Something is happening to the human heart. You need to understand what it is if you would make sense of any of this.
Human beings are by nature ravenous creatures; a famished craving haunts every one of us. We were created for utter happiness, joy, and life. But ever since we lost Eden, we have never known a day of total fullness; we are never filled in any lasting way. People are like cut flowers—we appear to be well, but we are severed from the vine. We are desperate, lustful creatures. We look to a marriage (or the hope of marriage), a child, our work, food, sex, alcohol, adventure, the next dinner out, the new car—anything to touch the ache inside us. We are ravenous beings.
And we have been untethered. Every institution that once provided psychological and moral stability is crumbling—families, communities, church allegiances. We don’t trust anyone or anything anymore; not our universities nor financial institutions, not religious hierarchies, and certainly not our political leaders. The breakdown adds a kind of unchecked desperation to our ravenous hunger.
Then the world stands in the way of our famished craving; it constantly thwarts us. People don’t treat us as we long to be treated; we can’t find the happiness we need. Our boss is harsh, so we sabotage him. Our spouse withholds sex, so we indulge online. The ravening won’t be stopped. But boy, oh boy—when somebody gets in the way of our desperate hunger, they feel the fury of our rage. We are ready to kill. People shoot each other over traffic incidents. Parents abuse a baby who keeps them up at night. We vengefully crucify one another in social media.
This is our current condition—ravenous, psychologically untethered, increasingly desperate, ready to harm anything that gets in our way. And there appears to be nothing to stop the slide into chaos. “The falcon cannot hear the falconer,” warned the poet W. B. Yeats in “The Second Coming”:
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.
Whatever else is at play here, we have clearly lost hope. We have no confident expectation that goodness is coming to us. When my friend said, “We could sure use some hope right now,” she may have prophesied the final word over the human race.