Every age and every generation is defined by something. And this something is often a singular value that shapes the people within that generation and the lives of every generation that comes after it. It is the thing we unconsciously strive for and seek, blindfully or purposefully, always with that part of ourselves we call the heart.
It is a good thing, this thing, because it inspires us to do better. It is our purpose, and it is our work. Even though, we might have been chased from the garden, it is still our responsibility to multiply and keep the earth. But just like the Garden of Eden, unfortunately, there is a serpent, crawling about, that seeks to disrupt our work.
The values that shape our lives always come in two forms. There is always a thesis and an anti-thesis. The highest expression and the worst. The scriptural Good Works and Fruits against the Bad. The thing we are supposed to do, simply put, and the thing that we aren’t. Thus is every generation defined by the battle between these two. And every generation picks sides. Our parents, for instance, wanted to build better lives for themselves, and their families and their communities, and their countries; and they were opposed by those who sought only to serve themselves at the expense of others. This was the curse of Africa during our parent’s generation. And they were mostly successful in succeeding inspite of it. They fought their anti-thesis as best they could and did good works.
Our generation, however, doesn’t seem to be as successful with our own anti-thesis as I see it. The two deadly N’s – Narcissism and Nihilism – have taken hold of our throats. And the worst of the two, being Nihilism, has a particularly firm grip.
Consider, the most popular TV shows of our generation, which are Mad Men and Breaking Bad, both being stories about nihilistic men driven entirely by their egoistic drives, seeking to create meaning in their lives because they believe that there no meaning whatsoever within it. This is beautifully expressed in the first episode of Mad Men, where the titular character tries to convince another that love does not exist.
DON DRAPER (REPLYING): She won’t get married because she has never been in love. I think I wrote that to sell nylons.
RACHEAL MENKEN: For a lot of people, love isn’t just a slogan.
DON DRAPER: What do you mean love? You mean a giant lightning bolt to the heart. Where you can’t eat and you can’t work. Just run off and get married and make babies. The reason why you haven’t felt it, is because it doesn’t exist. What you call love was invented by guys like me to sell nylons.
RACHEAL MENKEN: Is that so?
DON DRAPER: Pretty sure about it. You are born alone and you die alone, and this world drops a bunch of rules on top of you to make you forget those facts, but I never forget. I’m living like there is no tomorrow because there isn’t one.
Wikipedia defines nihilism as ‘a philosophy, or family of views within philosophy, expressing some form of negation towards life or towards fundamental concepts such as knowledge, existence, and the meaning of life. Different nihilistic positions hold that human values are hopeless (because they are created by human beings), that life is meaningless, that knowledge is impossible’. To put it simply, that nothing has value except the value that each individual gives it (“That is your opinion”); and because things do not have value, then the inference is that they do not matter (“Why stress or Why try at all?”); and if things do not matter, why bother with anything at all other than having fun or enjoying oneself and becoming a life-ist (“YOLO – You Only Live Once”, or “I’m living like there is no tomorrow, because there isn’t one.”). In this case, Don Draper is a classic nihilist, the king of the nihilists, because he is the most dangerous and insidious nihilist of them all. He seeks to deny the existence of the most important of values – Love. Which is the greatest enemy and destroyer of nihilism.
It is important to understand, that Nihilism holds, at least according to the definition that Wikipedia provided, that nothing has inherent meaning and therefore intention. Which infers that if there is no meaning, then any meaning will do according to one’s preferences. And therefore any intention counts. BUT THE ORIGINAL INTENTION IS ABSOLUTELY IMPORTANT. The prices of goods in a market are based on supply and demand, forces which are mostly beyond an individual’s control. There can be some regulation obviously, but there is a limit to this as well. If a person could control everything, then Trump wouldn’t have won the American elections. What the nihilist is doing, if I follow the analogy, is ignoring the law of supply and demand, and setting his own prices based on a whim, and this always backfires. Why? Because these forces are not based just on personal whim. There is so much more to things than we can see or understand. Which is why faith is a requirement. And so in the same way, values cannot be defined or used based on human preferences or understanding. They do not come from us, and neither are they under our control to use or choose as we see fit, which the nihilist argues we do. But rather they come from Someone greater to serve something greater than oneself.
Don Draper, therefore, is providing the wrong definition of what love is and thus corrupting its original intention. To him, love is merely a strong emotion, which is incidentally the definition of what love is according to most English Dictionaries today. If the meaning of love is supped up as merely an emotion which comes and goes, then its intention changes. If it is just a thing that you have to experience as an emotion, then if you do not experience it, it must mean that it isn’t there or more likely, it doesn’t exist for you. But the question is, Is this right? IS THIS TRUE?
