Click this cool link
The Brain Machine Interfaces Program represents a major DSO thrust area that will comprise
a multidisciplinary, multipronged approach with far reaching impact. The program will create
new technologies for augmenting human performance through the ability to noninvasively
access "codes" in the brain in real time and integrate them into peripheral device or system
Click this to see my current Collages July 24 03 ED
For immediate release Public Art Fund presentsÖ Mariko Mori's Wave UFO
590 Madison Avenue at 56th Street Sponsored by Bloomberg On view May 10 - July 31, 2003
New York, New York - Beginning May 10, the glass atrium of 590 Madison Avenue will take on an otherworldly
atmosphere when the Public Art Fund presents Mariko Mori's Wave UFO, a stunning sculptural object and
viewer participatory installation which epitomizes Mori's ongoing exploration of the relationship between
the individual and an interconnected cosmos. This ambitious presentation of Wave UFO in New York is made
possible by Bloomberg.
Wave UFO - an all-encompassing project that comes after three years of research - fuses real-time computer
graphics, brainwave technology, sound, and state-of-the-art architectural engineering to create a dynamic
interactive experience. The connection between technology and spirituality, increasingly important in Mori's work,
is effected here through the use of specially designed computer programs and scientific equipment that
monitor and visually interpret the participants' brainwaves.
Drawing upon the Buddhist principle that all forms of life in the universe are interconnected, Wave UFO
seamlessly unites actual individual physical experience with Mori's singular vision of a cosmic dream world.
Within the tranquil interior of the work, Mori sends participants, three at a time, on an aesthetic voyage that
seeks to connect three individuals to each other and to the world at large.
Wave UFO: The Structure
From the outside, Wave UFO is an immense shimmering sculpture, shaped like a drop of water and
appearing to hover a few feet above the ground. It measures 34 feet long x 17 feet wide x 14 feet tall.
This fiberglass shell houses an interior capsule, which viewers enter via a series of resin lily pad shaped steps.
Inside Wave UFO, three viewers at a time recline on a Technogel chair - a spongy, comfortable surface -
to watch a 7-minute projection on the domed ceiling above.
The video projection that takes place inside consists of two parts, which flow
seamlessly together. Each viewer is outfitted with a set of electrodes, which gather
brainwave data. This information is instantly transformed into visual imagery, in real-time
correspondence with the actual activity of the brain, and projected onto the screen: Six
undulating bio-amorphous cells represent the left and right lobes of each of the three
participants' brains, and a waving line moves in correspondence with blinks and other
facial movements. This instant biofeedback thus incorporates the experience of
watching the projection, and the interaction between the three viewers.
The forms change shape and color in response to three types of brainwaves,
showing which type is most dominant. Alpha (blue) waves indicate wakeful relaxation,
waves indicate alertness or agitation, and Theta (yellow) waves indicate a dreamlike
state. When the two cells come together, that demonstrates "coherence" between the
two lobes of the brain. Mental functions such as thinking in other languages or doing
math problems immediately transform the characteristics of the graphics.
The second part of the projection, "Connected World," links the individual experience to the universal
through a graphic animation sequence, based on a series of paintings made by Mori. Colorful abstract
forms slowly expand and evolve into shapes like single cells and molecular structures, creating a dream
world that is at once primordial and ethereal. With this sequence, Mori brings the viewer from the live
biofeedback stage into what she describes as "a deeper consciousness in which the self and the
universe become interconnected."
With Wave UFO, her most technically ambitious project to date, Mariko Mori adds to an accomplished body of
recent work that has revolved around the universal themes of spiritual journey, beauty, emptiness, and
enlightenment. In 1999 she created the Dream Temple, a high-tech installation based upon the ancient Buddhist
Yumedono Temple in Nara, Japan (739 A.D.), a work that could be experienced by only one person at a time.
Mori first became known in the 1990s for her engaging, highly stylized photographic and multimedia works that
blended animation and pop culture with Japanese ritual and cultural tradition. These works - which often starred
Mori herself as shaman, cyber-chic girl, goddess, or another mythical character- were typically set in otherworldly
landscapes and made using up-to-the-minute technologies.
