The Trick They Have Pulled on Us

TheyTrickedUs

I recently watched a cool talk by Grant Morrison, which he gave at the Disinformation convention a couple of years back. It blew my mind along several axis, one of which I want to talk about today. (You can see the full talk here. WARNING: turn your speakers way down for the beginning as he starts with a very loud scream.)

Grant spoke about several subjects that are near and dear to my heart. One of them was sigil magic and the basics of how to do it. Then he segued into how people think about money, with a quick detour to point out that the “M” that we so often seen rendered in stylized gold on a red background is not really an “M”. That symbol is a sigil, a magical placeholder for associations in our collective brain space. In a certain sense the big corporations have begun to use ritual magic against the masses.

That was a sideline to what I really wanted to touch on today. What really got me was what Grant had to say about money. The gist of his point was that those at the top of the money spire, the 1%-ers, aren’t actually concerned with money. They are concerned with power, and control, and personal freedom. Money is just what happens as they make the moves, and run the corporations and power structures that ensure power, control, and personal freedom for themselves and their legacies. The Bilderbergs don’t chase the almighty dollar. They work the system to funnel power into their structures, and the money just comes along.

What came to me was that, if the above is at all accurate, then they have secured their position by making us (the 99%-ers) believe that money is the way you gain power, control, and personal freedom, and not the other way around. So, while we spin our wheels chasing the phantom booby-prize of “fat stacks”, they chuckle and just keep pulling in the power. It we push this idea further I think an even more malicious game is revealed. They foster the image that what they are doing it scooping in money. They present a villainous facade, casting themselves in the role of guys in expensive suits sitting on stacks of one thousand dollar bills, lighting their Cuban cigars with hundreds.

This is a gaff. A shell game. Three card Monty. While we focus on their money as the source of the power, we chase a phantom they control. Meanwhile they rake in the real abundance. Chasing money is a slow march to the grave, with nothing to show for it but the ups and downs of our bank statements. All the while we are also in competition with each other, snatching at notes whose value is designed to decrease. Rather than moving towards the real prize, we keep elbowing each other to the side, and trampling our brothers and sisters under our ambition.

I think it’s time we leave that behind. Instead we can do what they do. We can consolidate forces, agree upon intention. We can present a united force with the idea of increasing abundance for all, rather than striving for the thing they have convinced us can be used to purchase that abundance.

It’s a fools gambit, and we are the ones they are making fools of.

Homophobia as Misuse of Sexuality

buddhabanana

One of the “steps” on the Buddha’s eight fold path (the set of suggestions on how to lead a life more conducive to awakening) deals with how we approach sexuality. For Monks, Nuns, and Priest, the admonition is to lead a life of celibacy. For the laity however, this step is often interpreted as not engaging in abusive sexual relations, or participate in sexual “misconduct.”

As an aside here, the eight fold path is not a thing you do one step at a time, but is rather a group of guidelines for conduct to be tackled contemporaneously within one’s life.

When looking at the eight fold path, and applying it’s suggestions to our own life, I think one of the things we need to take into account is the cultural context in which it developed. The trick then is to find a way to adapt it to your own cultural context. As an example, one of the steps deals with “right livelihood”. This has to do with making sure that the way you make your living doesn’t generate any entanglements to trip you up. Or, at least as few as possible. The thing is, a whole lot of the jobs available now were no where to be seen in the Buddha’s time.

Unfortunately, there was a whole lot of baggage around sexuality in the time of the Buddha. Well, hell, there is now as well, but I’d like to think we’ve grown up some. In that light I’d like to propose a wrinkle of possibly useful modern interpretation for the “step” that has to do with sexual misconduct. This wrinkle directly deals with any cultural and habitual hangups we might be carrying in ourselves. In terms of keeping our process clean in the way that the Buddha proposed so that we have less hang ups to deal with in pursuit of awakening. What I am suggesting is that we also carry this step into our dealing with others. Two of the other steps are right speech, and right thought. Those steps expressly with our conduct with others. So why not the step about sex?

Part of our hang ups with sexuality have to do with judgments about others and how they should be living their lives. So, for me, the admonition to use sex “correctly” includes not having anything to say about other people’s orientation, or expression of gender. As far as I can see butting into other people’s affairs causes just as much blockage in our path, as when we misuse our own sexuality.

It’s All Made Up

EvolutionaryTreeofReligion

I love me some infographics!

I think the whole idea of an infographic is really keen, and I enjoy learning in a visual way. I makes it quite easy for me to draw relations for the information and fit the data into context.

I came across one the other day that is right up my alley.

This infographic shows (to the best accuracy of available information) the distribution of religions in the world population. I found several things in it that ran contrary to my assumptions. Some religions I thought were smaller. Some were larger. For one, I thought Buddhism was a much bigger fraction of the world’s religions.

As I studied the graphic I realized something was missing.

Where was my own personal (most of the time) religion, Discordia? (Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia!)

Where are the Pastafarians, the followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? (Bless his noodly appendage!)

Where were the Jedi? In 2001, in the England and Wales census, 390,127 respondents declared their faith as Jediism. That’s over three times the number of Zoroastrians in the world, according to the chart. And, 523 times more than the listed number of Samaritans!

Where was the Church of the SubGenuis!!!

I scanned back & forth across the information searching for some mention. I realized that they were not including “made up religions.” I could not figure out why they would do that. Then it hit me. Square in the pineal gland. (Sorry. Inside joke. Very, very inside…) They weren’t including the so-called “made up” religions because that would give up the game too easily.

What’s the game, you say? Well, here it is: They are all made up. Some more obviously than others, and some with tons of poetry wrapped up around their inspiration, but when you come down to it they are all made up. In all cases, women and men sat down and created these things. Even if you buy the idea of divine inspiration (which I sometimes do) it still comes down to humans taking the notes & practices and then propagating them.

However, with the march of years and the persistence of generations, these particular religions became engraved in our contextual and cultural souls. We have come to accept them as given parts of life, if not facts. We have taken them as “real.”

To a degree they are real. They are as much of a part of our world as taxes and cleaning. What is making them real though, in this case, is our acceptance.

So, what makes the “made up” religions not real is just a lack of acceptance. If we took that on board then we would have to face that all the religions of the world, big & small, venerated & ridiculed, are viewed the way they are only on our say so.

We would have to face up to them all being made up.

Personally I find such a notion liberating.