Saturday, April 21, 2007
My Ex-Pat Manifesto....................again
I must begin by stating the obvious and the obviously painful. If you are reading this then you and I are most likely simpatico and so I’m preaching to the choir just as everyone does with their own specific choirs’ so that consequently, and unfortunately, this is exactly the hopeless junction where we all miss the train. We pick our sides in this most minor of debates and then thump our books and quote our quotes to shore up our egos and support the beliefs that we’ll never stop trying to believe with our hearts fully open and our ears and eyes completely closed. We’ll go on and on debating, then cursing, then fighting and then building bombs. Maybe one day one side will build a really big one that ends the argument.
And none of us ever move the other guy a split cunt hair.
Well I’ve been listening and for what it’s worth……………………….
It’s 2007 and it, sadly, needs to be stated over and over again and then one more time. Open your eyes, we are here now, do not be afraid because it’s only life and then one day you (and me and everyone else) will die. There is no escaping it and if there is a reward at the end it will certainly be better than any of us deserve if not quite exactly what we were expecting but why not, just as a change, focus instead on the here and now so that we may just, possibly, improve our situation a tiny little bit and perhaps leave a smaller mess than the one we inherited.
There is no old white man with a long beard coming out of the sky to save me, there is no Prophet who owns the Final Wisdom, there is no one set of rules that insures my eternal safety, there is no amount of kneeling and begging that is going to make me a better person than less kneeling and begging would. Religion is fear. Pure and naked and as ugly as it gets. It is the creation of a being who craves constant and eternal reassurance because he knows he’s done something wrong and hopes that he can somehow weasel out of any unpleasantness without doing anything particularly difficult or costly. It is the fantasy of a creature that is simultaneously too foolish to appreciate the beauty surrounding him and too vain to ever stop thinking about anyone but his God who, he's been promised, closely resembles the man in the mirror.
The major spiritual difference between me and my cat is that my cat doesn’t know or care that he’s going to die because he’s too damn busy living and being a good cat. Maybe he’s a lazy ass, self-centered, son-of-a-bitch but not many days go by where I feel more worthy of life’s joys than him although I’m fairly certain that I’m almost always more grateful.
Practitioners of religious faith are the modern day magicians performing ancient card tricks on a gullible populace who seek a little excitement and sympathetic understanding from the very charlatans who empty their pockets and fill their heads with emotionally fascist bullshit but I can’t blame the pushers because everybody’s got to make a buck and the buyer really should beware. You may pick your own examples of the rampant insidious hypocrisy of their establishments as there are simply too many to list here. I myself was subjected to the American Roman Catholic variety of superstition and I’m afraid I’d need a few thousand additional words to even outline the fractured ethical practices of that organization but suffice to ask this?
Does anyone notice that in the last decade the RC Church has finally begun their much too late shelling out of multiple hundred million dollar settlements to that not so small portion of their young flock that in the past -and who knows about now- they’ve gotten most……um……familiar with…… and this hasn’t even dented their finances? Think about it.
Let’s keep it simple.
Look at the person next to you. Do you think you could make him/her feel welcome or appreciated or loved? I think you can and you don’t need me or anyone else to tell you how to do it. Start there and once you’ve mastered that we can move on. Personally I’ve been working on that one for over 40 years with widely varying degrees of success so if you can pull it off, congratulations and if you can’t just yet, don’t worry you will if you try- at least sometimes and maybe often- so welcome to the human club and good luck.
There is a moral compass inside all of us that tells us exactly everything we need to know about which direction is north and if your brand of faith is completely in sync with that compass then I would be willing to bet cash money that you are either- brainwashed, delusional, in denial, a liar or all 4. We can ignore this compass or fight it or follow it according to our whims and that, ladies and gentlemen, is called free will and yes, without it you may consider yourself a prisoner of society, religion or faith. Hope it works out for you. With it you are an everlastingly imperfect person in a wild, beautiful world so...............
If your compass is out of whack it’s most likely because somebody tried to fix it. Will your compass always comfortably align with the Law? No, that would be the Perfect World and this is only, alas, the real one where brave souls are sometimes called upon to take firm stances. The compass can lead to greatness or hardships or anything in between so roll your dice and enjoy your humanity and the companionship of those around you because you most likely deserve it and maybe a little more. Do bad people do bad things? Yep. Always will.
If, however, for some wonderful reason, your brand of worship leads you to become a better person than you might not otherwise be, by all means, pray continue. Religious freedom is a wonderful gift for the frightened masses that only hope to band together and engage in a “spiritual” daisy chain of stroking each others egos with simple assurances of being “saved” from whatever particular damnation they fear but the Constitution provides all with complete freedom to practice your mythology so, fellow Americans, enjoy and please keep all that happiness to yourselves. My country is NOT based on your brand or any other. When it works it's "by the people and for the people" and when it doesn't it's our duty to fix it without asking for any divine help. So let's roll up our sleeves, spit into our hands and grab a mop....it's time for some elbow grease.
If, conversely, your brand compels you to ring strange doorbells unannounced and unwanted or bend your friends’ ears with unsolicited advice and counsel then perhaps you may want to reconsider your behavior.
If your brand invokes, compels or pleads for you to kill, maim, imprison, enslave, or judge your fellow human beings you may want to reexamine the text on which your doctrine is based because I’m fairly certain that you are (intentionally or not) misinterpreting it.
Here’s my quote from Peter McWilliams wonderful “Ain’t nobody’s business if I do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crime in America”
“All the major religions boil down to the same principles- Love everybody…Don’t judge anybody.”
If you can pull that one off then you’re a better man than me, neighbor, and you don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows.