It is interesting to note that the word secular has no meaning in and of itself. It is mostly defined as the absence of a religious or spiritual orientation, the lack of a moral code encompassing a transcendental meaning and purpose.
Now, everybody has some sort of overall view of the world as being a good or a bad place, or something in between. On a personal level this overall belief is played out in our thoughts, emotions, words and actions, our internal and external behaviour. Our goals and objectives reflect what we believe in. Maybe we believe that reaching our set objectives will make us happy. We believe in happiness because the possibility of happiness is included in our overall view of the world.
Each of us has our very own personal reality that we construct with our behaviour. This applies to anything and everything that people express. Even atheists believe. They believe that every man, women and child exists only for his or her own sake, and live accordingly.
In order to ascertain what being a secular person, community or nation actually means, the question should not be whether people have a religious belief or not. This is the wrong question as it is based on a false hypothesis that a non-believer can actually exist. The question is better phrased as ‘what do secular people believe?’
As our behaviour has consequences, what one believes really matters. One important thing that world religions have in common is a moral code and axioms based on transcendence, goodness and truth. On the other hand secular people are, by definition, amoral and materialistic.
Morality stands on the pillars of reciprocity (fairness), empathy (compassion) and truth (reality). When these precepts are applied in our personal life, at community level and at national level we get the best results, the most harmony and wellbeing and the least conflict. This is how nature’s healthy eco-systems work.
When we share these moral values, we share a common reality that normally evolves into a common religion or spiritual practice. As life is a spiritual journey it is dangerous and foolhardy to separate the affairs of state from the moral beliefs of society. As reckless as the latter course may be, it is exactly what we have done in western societies. On the one hand we have mostly religious populations striving to be true to their moral values and on the other hand we have political and corporate elites, national and supranational institutions that, being secular, do not consider themselves accountable to the same standard of moral behaviour.
From what I can surmise, the political class no longer feel that they have a duty of care towards the people who voted them in. Their interests and their loyalties seem to lie elsewhere.
I am not surprised by the fact that people exist in positions of power that display the narcissistic, Machiavellian and psychopathic traits of, what is known in psychology as, a dark triad personality. The extraordinary part is that entire populations allow these undesirable characters to rule over their lives. Just to state the obvious, we should not accept any such person to have influence over any aspect of our lives as these dark triad types would have no scruples to cause us great harm in order to achieve objectives that would normally have to do with greed, self-gratification and power.
It is not difficult for a dark triad personality to find himself or herself in a position of political or corporate power as such a person would act in a ruthless manner, without any consideration of the consequences and harm caused to others. Such a person may outwardly appear to be agreeable and may well be elected democratically.
The founders of western democratic nations had drawn upon Christian values in the drafting of our nations’ constitutional frameworks and in the setting up of institutions. This was then. The vision of the founding fathers has been long lost. Unfettered by ethical or moral considerations, national and supranational politicians are as puppets in the hands of puppeteers, the national and international corporate lobbies. Of course not all people with power over others are psychopaths. There are a few good people everywhere, however, as psychopaths are psychopaths, they tend to get into positions of power.
How do the powerful elite get whole populations to willingly comply with their dictums? This is an interesting branch of psychology as the tyrannical abuse of communities and nations is an extrapolation of the abuser-victim pathology that is present in personal relationships.
A method does exist for manipulating people that is well known. The key, for a dark triad personality in power, is to be able to deconstruct the personal and common realities of people and to then reconstruct them, from ones based on a higher moral order to ones that facilitate domination and exploitation. The toolkit for this enterprise includes propaganda; imposing authority; dividing people physically, socially, semantically (by changing the meaning of words and concepts); spreading divisive and opposing points of view that people can fight over; punishment and reward techniques; learned helplessness (getting people to give up); corrupting people by convenience. This is the belief system of secularism where any amoral end justifies any means.
A society ruled by secular principles denies truth, has no soul, no morality, no empathy and no hope and goes against the very nature of what it means to be human.
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