Yeah, I thought that might get your attention. Serious post time. Put aside your FreeOCR translation of the book I got at a garage sale till next week and let's think this through.
Once again anonymous commenter Anonymous has pointed us to a topic for consideration, namely, what does the "Benedict Option" mean - apart, that is, from being a content-free marketing meme to lure rubes to line up at the booth to win a bear.
Now, as I've mentioned before, I'm not Catholic, just a bad Methodist who tries more often than not. And I'd just as soon as one of the faithful Catholics here had written this. But I don't think I need to be Catholic to think through what Rod Dreher's "Benedict Option" means. He "came up with the concept"; for better or worse, now, like Obama's Obamacare, he owns it, regardless of what it turns out to mean and how it may necessarily really turn out to work.
Let's start by asking the obvious questions: what does the "Benedict Option" seek, and when and under what conditions can it be realized?
To answer the first, the "Benedict Option" assumes we live in a time so fraught that a certain self-defined class of individuals - let's call them the BOs for short - cannot make common cause with the world they live in: in crucial ways, it fails to supply them with what they need. They therefore seek a different world, a world somehow beyond this current substandard one, a world in which what is missing now can one day, beyond today, finally be supplied or realized.
Implicit in this "Benedict Option" yearning is the projected assumption that the current world will collapse in some way, maybe apocalyptically, and thus with the current, unsatisfactory world broken and no longer resistant or a threat, the BOs will then function as carefully husbanded world-seed of whatever variety (morally better, religiously better, better beer makers, whatever) and re-sow the world into their own more appropriate fruitfulness.
The problem is, there are a whole host of implicit assumptions, many of them psychopathic, poking out like fractured bones sticking out of a rotting corpse which can't help but give us pause.
Set aside just the implicit schadenfreude, worthy of Dr. Evil himself: once the world is destroyed, the Master Race can repopulate it anew. How charitable of them.
What just happens to be already filling up the current morally/religiously/tastesnotgreatenough-toofilling world which first must pass away for the better, "Benedict Option" world to be realized?
Huh...let's see...a Vatican...oh, and a Pope and his Magisterium...and an entire catechistic world order...and a billion or so Catholics, give or take. They're all part of the deeply unsatisfying inertia of the currently deeply unsatisfying world which implicitly, necessarily, gets in their way and which must pass away before the happiness of the BOs can finally be realized.
Or forget the Catholics, if you want. You can run the same analysis on the Orthodox Church, or the Anglicans, or the Episcopalians, or even the constitutional republic of the United States. All must first pass from the scene.
The point is, implicitly all these institutions, their values and their rules and their communicants, implicitly all this current order fails the yearnings of the BOs.
All of these impediments must pass away before the BOs can satisfactorily have things the right way.
Their particular, customized way.
This is, pure and simple, collective infantilism; or, if you believe as I do that Dreher is the wannabe-guru I mock him to be, the infantilism of a wannabe shepherd and however many unfortunate sheep he can collect to sheer on the journey.
This is the petulant adolescent who can't wait till his daddy dies so that finally he can get things his way - without having to deal with all those tiresome things like growing up, becoming mature, engaging the world on its terms and prevailing within it.
But, even assuming this is the sort of petulant adolescent inability to deal with the adult world I describe (and even with a juggernaut like the Catholic Church rolling with you), what signs should we also look for to reveal it as a predatory psychological hustle as well?
A repeated insistence on urgency and need, to be specifically satisfied by what the vendor is selling. You can move shrink-wrapped pallets of freeze-dried foods and 5-gallon buckets of dried pinto beans only as long as you can keep your potential customers constantly anxious about a need to constantly be "prepping" for Armageddon.
This is standard Gold Rush marketing: the only ones sure to get rich are the map sellers and suppliers, the ones that sell the picks and shovels and provisions and the mules and wagons to move them; after that, whatever gold there may be is between you and God.
So to broker the goods of a "Benedict Option" - that is, to accomplish the only really important part, convincing others that your picks and shovels and provisions and the mules and wagons to move them are the only thing that will get your pilgrims to their future salvic "Benedict Option" - you need to repeatedly be harping on the unsatisfactory dirt hereabouts and, by comparison, the gold in them thar hills beyond, which they can only get to by buying your picks and shovels and provisions and the mules and wagons and following your special secret map to get there.
And, whatever you do, make sure your rubes pay no attention to existing means to achieve your moral/religious/hoppy satisfaction - like, oh, say, the Catholic Church there on the corner: that's the competition, pure and simple - or, if they do, you point out all the little ways it fails them. There's only one agency they can really depend on: the BOG.
So when it finally comes down to it, what fierce little cosmic ember burns in the heart of the "Benedict Option" Guru, hoping to one day fan itself into the flame of a grownup star?
A fierce psychopathic dissatisfaction with all that currently is, born of a congenital, defective inability to function as a mature adult within the world and the perfectly functional institutions of his time.
And above all - the eclipsing need to replace them with his own. To push Daddy out of the way and take his place. To push the Vatican out of its way and take its place. To replace existing institutions with his own, superior ones. To replace existing patterns of faith and morality with new, superior ones of his superior design and craftsmanship, even if they are built from the bones of the old.
Not just narcissism - solipsism.
To run the story of Genesis in reverse: out of the world, back through the Garden, back before there was a Garden, back to the only point that matters: back to where there is only his word, and the "Benedict Option" Guru finally sees that his word has become the new, replacement Good, give or take a vowel.
Now if it was me, I'd stick with the original options guy, the one who died on the Cross 2,000-plus years ago. But that's just me - because I've been to the carnival before.