July 4 2004
Detoxifying bogus messiahs and accepting the actuality of death
is the only way to stop this worldwide orgy of mass murder
Human history reveals a long tradition of killing the messenger who brings bad news, no matter how real that news might be. Pray with me for a moment that this doesn't happen to the bearer of this all-too-obvious slice of reality.
I am neither a believer in Charles Darwin's observation that humans gradually evolved from hairy hominids who climbed down from trees and started minting shekels, nor do I believe that some very large dude with a big white beard plunked down a hairless white male in a lush garden and then snatched one of his ribs to create his eternally cantankerous main squeeze.
Nor do I believe the species homo sapiens was placed here by extraterrestrial zoologists who tinkered with indigenous gorillas for commercial purposes and came up with the drecks in yarmulkes you see today patrolling the jewelry district in scummy mid-town Manhattan.
I do believe the spark of life that aspires to comfort and contentment in all species has always sought the best deal it could find under any circumstances, ever since blue green algae in a world swathed in methane congealed on the rocky shore of the primordial sea and farted out a waste substance that just happened to be conducive to the formation of both plant and animal life. You see, when blue green algae went to the bathroom all those countless eons ago, what they pooped out was oxygen. The rest is, as they say, history.
Yet, all life at its fundamental level is electric. The spark. All life has it. Back when the world was clothed in methane gas, blue green algae never died. They just kept growing. But there was no sex, as we understand that freighted concept now. Life in the world was truly one, an aggregation whose excretions changed the very nature of life, which, as it diversified and thrived in an oxygen-rich soup, brought both sex and death. The price of life became finitude, or death. Animals and plants reproduced, and then they died. But their progeny lived on.
This is where the idea that the biosphere, which possesses its own innate, unfathomable intelligence, actually helped life survive. Heck, they are one in the same, the earth that nurtures us and the beings that thrive upon that nurturing, and frolic gratefully during that brief time they have in the sunshine. In our comfortable condos and bosomy bordellos, this is something most of us have forgotten: that we are dependent on dirt to stay alive.
We've convinced ourselves in this so-called modern world that we live and survive on religion and politics, on money and entertainment, but really we survive because we are connected to an environment that nurtures and sustains us, and you can talk all you want about your soul, but you wouldn't be here without the earth and the sun. The earth gives us shelter and nourishment, and the sun provides the spark that keeps everything alive. Without the sun, we would be very cold toast.
It should come as no surprise that the earliest human religions worshipped the sun, because early humans recognized the obviousness that there would be no life without the sun. They eventually gave it names like Ra or Mithra but it was still the sun they were talking about.
Just for a second, think about the sun. Think about how you wouldn't be alive without it. Think about how everything you do depends on the sun shining.
So in this realization, the sun became a god. People have always been grateful for their good and joyous lives. It became both a practical matter and a sign of legitimate respect for us to thank the sun for our beautiful lives. For our ability to procreate! Yippie! As the years passed and more people began living together — for in community there is both ease of living and joy of life — the thanks we give for our beautiful lives was codified. The Sun God was worshipped in a ritual way.
Understand something right now about human perception. We anthropomorphize everything. As humans, we perceive things as humans, and it makes it easier to understand natural physical processes by anthropomorphizing them, or giving them human characteristics to better understand them. Perceiving natural processes as human interactions is what made the stars be given names — Orion the Hunter forever chasing the Seven Sisters across the sky, that sort of thing.
And it's how the Sun became a god in our minds. Yet, as more time passed, and the cult of the sun worship became more of a big business religion, priests, as they will do, began to attribute aspects of human behavior to the sun, and other inanimate objects of worship — springs were always big, because water is essential; mountains were given names and became local personalities. Anthropomorphization, for purposes of worship and primitive understanding.
Somewhere around the time of Akhenaton, a maverick Egyptian pharoah, and Moses, the mythical founder of the Jewish religion, the sun had been completely anthropomorphized into a person, and the pharaoh became the embodiment of the sun on earth. Though he was only a king, he assumed the role of God in people's minds. And religion has been completely warped ever since. Misdirected.
As Egypt began to molder after two thousand years of happy preeminence, the Jews escaped into a region filled with all these gods named after natural processes or landmarks: Enlil the storm god, Enki the God of water, Marduk the prodigal son, hundreds of localized regional deities whose pedigree was relevant only to the local tribe which had named him, or her. Wars between tribes became wars between gods. The gods of conquered tribes disappeared into the mist of history. The victorious gods lived on.