Mariko Mori's Wave UFO in the atrium of 590 Madison Avenue (at 56th Street) will be on view May 10 - July
31, 2003. Hours are Tuesday 10am - 8pm; Wednesday - Saturday 11am - 7pm; and Sunday 11am - 5pm.
This exhibition is free.
A special press preview will be held on Friday, May 9 from 11am - 5pm; please call the Public Art Fund for
reservations at 212-980-4575.
This exhibition of Mariko Mori's Wave UFO is sponsored by Bloomberg. Additional support was provided by
Melissa and Robert Soros. Special thanks to Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Deitch
Projects, and Marco Della Torre. Additional project support provided by Shiseido Co., LTD, Technogel,
Lechler, and Zumtobel Staff, The Light.
About Mariko Mori
Mariko Mori, born in Tokyo, was educated at the Chelsea College of Art, London (1989-92) and participated
in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. She has had recent solo exhibitions and
installations at Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Centre Georges Ponpidou,
Paris; Prada Foundation, Milan; The Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago,
The Serpentine Gallery, London; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Deitch Projects, New York.
About the Public Art Fund
The Public Art Fund is New York's leading presenter of artists' projects, new commissions, installations and
exhibitions in public spaces. With twenty-five years of experience and an international reputation, the Public Art
Fund identifies, coordinates, and realizes a diversity of major projects by both established and emerging artists
throughout New York City. By bringing artworks outside the traditional context of museums and galleries, the
Public Art Fund provides a unique platform for an unparalleled public encounter with the art of our time.
The Public Art Fund is a non-profit arts organization supported by generous gifts from individuals, foundations,
and corporations, and with public funds from The New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, and the
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
# # #
Public Art Fund
tel: (212) 980-4575
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NELSON MANDELA'S ADDRESS TO OAU MEETING OF HEADS
OF STATE, TUNIS... And yet we can say this, that all human civilisation
rests on foundations such as the ruins of the African city of Carthage.
African city of Carthage
"A call to create a United States of Africa"
STATEMENT OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA,
NELSON MANDELA, AT THE OAU MEETING OF HEADS OF STATE AND
Tunis, 13-15 June 1994
Distinguished Heads of State and Government, Heads of Delegations, Your Excellencies, Ministers,
Ambassadors and High Commissioner, Comrades, Ladies and Gentlemen.
In the distant days of antiquity, a Roman sentenced this African city to death: "Carthage must be destroyed
(Carthago delenda est)".
And Carthage was destroyed. Today we wander among its ruins, only our imagination and historical records enable us to
experience its magnificence. Only our African being makes it possible for us to hear the piteous cries of the victims of the
vengeance of the Roman Empire.
And yet we can say this, that all human civilisation rests on foundations such as the ruins of the African city of Carthage.
These architectural remains, like the pyramids of Egypt, the sculptures of the ancients kingdoms of Ghana and Mali and
Benin, like the temples of Ethiopia, the Zimbabwe ruins and the rock paintings of the Kgalagadi and Namib deserts, all
speak of Africa's contribution to the formation of the condition of civilisation.
But in the end, Carthage was destroyed. During the long interregnum, the children of Africa were carted away as slaves.
Our lands became the property of other nations, our resources a source of enrichment for other peoples and our kings and
queens mere servants of foreign powers.
In the end, we were held out as the outstanding example of the beneficiaries of charity, because we became the permanent
victims of famine, of destructive conflicts and of the pestilence of the natural world. On our knees because history, society
and nature had defeated us, we could be nothing but beggars. What the Romans had sought with the destruction of
Carthage, had been achieved.
But the ancient pride of the peoples of our continent asserted itself and gave us hope in the form of giants such as Queen
Regent Labotsibeni of Swaziland, Mohammed V of Morocco, Abdul Gamal Nasser of Egypt, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana,
Murtala Mohammed of Nigeria, Patrice Lumumba of Zaire, Amilcar Cabral of Guinea Bissau, Aghostino Neto of Angola,
Eduardo Mondlane and Samora Machel of Mozambique, Seretse Khama of Botswana, WEB Du Bois and Martin Luther
king of America, Marcus Garvey of Jamaica, Albert Luthuli and Oliver Thambo of South Africa.
