“Meaning itself is at an end,” Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad has said, lamenting the spiritual condition of modern Britain. The Enlightenment had claimed that man, not God, was the measure of things, but now, says the British shaykh, measure itself is dead.
I myself have noticed this, though I would say that one of the most serious consequences is the disappearance of proportion. We are enraged by some minor, politically incorrect act by one group while totally ignoring far worse abuses by another. Those perplexed by this have come to believe that ideology is to blame. But ideology is consistent, and the actions of individuals, when examined, are seen to be merely self-serving.
At the higher end of culture, art, once bursting with symbolism and references to the eternal, now represents nothing, or, rather, what the viewer thinks it represents. Amusement and distraction seem to prevail, so we are concerned with the price but not the value of things.
“Politicians succeed or fail primarily on economic indicators, not because they make a nation proud culturally or militarily,”says shaykh Murad, “but because of the rise and fall in the stock market. This is where we are now. It’s a mercantile age. But the actual stuff of it is no longer related to anything that’s real.”