HOW DEEP THE SCAM

 

HOW DEEP THE SCAM

 

MAY 31, 2011. The words “religion” and “imagination” are not usually used in the same sentence. Bad for business.

 

If they ran an imagination contest, and somehow a devotee of religion won, he might say, in an unguarded moment, “Look, this is the score. I imagine God and religion, because I can’t do any better. This is as far as I can go.”

 

Of course, he’d confess to that like an ant would read the label on a bottle of honey.

 

Religion IS default imagination. It’s what’s left over when a person gives up on imagination.

 

Okay, hit me with the myth. Embroider it. Bring in all the angels and the rituals and the texts. I surrender.”

 

Why do you think the Roman Church built all those cathedrals in Europe? To convince the population their own imagination couldn’t rival these gigantic stone hulks.

 

Today, it’s TV. Same deal.

 

Do you really think you can go up against 400 reruns of Law and Order every day?”

 

To put this a slightly different way, if people got together and said they wanted to install a ceiling on imagination, whatever they came up with WOULD BE RELIGION.

 

How else could they make the limitation stick?

 

One of the main features of society is that it’s a place where you can “get religion.”

 

COME ON IN, FOLKS. LEAVE YOUR DONATION AT THE DOOR. ALL ARE WELCOMED. LET ME SHOW YOU WHAT WE HAVE TO OFFER. OH, LOOK AT THIS. A CEILING ON IMAGINATION. THIS IS VERY, VERY POPULAR. IT’S CALLED RELIGION. LET ME EXPLAIN HOW IT WORKS.

 

With burgeoning revenues, religions can hire artists to produce painting and sculpture and design to actually DEPICT THE CEILING ON IMAGINATION. That’s quite a twist.

 

A few centuries of this sort of operant conditioning and you’ve got a sizable flock.

 

So some guy wanders into the Pope’s chamber and says, “Your Highness, I want to show you a universe I’ve created myself. It’s very interesting…”

 

I think they still have his skeleton in the Vatican basement.

 

Here’s another scenario. A painter paints an abstract painting on a large canvas. Somebody with a few billion dollars decides to mount a PR campaign to extol this painting. Relentless. After 20 years, 50 million people have seen and adored the picture. At least they think they adore it because in various in ways, they’ve been told to.

 

What do you have? Chances are: religion.

 

I stood before it and I was transported into another realm where I heard music. The notes showered down on me and I fell to my knees and saw my dead aunt. She spoke a language I had never heard before…”

 

A friend just emailed and reminded me about the use to which the UFO movement has been put. One segment of that community (and this has nothing to do with whether UFOs exist or where they come from) think that, with the arrival of space aliens, we will UNDERGO A RELIGIOUS CONVERSION. Wait. How did religion get into the act?

 

My first action as president, emperor, ruler-of-all will be to declare a religion holiday.

 

MY FRIENDS, ON JUNE 9TH, WE WILL TAKE A BREATH AND STEP BACK AND FORGET ABOUT ALL RELIGIONS. WE’LL REMEMBER THAT THIS WAS ALL IMAGINATION. AND STILL IS. AND THEREFORE, IMAGINATION IS VERY POWERFUL. LET’S NOT DEMEAN IT OR SET A CEILING ON IT, LET’S USE IT.

 

Hmmm. Have to rework that. Comes across a little too much like an ad for GE or IBM.

 

Meanwhile, I’m working on a new HOLY SACRED pill. You take it once a month and for a three-minute chunk out of the month you experience an intense influx of HOLY SACRED, which keeps you satisfied for the rest of the month. The pill experience is designed to make you feel the HOLY SACRED is coming from an external unnameable mysterious source. Side effects include dropping to your knees, a flood of tears, extensive gratitude, feeling tiny, and, occasionally, inflicting wounds on self. But these effects only last for three minutes, then you’re good for the month.

 

You realize your imagination is infinite, and you get on with creating new realities.

 

The uplift from THAT more than makes up for the loss of HOLY SACRED.

 

Amusing coda: as I was putting the finishing touches on this piece, our doorbell rang eight or nine times. Ding. Ding ding. Ding ding ding…

 

Jehovah’s Witnesses.

 

I kid you not.

