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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sign of the times

From my local parish's bulletin:
Attention single, divorced, and widowed individuals between the ages of 38-55: if you are interested in forming a “single Orthodox Christians Group,” please email your contact information to: __________________. Please state whether you would be willing to help with the organization of such a group or if you would be interested in being a member, and please also mention what kind of activities you would like the group to organize. If there is a sufficient response, the first meeting will be either in August or September.

Thus the post-modern West forges ahead with the radical social experiment of creating large cohorts of single people in their 40's and 50's. And QED, membership in an ancient and pro-family spiritual tradition is no guarantee you won't participate.

We are only about the second generation into this, and from personal experience I can say that nobody knows what to tell newly single, middle-aged people to do, just like we don't teach our children what to do if they're hit by a car. Rather, we teach them to avoid cars.

The desire to socialize individuals in this cohort is a good one, because the usual aftermath when the financial and social atomic bomb of divorce goes off is some form of domestic exile. On the other hand, a social dynamic with intense pair-selection pressures is one in which most of us have not found ourselves for twenty or more years, and perforce one from which children will not result. Like I say, you don't get a lot of advice on middle-aged mating rituals.

Speaking of social experiments without precedent in human history, we await the results of two others: 1) putting men and women in head-to-head economic competition with each other; and 2) moving large numbers of people across national borders as a matter of deliberate policy.

The 20th Century sure was an innovative one.

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