Notre-Dame de Paris has stood for over eight hundred years. During that time, Paris has been sacked, occupied, or bombed four times. During the Hundred Years War, The Revolution, the Franco-Prussian War, and the Nazis. Notre-Dame had rough moments, but essentially stood firm. Now’s it’s gutted by flame. What society and culture could accomplish and protect over eight centuries, we cannot.
In separate but unrelated news, the Washington Monument’s reopening was delayed until this August. It was damaged in an earthquake in 2011 and has been mostly closed since. It took America less than four years to win the Second World War. It will take over twice that length of time to repair a single monument.
Here are two clear shining examples of the failures of modern society and government. We have fancy little smartphones in our pockets, we can access all the knowledge of humanity, but we can’t seem to do anything right anymore. This is more than just failed government, it’s society’s failure in general.
Does Notre-Dame even still matter? I think like probably 13% of French attend church each week. I wonder how many Americans beneath the age of 25 could write say one page about George Washington and why he’s important?
We’ve lost the big picture, we’re without purpose. Notre-Dame defined a civilization. The smartphone is ours: and it’s shallow, baseless, and ultimately nothing more than future environmentally damaging landfill.
In this sense, Notre-Dame matters because it reminds us of what we lost, and what we can no longer even protect. But in another more dark sense, Notre-Dame doesn’t even matter. Let it burn to the ground, and in the end sadly nothing about us is going to change.