By their deeds, by the struggles they led, these and many other patriots said to us that neither Carthage nor Africa had
been destroyed. They conveyed the message that the long interregnum of humiliation was over. It is in their honour that we
stand here today. It is a tribute to their heroism that, today, we are able to address this august gathering.
The titanic effort that has brought liberation to South Africa, and ensured the total liberation of Africa, constitutes an act of
redemption for the black people of the world. It is a gift of emancipation also to those who, because they were white,
imposed on themselves the heavy burden of assuming the mantle of rulers of all humanity. It says to all who will listen and
understand that, by ending the apartheid barbarity that was the offspring of European colonisation, Africa has, once more,
contributed to the advance of human civilisation and further expanded the frontiers of liberty everywhere.
We are here today not to thank you, dear brothers and sisters, because such thanks would be misplaced among
fellow-combatants - we are here to salute and congratulate you for a most magnificent and historical victory over an
inhuman system whose very name was tyranny, injustice and bigotry.
When the history of our struggle is written, it will tell a glorious tale of African solidarity, of African's adherence to principles.
It will tell a moving story of the sacrifices that the peoples of our continent made, to ensure that that intolerable insult to
human dignity, the apartheid crime against humanity, became a thing of the past. It will speak of the contributions of
freedom - whose value is as measureless as the gold beneath the soil of our country - the contribution which all of Africa
made, from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in the north, to the confluence of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans in the
Africa shed her blood and surrendered the lives of her children so that all her children could be free. She gave of her limited
wealth and resources so that all of Africa should be liberated. She opened heart of hospitality and her head so full of wise
counsel, so that we should emerge victorious. A million times, she put her hand to the plough that has now dug up the
encrusted burden of oppression accumulated for centuries.
The total liberation of Africa from foreign and white minority rule has now been
achieved. Our colleagues who have served with distinction on the OAU liberation
committee have already carried out the historical task of winding up this institution,
which we shall always remember as a frontline fighter for the emancipation of the
people of our continent.
Finally, at this summit meeting in Tunis, we shall remove from our agenda the consideration of the question
of Apartheid South Africa.
Where South Africa appears on the agenda again, let it be because we
want to discuss what its contribution shall be to the making of the new
African renaissance. Let it be because we want to discuss what materials
it will supply for the rebuilding of the African city of Carthage.
One epoch with its historic tasks has come to an end. Surely, another
must commence with its own challenges. Africa cries out for a new birth,
Carthage awaits the restoration of its glory.
If freedom was the crown which the fighters of liberation sought to place on the head of mother Africa, let the upliftment
, the happiness, prosperity and comfort of her children be the jewel of the crown.
There can be no dispute among us that we must bend every effort to rebuild the African economies. You, your excellencies,
have discussed this matter many times and elaborated the ideas whose implementation would lead us to success.
The fundamentals of what needs to be done are known to all of us. Not least among these are the need to address the
reality that Africa continues to be a net exporter of capital and suffers from deteriorating terms of trade. Our capacity to be
self-reliant, to find the internal resources to generate sustained development, remains very limited.
Quite correctly, we have also spent time discussing the equally complex questions that bear on the nature and quality of
governance. These, too, are central to our capacity to produce the better life which our people demand and deserve. In this
regard, we surely must face the matter squarely that where there is something wrong in the manner in which we govern
ourselves, it must be said that the fault is not in our starts, but in ourselves that we are ill-governed.
Tribute is due to the great thinkers of our continent who have been and are trying to move all of us to understand the
intimate inter-connection between the great issues of our day of peace, stability, democracy, human rights, co-operation
Even as we speak, Rwanda stands out as a stern and severe rebuke to all of us for having failed to address these
interrelated matters. As a result of that, a terrible slaughter of the innocent is taking place in front of our very eyes.
Thus do we give reason to the peoples of the world to say of Africa that she will never know stability and peace, that she
will never experience development and growth, that her children will forever be condemned to poverty and dehumanisation
and that we shall for ever be knocking on somebody's door pleading for a slice of bread.
