The Lost Souls of London

Just how degraded is our culture?

I’ve just read a 2012 novel by the late Ruth Rendell, The St. Zita Society, which reinforces my conviction that the Western world is in serious trouble. Its culture has become toxic.

Rendell for decades wrote about weirdos and their twisted lives, and won every mystery writers’ award you can think of. As if that weren’t recognition enough, she was also promoted to the House of Lords. She was not a person to dismiss lightly.

St. Zita is about life in an upscale London neighborhood, the lives of rich folks and their servants–sort of an Upstairs, Downstairs presentation. As often happens when I read a Rendell novel, I wound up asking myself, “Why am I reading this? These characters are horrible!” To which my wife always replies, “You can’t blame Ruth Rendell for that. She’s just showing you a photograph.”

Okay, the doctor and the Muslim nursemaid are nice people; but aside from them, this Hexam Place is a valley of lost souls. When the Lord demanded of Ezekiel, “Can these bones live,” the same question might have been asked of this bunch of walking dead in London.

Here are the characteristics shared by the servants and their employers, with a few exceptions not enough to matter.

They are interested in other people only to the extent of how they can make use of them.

At all times, their chief concern is how to obtain some sort of gratification, usually sexual, as soon as possible.

The only sin they seem to recognize as sin is to say anything which might violate political correctness. Otherwise, they are devoid of any moral standard. A thief or a murderer will be less despised by them than a person guilty of “homophobia”–a sin which did not exist when Rendell began her career as a writer.

They show no awareness of or interest in anything beyond the immediate here and now.

If this is a photograph of British culture today, it’s a photograph by Diane Arbus.

To make sexual libertinism the centerpiece of life is a modern experiment enthusiastically pursued in all the Western countries. Those who pursue it are spiritually dead.

“Can these bones live?”

To which Ezekiel replied, “Lord, thou knowest.”

I doubt anyone else knows the answer to that question.

But if they do come back to life, it will have to be God’s doing. Not ours.

6 comments on “The Lost Souls of London

  1. Prayer, is the only answer. The slide into moral decay has been rapid, and constant. Only God can resurrect the morally dead. Jesus’ words often come to mind, “…white-washed sepluchers.”

  2. One line in the above stood out to me: “They are interested in other people only to the extent of how they can make use of them.” – it so aptly applies (in generalization, of course) to the attitudes of many in the medical profession. They don’t want people healthy. Healthy people don’t benefit the bank accounts of the ‘health care professionals’ or the Big Pharma groups they push.

    1. The worst is when Government controls health care. My sister is a nurse practitioner, she knows about these things. With government in charge, everything comes down to the bottom line.

  3. It’s a timely question. As I see it, our civilization is slipping into something very, very bad. The drop in moral standards is a big part of it, but so are many other aspects of this decline.

    Quite recently, I heard about a fellow working as a recruiter and he was quite troubled that many of the younger people he met were virtually incapable of simple communication. They could text one another, but speaking in coherent sentences, not so much. The job he recruited for was not a high-end profession, jut something mundane, but it required him to search diligently because there were so few prospects capable of simple communications.

    Another related issue is that many jobs are becoming hard to fill because so many people cannot pass drug screenings. All of the quasi-legal marijuana (it’s still illegal at the Federal level) places people in a position where they can’t be hired for many jobs.

    While there are any number of individual issues, there is a larger overriding issue, which is the decline of our civilization. What is happening around us is taking an enormous toll in many ways. When people live only for hedonistic pleasures, there is a cost. If morality weren’t all but obsolete, there would be far fewer instances of men sexually harassing women. Men have always been men, but in my father’s day, there were immediate social consequences for sexual misconduct. Nowadays it is presumed.

    I’m afraid that it will get worse before it gets better.

  4. It easy to see how a devout Muslim would think of the West as the great Satan. The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:8 “….whatever is true whatever s noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things ….” Next time someone sarcastically responds to you by exclaiming “Whatever”, just remember this verse. 🙂

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