What the people in the past lacked in civilization and progress, they often made up for in heart. Not all of them, but most. In so many ancient and classical books, love is approached in a different way. It is not just an emotion. It is an act, an action, a thing that you MUST do. Men in the old, old days had to do some extraordinary things in order to prove their worth and their love. David, for instance, had to risk his life and capture a certain number of Philistine foreskins behind enemy lines in order to marry Michal, King Saul’s daughter, the woman he loved. And Jacob, old father Israel, worked fourteen years in order to marry Rachel, his love. FOURTEEN LONG AND HARD YEARS. And the greatest verse in the Bible, the mission statement of Christianity itself JOHN 3:16 “FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHALLHAVE ETERNAL LIFE.” shows that YHWH too supports this meaning and this intention of love. So much so that the Greatest Commandment according to our LORD JESUS CHRIST, as given in Matthew 22:37 – 39 is ‘THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL OF THY HEART, AND WITH ALL OF THY SOUL, AND WITH ALL OF THY MIND. THIS IS THE FIRST AND GREATEST COMMANDMENT. AND THE SECOND IS LIKE UNTO IT, THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF. And a person does this through actions that ensure the wellbeing of the person loved and their betterment. In the case of YHWH, to obey and do his commandments without fail and to believe in his Son. And in the case of others, thy neighbor, to ensure their wellbeing and betterment. Matthew 22:40 ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS HANG THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS.
BUT WHO IS YOUR NEIGHBOUR? THE PHARISEE ASKED TRYING TO TRAP THE LORD THROUGH MEANING AND INTENTION. In those days, your neighbor was someone of the same economic class as yourself. Of the same clan, or of the same tribe, or of the same country. My suspicion is that the Pharisees were attempting to trap the LORD by trying to force him to reveal a wrong intention, one that would make him lose his immense popularity. If He said, my neighbor is merely any Israelite, He would justify the Pharisees – whose doctrine the LORD did not approve of – were the same as the LORD because they held same idea or intention. If He said anyone other than an Israelite, then it would reveal that He was a sympathizer of the Romans and the Gentiles, an unpopular thing amongst the Jews who were extremely patriotic. But the LORD, through his Parables, would make his meanings and intentions beautifully clear, to those who had ears to listen, without trouble, without hiccup, and without confusion. ALWAYS GIVING THE RIGHT INTENTION. Everyone is your neighbor, and everyone is deserving of your mercy and your service and your goodness. And that goodness, and that service, and that mercy to others is required of you by YHWH as part of your love and service to HIM.
So the Nihilists or more accurately, the philosophy of Nihilism would like you to believe that nothing has any original meaning or intention; without realizing, that by doing so, it is unconsciously leading everything to its destruction. If there isn’t a right meaning or intention, then that means there isn’t a right way to do anything. And if there isn’t a right way to do anything, then there can never be Good Fruits or Works. The conclusion is, someone or something, doesn’t want us to be doing Good works or bearing Good fruits. Make of that as you will.
Every year, on the February the Fourteenth, people from around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day, an internationally recognized holiday that celebrates romance. It is often an opportunity for people to buy Valentine’s cards and flowers for their romantic interest, or to take them to dinner. Whether it’s a wife or a person you are in a relationship with, it is an opportunity to show them how much you care. The holiday is an old one, with roots going to the middle ages, but the modern version, according to my knowledge, was created by advertising men like Don Draper (there was a reference to this fact in his explanation) to sell greeting cards and other products. Today, however, Valentines is an opportunity to have fun and enjoy oneself and one’s partner. To wear the color red and give each other cards of bleeding hearts. To be a lover in the Soap Opera, dramatic sense of the word. To let loose and have a good time. So important is this day, that for many people in my generation it has become a reminder of their own failures in relationships and love. Friends that aren’t in relationships are bitter and jaded to see others that are enjoying this day. Some have resigned themselves to casual relationships, expecting, like the rose given on this day, that long-term relationships are an impossibility, doomed to wilt away and die. Echoing Don Draper, many believe that love does not exist and that having as much of a good time as possible is all that they can hope for and all that they can expect. This nihilism is everywhere, and it infects everything. This nihilism got Trump elected – win at all costs even if you destroy something of value, because ultimately there is no value. It is in our entertainments, and in our music. It is in the cartoons little children watch today, which encourage them to actively come to terms with this nihilism rather than learning courage and intelligence and respect. It is in the apathy that has fallen over society recently and encourages corruption and murder and theft and the destruction of others. And it manifests itself, especially in our country, through our party culture where everything is an excuse to have fun and celebrate, and forgot the meaninglessness of it all, even if we do not understand what we are celebrating and its intention.
