The Killing of The Gods … R Us
” It matters what you believe.” a nomadic urban tribesman
” Tools devised and used by humans in an upside down world are proportionately misused. ” XLT analyst
Part 1: On the cartoon path against belief systems …
This juicy image above ( and 2 more below ) from a comic book series called God Is Dead – begun in 2013 by J. Hickman, Mike Costa, Di Amorim, etc. – is really an afterthought to something we started writing today in response to a blog-article from Mark Morford at the SFGate, online branch of the corporate SF CHRONIC(LE). We are curious about the premise of the comic book, which sounds like a really fun theme to play with in “cartoon” form:
Hickman: Well, when I first cooked up the idea for the book the premise was basically: What would all the mythological gods do if they were both real and returned to earth? I thought it would be hilarious if the first thing they did was re-educate the atheists, and then the book would descend into the death of logic, deity cage matches in the seven ancient wonders of the world, and other nonsense.
In 2008, I believe my initial pitch to William (Christensen, Avatar EIC) was a global power play between undercover metal bands, Harvard alums and Afro-French aristocrats, but he begged me to give him something he could actually sell, so I said, “How about Zeus killing atheists?”
( But more on that later ).
The idea to defend the concepts of spiritual practice, perhaps before they are codified into more organized religions that have morphed into businesses of control, as an actual tool for humanity, has been brewing a long time!
Certainly not because we have any love or respect for the 3 major radicalized religions stomping around the planet like an all-too-real and very bloody Godzilla movie.
Triggered by all the jingoist writing on the subject currently, which is almost always devoid of any philosophical, theological or anthropological understanding, we felt the need for some deep psychomedia analysis.
Perhaps Terry Eagleton said it best when reviewing Dawkins and Hitchens’ career-boosting and cartoonish tirades against religion. [ ADDED: the LSB Review, Oct.2006 ] … Roughly paraphrased : Having someone theorize on religions without ever having studied Aquinas ( not necessarily in a positive light) or read Rumi or heard MLK ( in the context of preacher ) or listened deeply to John Coltrane, you would just have no clue where they are coming from, or what they are saying, nor able to tap their depth of devotion, experiences, inspirations and expressions…
And you’d sound about as scholarly, scientific and/or poetic as a tabloid drivelist rambling about evolution theory without having ever encountered Darwin’s Origin Of The Species or any history of Biology in academics.
Also in part, because of all the interesting conversations we had following the Hebdo massacre, but our readings and research came much much prior to all that. The manipulations + propaganda related to the “war on terror”, the currently fascist trends in regard to spreading islamaphobia, and the co-optations and mangling of religious teachings everywhere continue to exacerbate the dwindling global intelligence on matters of ritual + spirit. Which is not soley the fault of American-brand hyper-materialism and consumer-culture-colonialism alone, but is undeniably one of the most prevalent mental and spiritual viruses in contemporary culture ;)
So today while reading columnist Mark Morford’s tabloidy, click-baity blog pushed us into actualizing an XLterrestrial position on similar bandied-about nonsense:
Religion Will Be The Death Of Us All ( SFGate )
Morford invokes Edmond O.Wilson who explains the main reason “we’re on the [fun] train to self-extermination, and can’t/won’t get off” IS religion.
The XLterrestrialist reply :
“It’s awfully trendy these days to attack “religion”. It’s a bit like uninformed-conspiracy theorists blaming lizard people from another galaxy for the current and catastrophic capitalist operating system. Sure, the system sucks, and it will indeed be the death of us all if we don’t change it. Sure, most of the existing organized religions are corrupt, deadly, instrumentalized, self-serving, and mostly moronic.
But “religion” means “an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence”. It’s a quite normal thing to have (one or more), and quite meaningful in society to have an intelligent one, but obviously extremely oppressive when it becomes an enforced game. (Afterall, it should be about self-discovery). At its best, a religion might provide something in one’s social life that puts values and goals ABOVE oneself, or one’s own community, or one’s own nation. Taking one of the best examples, the Hopi culture is centered around its respect for mother earth. And that all life is sacred.
