October 14, 2019

Damaris’s New Blog and Her Invitation: Come Join Me!

Come Join Me!
by Damaris Zehner

When Chaplain Mike first took over Internet Monk from Michael Spencer, I wrote something every week. I enjoyed sharing ideas and being pushed to write regularly. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I began working on books. As you know, I published one a few years ago, The Between Time: Savoring the Moments of Everyday Life, which showcased some of my iMonk posts. I’ve stopped contributing to the site, but I haven’t stopped writing. My current project has a different focus.

I’ve been convinced for some years now that our institutions, habits, and even aspirations don’t seem to fit us well. Schools, businesses, governments, towns, food, technology, communities – all fail to work toward our health and happiness. The proof is the anxiety, depression, suicide, eating disorders, and hoarding that affect people, and the pollution, erosion, extinction, and climate change that affect the environment. I’m convinced that one cause of the mismatch between our society and us is that we don’t understand what we truly are and what we truly need.

I’ve started a blog to address these issues, called Integrity of Life: Human-Shaped Society for a Post-Industrial World.

In my posts I anticipate a difficult future for our culture and for our species and consider what we need to do to prepare. Little life hacks won’t be sufficient to meet a world of depleted resources and erratic climate; we have to make fundamental changes in our worldview and behavior. However, I’m not a prophet of doom. The apocalyptic thinking that’s so popular these days is really just another way of avoiding hard choices. I have hope that our post-industrial future in many ways will be a good one. The transition will be hard as people scramble for increasingly scarce resources and struggle with the impacts of climate change, but the result may be a lifestyle that is better suited to our human nature and our environment and is no longer an exercise in hubris. None of us will see it, but we can still imagine a better society and live now in a way that mitigates the hardships and advances the benefits of the post-industrial world.

I would love for my blog to become a place of challenging conversations and varied ideas, the way Internet Monk has been. I’m aiming to create a new book out of the blog posts, and your feedback – and pushback – will be invaluable to me. But more importantly, I’d like the encouragement and camaraderie of like-minded people. I’ll be posting new essays once a week, which will give me time to respond to everyone who comments. So please, come join me!

• • •

INTEGRITY OF LIFE
Damaris Zehner’s blog

Comments

  1. THIS is a topic that has long been overlooked in American Christian circles – of whatever tradition. I cannot express how glad I am to see you take it on, and I look forward to joining the conversation.

    • Robert F says

      Yes, this difficult discussion has to be undertaken among American Christians. Expect fireworks.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > Expect fireworks.

        And being embraced.

        I’ve never seen it in a Christian context, honestly that is hard to even imagine, but it is a conversation that is happening. A lot.

        Human Centered Design is most certainly “a thing”. There is much in those circles which is encouraging.

    • Thank you for the affirmation. Be aware that the blog itself is not overtly Christian and is aimed at a general audience. Everyone needs to hear this, I think, not just Christians.

      • You’ve just answered a question I had in a comment below about your intended audience. I did sniff out a few Christian themes, although current evangelical trends might balk at some of those. I seem to remember that you’ve moved over to the Roman Catholic Church, though. Or am I thinking of someone else?

        • That’s right, Ted. We’re Catholic now. I won’t disguise my Christianity in the new blog, but my goal is to meet readers of all beliefs on common ground.

          • You mention that in your book The Between Time. I couldn’t find my copy of it last night. I confess it was underneath Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged in that…that… PILE by my kitchen chair, the pile my wife keeps commenting on. Rand’s book is the only one with the binding turned inward, so she won’t scare people. Even though she’s dead.

            I re-read your intro and first chapter this morning. I remember liking your second chapter too, The Blessings of Boredom. I’ll read that again this afternoon.

  2. Adam Tauno Williams says

    Really interesting. I can’t think of anything I disagree with in the first three posts. Eager to see where you go from these.

    “””The apocalyptic thinking that’s so popular these days is really just another way of avoiding hard choices. I have hope that our post-industrial future in many ways will be a good one.”””

    Yep.

    Coincidence, just yesterday I was writing the section of an article about one of my own little tribe’s – very non-dystopian – adaptation from post-war largess to the current and future world of urban austerity.

