It’s easy if you try. And it will cost you in the long run.
Belief systems describe a people. The ancient Egyptians had a highly complex belief system like many ancient people. Their religion, however, was unique in that it was entirely focused on the afterlife. They did not make sacrifices and pray for the here and now. They built monuments, complex burial systems and temples in order to prepare the living for the after life. There is a good argument that this focus on the after life is what allowed the Egyptians to keep their culture going for 3,000 years.
On the other hand, the Greeks were not very concerned about the after life. Their focus was on the here and now. The gods interfered in the lives of men, so it made sense to focus devotion on swaying the gods to act on your behalf or against the interests of your enemies. The Greeks did have the concept of an afterlife, but it was not the focus of their belief system. Immortality for man was possible by having sons, who would carry his name, or dying for his polis, which would live on and remember his name.
The Greeks may have been more concerned with the present, when it came time to worshipping the gods, but they had a nice long run, roughly 1000 years. It was not as if they were hedonists, living only in the moment. Even so, this focus on the now had some odd results. For instance, we know just about every Egyptian ruler and his deeds. We even have some of their corpses. The Dorian Greeks, on the other hand, burned their kings, as well as any record of them. We know nothing about them as a result.
This brings up an important point about our present age. The cult of Gaia, for example, is long on rhetoric about the future, but its focus is on present virtue. The greens are not trying preserve the environment for future generations. They are hoping their efforts snuff out future generations. The same is true of anti-racism and multiculturalism. These are all about the present. Calling them suicide cults is useful rhetoric, but in fact our virtuous rulers don’t think past tomorrow. it’s all about grace today.
This is particularly true with regards to migration. Nationalists like to cook up complex theories as to why our rulers are wedded to the idea of mass immigration. Some say it is cheap labor. Other say it is cheap votes. Still others see it as spite. All of those things are true, but the real motivation is virtue. Instead of a public ceremony where they sacrifice a bull or consecrate a church, inviting in the poor and downtrodden is the big public act of virtue. The consequences are down the road. The grace is today.
It’s not just vanity. We are the first people to have no conception of an afterlife. Even the Greeks believed in the after life and they believed there was judgement of souls. They may not have made that the focus of their faith, but they still believed there was something beyond this life. This spiritual hopelessness of Western elites may be why the Cloud People couch everything in terms of personal fulfillment and self-actualization. It is a way of crossing the River Styx without actually believing in it.
The nuttiness of modern elite culture may simply be a neurosis arising from the conflict between the natural, bone deep desire of man to be remembered, colliding with the lack of any reason to be remembered. Even the humblest of men will carve his name into a tree or scratch his name on his prison wall. “I was here” is the primal scream. Today, that impulse has no cultural vessel into which it can flow. The lonely barren spinster yells “I was here” and the only thing that happens is the cat stirs and then goes back to sleep.
Personally, I think the Progressivist need to sanctify their every least impulse to adolescent rebellion and self-indulgence is at the heart of it. Neurosis it surely is, but nobody could call it minor except in the purely personal sense, given the destructive effect it’s had on an entire culture.