Only an idiot from neo-America or some other ‘enlightened’ western-centric civilization, who knows nothing about who s/he is and where s/he lives would find such a “set of beliefs and practices” detrimental to a positive, intentional society … and sustainable culture.
Problem is, most of you reading this probably grew up with abusive and highly manipulative, and fear-based RELIGIONS INC., and so it is all too easy to think that’s all there is, and we should be done with it. And the problem without it, is that we will convince ourselves that living in a secular capitalist world (or New World Order ) is somehow NOT a religion/faith itself, and a horribly misguided one at that ! ”
And always what these atheist and ideological cartoons like to forget is that we currently have tribal and so-called “religious” (world) wars because you essentially have a bunch of white supremacist-led nations attacking foreign lands+cultures on the premise that the Other’s belief system is obsolete, primitive, savage… Doh!
Try that in your neighborhood playground: tell the neighbors – with guns pointed at their heads - their idea of the cosmos is stupid and that everything he/she devotes a life to ( ie. the rituals that, quite possibly, guide one’s daily consciousness toward serving the social good and humanity ) will have to be packed up and cleared out … so the oil trucks and tankers can come in and make some good ol’ capitalistic rituals on your front yard, instead.
Apparently that’s what the white supremacist dickheads or various mafia thug players like to point their fingers at and call a religious war. And they’d be kind of right, but not because they have any clue, about religion, or much anything else beyond the tables upon which they’ve placed their bets to make a killing.
part 2 : The Disconnect
This blaming of religion is an obfuscation of where the real destructive powers lie and how they function… Most “tribal wars” are actually more based on economic-factors or power-struggles. Religion, race+color of skin, cultural differences and nationalism are so often used to stir the rifts and motivate the pawns to fight wars that rulers initiate to amass greater power or too keep the population fighting an external enemy. This blog will attempt a deeper analysis on this current western game of disconnecting people from spiritual empowerment and ethical teachings.
to be cont.
Part 3 : Navigating Death
It should also be noted that religions, which have not been tainted by power structures, and those which have been infused with higher wisdom and beauty have at times attempted to include a guide to facing and navigating one’s own death. Certainly an important teaching which is hardly covered by any other sector of social organization. One that has a huge impact on how one leads one’s life and daily conduct.
In fact, a culture without it, sort of reminds us of those primitive grade schools in primitive western societies, which have omitted any serious sexual education because it’s too challenging, taboo, awkward. Or simply a sign that one’s teachers exist in a defective social fabric, and themselves know too little about what it is they are meant to do. And so they become instructors for the factory cults instead. Teaching us to be servants, butlers and handmaidens, property, victims and spiritless vessels of demented authoritarian constructs.
This image comes NOT from a for-profit comic book publisher ;) … It is in fact a nurturing character in a culture’s religious orientation, a character, spirit, entity – whatever you’d like to call it, that every child will generally know and grow up with in many regions of Asia… and encounter in their dream realms. It is a.) inspiring non-consumer art b.) a devotional painting and educational tool c.) a religious icon d.) an avatar e.) a projection of a wiser being than our mortal selves f.) a living archetype ( before the invention of trivial meme-i-fication via digital communications/simulacrums ) g. ) a shared entity/spirit of the collective unconscious h.) whatever you want it to be ….
Part 5: The Technological Ring
“we are as gods, we might as well get good at it”. Stewart Brand
When the corporate-technology-empowered empire begins to believe they are as gods… it’s probably time to RUN !
The XLterrestrials did analyze this a little bit recently after a recent talk at The Long Now Foundation : When The 1% Start Singing Whale Songs … but we’d like to elaborate more on the neo-religious aspects and implications, such as in the rise and growing movement of the Technotopians, the Singularians or the monolithic Incorporated Anthropocene.
Something which is an ongoing project of ours, as we analyze the Techntopian/Dystopian culture in which we find ourselves dangerously immersed, and getting pulled further and further out in the tide of Silicon Valley’s hubris ( + transnational corporate power ) and self-worship and the profitable mayhem.