    • Christiane says

      the old people know austerity already . . . they are passing, yes, but those who still live in the old neighborhoods have begun to adapt and help each other . . . someone shops for the small group, another one cooks and shares, one drives the others who no longer drive to appointment . . . . how strange that our country started out this way on the frontier lands where neighbors helped one another,
      and now, it is taking ‘austerity’ (or the limitations of retirement funds) to once again pull neighbors together in a spirit of cooperation in order to have a better life

      ‘austerity’? or a blessing?

      not political tribalism, no;
      something much much better on the horizon for ‘community’ may be coming

      thanks to my god-father Tony (yes, his name is ‘Tony’) who is widowed and lives in the old neighborhood among the old people where the ones that have not ‘passed’ are now a ‘family’ of sorts that does rather well for themselves 🙂 It’s a good thing.

      • Don’t mean to hijack, but Christiane, I’d sincerely appreciate a reply to my questions posted under your comment in “Drawn to the Religionless”.

        Thanks!

  3. Damaris –

    I know you want to keep the blog “religiously neutral” so to speak, but I just came across this new book. I think it ties in directly with the subject at hand.

    https://religionandpolitics.org/2019/06/18/oil-patch-religion-how-a-passion-for-crude-shaped-american-faith/

  4. Christiane says

    Hello Damaris,

    I would like to know more about your observations and ideas, yes, so I will come and read on your blog also. I am in my later years and have been doing what Swedes call ‘the death cleaning’ which means going through all the junk I’ve accumulated and giving away what is no longer needed. This process is so refreshing, and I didn’t expect that.

    Also adopting the ‘wear it out, use it up’ model of economy in my home; and not wasting but instead planning carefully . . . . I find I am more grateful than before because I did not realize how much I really had while caught up in the rush and tumble of a faster lane. There is more peace now in my life. More appreciation. So ‘less’ is more now.

    But I notice more and take more time to think things through. And I don’t feel ‘deprived’, but quite the opposite, something else is happening and I’m more conscious of the ‘abundance’ I previously took for granted.

    I think your ideas go beyond personal journeys and touch on the whole of a community/society. I will enjoy learning from you. Yes, the times are changing. But people can ‘go forward in a good direction’ if they are aware of what they are doing.

    some thoughts . . .

  5. senecagriggs says

    Dear Damaris, I really can’t get behind “Climate Change” as a threat to my world other than the government wishing to take more of my money and give it to the TYRANTS who run the other countries who will not reduce Climate Change an iota even if they could but will take the money and become billionaires leaving their citizens to suffer.
    ______

    You’ll have to go on without me Damaris – smile

    • Climate change is like cancer – denying it exists won’t stop it from killing you.

      • I’m more annoyed that climate change was the topic he decided to rail against, completely ignoring the other topics Damaris mentioned and the value of what her blog might provide to those who are depressed, anxious, suicidal, etc.

        In fact, given the vitriol of his words, Seneca sounds anxious and angry himself and could probably use a dose of what Damaris is writing about.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          He clearly needs to spend a nice Saturday afternoon in the park, hanging out with some neighbors.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          I’m more annoyed that climate change was the topic he decided to rail against, completely ignoring the other topics

          Tunnel Vision.
          And these days, everybody’s going crazy (and monomaniacal) about that particular subject.

      • senecagriggs says

        Eeyore my friend; I don’t have that many years left.

        Climate change will NOT be the death of me.

        • And what of those who remain after you are gone?

          • Christiane says

            ‘ay, there’s the rub’

            strange how those who want to conserve the Earth are called ‘liberals’

            labels don’t mean much anymore

            in the end, it’s a matter of who will be privileged enough to survive, and then, for how long, and under what dystopian circumstances

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            And what of those who remain after you are gone?

            “That’s YOUR Problem.”
            — reply when I posed a similar question many years ago

            (Whether “being gone” means decomposing in a grave or watching from a catered box suite in Fluffy Cloud Heaven.)

