Anyone who has been exposed to the knowledge of what is going on in the world and really cares has probably found ourselves in a frame of mind where nearly everything we see invokes thoughts and knowledge of what is wrong with it.
When driving between school, work, and home I couldn’t help but notice the pointless hurry that everyone seems to be in. Pick-up trucks with ‘Nobama’ bumper stickers swerving into my lane without signaling. Massive tractor trailers flying past. Headlights ‘riding my ass’ because five miles over the speed limit is not fast enough. Every one of these people is rushing for some reason – and risking their life and everything they know – but for what?
I turn on the radio. Yet another ‘hit’ about living life ‘big’, how love was lost, something about meaningless sex or how much better the singers life is than anyone else. The song stops and an obnoxious ad comes on about how the latest thing at McDonalds is amazing. I turn it off, or turn it to one of the cds of my favorite band – a Celtic folk death metal band from Switzerland that sings songs about natures beauty, or the ancient Gauls resistance against Rome.
When I walk through parking lots (which in itself should be seen as a curse), I notice oil droplets in puddles and think of petroleum’s ubiquitous presence in nearly every nook and cranny of this world. I think of it polluting soils, streams, and oceans. I think of its burning polluting the air, causing shifts in climate regimes, affecting countless species. I think of it being made into plastic that floats in the streams and oceans of our mother Earth, as well as in the blood streams of every human I know. I think of how tainted and unhallowed everything has become.
The readings hit to the heart of the lack of holiness for natural existence in modern society. Everything has become a means for acquisition and endless consumption, whether it be places, objects, or living things. It is the sole point of modern life and there is absolutely no questioning of it nor is there any hiding it. Why is this the case? How is it okay that we can’t even escape plastic, chemicals, or human technology? Why is it that our lives are completely the antithesis of how we evolved to live (if the horrible amounts of mental illness show)? How is it that I (and perhaps all of you) are the only ones that sometimes can’t sleep because we are too busy thinking of how crazy this all is?
Take the book ‘American Gods’ by Neil Gaiman. Its an incredible novel that asks what a ‘god’ truly is. In the book, gods from various mythologies have been brought to America by immigration in various forms and are living as real, living breathing beings. Its shown that they need worship to have power, and the old polytheistic gods have waned in power due to the coming of ‘new gods’ – the gods of Media, Corporations, the Economy, the Internet, and so forth. Mr. Wednesday, the Americanized version of Odin of Norse mythology, decides to round up the main character and various other mythological entities to combat these new gods. Its pretty amazing.
It got me thinking of the idea of corporations and the ‘invisible hand’ of the market as being very much like gods that our society has bent their lives to. We worship them through rituals of watching media and purchasing things, and it only makes them stronger. These gods are only bringing on the destruction of the world and of our lives, because we have all become their slaves – their ‘high priests’ being manipulative CEO’s, politicians, and scientists.
Do we want nature – who has always shown to bring forth life from death, benefiting both herself and us, cycling through time immemorial – to rule us? Or do we want the controllers and concentrations of power that are just as ignorant and flawed as ourselves to move us recklessly for their own benefit? Do we want meaning now or the endless pursuit of finding meaning in emptiness?