Us and Them
And after all we're only ordinary men
Me, and you
God only knows it's not what we would choose to do
"Us and Them" Pink Floyd
Welcome humanoids to what may well be my last blog. Why? Well, neighbors, if the stat sheet is correct, my last blog entry was read by FOUR people (not including myself). Now, I'm not saying I'm "enlightened" or anything, but there are some things I'm wanting to deal with in this blog that I think will do a lot of people good. I mean, it'd be a real shame if I was revealing all the friggin' secrets of the universe here and no one read this except a few folks. There's a rule about this phenomenon: Those who know do not speak, those who speak do not know. I can also add: those who know and speak are not listened to...or are later silenced. Or, as they say, the good die young. Is Bill Hicks still around? No? Case in point.
I'm not telling you anything you don't already know here. You can look for yourself and find out what I have. I'm just a guy who was raised in a rural community in Middle Tennessee who should have been doomed to a life of contented, ignorant, intolerant bliss. If a reformed redneck like me can walk up to the top of the pyramid, so can you. I'm not selling anything here or asking you to believe anything. I'm trying to crack your outer shell of ideology so a little light can get in. The Truth is out there, Scully, so stop being such an Philistine.
Why is it that we can't see the Truth about certain things and seem to be compelled to destroy our civilization? More simpler, older cultures still around today that are more connected with Nature (and thereby actual reality) even say the Western World is trapped in the "Dream of the North," meaning we are taking a long sleepwalk over a short pier. Why are there this late in the day, atheists, climate change deniers, "birthers," people who still think the Earth is the center of the universe and people who think Adam Sandler has any talent? Why are we using up our resources, continuing our dependence on fossil fuels and most suicidal of all...why is so much of the world today looked at in terms of black and white, good vs evil, paper vs plastic, David Letterman vs Joaquin Phoenix, Xian vs Muslim vs Jew, Cable vs Dish, Us vs Them when clearly the human race working against each other instead of working together is counterproductive to all of us getting along, personally and temporally? It doesn't have to be A, or B or C...it can be All of the Above.
As Rodney King asked, after being beaten like a rug by a bunch of white policeman, "Why can't we all get along?"
An easy answer is...we're not supposed to, not yet. I mean, we can ask why we seem to be sleepwalking to oblivion, why for decades now we've been a button-push from nuclear armageddon, why we are shitting where we are eating...and one answer is that it is FATE. (Notice the big F. And A. And, etc.)
*G*O*D* appears to operate like the Joker in Dark Knight. He is obviously a person who is organized, with it, spends hours somewhere planning and plotting and gathering resources and putting together his deathtraps and then has the gall to raise his eyebrows, all innocent-like and says "Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just… do things.
Why would you, for example, take Meth? You know you're going to look like walking roadkill...and feel like it...sooner or later. Yet, there you are, making it in the garage. And just why are you putting all that absinthe and turpentine down your neck and hanging out with that jerk Gauguin when it's just going to lead to madness and a damaged earlobe? And please explain why are you coercing young men into having sex with you when you're the pastor of a big church in Atlanta who is known for his anti-gay sex rhetoric? Why why why? Why are you putting on that dress when you KNOW it makes your caboose look big?
Being stupid just doesn't explain this phenomenon. To err is human, apparently. How come? Why are we more drawn to drama, crime and violent sports programs on teevee instead of happy, shiny programming? Why, if Uhmurkah is an Xian nation (chuckle) is Capitalism the economic system, a system built on competition, not cooperation? Why do we dance around perfection and choose complexity when simplicity will do fine? Why is it about YOU and not about THEM, which also includes YOU?
Why have we been at war with each other? Why did Cain beat Abel's head in with a rock, just because it turned out that Yahweh isn't a vegetarian? Why did Yahweh choose Abel over Cain, when they were both sacrificing to him the work of their hands? Why couldn't Yahweh have a salad with his steak? Is it possible, apart from just that we are doomed to struggle with each other instead of snuggling with each other, that the main religions of today are about us vs them? BINGO. Give that man a cigar made out of angel poo.
Why did Yahweh choose Abel? Well, since this is an allegorical story, a myth, we have to look at the motivations for those Hebrews who created this story. The Hebrews were, originally, a nomadic people who kept livestock. They were herders of hamburgers. They didn't settle around and do a lot of organic gardening. The blood sacrifice of an animal, in Yahweh's case, was to show the Hebrews that they were superior in his eyes to the other people who were more settled in cities and tilled the fields, but also kept livestock as well. The fruit of the earth also was associated with those pesky goddesses. Abel is superior to Cain because he chose the right sacrifice. The unwritten side of that is that Cain should have known that Yahweh liked ribeyes over radishes. Also, Abel is the victim, to show that not only is the sheep-keeping Hebrew superior, he is also persecuted by...y'know...THEM...those no-good followers of Cain who are growing okra, tomatoes and spinach in their backyards. They are not to be trusted and are most probably also goddess worshipers, or least polytheists. They probably never rewound video tapes before returning them to Blockbuster, too. Marxists and socialists, the lot of 'em.