        • Klasie Kraalogies says

          And there you have it. Modern evangelicalism in particular is myopic,uninformed, even selfish, and embraces ignorance in the most arrogant way. Me and me soul, we want to have a good time after the body expire!

          • anonymous says

            that ‘in your face’ embrace of open ‘ignorance’ is more ‘code’ than not:

            most of those exhibiting this phenomenon know EXACTLY what they are doing and it is an expression of anger and frustration for lifetimes of being kept outside the walls of the city

            they will still be miserable, but they will make everyone else as miserable as they are and this is their contribution to a mock ‘civilization’ as it lays dying

            • Interesting point, anonymous. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but it makes sense.

            • Adam Tauno Williams says

              The dwarves are for the dwarves! 🙂

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              most of those exhibiting this phenomenon know EXACTLY what they are doing and it is an expression of anger and frustration for lifetimes of being kept outside the walls of the city

              they will still be miserable, but they will make everyone else as miserable as they are

              Yesterday I sent Eagle an email of something I encountered on just this subject:

              Today on the last page of Time (June 24 issue) there’s a quickie interview with a “Stanford scholar” about the current rise of quasi-Fascist populism. (“Hail Trump!”) Here’s the money quotes:

              “If you look at the constituency for illiberal, generally right-of-center-populism, it’s the same constituency for Donald Trump in the US, for Brexit in Britain, for Le Pen in France, for Alternative for Germany in Germany. The world is passing them by. They lack the skill levels to compete in the global economy. And so they feel threatened by international trade, threatened by globalization, threatened by immigration, threatened by a world that is changing very rapidly and that is not the old familiar. And reinforcing income insecurity is the sense that they’re looked down upon, that this cosmopolitan elite looks upon them as backward, as hacks, as reactionaries, as defenders of a bygone era. And they’re not entirely wrong in their perception. There is a cultural arrogance.”

              And…

              “The incentive of the social-media companies is to perpetuate outrage. The more we’re riveted, the more time we spend on those platforms and the more ads we see. And so the revenue logic of Facebook is not consistent with the interests of democracy.”

              Put these together and you have “I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!!!!!” leading to “STICK IT TO ‘EM! STICK IT TO ‘EM! STICK IT TO ‘EM!” and supporting someone powerful enough to “STICK IT TO ‘EM!”

              • I’m having less and less sympathy for that “conservatives being dissed by liberals” line of argument. It totally obviates their share of the blame for the social ills that require liberalism to fix, and their demand for cheap goods that fuel globalization. I’m definitely not saying that liberal arrogance does not exist – but sometimes it exists for good reason.

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                  I’m having less and less sympathy for that “conservatives being dissed by liberals” line of argument.

                  If you lived in California (or anywhere dominated by The Left Coast), you would not say that. Ever.

                  As you put it many months ago, “New England Puritans, distilled seven times down to remove any trace of God Talk, but retaining all the Righteousness and Moral Fury.” And if you’re not one of the SJW Political Caste, you WILL be Re-Educated by that Righteousness and Moral Fury.

              • Robert F says

                Put these together and you have “I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!!!!!” leading to “STICK IT TO ‘EM! STICK IT TO ‘EM! STICK IT TO ‘EM!” and supporting someone powerful enough to “STICK IT TO ‘EM!”

                There term for it is “Owning the libs”.

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                  And when you’re that Pissed Off, there is No Such Thing as Collateral Damage.

                  Even to the point of going beyond the level of the French and Russian Revolutions to that of the Haitian.

                  The stress builds up on the earthquake fault; the longer the fault stays locked, the more strain builds up and the bigger the quake when that fault cuts loose. And those in power have a vested interest in keeping that fault locked. “Targaryen, Baratheon, Lannister — every Great House tries to stop the Wheel with themselves on top.”

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            > and embraces ignorance in the most arrogant way

            + 1,000

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              Nothing new.
              Evangelical Christians have “embraced ignorance in the most arrogant way” for a LONG time.

        • Robert F says

          Eeyore my friend; I don’t have that many years left.

          Climate change will NOT be the death of me.

          Explain to them why young people should have any interest in your Christianity, would you?

