of his teen years in what we’d call University.

These studies of mine also, which were considered perfectly respectable, were designed to fit me for the law so that I might gain a great name in a profession where those who deceive most people have the biggest reputations.

Augustine, Confessions

In America, as well as in many countries of the world, we have come through a season of political campaigning and elections. Sometimes we get the feeling that 2020 resembles 380.

Although Augustine did turn his considerable rhetorical abilities into working for good, so it is possible to change.

Augustine was discussing his past, the time prior to his focus on God. This is part of personal awareness, when we can look back and see where we were deficient and sinners. Then we can see where we’ve grown and where there is still room for growth.

Only when we see can we understand that we are not yet model citizens in the City of God.

A French psychologist once taught a phrase to repeat, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”

When we think we’ve arrived at our best, then we’ve turned those powers of deception upon ourselves. Augustine saw it 1,600 years ago. Ancient writing dating back 4,000 years also contain the same warning. It seems we either train to deceive others, or we are professionals at deceiving ourselves.

Coming to awareness brings us one step closer to living with-God.

Have we come a long way? Well, yes, and no.

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