The inexorable search for purpose and meaning


Chris McGillon, writing for the Sydney Morning Herald has written a very insightful piece of the younger generation (a.k.a. our junior youth!) titled “A Shaky life for young without belief”:

“An important new study, the findings of which were released in the US last month, suggests that Bell was certainly half right: a society that fails to connect its young to solid personal and moral foundations is failing to provide them with much needed direction in life. But, according to the study, such a society is also acting in ways harmful to their essential biology.

Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities is the report of the Commission on Children at Risk – a group of 33 prominent research scientists, doctors and mental health and youth professionals jointly sponsored by Dartmouth Medical School, the Institute of American Values, and the YMCA.

The commission set out to establish why, amid increasing material wealth, American children and adolescents were registering rising rates of mental illness, emotional distress and anti-social behaviour.

He goes on to say,

Part of this neural circuitry leads inexorably to a search for moral meaning, a propensity to seek answers to questions about ultimate meaning and purpose and an openness to the possibility of a transcendent reality.

….The reason is the steady decline of social institutions that foster connectedness and spiritual growth amid the rising tide of individualism and secular materialism.

and then concludes:

Nothing short of major social change, they say, will do the trick.

That change requires the nurturing once again of what the researchers call “authoritative communities” – groups of people who are committed to each other’s welfare and who are able to model what it means to be a good person and to lead a good life (families, community and civic organisations, churches, and so forth)….

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