Does now suck worse than ever?

Here are some good questions:

Why does man feel so bad in the very age when, more than in any other age, he has succeeded in satisfying his needs and making over the world for his own use?

Why has man entered on an orgy of war, murder, torture, and self-destruction unparalleled in history?

Why is the good life which men have achieved in the twentieth century so bad that only news of world catastrophes, assassinations, plane crashes, mass murders, can divert one from the sadness of ordinary mornings?

Walker Percy, The Message in the Bottle, quoted by Kathleen Norris, Acedia & Me, p.314

Growing up, I never once heard particularly good answers to these questions.

The answers I always heard were, “Well, people have forgotten God.” or “Oh, things were bad 500, 1000, and 3000 years ago too. Nothing has changed that much.”

Both of these are in fact true, but they are dismissive.

It’s only recently that I discovered some folks, (oddly enough, both of them French), that have come up with some really serious and compelling answers to these questions.

Jacques Ellul says technology is to blame. It is amplifying our own sin and evil. (See his 1964 work The Technological Society)

Rene Girard says we are progressively unable to resolve our own conflicts due to the breakdown of the scapegoat mechanism – used for ages to hold society together but now beyond repair due to the complete undermining of it in AD 33. See any of his books, but with regards to wars, Battling to the End)