Love’s ‘Crush’ as the Basis for Religion? Or maybe shamanism or ‘life-coaching’ or … wha’d’ya got?

Image result for God pics

We all know that ‘crush’ of falling in love, if not for the first time, then at least the first time in a long time, or with any one particular person, something that can go on for days, weeks, months, even years, while you try to get sorted and either get it or forget it. That’s the problem, of course, that ‘crushes’ can consume you, multiple times, and then just go away like nothing ever happened: “now you’re just somebody that I used to know”…

I don’t think I’m being too ‘anal’ (pardon the cliché) by suggesting that this is not always the optimal basis for a relationship—sometimes maybe, but not always. The opposite extreme, of course, would be to have marriages that are not only planned, but planned by someone else! Yeow! That goes directly against modern Western thinking, obviously, though still quite popular in traditional cultures of the Asian sub-continent and elsewhere.

It was even popular in Europe ‘back in the day’, and everywhere used at the highest levels to bind kingdoms and perpetuate ‘royal’ blood lines, their ordinary origins notwithstanding, conveniently lost in the fogs of history. Commoners of the mercantile class got in on the act, too, building empires and cities using semen for cement–same word in some languages, I think :-).

In every case, though, young filles were the medium of exchange, the currency of the day, prized equally for looks and royal hooks, ironically and ultimately pawns in their own game, even if a trump card in someone else’s. The dirty little secret was that the Big Guy, whether royal or rubber-stamper, could still get his royal rocks off with whomever he wanted, or whomever was available at the moment of comeuppance (!), back before women demanded equal rights to the logic of our philosophical conclusions, and the rest is history, women’s riberation…

So now we try to get our ‘crush’, ‘follow our passion’, ‘find our bliss’, in other ways—including religion. But is this a suitable basis for religion? To be sure, Christianity is a religion of love, but is passion the essence of love, to be held up as an inspiration to many and standard for all? The logical conclusions quickly become obvious: a supposedly ‘personal’ relationship with Jesus, and an anthropomorphic God. There are milder forms of love, of course. Less obvious is that Christianity shares many traits with shamanism: “Using magic to cure illness, foretell the future, control spiritual forces, etc…”

Sound familiar? But of course. Now we don’t really know where Jesus went during his ‘missing years’, but it wouldn’t have been hard to become exposed to shamanism somewhere along the way. His greatest contribution as a philosopher, in fact, may have been to combine the Mosaic tradition—Judaism—with the shamanism they were trying so hard to forget, but with an important distinction: still monotheistic, i.e. without all the extra gods!

Polytheism is a bad model for religion, no matter how you look at it, but the other aspect of shamanism—the trance state and religious ecstasy—is of supreme value. However it’s achieved—through song, dance, or whatever—if it can be sustained without drugs, then you’ve accomplished something important, including healing, Jesus’s stock in trade. There is no doubt in my mind that an elevated consciousness, trained and disciplined, can heal, both the self and others…

Then there’s the magic, which, like psychic ‘reading’, can be learned, and which gets into both psychology and showmanship. Jesus knew better than anyone that you have to put something heavy into sublime little packages—parables—for easy digestion for ordinary people, or you’ve accomplished nothing. The meek can’t inherit the earth unless they’ve been conditioned to receive it and care for it.

Still, passion is risky bizniz as the basis of religion, though better than war, but not as good as wisdom: reason, understanding and calculation. As with love’s ‘crush’, passions come and go, by definition, and soldiers die young. But wisdom is forever, and sages live to ripe old ages, by definition…

Advertisements