We know it is a matter of fact that we have it in ourselves as Africans to change all this. We must, in action, assert our will
to do so. We must, in action, say that there is no obstacle big enough to stop us from bringing about a new African
We are happy, Mr Chairman, to commit South Africa to the achievement of these goals. We have entered this eminent
African organisation and rejoined the African community of nations inspired by the desire to join hands with all the countries
of our continent as equal partners.
It will never happen again that our country should seek to dominate another through force of arms, economic might or
subversion. We are determined to remain true to the vision which you held out for South Africa as you joined the offensive to
destroy the system of apartheid.
The vision you shared with us was one of a non-racial society, whose very being would assert the ancient African values of
respect for every person and commitment to the elevation of human dignity, regardless of colour or race.
What we all aimed for was a South Africa which would succeed in banishing the ethnic and national conflicts which
continue to plague our continent. What we, together, hoped to see, was a new South Africa freed of conflict among its
people and the violence that has taken such a heavy toll, freed of the threat of the civil strife that has turned millions of
people into refugees both inside and outside our countries.
We all prayed and sacrificed to bring about a South Africa that we could hold out as a true example of the democracy,
equality and justice for all, which the apartheid system was constructed and intended to deny.
The vision you shared with us was one in which we would use the resources of our country to create a society in which all
our people would be emancipated from the scourges of poverty, disease, ignorance and backwardness.
The objectives we will pursued was the creation of a South Africa that would be a good neighbour and an equal partner with
all the countries of our continent, one which would use its abilities and potentialities to help advance the common struggle
to secure Africa's rightful place within the world economic and political system.
Thus must we build on the common victory of the total emancipation
of Africa to obtain new successes for our continent as a whole.
We are ready to contribute what we can to help end the genocide that is taking place in Rwanda and bring
peace to that troubled sister country.
We also join the distinguished Heads of State and Government and Leaders of Delegations in urging a speedy
implementation of the OAU and UN decisions aimed at resolving the question of Western Sahara.
We extend our best wishes to the leaders and people of Angola in the fervent hope that the process of negotiations
in which they are engaged will, as a matter of urgency, bring about the permanent and just peace which the people
of that country so richly deserve.
Equally, we would like to express our deep-felt wish that the necessary measures will be taken by all concerned to
guarantee the success of the peace processes in Mozambique and Liberia, to end the war in the Sudan and protect
democracy and stability in Lesotho.
We also appeal to the world community to respond in a sensitive and generous manner to the famine that threatens the
peoples of East Africa.
Mr Chairman, our delegation is also happy to announce that we have had the honour to pay the subscription that the OAU
has levied for South Africa. In addition, and as a token of the commitment of the people of our country to support Africa's
peace efforts, we are glad to inform the Assembly that we have also made an additional contribution of R1 million to the
OAU fund for peace.
We congratulate you, Mr Chairman, on you election as the current chairman of the OAU and thank you, your government
and people for the extraordinary welcome you have extended to us. We are indeed glad to be here because Tunisia was
among the first countries on our continent to respond to our appeal for help, when we were obliged to take up arms to fight
for our liberation.
We thank our brother, President Hosni Mubarak, for the outstanding work he did during his chairpersonship, including the
direction of the efforts of the OAU as it helped us to deal with political violence in our country and ensure the holding of free
and fair elections.
We salute too, our Secretary-General, HE Salim Ahmed Salim, the OAU Secretariat, the OAU Head of Mission to South
Africa, Ambassador Joe Legwaila, the Heads of State and Government and the people of our continent who helped us
successfully to walk our last mile of the difficult road to freedom.
To you all, we would like to say that your sacrifices and your efforts have not been in vain. Freedom for Africa is your
reward. Your actions entitled you to be saluted as the heroes and heroines of our time. On your shoulders rests the
responsibility to restore to our continent its dignity.
We are certain that you will prevail over the currents that originate from the past, and ensure that the interregnum of
humiliation symbolised by, among others, the destruction of Charthage, is indeed consigned to the past, never to return.
God bless Africa.
Probe Ministries Living in the New Dark Ages Lou Whitworth
Is the Sun Setting On the West?