          Wow. Just wow.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            I’ve been on the receiving end of “We’ll be gone by then, That’s YOUR Problem.”

            It does not lead to agreement OR a desire to come together and help.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Dear Damaris, I really can’t get behind “Climate Change” as a threat to my world other than the government wishing to take more of my money and give it to the TYRANTS who run the other countries…

      These days, I expect anything that starts out like that to end with “HAIL TRUMP!!!!!”

      Seen the package too many times.

      • anonymous says

        the new version of

        SIEG HEIL,
        SIEG HEIL,
        SIEG HEIL ! ! ! ! !

        • anonymous says
        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          More like “EIN VOLK! EIN REICH! EIN FUEHRER!”

          Which I witnessed during Ross Perot’s abortive run for Prez in 1992. Note that at NO time did Perot commit to anything except “I have a Plan. Trust Me.” The above reaction was entirely due to followers reading their own desires into that amorphous vagueness, seeing their own reflection when they looked at Perot. And in one case with a known racist in my family, that reflection was along the lines of “No more Mexicans! No more Orientals! America for REAL Americans (like ME)!”

          In some ways, Ross Perot was like Donald Trump — a Billionaire who used his own money to run for Prez mostly because he just wanted to. And headed up a highly-autocratic corporate culture (with himself as the One Man Rule on top — “My Way or the Highway”/”You’re Fired!”).

          In other ways, the two were vastly different. Trump is arrogant and bombastic; his Messiah Politics style was In Your Face All The Way. Perot presented himself more like a Benevolent Grandfather figure (“Just Trust Me.”) with a Messiah Politics style more like Obama’s; never go into details, just say vague platitudes. act like a benevolent Messiah figure, rely on charisma and force of personality, and let them project their wants and desires on you.

  6. Damaris, I hope your blog is a balm for those who need it.

  7. Klasie Kraalogies says

    I like it! Will definitely return for more reading – I have been spending a lot of time thinking, conversing and reading about these matters, and as a scientist in the resource world, as well as the business world, I have a specific understanding of some of these issues. I think this could gear up to be a great conversation…

  8. senecagriggs says

    Do I-monkers actually believe that a global organization/effort can fix this –

    Seriously why are liberal/progressives so naive? Seriously

    Where is your bull-shovelings meters?

    There are two issues, the possibility of climate change –

    The ability of a global effort among nations to actually fix it.

    I’ve got doubts about number one: I have ZERO doubts about the Global elite’s ability to fix Jack. They cannot.

    • I’m more interested in learning if you care about those who will still be here after you’re gone.

    • Seneca, I’m not hopeful that we can and will do enough to mitigate climate change and the coming decline of fossil fuels. That doesn’t mean that we’ll go extinct; in fact, people in the future (who may well hate us) will have the choice to make something better — better in the sense that it will be more sustainable over the long run, even though life will be “primitive” compared to what we think is normal today.

      Global elites cannot and will not fix anything, yes, but that doesn’t mean things won’t get fixed to some degree. The resulting change of system will be pretty devastating to all elites, if we can judge by history. People tolerate elites only as long as they make sense and have a reasonable function. I predict that the common people won’t tolerate our elites much longer.

    • Robert F says

      “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

      • senecagriggs says

        Robert F. what I would leave as a legacy to friends and family to help them survive hard times is wisdom.

        A] Give your will over to the Living and Eternal God.

        B]

        TAKE TO HEART: ON EARTH;

        a) They ALL lie
        b) Nothing works
        c) You can NEVER win
        d) Pond Scum inevitably rises to the top.

        + 1,000,000,000

        • All of which, very conveniently, requires no action or sacrifice on your part.

          Question answered.

        • Robert F says

          Your cynicism is breathtaking — your Old Time Religion is outmatched by it.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Old Time Religion (the Fundagelical kind) has been Cynical for a LONG time. Remember “It’s All Gonna Burn Anyway” coupled with “This World Is NOT My Home; I’m Just Passin’ Thru”? The fallout from a Gospel of Personal Salvation and Only Personal Salvation?

