Religion 491: Revelations Now…
“You know, Billy: we blew it.”–Wyatt (Captain America) to Billy in the movie ‘Easy Rider’, c.1969
“You had one job”– popular ‘post’ on a popular ‘social media’ site in the pre-Collapse Late Anthropocentric Age, called ‘The Book of Faces’. Archaeologists and anthropologists are still trying to determine its significance.
Those words from ‘Easy Rider’ have probably echoed through your head once every five or ten years if you ever saw the movie and/or happened to have grown up in the The 60’s, and though the meaning may have never been clear then, the meaning is certainly clear now. When all the epitaphs have been written on and all the stories have been told, about our Anthropocentric Age, the verdict is clear: we blew it. We had it all and we blew it. All we had to do was be stewards of the land, watching over and taking care with respect and foresight, and what did we do? We blew it, man…
Cogito ergo sum was Rene’ Descartes proud take on the human condition. “I think, therefore I am.” In retrospect maybe it should have been: ‘I waste, therefore I am.’ For that is what defines us, our arrogance and our lack of foresight, our taste for blood and our terrible math. We were supposed to go forth and multiply, and instead we went forth and divided—oops! Now here we are wondering what went wrong while we shop for the latest app for our smart-phones and the latest fashion accessories for our hair, without so much as a second thought to any connection between our consumption and our condition…
The word ‘Apocalypse’ gets bandied about as shorthand for the Coming Collapse—End Times, Rapture, Armageddon, ‘eschatological musings’, whatever—whether of the planet, species, race, or society (there’s our arrogance again, imagining that we could destroy the planet—frack what?), with scarcely a serious second thought as to how we could prevent it. The word, of course, actually means “Revelations”.
Politicians count their donations and count their votes, but no one counts their blessings. We always want more. Once we have the fastest cars, now we want them to drive themselves. But no politician will dare utter the phrase “slow growth”, much less the “no-growth” mantra of the 1970’s long past so popular then so reviled now, not even Saint Bernie. I know this sounds like hippie hagiography, adoration of the magi and worship of the psychedelic saints, but so be it.
For all the excesses and excuses of the 60’s and 70’s, there was an awareness then, of nature and nurture, that seems to have been lacking in the dot-com run-up through the 00’s. That may be changing now with millennial ‘intentional communities’ and a lesser dependence on automobiles (‘Uber-ectomy’, anyone?).
I can’t help but make this another tenet for my hypothetical new improved perfect religion: conservation and preservation, ‘recycling’ if you will (I will if you won’t) to the EXTREME. If it’s religion, then we can be comfortable with it as extreme, not just a casual toss of the tin can in the blue tub instead of the brown one, a toss of the dice instead of true devotion and dedication. Religion is all about devotion and dedication—and reverence. So says the reverend.
If you love truth beauty goodness—God—then preserve and conserve it. Politics and religions are two aspects of the same thing—life as conceived and elaborated, not simply consumed. If those activities are worthwhile, then preserving it is paramount. To waste it in conspicuous consumption is the height of arrogance and blasphemy. Sustainability is key to human existence; let it be religion….