A veiled feeling of meaninglessness is a primary quality of the contemporary psyche. And this belittling acceptance of ultimate insignificance provides all the necessary groundwork for selfishness, boredom, hatred, servility, violence and fear. The consequences of meaninglessness are seen throughout that disintegration of human life which is so pitilessly recorded in each day’s news report, whether it be cruelty toward oneself, toward others, or toward the earth.
This would not be able to occur so continuously and so easily if our thoughts, feelings and actions were grounded in the perception of human value and purpose in a living and sacred world. But without this inner perception, the violence and drug abuse, the racism, pollution, and disease, the rape, hunger, and homelessness, the threat of genetic catastrophe, the threat of nuclear catastrophe, plus all the anger, unhappiness, alienation and cruelty which pervade so much of human life, will automatically continue unrestrained.
This, however, is not to suggest that orthodox religious belief, blind faith, or a childish reliance on an ‘invisible friend in the sky’, is a necessary antecedent of morality. In fact, these have often been shown to lead to precisely the opposite when they support the destruction of individuality and personal conscience, and paradoxically promote contempt and hatred for much of the beauty and diversity of life and creation, rather than respect, wonder, and delight.