During the twentieth century, in the unstable years following the world wars, capitalism proved itself to be a successful and enduring system. This success seems to have come mainly from its, ' ...extraordinary versatility and flexability...' . Despite many threats, such as the rising cost of fuel in the 1960's and the following economic slump that was to last nearly a decade, capitalism survived, and even evolved. Writing for the Encarta Encyclopedia (CD Rom format), Wallace C Peterson praises this Capitalist system, believing it to have brought to the Western world a firm economic base, and nearly continuous growth since the end of WWII, without ...the surrender of personal liberty...
[...] He sees nothing of worth in the world he lives in, the world of ordinary folk who must eat muck and still survive clinging on to the illusions that consumerism gave them, knowing in their hearts they have nothing, 'Only human beings have the hideous versatility to adapt to lovelessness and live and live and live while being exploited and used by their own kind.' Throughout the novel, it is firmly suggested that only the lower classes suffer such humiliation and exploitation at the hands of a capitalist society. [...]
[...] In seeking to fill the voids that the absence of religion causes, capitalism offers its own form of support system. There are images of paradise and heaven in the promise of health, wealth and happiness through the work ethic. There is a promise of love, which if you cannot find, you could always buy. There is also the idea of stability and contentment. However, these things are not real, but illusions. They are parodies of what religion offers, empty promises without spiritual significance. [...]
[...] He can offer Lanark no hope, only the reiteration that his life is in the hands of others. When Thaw hopes for God, he describes . big continual loving man I want, who shares the pain of his people . [p.296] The author is nothing like this image at all. He makes his people suffer for his own ends, uses them and exploits them like a follower of consumerism. It doesn't matter how much you hate this book I am writing, you can't escape it before I let you go . [...]
[...] Also later on, we see Thaw's idea of religion criticized in local newspapers, the more reserved of the congregation believing Thaw had actually ridiculed, rather than represented the creation myth, with his 'black' Adam and white Eve making love under a tree. However the minister says it is not Thaw that is the one to ridicule, but the reporters . their jobs depend on being entertaining, so they make everything look as clownish or as monstrous as they can. [p.327] In this way, the journalists take religion, like Thaw or the minister, and extract the bit they need and discard the rest. [...]
[...] We can see this particular dissembling of religion in other contemporary work, such as the poem ' Priest accused of Not Wearing a Condom' by Paul Durcan The poem reads like a newspaper article. In this case the idea of sin is picked off religion, and used to make a story to sell. From the contemporary sense a priest not wearing a condom is not exactly shocking, but it is made sensational and sinful by calling the case 'scandalous' and that the judge had said the priest's lover had suffered an 'offence to her person'. [...]
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