It was in this environment that the Judeo-Christian deity we have come to know as Jehovah or Yahweh developed into a bloodthirsty warmonger, really a god of hatred and murderous xenophobia. One needs only to casually leaf through the pages of Leviticus and Deuteronomy in what is now known as the Old Testament to realize this. History is written by the victors, as it was in the case of Yahweh some 2,000 years ago, and it involved a lot of blood. And theft. Righteous theft.
Perhaps there has always been bloodshed between groups of people, but the Old Testament codified it, sanctified it, and made murder and conquest by large groups of people the dominant form of human expression. The definition of a human is one who makes war and kills and destroys for no good reason.
Now, in the human zeal to anthropomorphize essentially inanimate objects and processes in order to better understand them, the concept of the Sun God morphed into a more human projection. In Egypt, first the Sun God became pharoah — or actually, vice versa — and later on in Palestine (at least as history records these events from the perspective of some 300 years later), the deity — that good feeling that people have about living beautiful lives — evolved into an anthropomorphized messiah, a personality that took human form but yet represented the seemingly eternal force that allowed us to exist, thrive and, with luck, be happy.
The Sun God had become a man, who, as it happened, was called the Son of God, further confusing the issue. But the central point to be followed here is that an ancient tradition of showing respect for the natural processes that allowed us to live our lives was fundamentally altered into focusing on a human-like figure who usurped the power from that big glowing ball in the sky to bestow upon our lives joy and satisfaction.
This was a big alteration in human perception. It was a big delusion that has not only diminished our lives (because of competing versions of who this guy actually is) and pretty much blinded us from appreciating the natural processes of the earth which are the real things that give us life. But this fundamental shift in perception also cut us off from accurately understanding our view of ourselves. Instead of being the products of an environment that should be worshipped and cared for, we became the progeny of a divine anthropomorphic personality. And we became slaves to our own limited perceptual skills.
Instead of perceiving ourselves as beautiful plants in an elegant garden, we became slaves to an anthropomorphic misperception. Now we are trapped in our own inadequate thoughtform, and at a crucial point in our evolution where we desperately need to see the difference between the psychotic projected shadow of a wrathful and murderous messiah and the bountiful goodness of natural processes without which we could not survive for more than ten minutes.
This is the curse bequeathed to us by priests, who have always thought it more important to maintain the revenue-producing idiosyncracies of their own dogma than just doing the job they are supposed to do, which is to remind us of the divine beauty that is all around us at all times in all places.
Now, as I so often say, I said all that to say this.
We all know that the one item that sets humans apart from all other life on this planet is our foreknowledge of death. The dimmer lights among you might aver that this knowledge is no big deal, but those who have traveled a few miles on tragic roads know for certain that our desire to survive our own demise under any and all circumstances is the primary motivational mechanism of all our lives. We will do anything to stay alive, and the primary purpose of religion is to convince ourselves — by whatever magic formulas necessary — to convince ourselves that we do, when in fact, reason and the obituary page show us clearly that we do not.
This foreknowledge of our limited run on this planet is exactly half of the existential trauma that makes the human race certifiably insane. We can’t cope with that pressure. It is said that the human mind cannot, in an actualized way, contemplate its own nonexistence, so strong and insistent is our survival instinct. It’s not that we can’t hypothetically contemplate our sparkless remains crammed into an urn buried under green grass marked by sculpted stone in some suburban enclave. It’s that we can’t contemplate the world with us not participating in it. Otherwise, how could we perceive it? It simply does not compute. The mind squirms to escape from that idea, and it will accept any kind of solution to that dilemma, no matter how farfetched.
This is the existential dilemma we all face, and damned few of us ever begin to contemplate it until we’re jammed into a hospital bed with the IV dripping, and we’re praying — some of us — that that heart monitor just keeps on beeping.
It’s like flying in an airplane in a thunderstorm — suddenly I get real religious.
But that’s only half the process that makes the human race insane. The other half is what we do to keep ourselves from thinking about it. And it’s the worst part. Religion.
For the fact is, religion makes killers of us all. If we would simply accept the fact that we die, and that all we get is this one chance to make an impact on the universe, we would kill far fewer people, because in that acceptance we would realize that they die too.
