Funny guy Garrison Keeler once suggested ”Bad, bad, bad!” He went on: “Compared to our miserable life after The Renaissance, living in The Dark Ages was just one party after another.
We gave up a more perfect medieval world of divine order in exchange for chaos. How smart was that? The Renaissance left us with nothing but disorder and confusion.” This disorder thing is big with me this week because my complex garage door opener just won’t stay down. Today I’m grasping for simple answers.
“If we’ve really been given the gift of Free Will,” Keeler suggests, “then we should quickly exercise that right and chose to return to the sunny uplands of feudal determinism.”
Humorist Keeler gave me a jolt! My high school history teacher Mr. Sawyer taught me, “The Dark Ages- they were the pits – not even a little bit fun. Rusty armor, plagues and boiling oil dropped down on you every time you attacked the castle. It was all so yesterday.” We dutifully copied down everything Professor Sawyer said. But was he right?
Still struggling with the garage door, I wonder, are we Westerners better off with all these different religions and churches when it was so simple: Nothing but the Roman Catholic version? Did we take a step forward or backward?
Along with the Renaissance came the hundreds of years of holy wars throughout Europe-how much fun were they? If you were a true believer, just one encounter with the Grand Inquisitor could spoil your whole day! Now take that poor feudal farmer plowing his grain field. What did he gain learning his field was a patch on a round earth ball? What has the round ball thing done for me sitting in traffic? I lost an infallible God who was caring for my eternal soul. In exchange, I got a “round” earth view and a GPS. Not a great deal. This is all bad news folks.
In many ways, the Medieval World was a better place. We were united under one single philosophical tradition singing Kumbaya in Latin. Now we have a tower of babble that replaced the Lingua franca Latin that was once spoken throughout the Christendom?
How about all those bad actors who came along with the chaos of Free Will. Arrive they did: The black widow Lucretius Borgia, the devious Machiavelli, and Torquemada the inquisitor. Or take Renaissance astronomer Galileo. Of course, he gets a sympathetic press these days. But what did he really give us? Humiliation and degradation. He said we were no longer the center of the universe. Where once we sat at the center of everything, now we find ourselves relegated to some insignificant speck in a very secondary location in the universe? Was that news you were itching to hear? Hell no! Damn depressing. Should we give a big “Whoopy” for Mr. Galileo? I think not. Back in the wonderful Dark Ages, neither God nor the pope nor the kings would never have allowed us to be relegated to some ignominious state in some oblivion location in the cosmos? You want oblivion, try Siberia?
Keeler is right and Sawyer got it wrong.
Fish are content and unquestioning in their water habitat. Birds accept the sky as it is given to them. Why do we seek out such disruption in our environment? How about we go back to divine medieval determinism? You’d like life in that old castle? Pass an evening by the roaring fireplace instead of wasting a whole evening trying to fathom the meaning of the 300 buttons on your TV remote. Imagine the ringing clash steel as jousting knights in shining armor met. Listen to a choir singing heavenly Gregorian Chants. Isn’t that better than struggling to reprogram your INTERNET router? And think about those lovely ladies in long puffy skirts and chastity belts.