This a great trick and you can see it working today where a bunch of white people marched on Washington DC recently, when they are the ones in charge of how Uhmurkah is run, to complain and say they "want their country back" and feel like their civil rights are being infringed if K-Mart decides to call it a "Happy Holiday Sale" versus a "Christmas Sale." I'm in charge and have my boot on your neck, so stop picking on me!
Then...later in the Old Testament, to show that when the Hebrews settled down in the "Promised Land" that they occupied after the God of Love told them to slaughter the indigenous peoples, that it was okay now to be a city-dweller and a momma's boy and even grow a zucchini once in a while, we get the story of Jacob and Esau. Esau was a man of the outdoors, hairy, rugged, kept the sheep...and smelled like one. He wore flannel shirts and dipped smokeless tobacco and liked tractor pulls and rode the mechanical bull at the honky-tonk down at Gilead. And he would never be seen drinking Bud Light. He was also dumb as a box of hammers and is depicted as being easily manipulated and tricked by his smarter and cleaner-smelling, metrosexual vegetarian brother Jacob.
Birthright or a bowl of soup. Seems like an easy choice, right? Not for Esau, who probably thought that the word "tangiers" was when someone makes fun of a person because they got burned in the sun. (If you get that joke, you get extra Woohoo Points(tm).) Jacob uses brain, not brawn although he did wrestle an angel once, to get his way and he becomes the favored of Yahweh and it is from Jacob, called later Israel, that the Hebrew Nation is created. Although Jacob never said, "My bad, dude," the story finishes up with Jacob and Esau being reconciled, which allows the city-dwelling aspect to merge with the sheep-herding aspect of the Hebrews, allowing both phases of the Hebrew culture to be recognized. But Jacob is the winner, which is the point. Jacob lies, deceives and cheats his way to the top and Yahweh pins a medal on his chest. The rest, as they say, is pretty fucking depressing history.
A political nation was built by Yahweh and this one time lowly patron god of cattle-drives turns into a James Bond villain who wants to rule the world. And Yahweh doesn't stand around telling his enemies his master plan, he puts a few dozen bullets in the brain of his opposition at the first opportunity. Then he grinds his enemy up and makes breakfast sausage out of him and eats him with an omelet and cranberry juice. And then he defecates out the sausage into a bucket and then Yahweh takes it up into a hot air balloon and dumps it out over several square miles of the Pacific Ocean, just in case. Which is only fair, as Yahweh did write The Book of Revelations and therefore has already revealed his plans for world domination. Not Yahweh's fault if 007 didn't do his homework, eh?
The main point we need to take away from what would become known as Judaism is that it was the first religious concept that, as far as we can tell, marked the change from a general respect between different cultures, diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks, to the mindset that everyone else was not only inferior to you and all their gods are false, but they had it coming when you burned their cities and put everyone in the city to the sword.
Judaism, then Xianity and then Islam have used this mentality ever since. These "religions" say that my god can not only beat up your god, there is no such thing as "your god." And that because of that, I have every right to invade your land, kill or enslave you and give you blankets fulla smallpox. I shudder now when I recall, when I was an Xian and believed that Jesus died for the sins of all mankind in order to redeem all mankind and experience the love of Yahweh, that I reckoned it was also okay that we slaughtered so many of the Native Americans as they were just godless heathens anyway and they were in the way of progress and "God's Will."
The term "godless heathens" wins the Oxymoron Award and leaves such terms as "jumbo shrimp" and "military intelligence" in its dust. Saying that a "heathen" is/was "godless" is comparable to "batless baseball team" or "chlorineless swimming pool" or "kleavageless Kim Kardashian."
Of course what is funny (and soul-crushingly sad) about this is Xianity is itself Polytheistic. Father, Son and Holy Ghost, all extant at the same time, from alpha and omega...even a member of the Tea Party can count to three, right? And if you're a Catholic...oh geez. Well, you've got the goddess back in there, of course. And then all the venerated saints are themselves objects of well...veneration. There is a delegation of divine authority and governance in the Catholic pantheon that rivals Hinduism. Getcher program getcher program...you can't tell the patron saint of shish-ka-bobs from the patron saint of porterhouse steaks without a program.
