We like veneer; one company (IKEA) has developed an entire industry around the use of it. You can have bookshelves or dressers or cabinets in a plethora of woods styles - but that only go a 2 millimeters thick, laying over an inner core of composite pressed wood which is ugly, flaky, and heavy.
We have become the same.
We are people of appearances and opinions. Our appearances and our opinions run only as deep as our fragile emotions: give us a perceived insult or express an opinion which we do not agree with and you will have revealed a dross core of raw emotion that oozes out with a horrid stench, a sort of seething hatred of everything that infects all that we do until we have become so used to the smell that we scarcely notice it in our daily lives.
Oh, we see ourselves differently of course: individuals of great learning and independence which come by how we are after great thought and carefully construed constructs. It is those who scratch us that are the real enemy of human-ness and humanity, not ourselves in our lashing back and completely laying waste in a scorched earth policy.
Somehow we become surprised in all of this, that the only language that anyone speaks anymore is that of anger and hatred, of the raised fist and the hostile word. We have become not by what we are for or even what we are against but rather by maintaining the appearance of our veneer, by the volume of words and the fierceness of the rage against damage to it.
We become shocked when we meet people who are solid, who hold to their conviction in storms like cattle in a blizzard, who do not react with scorn and rage when their veneer is scratched. We are surprised because it turns out that the veneer is not just at the surface but runs right down to their core. They can no more lose themselves in the opposition and trying times than a tree can shed the grain of its wood.
Where is the call to become a people of depth? Where is the call to drain the swamps of our souls, to let the curing process produce in us a hardness and structural integrity that can weather the great challenges of our age.
The reality is that veneer seldom survives unscathed - but solid wood often does.