It was 146 B.C.In the waning hours of the day a Roman general, Scipio
Africanus, climbed a hill overlooking the north African city of Carthage.
For three years he had led his troops in a fierce siege against the city and
its 700,000 inhabitants. He had lost legions to their cunning and endurance.
With the Carthaginian army reduced to a handful of soldiers huddled inside
the temple of their god Eshmun, the city was conquered. And with the enemy
defeated, Scipio ordered his men to burn the city.(1)
Now, as the final day of his campaign drew to a close, Scipio Africanus
stood on a hillside watching Carthage burn. His face, streaked with the
sweat and dirt of battle, glowed with the fire of the setting sun and the
flames of the city, but no smile of triumph crossed his lips. No gleam of
victory shone from his eyes. Instead, as the Greek historian Polybius would
later record, the Roman general "burst into tears, and stood long reflecting
on the inevitable change which awaits cities, nations, and dynasties, one
and all, as it does every one of us men."
In the fading light of that dying city, Scipio saw the end of Rome itself. Just
as Rome had destroyed others, so it would one day be destroyed. Scipio
Africanus, the great conqueror and extender of empires, saw the inexorable
truth: no matter how mighty it may be, no nation, no empire, no culture is
Thus begins Chuck Colson's book, Against the Night: Living in the New Dark
Ages, a sober yet inspirational book on facing the future as involved Christians.
He returns to this scene frequently in the book as a reminder of the transitory
nature of nations and cultures. The author, chairman of Prison Fellowship and
ex-Watergate figure turned Christian evangelist, sets forth a warning for the
church and for individual believers.
Just as the Roman general Scipio Africanus saw in the flames of the city of
Carthage the future fall of Rome and its empire, Colson believes that we are
likely witnessing in the crumbling of our society the demise of the American
experiment and perhaps even the dissolution of Western civilization.
And just as the fall of Rome led into the Dark Ages, the United States and the
West are staggering and reeling from powerful destructive forces and trends that
may lead us into a New Dark Ages. The imminent slide of the West is not
inevitable, but likely unless current, destructive trends are corrected. The
step-by-step dismantling of our Judeo-Christian heritage has led us to a slippery
slope situation in which destructive tendencies unchecked lead to other
unhealthy tendencies. For example, as expectations of common concern for
others evaporates, even those who wish to retain that value become more
cautious, reserved, and secretive out of self-defense, further unraveling the
social fabric. Thus rampant individualism crushes to earth our more generous
impulses and promotes more of the same. Other examples could be
enumerated, but this illustrates the way one destructive, negative impulse can
father a host of others. Soon the social fabric is in tatters, and impossible to
mend peaceably. At this point the society is vulnerable both from within and
The New Barbarism and Its Roots
We face a crisis in Western culture, and it presents the greatest threat to
civilization since the barbarians invaded Rome. Today in the West, and
particularly in America, a new type of barbarian is present among us. They are
not hairy Goths and Vandals, swilling fermented brew and ravishing maidens;
they are not Huns and Visigoths storming our borders or scaling our city walls.
No, this time the invaders have come from within.
We have bred them in our families and trained them in our classrooms. They
inhabit our legislatures, our courts, our film studios, and our churches. Most of
them are attractive and pleasant; their ideas are persuasive and subtle. Yet these
men and women threaten our most cherished institutions and our very character
as a people. They are the new barbarians.
How did this situation come to pass? The seeds of our possible destruction
began in a seemingly harmless way. It began not in sinister conspiracies in dark
rooms but in the paneled libraries of philosophers, the study alcoves of the
British museums, and the cafés of the world's universities. Powerful movements
and turning points are rooted in the realm of ideas.
One such turning point occurred when Rene Descartes, looking for the one
thing he could not doubt, came up with the statement Cogito ergo sum, "I think,
therefore I am." This postulate eventually led to a new premise for philosophical
thought: man, rather than God, became the fixed point around which everything
else revolved. Human reason became the foundation upon which a structure of
knowledge could be built; and doubt became the highest intellectual virtue.
