Saturday, February 19, 2005

When the crazies and cults take over....

[Note: I'm not gonna say what I'm actually watching on TV at the moment (6.40pm CST, Chicago suburbs), because you might take this less seriously on account of it being catalyzed by a piece of pop culture...but I will say that this episode does have a slightly polarizing effect on a person's perceptions. Anyone who gets that reference wins the key to the planetarium...good for getting over those white nights...]

The frightening thing is not that there are fanatics and rabid ideologues in the world, or even the fact of their belief in itself, but the moment when you realize that you're in their world now, and that they've been pulling the strings far longer than you thought. When the insane becomes accepted routine all around you, and the sane is vilified and belied like the sun being just a big idealised table lamp, a lion being a hyped-up pussycat, and nothing you firmly believe in is given the credit of its own truth but just used as an empty shell of words, filled with whatever they want, shifting like desert sands in the prevailing wind...where hashisheen hold sway and no one calls their bluff, and maybe you even start to think, "well, what if they're right...?"--what if their vision makes some sense, what if the God or power they worship truly is the only thing and all logic and commonsense humanity dust in its sight...?

When you hear the urge of the herd boil up in chants and salutes and sacred signs, when the meaning of a single life becomes nothing atall compared to the great Leader, the great Idea...wherever men do not hold their own lives as forfeit for killing, but die--and fervently--so that they may kill, then the crazies have taken hold. It happens all over the world and we condemn it. It happens with strange names and foreign-looking faces and we call it evil. But what do we do when it happens under familiar names, and "in the name" of those things we dare not refute in themselves, things wherein we've invested our faith as well?

Have we the keen discernment to slice through the veils of lies and spin, the twistings of dogma, the elaborate irrationalities held over our heads and closing in around us? The strength to step upon the drug-laced fire and quench its mind-fogging fumes, no matter that we get burnt for our witnessing?

No need to go looking afar for our soul's greatest threat, or a clear and present danger--it's right in our own backyard, and stuck like a beam in our collective eye. We have met the enemy and he is us, and perhaps the best thing in the world is for all the crazies of the world to go gather at Armageddon and kill each other off in the name of their beliefs, and leave the world to those who actually value their own humanity.

But's just as likely that all or most of the crazies are already far in cahoots, strange bedfellows true but under the covers all the same--and with them running things as they like, making over the world in their own puristic, fundamentalist, orthodox images...

Would that it were only a jarring dream, and not one played out in all these waking hours.

"The dreamers of the day are dangerous men..."

We badly need a few good dreamers now.

No comments: