Sunday, February 22, 2015

Developing Viral Meme Herd Immunity

"Your god is dead and no-one cares
If there is a Hell, I'll see you there."

Nine Inch Nails - Heresy

I considered titling this post something more straightforward like "Fuck Mohammed!" but then the real point of opposition might be lost. It's true that of the "big boy" superstitious mind-wipers Islam is currently the most directly violent and therefore has become the poster child of destructive indoctrination but as Islamic apologists are quick to point out, Christianity too once basked in its glory days of lavish appropriated wealth, children's crusades and torturing infidels to death.
Tibetan Buddhism looks cute and cuddly now thanks largely to one of the most charismatic, crowd-pleasing public figures to grace the otherwise Scroogely ranks of religious leadership, but this is an identity recently assumed under duress. Tossed out of their fiefdom by an even more oppressive (and more relevantly, larger and heavily-armed) dictatorship, the monks learned to play nice to gain acceptance abroad.
Hinduism and its offshoots never has been able to reconcile ahimsa with the pornographic glorification of self-mutilation. If you make them to it to themselves it's not really harm you see - don't stop hitting yourself!
The less said about religiously justified slavery over the centuries, the better.

So let's face it, the core issue here ain't tha musul-men comin' ta getcha. Yeah, there's a lot of Koran-thumpers torturing random people to death for fun these days but if it weren't that, it'd be the wrath of archangels Gabe and Mike or the will of lord Vishnu or Amaterasu getting her panties in a bunch or some other delusional crap based on misinterpretable-by-design scriptures. It's the idiocy of faith itself, of blind belief, of induced gullibility and morality by authority which needs to be stamped out like the primitive neurological disease it is. Judeo-Christian indoctrination never stopped being a violent, abusive, sadistic, totalitarian mind-fuck. It was secular western society which changed around its older doctrine, forcing it to step back its social control apparatus in order to stay in business. The problem is that the job was left half-finished. Not only are we seeing the ghost of God, in Nietzsche's terms, wandering our streets in the guise of new-age "spiritualism" or alien abduction cults or T.V. shows about haunted houses or homeopathy, but in misinterpreting liberalism as spinelessness we've been knuckling under to the remaining superstitious parasites in every way we can.

I've commented before on being unable to use certain names in LotRO. More recently, I've been entertaining myself swearing like a drunken sailor at the little snots in Smite (after getting perma-banned for that sort of thing from two previous AoS games) so I ran across this tidbit from Smite's early days. Hindu leaders threw a tantrum over the inclusion of various Hindu gods as playable characters - because of course, you see, Agni is different from every other tri-millennial sacrifice fetish and nothing to joke about. Now, given that their playerbase, like that of most game companies, includes precious few Hindus, the developers more or less blew a raspberry at this and refused to remove the characters but slapped some extra bangles and a clothier loin-cloth on Kali to shut the fundies up.
Yeah, fat chance of shutting fundies up. But see, that's sort of a problem. I can complain until I'm blue in the face that I find Athena's portrayal farcical and her boob-plate ridiculous and that a literary personification of wisdom deserves better treatment... as a self-declared intellectual... and nobody will give a fuck. But if some babbling sheep start bleating "it's against my religion" we're suppose to give, what, several fucks at the very least?
Downright apocalyptic. Declaring oneself perfectly irrational garners greater credibility than admitting to being imperfectly rational. Actually believing primitive dogma is real gains you control over media output. Being a thoughtful student of mythology arguing the correct literary interpretation of fictional constructs gets you called a nerd and your head shoved into the toilet.

Or shot off. Following the most recent murders motivated by drawings of Mohammed, I have to agree with my least-favorite of the four horsemen that the only appropriate media response would have been solidarity in the face of censorship. Re-print the cartoon. Plaster it over every single television station. Of course that's not what happened but what can you expect? We're talking about the same mass-media which asphyxiates us with Christmas and Easter content every damn year and holds priests and ministers up as serious commentators. If they took a stand on this they might at some point be challenged to admit that Mohammed is no less divine than Jesus and both are every bit as divine as you or me. Treating Kali as a fictional fabrication like any other is all well and good, but if you want to show me you've grown some cojones, you take on the elephant in your own room. Make Yahweh a playable character. Let me play the virgin Mary in a bikini and a wimple slapping other gods with rosary beads. Give me Abraham tossing a tied-up Isaac around like ammunition. Granted, Judeo-Christian myths are lamentably dull material compared to others, but I'm sure we could work something out.

You can't really depend on mass-media for this. The media in a capitalist society are a construct of their consumer base. The push toward rationalism is not a legal or political matter. It must come first as social change carried out on an interpersonal level. Here it is all of us who know better who are at fault. Every time you've played nice and nodded along with someone talking about the supernatural as if it were real, every time you've faked a prayer to please your friends and family, you've been encouraging this bullshit. The core issue with religion isn't that it's violent or restrictive but that it's anti-rational. Not just irrational but actively counter-intelligent, pushing individuals to forego their own capacity for reason in favor of blind belief. No matter how benign you believe the superstitions around you are, in encouraging them you are reducing the potential of sentience. Religion promotes gullibility, which is why it's been such a favorite control method of various power structures throughout history. A child's faith in its mother blends seamlessly into belief that the priest's words come from mother Mary and messianic babbling primes populations for blind faith in five-year-plans and glorious conquests.

It doesn't matter if you're one of the four horsemen or some other university professor or an engineer who knows it doesn't take angels to make pipes flow or just an unemployed bum who doesn't buy into that bullshit. You have a duty to yourself as a thinking being not to go along with irrationality. You don't have to be out on a street corner with a placard. I'm not going to be. But if you believe in that nonsense, I will tell you it's nonsense. You are suffering from a neurological disease, a viral meme which reduces your intellectual capacity by making you subservient to the pushers of that dogma. We can cooperate in other ways, but this will never change unless you can produce your deity to speak for itself.

Declaring irrationality does not entitle anyone to any pedestals. There is no appropriate response to religion but to denounce it along with every other type of superstition or irrationality. That it affects certain individuals makes them pitiable, but the true danger lies in propagation. Those of you who know better have to stop playing nice, have to stop taking the comfortable route of appeasement. Do not allow such idiocy into schools, into your personal relationships or into public discourse. Become the stopgap, the much-needed firebreak.

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