The truth of the matter is Valentines is simply a cover for the celebration of a demonic Roman holiday called Lupercalia meant to celebrate Juno, the Roman mother goddess. (The mother goddess appears in many pagan and demonic religions from the past) and her role as the giver of fertility. It was characterized by licentiousness, and sexual promiscuity. It featured the exchange of gifts, and a ritual involving the whipping or choosing of young single women by specific young men in order to give them good luck in their search for marriage partners and the building of a family. The celebration, rather conveniently, fell between February the 12TH and February the 15th. And was one of two nights, in which Roman society went crazy and did whatever they wanted. The parallels to many Valentine’s traditions in the Lupercalia are astounding. The intention behind Valentine’s Day, therefore, is not love, as many would like you to believe. But rather the worship, however ignorant, of forces that we do not understand and are not aware of. But more insidious is the intention that the day of Valentine’s itself imparts to us. All of it false, and all of it wrong.
St Valentine was allegedly a Christian priest martyred for marrying Roman soldiers, who were forbidden from doing so during their military service, and thus the day was connected to the idea of romance and love. But over the years, romance has been identified with a kind of sexual promiscuity, or according to the Greek eros, sexual love. Rather than the Greek, Agape, which is closer to the Biblical intention and interpretation of the LORD’S definition or usage of the word love. Romance, in history, is always prevalent in societies that do not have strong moral values and become nihilistic in nature. Society in the Roman Empire towards its end, was extremely promiscuous and extremely nihilistic, in marked contrast to its beginning, where sexual promiscuity was severely punished. It is interesting that almost every ancient culture at its height was extremely obsessed with the idea of sexual purity. Of course, there were always other factors, but those cultures that maintained their sexual purity thrived, but those that didn’t, were often visited with terrible disasters. The connections are impossible to miss in Ancient History. America and Germany during the roaring 20s, one of the most licentious periods of the modern era, was visited with the Great Depression at its end. Versailles, the seat of the French Monarchy, before the revolution, was a den of extreme corruption and immorality. The Roman Empire destroyed itself from within the moment rules about sexual purity and other values began to fall away. And rather interesting, Mike Tyson, at his absolute best five years before he won his first Heavyweight Championship, had committed himself during that period to staying away from sexual intercourse of any kind. But the moment he won, and began to have sexual relations with prostitutes and other women, he began to go crazy and ended up in jail, his life destroyed. Same goes with Tiger Woods. Sexuality, then, is a powerful force. IT HAS DESTROYED PEOPLE AND ENTIRE COUNTRIES WHEN IT IS MISUSED. The Judge Samson and King David are great Biblical examples. Another is how the Roman Kingdom become the Roman Republic, the first Republic in History, in 753 BC after the son of the last King of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus, raped a young lady, and the entire city rose up in arms and overthrew the ruling family for their sacrilege. That kind of behavior, one way or the other, never goes unpunished. History is my witness.
But why does this sacrilege always occur in societies towards the end, or towards their nihilistic stages? The answer is simple. If something has no meaning, then the only point of anything is to feel good (To live like there is no tomorrow) (YOLO) and thus one’s pleasure becomes the end all and be all of everything. And that is its own sacrilege or sin, because our lives are not our own but rather to be used in the service of the YHWH as the LORD JESUS CHRIST revealed in the parable of the rich fool. Your life is more than the things you want and your pleasures. You are put on the earth for a reason, and a purpose determined by YHWH, and he demands diligence and faithfulness for whatever it is. And He will make sure you fulfill it. If a person only chases their own pleasures and wants, like the rich fool, they will never enjoy them, or worse still, they will lose something more precious, the purpose YHWH put them on this earth to fulfill and everything that they value.
Now romance, as it is intended by the Valentine celebration, is an act of pleasure-seeking in the opposite direction of the true intention and meaning of the word Love. It is a symptom of the nihilism that pervades our culture, our generation. There is nothing of value or meaning, so the only thing that could possibly matter is what one wants and their pleasures. And I feel for my friends when Valentines turns up, because all I ever hear is
I do not feel good because I do not have someone who is romancing me in that way. I want someone to romance me in that way.
Let me have fun. I do not want to miss out on life. What if I get everything I want when I am too old to enjoy it?
I am tired and jaded – I have been hurt too much by the opposite sex – love does not exist.