But you see that this us vs them, good vs evil concept comes from "monotheistic" religions. Any idiot can see that these three big outfits galvanized racial/ethnic groups together into a worldly, political alliance. Xianity, a religion claiming a Semitic heritage is clearly a European...that is...White-mans' religion (along with the cultures subjugated by Xians, like Africans and South Americans, etc). Islam gathered together the Arab nations by saying there were some editorial mistakes in the Old Testament and it was Ishmael that was the favored son of Abraham, not Issac (yeah, just a small mistake there, Hebrews). And of course Judaism is the religion of the Jews. These three outfits are political, cultural identifiers, not actual religions. They are all three competing with each other for world domination and they want your vote and your dollar and when obedience to the state is wrapped up in the fate of your immortal soul, that's quite a motivation to stick with the program. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, many Xians in Uhmurkah have been tricked into thinking that Thou Shalt Vote Republican is the 11th Commandment.
All three of these stooges have sacred texts associated with them that are valid, but those sacred texts are so loosely written that if you think it is your god's will to bomb THEM to smithereens, you can find passages in your scriptures to support that. Joshua, King David, Mohammad, Constantine, Hitler, George W Bush, all these conquerors believed (or claimed) they were doing the will of their almighty god. It's not a war crime if Yahweh or Allah says so, right?
What we do need to credit these "religions" for is the advance of "civilization." Especially Xianity. Because if Western Civilization is a virus...Xianity is the carrier. Go unto all the world and convert those heathens...or else. And so we had, just a few centuries ago, worldwide exploration and conquest. The Spanish especially went to other lands, populated with other civilizations, and then stuck a flag in the beach and proclaimed that that land belonged to them now and all you natives need to (1) put some clothes on and (2) bow down before this big golden cross we brought from across the pond. The Gospel of Jesus was perverted into "Xianity" which is not Christianity and lo and behold, Christendom was borne and instead of waiting for the Kingdom of Heaven, a bunch of Xians decided to take over the planet before Jesus' promised return. Impatient, much?
So now we struggle with each other still. These religions divided us and divide us today. Gone are the days in the Western World when Herodotus wrote about going to Egypt and seeing how their gods were pretty much like the Greek gods but never suggested that Isis and Thoth, etc were false gods. Judaism, Xianity and Islam separated us, instead of uniting us...and because these religions are also cultural identifiers, if you are a card-carrying member of the Big Three, your politics, your self-identity, your worldview is not about Truth...but about what your religion says truth is. You can be a member of these religions and actually be able to be spiritually enlightened...but subjecting yourself to just a few minutes of today's news headlines shows you are in a blessed minority. Being against each other...no...it's not what *G*O*D* would want us to do, and doesn't seem what we would want to choose to do, unless there was a point to all this worldwide wrestling.
Now for, mayhaps, some good news:
Globalization and world wide communication and the associated advances in technology, along with modern archeology and other sciences, are doing to these three wolves in religious clothing what taking a sledgehammer to a house built on stilts eventually does...cause it to come crashing down into kindling. Civilization was spread by these world-conquering religions and now the subsequent era of globalization may promise to refine this concept into something that is not about your worldwide military, political empire, but about humans helping out humans for the common good. The more we know about THEM, the more we realize they are actually US. And carpetbombing hundreds of thousands of brown people in Iraq, for example, is hurting us in Uhmurkah because we couldn't really afford all those bombs and using up more than our share of the earth's resources is hurting the entire planet. We have to understand we are all in this together...or sooner or later...the cockroaches are going to get their turn. Something seems to be holding us back from this consolidation and reconciliation, but we do seem to be moving ever swifter toward a big change, whether you can believe in it or not. For beholdeth, the day of having thy teeth kicked in cometh as a thief in the nighteth.
Civilization, in terms of city-building, only started about 10,000 years ago, we had world empires only about 6000 years ago. The printing press was invented around 1441. Then we move forward to electricity, television, the internal combustion engine, cell phones, the personal computer, the internet and microwave popcorn. All within the past 200 yrs. We're developing technology faster than we can keep up with those advances because we keep trying to fill that *G*O*D* shaped hole in our lives with anything but the divine principle. We're nearing a saturation point where we'll realize technology has enabled us to be able to communicate with and organize ourselves into a cohesive worldwide community but once we get to that saturation point we'll also realize that this technology doesn't make us happy or better or contented, where it counts. A lunatic asylum with high-speed internet, Playstation 3s and a cappuccino machine is still a loony bin.
We all need to get on the same page in order to see that we're all Dottie Gale and we just want to go home again and see Auntie Em back on the farm.
Aaaaaaaand...she'll be coming around the mountain when she comes, OH, she'll be coming around the mountain when she comes and we'll all go out to meet her.
See you next time...maybe.