I was raised in a typical Catholic household. Went to Catholic school from preschool until I graduated high school. Went to my fair share of masses, though not as many as the faith would’ve liked. My grandfather was raised Catholic and raised his children the same; my grandmother wasn’t baptized, as far as I know, but followed the Catholic rituals as best she could. It’s this upbringing that I fault for my belief in a better humanity.

Now, I never fully grasped Catholicism; instead, I filled in the many gaping holes in its plot with Buddhism, neopaganism, and philosophy. Catholicism doesn’t really believe in transcendence, for instance. Be good and you’ll get presents at the end of your run. There’ll be cake. But in my frankensteined belief structure, we’re meant to advance. Looking at the society around us shows us that this may be a challenge.

Advanced warfare may be the go-to for most transcendentalists as a reason we’re primitive and/or why we need to move forward. This seems natural, though. We’re animals; animals fight over scarce resources. Standing next to gas pumps with a lit cigarette? That takes a special level of human stupidity.

And yet my hope persists, despite the anecdotal evidence against it. Love the sinner, not the sin, Catholicism says. Usually reserved for homosexuality, I hold onto the maxim for stupidity. The problem is that so many seem to be trying to regress. We could spend a nearly endless amount of time pointing the finger as to the reason behind it. Media, culture, our peers. Does that part matter? What’s at our disposal and what we consume are by no means a one-way street.

So what does this apply to? Everything. Nothing. The best we can do on a bad day is to lead by example. The worst is to encourage the decay. The best, if given the will and opportunity, is to lead.