Two other men, John Stuart Mill (1806-73) and Jean Jacques Rousseau
(1712-78) contributed to this trend of man-based philosophy. Mill created a
code of morality based on self-interest. He believed that only individuals and
their particular interests were important, and those interests could be determined
by whatever maximized their pleasure and minimized their pain. Thus the moral
judgments are based on calculating what will multiply pleasure and minimize pain
for the greatest number. This philosophy is called utilitarianism, one form of
Another form of individualism was expressed by Rousseau who argued that the
problems of the world were not caused by human nature but by civilization. If
humanity could only be free, he believed, our natural virtues would be cultivated
by nature. Human passions superseded the dictates of reason or God's
commands. This philosophy could be called experimental individualism.
Mill and Rousseau were very different. Mill championed reason, success, and
material gain; and Rousseau passion, experiences, and feelings. Yet their
philosophies have self as a common denominator, and they have now melded
together into radical individualism, the dominant philosophy of the new
According to sociologist Robert Bellah, pervasive individualism is
destroying the subtle ties that bind people together. This, in turn, is
threatening the very stability of our social order as it strips away any
sense of individual responsibility for the common good. When people
care only for themselves, they are not easily motivated to care about
their neighbors, community life devolves into the survival of the fittest,
and the weak become prey for the strong.
The Darkness Increases and the New Barbarians Grow Stronger
"That phrase reaks with the smugness of the ages as in Barbarians
Grow Stronger as if we we the civilised didnt steal every thing from
Are you un hypnotized
"Here is a more curious case:
white cats, if they have blue
eyes, are almost always deaf."
FYI Advances in Organic Semiconductors, Organic Metals,
and Conductive Polymers "Nice to have a reasonable
explanation of the blonde blue-eyed inability to listen."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2944922.stm 'Black Afrikaner' story to become film
Today the prevailing attitude is one of relativism, i.e., the belief that there is no
morally binding objective source of authority or truth above the individual. The
fact that this view tosses aside 2,500 years of accumulated moral wisdom in the
West, a rationally defensible natural law, and the moral law revealed by God in
the Judeo-Christian Scriptures seems to bother very few.
Relativism and individualism need each other to survive. Rampant individualism
promotes a competitive society in which conflicting claims rather than consensus
is the norm because everyone is his or her own standard of "right" and "wrong"
and of "rights" and "obligations." The marriage of extreme individualism and
relativism, however, has produced a new conception of "tolerance."
The word tolerance sounds great, but this is really tolerance with a twist; it
demands that everyone has a right to express his or her own views as long as
those views do not contain any suggestion of absolutes that would compete with
the prevailing standard of relativism.
Usually those who promote tolerance the loudest also proclaim that the motives
of religious people are suspect and that, therefore, their views on any matter
must be disqualified. Strangely, socialists, Nazis, sadomasochists, pedophiles,
spiritualists, or worshipers of Mother earth would not be excluded. Their right
to free expression would be vigorously defended by the same cultural elite who
are so easily offended when Christians or other religious people express their
But this paradoxical intolerance produces an even deeper consequence than
silencing an unpopular point of view, for it completely transforms the nature of
debate, public discussion, and consensus in society. Without root in some
transcendent standard, ethical judgments become merely expressions of feelings
or preference. "Murder is wrong" must be translated "I hate murder" or "I prefer
that you not murder." Thus, moral claims are reduced to the level of opinion.
Opponents grow further and further apart, differing on a level so fundamental
that they are unable even to communicate. When moral judgments are based on
feelings alone, compromise becomes impossible. Politics can no longer be
based on consensus, for consensus presupposes that competing moral claims
can be evaluated according to some common standard. Politics is transformed
into civil war, further evidence that the barbarians are winning.
Proponents of a public square sanitized of moral judgments purport that it
assures neutrality among contending moral factions and guarantees certain basic
civil rights. This sounds enlightened and eminently fair. In reality, however, it
assures victory for one side of the debate and assures defeat of those with a
moral structure based on a transcendent standard.
