Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Start Your Own Religion

The soul is not for sale

The latest concept in ‘reality’ programming is on religion; eg here is money, start your own and we’ll film it. Isn’t religion sacred? I bought a t-shirt in the San Francisco airport from the Church of John Coltrane (who of it was said never had an unkind word for anyone) - it was a sacred act.

Many thinkers not least of whom were Mao, Pareto and I think Socrates, said that religion is the “opiate of the masses” and/or a tool to perpetuate the class struggle (is there really such a thing as a ‘class struggle' ?) Carl Menger in his Principles of Economics stated how poorer societies put more of their effort into imaginary goods (religious tokens) as opposed to real goods (which satisfy needs) than do richer ones. So maybe class struggle is just a manifestation of the lack of economic growth. Or does materialism supplants spirituality (the answer to that may be obvious).

Of course Good, God, Gold and Dog, may be just a semantical evolution but I think most of us would like to believe in a greater good. Scientific rationality put paid to a lot of metaphysical thinking, but institutions remain. How you practice your spiritual may be the stuff of reality tv.

At what point does something become officially a religion? One definition might be when a place of worship is established (and funded) by the followers or maybe when the head of the church makes his ‘living’ from the church. So does it really boil down to the almighty buck, maybe.

Spirituality Inchallah, is more than just money, and maybe perhaps is manifested in how we treat each other. Maybe organized religion is just a community happening, the patterns which we all need to live in a complex dualistic world.

The original drummer Angus MacLise for the Velvet Underground (a “religion” to some) quit when they first started getting paid ($75 split 4 ways) as he thought they would have to sell out. He later changed his mind about that, maybe the Velvets where the exception and that is because they never got famous and barely made a living.

Today maybe for some ‘non-believers’ the new religion is the State, but people have been saying this for quite some time. Same thing with the belief that the State is not the answer to our problems, but the difference is only the State has the right to take from one person and give to another, and isnt that against one of the golden rules since even before the Bible's big three?