            The result is no longer having a dog in the fight, so Why Should You Care?

            And if you add Calvinism’s fixation with Predestination, Why Bother? Whatever Will Be, Will Be.

        • Robert F says

          senecagriggs, I suspect that there have always been misanthropic Christians like you, and I also suspect that it is those the ancient Romans were referring to when they asserted that Christians hate life.

        • Clay Crouch says

          Mr. Griggs, you are staring down the barrel of statistics and if you have grandchildren, it should scare the shit out of you.

    • Rick Ro. says

      I’m still annoyed that we all let SG hijack Damaris’ fine post about her blog, turning it into a climate change dump.

      • OTOH, it’s more proof that a space where the implications of that issue, and others, is necessary. Some people are probably surrounded by people like SC in real life, and will need the encouragement.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Just reflecting the Global Warming Mania of Woke Secular Culture.
        Over-Woke instead of Over-Saved, but the emotional dynamics are similar.

  9. senecagriggs says

    Despite the Paris Agreement, China and India Continue To …
    Search domain http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/fossil-fuels/coal/despite-paris-agreement-china-india-continue-build-coal-plants/https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/fossil-fuels/coal/despite-paris-agreement-china-india-continue-build-coal-plants/
    Shanghai Electric Group announced plans to build coal plants in Egypt, Pakistan and Iran, with a total capacity of 6,285 megawatts—9.5 times the 660 megawatts of coal power it plans to build in China.

    • I’m *still* more interested in learning if you care about those who will still be here after you’re gone.

  10. Damn! I do like a woman with brains.

    I’m sorry, Damaris. Was that sexist? 🙂

    But seriously… a couple of things:

    The metaphors of what makes us human are good topics for discussion. Human as cog, human as chemistry, human as citizen, etc.

    The human-as-chemistry possibility reminds me of a belief in human-as-elect-of-God, which keeps coming up in some circles. No free will, only God’s sovereignty; similar to a chemical makeup over which we have no power. I think we’re more than either of those metaphors, as both of them fall short of “human-as-created-in-the-image-of-God.”

    Human-as-citizen demotes us to the status of the victims of the French Revolution, as you suggested. You also mentioned Brave New World, and I’m reminded also of the poor blokes in 1984 who weren’t permitted to enjoy human relationships. Sex was meant for procreation only, referred to as “our duty to the Party.”

    I’m also interested to find out how your mention of evolution will be received, and what your intended audience might be. I’m not saying evolution doesn’t happen, but you mentioned it at least twice. Guaranteed pushback from some quarters unless you do some ‘splainin’ and bring God into the equation. Or is God allowed to have things evolve? I forget.

    Very well written. I also recommend your book The Between Time. That’s one of the few good devotionals I’ve read. And I did read it. Most of them I pick up and then put down.

  11. john barry says

    Damaris , am looking forward to your input here. Absolutely agree and love the thought ‘ internet online is not a community”. We do need the eye to eye, physical close interaction, watching reactions and picking up the nuance of a conversation that just cannot be conveyed in print or certainly online. So thank you for posting and I am sure your thoughts will generate a lot of discussion.

  12. Klasie Kraalogies says

    I wonder if Seneca realizes that the attitudes he showed in thus past is very good recruitment material…. for atheists like me. Not that I try recruit people to atheism, but if I ever wanted to be one of those “look-at-them-silly-religionists” type atheists, this is prime material.

    Of course, the rest of the folks here are wonderful, decent and intelligent people… (except you, John Barry. Jury I still out on you 😉 )

  13. john barry says

    I must be judged by a jury of my peers. I demand my jury be a hung jury. I want the OJ jury . I want to be represented by Daniel Webster. I will be represented by Dew, Cheatum and Howe who I have on retainer. If I am found mentally competent I will declare mistrial.

  14. john barry says

    A petition has been filed , my law firm is Dewy, Cheatum and Howe. I not only want the best lawyers money can buy, I want the best jury money can buy. If ignorance is no excuse , I will be found guilty in the tennis and public opinion courts.

  15. You guys are great — now go and comment on my blog, too, to encourage anyone who’s shy.

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