But there is more to life than what we want. MATTHEW 6:33 BUT SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND ALL THESE THINGS SHALL BE ADDED UNTO YOU. That is, understand the things of YHWH and His purposes, His intentions and His will. Do things the way that He wants them done and in the way that He would like you to do them. FULFILL HIS PURPOSE AND UPLIFT THE KINGDOM. Set aside the things that you want, and let Him provide them when He decides to provide them at His timing and in His way. Love the things that He wants you to love. Ensure their wellbeing and their development. LUKE 12:32 FEAR NOT, LITTLE FLOCK; FOR IT IS YOUR FATHER’S GOOD PLEASURE TO GIVE YOU THE KINGDOM. He always finds a way to let you know exactly what He wants you to do. He provides what you need, and the only thing that is required of you is simply faith and love. Because only loving YHWH and the LORD JESUS CHRIST will ensure that you keep his commandments. And Love is a gift of the Holy Spirit. That is, it can never be done through one’s self will. IT IS GIVEN BY YHWH, AND HE LOVES TO GIVE IT. And Faith is necessary, because you cannot understand the complete will of YHWH. You can obey the Word – you are required to obey the Word – but you cannot understand the complete will of YHWH and the direction of His decisions. So have faith and wait on Him. HAVE FAITH.
For the longest time, I really admired Don Draper. I wanted to be him. I wanted to be suave; a man of the world. I wanted to know things and become perfect by my definition of the word perfect. Extremely intelligent. But I didn’t realize the truth behind the man. You see, after the conversation above, Don Draper returns home and we learn that he actually has a family and those he loves. The ironic thing, the hypocritical thing, being that he doesn’t even believe that he doesn’t believe in anything and yet he tells others that he doesn’t. He is all smokes and mirrors until he has to learn substance, until everything he values is taken away from him, and the consequences of his lack of understanding and his lack of appreciation destroy everything he thought he didn’t love. Then and only then, when he decides to do the right thing, when his intention is made pure, or he realizes that he has to clean the inside of his cup, that he ends up creating one of the greatest adverts of all time, AN ADVERT THAT RATHER IRONICALLY IS BASED ON THE IDEA THAT LOVE IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS THAT A PERSON NEEDS. It took seven seasons for him to realize how wrong he was. And I was seduced by the person at the beginning of the show without realizing how terrible of a person he was and how much help he would need throughout the entire series. MATTHEW 23:27 WOE UNTO YOU, SCRIBES AND PHARISEES, HYPOCRITES! FOR YE ARE LIKE WHITED SEPULCHRES, WHICH INDEED APPEAR BEAUTIFUL OUTWARD, BUT ARE WITHIN FULL OF DEAD MEN’S BONES, AND OF ALL UNCLEANLINESS.
In the same way, do not be seduced by the idea of love and romance as it is provided by the Valentines holiday. The intention is absolutely wrong and filthy; and it needs cleaning. There is more to life than pleasure and romance. And even then there are things that we do not understand. What a person can control is clean the inside of their cup, and polish their intentions. SEEK OUT THE LORD’S MEANINGS AND INTENTIONS AND DO ONE’S BEST TO FULFILL THEM. THIS IS IN THE WORD. LET HIM GIVE YOU UNDERSTANDING AND WISDOM TO SEE WHAT IS HIDDEN. But most importantly, LET HIM TEACH YOU HOW TO LOVE. To work hard and fulfill the purpose that he has required of you and me and our generation. WHATEVER THAT IS. And to do our best, our absolute best not to be deceived by pretty and seemingly-intelligent intentions. Nihilism and Narcissism. But rather to remember that Love is the criteria – DOES IT CAUSE YOU TO OBEY HIS WORD (THEN YOU ARE LOVING YHWH AND HIS SON) AND DOES IT MAKE THE LIVES OF OTHERS BETTER AND ENSURE THEIR WELLBEING. (THEN YOU ARE LOVING OTHERS).
On Valentine’s, do not exchange worthless pagan gifts, but rather do love as the LORD JESUS CHRIST did love. That is, he put down his life for us to ensure our wellbeing with the FATHER. In the same way, get out of your way to make the life of someone better and to ensure their wellbeing however you can. Start with your family, and forget the idea of romance. AGAPE. AGAPE. ALWAYS AGAPE. Set aside eros. Start with those closest to you, and as you gain more responsibility and knowledge; more people will be given to you to love.
YHWH. Ancient Hebrew abbreviation of the name the FATHER gave Moses through the burning bush in order to ensure complicity with the Third Commandment.