Historically, the monastic movement played a significant role in the development of our society by preserving historical records and maintaining mans knowledge. Monasteries, like islands in seas of ignorance became places where knowledge was housed. It was not always used, but it was at least collected. Even today some of the oldest and best records of man's past are contained in Monastery historical records.
This way of life, and even the appreciation for it, has for the most part become irrelevant in our modern world. There are still pockets around our globe where people continue the monastic movement, but for the most part, especially in Europe and North America, the movement seems to be dying out.
This is a Trappist Monk from the Monastery in Holland Manitoba. I had the pleasure of visitng this group last weekend while on a field trip with a class. In meeting with and speaking to the Monks, one of the things that struck me was that each of them that I met, seemed joyful. There was a peace and happiness to their lives that most of us in our modern busyness, don't seem to have.
It struck me that they had no real concern about the future of their movement, even though it is likely to end in the near future. New members have not joined this group in many years, and the remaining members of this order are all getting quite old.
I really cannot place a value judgement on the movement. But the current state of affairs reminds me of other upheavals in sociery where massive changes and diplacements have ocurred, some things are always lost and others are gained. In the final results, some of what is lost impoverishes us, but some of what is gained enriches us. So perhaps the balance in life is maintained and it is for this reason, that the Monks do not seem concerned about the future.