Tuesday, February 03, 2009
BUBBLES THAT FAITH BLOWS
America operates by faith in the trilogy of god, government and gilt; the father, son, and the holy ghost.
With language, homo sapiens made a quantum leap in the influence each generation had on the next. Language names what it sees and establishes a world view which any speakers become, quite literally, helpless to exceed no matter how far afield their ideas. Louder and more immediate than inherited genetic memory, there is the overwhelming influence of the myth for which the language was evolved to describe.
Religion began with storytellers passing along traditional tribal lore with tales involving the spirits of the animals they hunt and are hunted by. In comprehending the concept of wolfness when applied to individual wolves or transposed to humans, the more imaginative tellers of tales expanded this idea of spirit to be a characteristic of all natural phenomena such as thunder, lightening, day, night, volcanoes and oceans. The spirits were given names as the tales took on a more universal scale. The spirits were deemed gods and attributed with supernatural powers.
Cultures began to coagulate around different collections of stories requiring the establishment of authenticity through keepers of the faith and teachers of the way to, not only tell their story right, but to enforce it. A head god with dominion over all other gods and the creator of the physical world was a creation of such necessity. While keeping faith in a prophecy is a requirement for it to become true, the natural human inclination to live spontaneously in the moment requires the fear of an omnipotent and jealously wrathful god to keep believers behaving through all contradiction and temptation.
While religion regulated the virtue and spiritual rewards of the burgeoning populations collecting around silos of excess food, the secular concerns were more down to earth. Regulating the value and material rewards of the artificial bounty produced by totalitarian agriculture required governance. Abandoning the intimacy with nature required of hunter-gatherers, their children flocked to population centers to earn their meals by artificial means and reproduce their children with equal lack of concern for whence they come or go. Like god sets the requirements to enter heaven, government enhances and enforces most of them on the material plane. As above, so below — and we’re below both, keepin’ the faith. Or not.
Candidates prophesy, voters cast their faith into locked boxes only to be cast to the winds of fate on inauguration day and the prophecy dilutes as the more skeptical of faiths withdraw their energy from the surface tension of the bubble of hope for every betrayal of specialized desires. In the heavens there’s gods, on the ground there’s jes’ us; father, son.
So what could be more tenuous than faith in fearfully currying the ephemeral pleasure of a jealous father and obediently paying the material taxes to his ravenous son?
Where’s the holy ghost in this trilogy of faith?
How about the faith it takes to hold a wafer in your hand at the altar of the treasury and believe it represents a body of real value. This is the faith we are supposed to invest in a church whose priests worship at the bottom line with prayers full of small print stating an intent to repay more full of hot air than cotton candy. A homeowner recently bucked a foreclosure claim by showing in court that the bank reneged on the loan by failing to put up something of equal value with his house, since all the bank put up was a signature with no risk. This is the system our taxes are presently bailing out, with even more monopoly money. Holy crap, as my buddy Erica loves to say.
If I have a faithful bone in my body, it’s invested in my ability to perceive the guidance of my genetic memory’s relation to the theme behind nature’s proliferation of variety. For me placing faith in others is placing the uninvited burden of not disappointing me upon them; a horrible way to treat something I love. Only when I am asked to believe does the notion occur, and then, askance. I’m always juggling likelihoods, but certainty isn’t on the scale.
Gods, governments and gilt are myths told in language taught to the people from the top down. Sometimes thinking without words is the only way to visualize the bubbles that faith in the myth of western civilization is — how unnecessary to life in symbiosis with nature.