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 Blooming Stars

Consumer Culture – 8

            Empathizing with my hurts and disappointments from very close quarters, my daughter, also a clinical psychologist, in a recent e-mail recognized my plight, and comforted me with ”Ego-integrity versus Despair”, the last stage of growth in Erickson’s Eight Stages of Growth during a human life-span. Well, integrity is all I have in my final stage. Most of the close relatives that I helped with money, advice, and guidance do not relate to me since I emphatically declared as my policy Christ’s teaching that my true relatives are those who do the will of God, and help materially the real needy. They certainly agree with Christ’s teachings and admire my effort to follow them. But they do not think that a life based on truth, conviction, and conscience will get the approval or acceptance of the powerful including the powerful Church authorities. Sadly the present condition is such that Christ himself will not be recognized or approved by the keepers of his doctrine in his own Church. One of the most heinous crimes committed in the recent history of Kerala under the influence of lust was by a Christian. Most probably he had very good marks in catechism. The only beacon of hope and light for humanity was his grieving father, who after trying to strongly warn his criminally-inclined behavior, testified against him, and saved his own integrity. Interestingly and pathetically, most relatives and close friends do not want to take the side of moral values lest they incur the wrath and displeasure of their near and dear ones. In such a climate one should not be surprised at our society that is amoral and devoid of integrity and values.

            This morning (April 28, 2016) I was pained to hear the conviction of Dennis Hastert aged 74, who was the longest serving Speaker in the United States Congress, the legislative body of the nation. He held one of the highest positions in the country, and was second in line of succession should the president die or get incapacitated. He not only sexually abused boys entrusted to him in a position of trust, kept on paying a victim hush money (which finally brought his crimes to light), but also used the might of the United States legal system to frame a victim as a criminal extortioner. It may be noted that he was also a born-again Christian.

            Currently hectic election campaign is going on in Kerala. I am surprised at the lack of values and integrity of many candidates. Yet many of them will be elected. What about the values and integrity of “we people” in a democracy who elect them? In the election fever for presidency in the United States, a curious phenomenon has emerged wherein the republican contender for the presidency is favored in the primaries though not wanted by the top brass of the party. The successful contender has brought decent dialogue and humane discourse to a low point, to say the least. Again what do we say about the “we people” who opt for him. Are we then surprised about rampant crimes and breakdown in law and order?

            In a world order such as ours where we seem to be surrounded by darkness, integrity may be all that we have. Darkness cannot snuff out our light of integrity.


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