Thursday, August 27, 2015

My money's on the pot smokers

"You cannot sedate all the things you hate"
Marilyn Manson - Dogma

Boom boom. Another monument bites the dust.There's lots of ways to look at ISIL's latest publicity stunt, blowing up the temple of Baalshamin. I mean, isn't it nice that even though the Hebrews dropped the ball on Baal, neglecting to completely wipe every trace of the Canaanites off the map, someone's there to pick up the slack? Sure it's a few millennia late, but Yahweh/Jehovah/Allah/whatsisface must be very proud.

What? Too soon?
Comedy equals tragedy plus time, doesn't it? Well, at the very least tragedy plus time equals World Heritage Site.

Look, I'm certainly not thrilled at the world losing yet another historic marker to those rabid baboons wiping their asses with their own history. Our species has a short enough memory without tearing up these little post-it notes we keep finding buried here and there. However, I can't help but notice a pattern. This was originally a religious structure, likely built on slave labor for the express purpose of facilitating wiping out whatever animist or shamanistic superstitions the locals held and erasing their existence from history. It was then repurposed as Jebus' summer home (he had a number of them) to facilitate spreading that new mass delusion among I don't even wanna count how many other conquests, whitewashings, appropriations and passive-aggressive takeovers. Hell, you can bet the damn thing wouldn't even be around if it hadn't laid safely buried for fifty generations. The latest delusional masses are just that: the latest in a long cavalcade. This is what religion does. It's a means of establishing tribal identity and in-groups define themselves by opposition to out-groups.

Every dogmatic social delineation, if it has the clout, tends toward orthodoxy, polarization, radicalization, ever more desperate measures for the chosen/saved/true-believers to allay their insecurities by finding some thous to out-holy. That's it's selling point. That's why this particular memetic infection catches so readily in our social ape brains, because it latches on to our desperation to increase our social rank, to tread on others. Every kindly little old granny trying to save your soul has first declared you the devil's own. Salvation engenders perdition.

Ah, but religion isn't the only religion out there, is it? What's your brand of holiness? What social group's rallies do you march in? What lies writ on your pedestal? What's the name of your high-horse? Black? Female? Vegan? Yogi? Gay? American? Football fan? Ferret owner? Who are the people with whom you trade mutually-reinforcing social platitudes and whom you try to out-compete in upholding your cause and attacking your perceived opponents?

Because I'd like to try to guess which temple you'll be blowing up when it's your turn. We lonely few herd-bereft individuals out here have started a betting pool, you see.

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