Rebranding and Renaming Tradition

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Here’s the problem with getting rid of standards you find outdated, such as the Ten Commandments or traditional morality: In the chaos that inevitably results from their absence you wind up trying to concoct something to replace them without calling it by the same name.

Consequently, you wind up trying to disguise the original guidelines. David Brooks fumbled around with this issue in a recent column and Yale has created an entire center devoted to bringing back self-control and discipline without ever once using that old-fashioned terminology.

david brooks

“Put aside a culture war that has alienated large parts of three generations from any consideration of religion or belief,” Brooks wrote. “Put aside an effort that has been a communications disaster, reducing a rich, complex and beautiful faith into a public obsession with sex. Put aside a culture war that, at least over the near term, you are destined to lose.”

“Consider a different culture war, one just as central to your faith and far more powerful in its persuasive witness.”

“We live in a society plagued by formlessness and radical flux, in which bonds, social structures and commitments are strained and frayed. Millions of kids live in stressed and fluid living arrangements. Many communities have suffered a loss of social capital. Many young people grow up in a sexual and social environment rendered barbaric because there are no common norms. Many adults hunger for meaning and goodness, but lack a spiritual vocabulary to think things through.”

Meanwhile, up in New Haven, “The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence uses the power of emotions to create a more effective and compassionate society.”

yale emotional intelligence

“The Center conducts research and teaches people of all ages how to develop their emotional intelligence. We do this work because the well-being and sustainability of our society depends on each of us using our emotions intelligently.”