Religion 210: Messiah Complex, God Simple…

img_0996I’ve seen fad religions and therapies come and go over the last forty years, alternative this and consciousness that, each one the newest and the latest and the most mystical and the most scientific, flooding in like water over the spillway, dripping on to ice and going nowhere fast, few of them any better than what was already here, but people want the novelty factor, apparently, so that’s that. And where are they all now? Scientology is the only survivor…

But before Scientology there was EST and Eckankar and Rolfing and Polarity, Don Juan and Tensegrity, Transcendental Meditation and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. And before that there were Tarot cards and Aleister Crowley, Annie Besant and Theosophy, Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science, the one I was brought up in, and now trending downward. And even before that there were Sufis and Kabalists, Rosicrucians and hashishins, Albigensians and Gnostics and Manicheans and Mahayana Buddhists, the only group that really ‘made it’…

And now Eckhart Tolle is taking a lump of Buddhist brown sugar and spinning it up into some of the fluffiest cotton candy comfort food for the mind that we’ve seen in a while. And his imitators are legion. But there’s nothing wrong with that. And it’s not necessary to bust anyone’s chops when they’re just doing the best they can do with what they have to work with, with no malice aforethought, which is usually the case. It is easy to be influenced by another’s work and not really even know it, a clever little trick of the subconscious…

So now bloggers and other assorted ‘mystics in training’ knock off Tolle’s work for pennies on the dollar, as if they had this Big Idea. Whatever the circumstances, there is no reason to give anyone sh*t, or get on their case, or any other assorted and negative cliches, even accusing them of plagiary or perjury, as long as their motives are good, their checks clear, and their hearts are in the right place. How’s that for a more positive cliché?

After all, just like many ape ET unattributed, ET also got most of it somewhere else, too, mostly Buddhism, but also other New-Agey this, that and the other, so that’s where I’d rather be in the first place, on the right side of history, and with all the attributions clear and up front. Buddhism has been around for more than 2500 years, and will likely be around a few more, thank you, while the New Age and ‘transformational’ industry continue their search for ever newer ‘brands’. Shamanism is really the only one of that set that ever attracted me, and that’s arguably even older than Buddhism itself…

Like Christians and Jews, and Muslims and Jews, Buddhism inherits things from Hinduism that they’d probably be better off without, to a greater or lesser extent: Gods and Goddesses, past lives, and the Karma of Retribution. And it’s not easy to make a clean break from a superstitious past, when in fact they just might be right. I’m convinced that the primordial belief in Heaven and Hell, for instance, is nothing more nothing less than a foreshadowing of the modern scientific acceptance of Light and Gravity as two of the four Fundamental Forces. How’s that for a quantum leap?

But if you really need Dark Matter to make your life better, then what’s the matter? Will that really make your life any better? Have all the inventions and gadgets and widgets of the Industrial Revolution made our lives one bit better? Of course they have, but like with any game of chance, the trick is knowing when to get out. Thus former drug barons are respectable businessmen now, because they knew when to get out, and the law can’t touch them, by the statute of limitations, except for murder…

Internet is the finest fruit of our contemporary culture, and one of only very few worth bragging about, with its combination of video, audio, mail, and social intercourse, touche’. We won. So maybe it’s time to back off the capitalist consumption and get some real religion, soul food not comfort food, flexible belief systems not self-driving cars and movable bars, and robots that do what you tell them, oh no…

God is where you find it. The only proof of ‘His’ existence is the one that works for you. Objective proofs are an illusion. There is no proof that tachyons, quarks and neutrinos exist beyond the machines designed to detect them. That is an act of faith, too, one of many auto-da-fe’s on the highway of life, but I don’t hear anyone pray. We’re killing ourselves with global warming, over-population, genocide and so many other ways: I don’t know what else to say…

Advertisements