Post-Modern Man

by Joseph L. Campanello
(Mansfield, MA, USA)

Post-Modern Man

I intend to be a “post-modern man”,
To transcend and move beyond the “modern” world,
Even if it means taking several steps back,
Back to the place where we took a wrong turn,
In order to learn the right way forward,
The way of beauty, truth, justice, sanity, freedom
And, of course, brotherhood, solidarity, and love…
I want a good, useful, and dignified life
For myself, my loved ones, and future generations,
But I know I cannot have it if I embrace
The American Way, as seen on t.v. commercials.

I strive to be a “post-industrial” man,
No longer dazzled by the latest gadget;
Older and wiser, I foresee it discarded,
Rusting away in the landfill before the bill is paid,
I realize now it never kept its seductive promise
To make me happy, healthy, and admired,
Nor will the next one, or the one after that…
Someone told me this, I recall, long, long ago,
But I guess I had to live it to learn it:
I know that you and I are more than consumers,
That the good life cannot be bought retail.

I pray I’ll be a “post-secular” man,
Bold and secure in my hard-won faith,
Confident that God is alive and well, if neglected,
That Jesus is in fact the Son of great God,
That we ignore the Holy Spirit to our peril,
That when we stop worshiping the One True God
We cannot help but worship other, lesser things,
Including our own wretched, flawed selves;
Technology cannot save us: for every problem it “solves”
It creates a dozen more, some even worse;
Truly, our salvation will come from the Lord.
Post-modern man must not be greedy,
(He must know when enough is enough.)
Post-industrial man can’t afford to be selfish,
(His survival depends upon sharing.)
Post-secular man must cherish people,
(All people, without prejudice or exception.)
Post-modern man must revere God’s creation,
(Especially our beautiful blue planet.)
Post-industrial man must live simply,
(So that all of us might live decently.)
Post-secular man must treasure wisdom,
(It’s God’s voice whispering in our ears.)
Post-modern man must seek peace,
(Remember, God loves them as He loves you.)
Post-industrial man must do justice.
(Live and die by the sublime Golden Rule.)
Post-secular man must love extravagantly,
(As God and His Son love us.)

The modern world is nearing its end,
As the last drops of oil trickle from the pump,
I don’t wish to criticize, though I cannot defend
The modern project: Some good has come from it,
Surely, but we’re left feeling cheated,
In some sense lost and defeated,
For modernity and its boosters promised much,
But delivered benefits to a relative few:
Now even the excluded are left with the bill.

The modern experiment is almost complete,
But we the undaunted will carry on,
Never surrendering to despair or admitting defeat,
I invite you to join me as post-modern people:
Grown-ups no longer defined by money or toys,
Adults, no longer self-indulgent girls and boys,
Becoming whole and holy and centered
In God’s harmony, peace, and sanctity,
Finding our niches in the Divine Celebration.

© Joseph L. Campanello


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