Civilization, Humanization, Divinization
At best such norms might be neutral, but more likely they will simply be Masks of Power. For example, holding a door for a lady will be an instance of misogyny. Besides, there are no ladies. That term was invented by the patriarchy in order to control Dangerous Female Sexuality.
To say there are no civilizational norms is also to say that there is no correct way to be human. Many on the left fervently embrace this idea (which they must do if they are to be intellectually consistent). When my former leftbob first became interested in psychology, he read insopherable authors such as R.D. Laing, who argued that the insane were really sane, and vice versa. Likewise philosophers such as Foucault -- which is quite convenient for someone as insane as Foucault.
If you're going to have a Revolution, then you need to delegitimize the current state of affairs. The left is able to accomplish this in a stroke, since all hierarchies are bad and oppressive.
In practical terms this translates to the obsessions with "income disparity" or "marriage inequality," but it all reduces to the injustice of any delay or discrepancy between What I Want and What I Have, or between desire and reality. (Note the key point that such a system derives its infinite energy from the lower vertical, a subject to which we will return.)
Now, to say civilization is to say order. There is horizontal order and there is vertical order, and no system can have only one and remain a system. Or in other words, there is no system without verticality. An automobile engine, for example, harnesses the horizontal laws of physics for the vertical purpose of -- well, of anything, since purpose as such is intrinsically vertical. It cannot be reduced to physical law.
If we consider Aristotle's four causes -- material, efficient, formal, and final -- the first two are horizontal, the second two vertical. On the human plane, we might say that the body is horizontal and the soul vertical, even though the two can only be separated in the abstract.
However, there is a kind of fractal organization, in that the body itself has any number of vertical hierarchies, just as the soul has its efficient causes.
One thing I've been thinking about lately is how all systems are susceptible to vertical influences, which is what makes the cosmos go. For example, the entirety of human art and invention is a result of mind putting its stamp on matter.
This is a very queer situation when you think about it, because why shouldn't a lawful cosmos simply result in a monotonous, predictable, and eternally recurring series of cycles? Instead, these cycles "jump" to higher levels, as if guided by some nonlocal hierarchy drawing them upward.
This is one of the themes of The Experience of God. For example, "God is not a God who merely preserves the world in a cyclic form, but a God who is at work now, in our time and space, and who calls humanity and creation to the fullness of life."
As a result, nature is structured in such a way that it leaves a space for the interventions of free human decisions that further shape matter -- or where human freedom and divine freedom touch and create yet another something from nothing.
In other words, God is the Cause of vertical causes, the very principle that explains why systems do not simply repeat or dissipate. You can understand this in very practical terms. For example, why don't all marriages end in repetition, boredom, and ennui? That many do, there is no doubt. But what is really missing? In my opinion, it is the continuous renewal that can only occur when there is the vivifying ingression of vertical energy, i.e., grace.
More generally, every system needs something from outside itself in order to keep going. For example, your automobile needs gasoline, just as your body needs food. But what does the soul need? Yes, it absolutely needs God's grace, even if you don't realize it or recognize that that is what is going on.
"Expressed another way," writes Staniloae, "what was created from the beginning was also created by God as capable of receiving the power through which new orders might appear." And "creation does not reach its completion until, in humanity, God has revealed its meaning."
In other words, meaning is revealed to man in man via Incarnation and Resurrection. Thus, "the road to God passes through our humanization" -- the latter being the singular form of the process of civilization.
So "By creating human beings, God has committed himself to lead them to deification," and I am holding him to that commitment.
Christians hold that without spirit the world would be enclosed within the automatic repetition of certain monotonous cycles.... Only the spirit, through the agency of its own freedom, leaves such repetition behind and can cause nature to leave it behind as well. --Dumitru Staniloae