As it is now, with brave Islamic jihadists storming into battle knowing that by their brave deeds they are going to heaven, what fear do they have of dying, or of killing. No, religion is like a free pass to commit murder. Hey, just read the newspapers.
Ask any soldier who has killed someone and he’ll tell you killing lessens one’s fear of death. It’s one of life’s nasty truths. Ha. Death is one of life’s nasty truths.
If you believe you have a place to go after death, you can kill more easily. Hey, just ask George W. Bush. But on a more serious level (not that Bush’s mass murder spree is not serious), if you truly believe that some protective entity called God is going to forgive you for machinegunning an innocent family of Third World peasants, then you’re simply more likely to pull that trigger when that opportunity arises. Isn’t that clear?
Well, apparently it’s not clear to the world, because religions hold billions in their murderous mindlock, and the bodies just keep piling up.
Religion, really, is for cowards and killers. Anybody who needs the promise of an afterlife to motivate them to act morally is just an immature idiot to begin with.
Something I read recently said religion doesn’t teach people how to be morally honest, it teaches them to pretend to be morally honest. And in my own experience, I find religious people are as a rule completely dishonest, and worse, immune to reason, because they already have their answers written down for them.
This is demonstrably insane behavior, and the world — this beautiful garden that plushly sustains every other species except humans — suffers for it.
The great leap in the social evolution of the human species which is now just beginning to occur is the abandonment of false gods — and they’re all false if they’re preached by an existing religion — false gods who preach that it is right that the strong should prey on the weak, and the rich on the poor.
This abandonment of phony religions must include the realization that we die, that we are here for a certain amount of time and then, being organic, our bodies expire. Call it the curse of the blue green algae. It’s the way life is — temporary.
To not admit that, to hide in fantasy concatenations of heaven or reincarnation, is nothing more than psychotic delusional fantasy, because there is no evidence for it except self-serving propaganda, which is mostly exploited by profit-motivated holy men who don’t even believe the hypocrisy that oozes from their unctuous lips, but enjoy their privileged status and conceal both their perversions and their profits.
If you need a promise of eternal safety to be honest and caring and true and strong, then you’re a coward, a cheat and generally a bogus person. We get one shot at this, and if you want to spend your time on a scam, well, that’s your problem. Suffice it to say there are more important things to do, principally these days, to keep the planet from going up in flames.
Same with religion. There are more important things to do. Some of you will attempt to strike back and say, “Take care for your immortal soul, young John.”
To all of them I’ll just flip them the immortal bird and respond, “The soul takes care of itself by the the work that it does. And the illusion of glory is good for no one. It just detracts from the time we spend trying to make this place as nice as we can.”
And if they keep on harping about how we should be loving and kind and respectful to the institutions that have brought us through these troubled millennia, I will turn to them and sneer, “Yes, and look at the world you have given us with your sadistic sanctimony, a world where everyone is dishonest, the animals are tortured and the environment is poisoned by our shortsighted greed.
“The reason this has happened is because we don’t admit that we die, and that beneath our glib facades, we are worrying every minute that we do. Small wonder that our world is being torn apart by this duplicity.”
And when they ask me how I will face the reaper I will respond: “Never fear what you may not avoid. I need no promises to make me seek to do the right thing. Religions were invented because people had no real faith. If you have faith you have no need of religion. Real faith is based on no thing but the obvious beauty of this world. Those who need promises from religion are cowards who have no faith at all.”
This is the next evolutionary hurdle that needs to be overcome if we are to survive as a species. It is time to put away our fear, accept our temporality, and do the work. There are so many more important things to do than worship some imaginary God whom you can’t comprehend anyway.
For your journey, suffice it to say that your conception of God is simply the echo of thought bouncing off the wall of death. Your soul will take care of itself by the work that it does. Just do the work and all will be well. Ultimately, there is nothing to worry about it. Nor is there anything you can do about your fate, so why worry?
Treat the world like your mother, because it is.
John Kaminski is the author of America's Autopsy Report a collection of his Internet essays seen on hundreds of websites around the world, and also “The Day America Died: Why You Shouldn’t Believe the Official Story of What Happened on September 11, 2001,” a 48-page booklet written for those who insist on believing the government’s version of events. For more information about both, go to http://www.johnkaminski.com/