Historically, moral restraints deeply ingrained in the public consciousness
provided the protective shield for individual rights and liberties. But in today's
relativistic environment that shield can be easily penetrated. Whenever some
previously unthinkable innovation is both technically possible and desirable to
some segment of the population, it can be, and usually will be, adopted. The
process is simple. First some practice so offensive it can hardly be discussed is
advocated by some expert. Shock gives way to outrage, then to debate, and
when what was once a crime becomes a debate, that debate usually ushers the
act into common practice. Thus decadence becomes accepted. History has
proven it over and over.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Questions arise in our minds: How bad is the situation? Is it too late to stop or
reverse the downward trend? If it's too late, do we wait, preserve, and endure
until the winds of history and God's purpose are at our backs?
When a culture is beset by both a loss of public and private values, the overall
decline undermines society's primary institutional supports. God has ordained
three institutions for the ordering of society: the family for the propagation of life,
the state for the preservation of life, and the church for the proclamation of the
gospel. These are not just voluntary associations that people can join or not as
they see fit; they are organic sources of authority for restraining evil and
humanizing society. They, and the closely related institution of education, have
all been assaulted and penetrated by the new barbarians. The consequences are
The family is under massive assault from many directions, and its devastation is
obvious. Yet the family and the church are the only two institutions that can
cultivate moral virtue, and of these the family is primary and foremost because
"our very nature is acquired within families."(2) Unfortunately when radical
individualism enters the family, it disrupts the transmission of manners and
morals from one generation to the next. Once this happens it is nearly
impossible to catch up later, and the result is generation after generation of rude,
lawless, culturally retarded children.
The new barbarians have penetrated our churches and tried to turn them into
everything except what God intended them to be. Even strong biblical churches
have not been immune to their influence. Yet only as the church maintains its
distinctiveness from the culture is it able to affect culture. The church dare not
look for "success" as portrayed in our culture; instead its watchword must be
"faithfulness"; only then will the church be successful. The survival of the
Western culture is inextricably linked to the dynamic of reform arising from the
independent and pure exercise of religion from the moral impulse. That impulse
can only come from our families and from our churches. The church must be
free to be the church.
The classroom has also been invaded by radical individualism and the secular
ideas of the new barbarians. We must resist putting our young people under
unbridled secularistic teaching, especially if it isn't balanced by adequate
exposure to Christian principles and a Christian world view.
Government has a worthy task to do, i.e., to protect life and to keep the peace,
but it cannot develop character. To believe that it can do so is to invite tyranny.
First, most people's needs and problems are far beyond the reach of
government. Second, it is impossible to effect genuine political reform, much
less moral reform, solely by legislation. Government, by its very nature, is limited
in what it can accomplish. We need to be involved in politics, but we must do
so with realistic expectations and without illusions.
Our culture is indeed threatened, but the situation
is not irreversible if we model the family before the
world and let the church be the church.
[What church ? The Clergy that allowed the
one social critic minister to be crushed by the press
and the Co-Intel-pro activities of the Government
without a word of support for him when Bishop
said "Considering the injustice America is heaping
apron the country of Viet Nam for all intent and
purposes God is dead!"
Which Church the god is a white man do what I say
not as I do Strom Thuman the bastard maker racist.
Prayer in School hypocrite church.
Or the Arabs and Muslims is worshiping the devil
only the white god is real...
Israel... Don't get me started....ED]
"My god is not a landloard or a pimp"
A Flame in the Night
This is an important work, one that every Christian would benefit from reading.
Though Colson's subject--the ethical, moral, and spiritual decline that many
observers forecast for our immediate future--is bleak, the work isn't morose or
gloomy. His focus is on opportunities and possibilities before us regardless of
what the future holds. In the book's last section, he calls for the church and for
individual Christians to be lights in the darkness by cultivating the moral
imagination and presenting to the world a compelling vision of the good. He
outlines three steps in that process.
First, we must reassert a sense of shared destiny as an antidote to radical
individualism. We are born, live, and die in the context of communities. Rich,
meaningful life is found in communities of worship, self-government, and shared
values. We are not ennobled by relentless competition, endless self-promotion,
and maximum autonomy, nor are these tendencies ultimately rewarding. On the
other hand, commitment, friendship, and civic cooperation are both personally
and corporately satisfying.
