Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Natural Man

We have been told:
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (King Benjamin’s discourse: Book of Mormon | Mosiah 3:19: .)

We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 121:39)

They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 1:16)

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (New Testament | 1 Corinthians 2:14)
In addition, déjà vu confirms that the natural man adores power, wealth, and fame—those classic, three temptations that shadow every man (and woman) in varying degrees. Thus, the natural man is in constant marathon-mode, racing the shadows. He is obsessed. He wants no distraction; no interference. He wants the thrill of passing; of besting himself and others. He cares not for the bleeding and broken. It’s a race of competition, efficiency, surpassing, “meriting” the prize. He scorns those less obsessed; those who stop to aid the exhausted. They are losers, as surely as those they foolishly succor. The natural man comes to expect that others, less gifted, should sacrifice for his visions and brilliance. He deserves. They serve.

In King Benjamin’s parallels, the natural man is not submissive, not meek, not humble, not patient, not full of love, not willing to submit [to the ways of God] … Loser traits, one and all, in the business world of yesterday and today.

So, if the natural man is so contrary to the order of God, what about a collective of such men and women? Does the collective ameliorate the “natural man” tendencies or does it concentrate them—as in a tornado?

Why is it that being surrounded by collectives of “natural men” of business, we blissfully follow the pied-pipers of laissez-faire (do your own thing, be a law unto yourself 1)? Why do we swallow hook, line, and sinker, the “rights” of the natural man; the omniscience of markets; the “dictates” of supply and demand; the propaganda of maximized profit and “blessed” prosperity; the disparaging of governments and unions—the only entities powerful enough to counter the corruptions2 of the natural man and his “private” capital collectives? Why do we bow to the so-called inevitability/determinism of (one-world) globalization?

These are all the ways of Babylon. She seizes upon things that call for balance and forces them to extremes. She caters to, praises, and propagandizes the natural man. Her ambition is to co-opt and corrupt the incentives of business and channel them to her own ends. Her spokespeople endlessly trumpet the “virtues” of privatization, efficiency, and deregulation (her most prized business tool); and ceaselessly denounce the evils of taxation, regulation, criticism, and the common good. She hoodwinks democracy in the name of freedom, agency, prosperity, “merit,” and individualism.

Why have we become so adept at severing conscience from commerce? Espousing moral and religious values in our lives and churches, but in our work and business following/favoring (though we deny it with passion) the ways of the natural man?

Suckered by Babylon, yet incensed beyond measure that anyone would suggest it.

1. In other words, follow the dictates, rules, necessities, etc. of competition and the marketplace.
2. Yes, these too have become corrupted by the entreaties and temptations of Babylon, but without them there is not even a glimmer of “balance of power.”