Second, we must adopt a strong, balanced view of the inherent dignity of human
life. All the traditional restraints on inhumanity seem to be crumbling at once in
our courts, in our laboratories, in our operating rooms, in our legislatures. The
very idea of an essential dignity of human life seems a quaint anachronism today.
As Christians we must be unequivocally and unapologetically pro- life. We
cannot disdain the unborn, the young, the infirm, the handicapped, or the
elderly. We cannot concede any ground here.
Third, we must recover respect for tradition and history. We must reject the
faddish movements of the moment and look to the established lessons from the
past. The moral imagination (our power to perceive ethical truth) values
reason and recognizes truth. It asserts that the world can be both understood
and transformed through the carefully constructed restraints of civilized behavior
and institutions. It assumes that to approach the world without consideration of
the ideas of earlier times is an act of hubris in essence, claiming the ability to
create the world anew, dependent on nothing but our own pitiful intelligence.
In contrast to such an attitude, the moral imagination begins with awe,
reverence, and appreciation for order within creation. It sees the value of
tradition, revelation, family, and community and responds with duty,
commitment, and obligation. But the moral imagination is more than rational. It is
poetic, stirring long atrophied faculties for nobility, compassion, and virtue.
Imagination is expressed through symbols, allegories, fables, and literary
illustrations. Winston Churchill revived the moral imagination of the dispirited
British people in his speeches when he depicted the threat from Hitler not as just
another war, but as a sacrificial, moral campaign against a force so evil that
compromise or defeat would bring about a New Dark Ages. British backbones
were stiffened and British hearts were ennobled because Churchill was able to
unite rational, emotional, and artistic ideas into a common vision.
Western civilization and the church are currently engaged in a war of ideas with
new barbarians. Whether we have the will to be victorious will depend in large
measure on the strength and power of our moral imagination. Charles Colson's
book, Against the Night: Living in the New Dark Ages, can give us guidance
in this crucial task.
© 1996 Probe Ministries
1. This essay is in large measure a condensation of several chapters of the
author's work; consequently, quotations and paraphrase may exist side by side
unmarked. Therefore, for accuracy in quoting, please consult the book: Charles
Colson, with Ellen Santilli Vaughn, Against the Night: Living in the New Dark
Ages (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant, 1989).
2. Russell Kirk, The Wise Men Know What Wicked Things Are Written on the
Sky (Washington:Regnery Gateway, 1987), 24.
3.For fuller discussion see Russell Kirk, Enemies of the Permanent Things:
Observations of Abnormity in Literature and Politics (New Rochelle, N.Y.:
Arlington House, 1969), 119.
For Further Reading
Kirk, Russell. The Wise Men Know What Wicked Things Are Written on the
Sky. Washington:Regnery Gateway, 1987.
Muggeridge, Malcolm. The End of Christendom.
Henry, Carl F. H. Twilight of a Great Civilization. Westchester, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1988.
Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr. A World Split Apart. New York: Harper and Row,1978.
Bellah, Robert. Habits of the Heart. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California,1985.
Johnson, Paul. Modern Times. Lewis, C. S. Abolition of Man. New York: Macmillan, 1947.
Bloom, Allan. The Closing of the American Mind. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987.
MacIntyre, Alasdair. After Virtue. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame,1981.
About the Author
Louis D. Whitworth is the former senior editor at Probe Ministries, and is currently
affiliated with Christian Information Ministries. He is a graduate of Northeast Louisiana
University (B.A., Sociology and English, and M.A., English) and Dallas Theological
Seminary (Th.M., Pastoral Theology). Prior to joining Probe, Lou taught English literature
and composition at the college level and served with Campus Crusade for Christ in the
Military Ministry as well as the Singles Ministry. He is the author of the Probe booklet,
Literature Under the Microscope: A Christian Look at Reading.
What is Probe?
Probe Ministries is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to reclaim the
primacy of Christian thought and values in Western culture through media,
education, and literature. In seeking to accomplish this mission, Probe provides
perspective on the integration of the academic disciplines and historic
In addition, Probe acts as a clearing house, communicating the results of its
research to the church and society at large.
Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by
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This site is part of the Telling the Truth Project. Updated: 14 July 2002