 

JON RAPPOPORT

www.nomorefakenews.com

qjrconsulting@gmail.com

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SAY THAT AGAIN?

 

SAY THAT AGAIN?

 

The trouble with Buddhism?–in order to free oneself of all desire, one has to desire to do so.”

Henry Miller, “Henry Miller on Writing,” 1964

 

MAY 30, 2011. Here is a slice attributed to Joseph Campbell, celebrated author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces:

 

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.”

 

Maybe he penned that on a slow Saturday afternoon. Maybe he had indigestion. Maybe he was sipping a few rum and Cokes.

 

It’s hard for me to think of a quote I’d disagree with more.

 

Hitch your imagination up to a few horses, and let’s take a ride into the heart of Nature, where we’ll do the Great Merge, and then, like Sampson, we’ll all have suitable haircuts and wear badges as citizens of the great Match.com.

 

No thanks. I’ll fold that hand.

 

The deck is being dealt from the bottom.

 

Give me the joker, the wild card—imagination—and you can keep on playing strip poker.

 

I’ll wait and watch everybody go broke.

 

Whatever else you want to say about it, Nature, universe, is one work of art among many, among a potential infinity of works of art.

 

The others are supplied by imagination.

 

The ancient Tibetans had it right. Become the tree if you want to. Go all the way inside the inside. Merge with the rhythms, the sap, the energy, the space and time of it, the mind and soul of it…go as deep as deep is…love it with all your might if you want to…and THEN, when you’ve hadenough, DIS-ATTACH. Ditto for rock, cloud, sky, star.

 

Do you really want to believe your goal is to merge PERMANENTLY with one work of art? Do you want to believe you’re not going to create your own?

 

Kandinsky is credited (sort of) with painting the first abstract painting, in 1911. A picture that didn’t refer to Nature. Then critics decided: well, OF COURSE Kandinsky was making reference to Nature. He had to. Where else can a painter go?

 

This sort of pundit-nonsense will always be with us. Just as hypnotism will always be with us.

 

I’d prefer the opposite extreme of commentary: “we’re no longerbamboozled by Nature or the universe…”

 

The problem here? It’s RELIGION. The propaganda of devotion to universe/Nature. As if, in such humility, there is great pride.

 

Always a bad sign.

 

Just to make things clear–

 

Question: “If we’re not going to match ourselves to Nature, what’s left?”

 

Answer: “99.99999999999999999999 %.”

 

Prostrate ourselves before universe? It’s like saying all magic springs from wood sprites. If you buy that one, I have a an 18-wheeler on Bernard’s Star I’m unloading at a loss.

 

Like all religion, universe-worship is a confession of creative bankruptcy.

 

This is all I can imagine—don’t bug me. I’m a nature guy.”

 

For some artists, Nature/Universe is like a pole pole vaulters use to get over the bar. Fine. No problem. Gauguin, Van Gogh, Cezanne. Go to it. But let’s not take this into the realm of ultra-psychology, as Campbell does in his quote, above. Wonder whether he really wrote it.

 

At any rate, the sentiment expressed is one that millions of people believe they believe. Until they don’t. Until they see, quietly, it’s a mask.

 

The other day I saw a guy hawking newspapers on the corner:

 

HEY, GETCHUR PAPE! UNIVERSE AND US ARE ONE BIG GOO! JOIN UP. BE A BLOCK CAPTAIN! SPREAD THE WORD! GOO GOO. WE MERGED! FOR GOOD! NO GOING BACK NOW! THE WEDDING’S OVER! FROM HERE ON OUT, IT’S ONE LONG HONEYMOON!

 

Imagination was fun for a while. But then we got goo. Much, much better.” Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

 

The joker in the deck, as I said, is imagination. It’s the override. Of course, some people think of this as a felony.

 

Basically, poet/ philosopher Giordano Bruno was executed for it by the Church. On February 17, 1600, in the Campo de’ Fiori, after languishing in prison for seven years—the length of his trial for heresy—Bruno was burned at the stake.

 

Now, imagination is simply ignored, and little gods of nature jet set around the world spreading the holy message of devotion.

 

I want meadows red in tone and trees painted in blue. Nature has no imagination.”

Charles Baudelaire

 

In America, the Indian spirit has been mythologized with gloss, by others, for a long, long time. As if their Oneness with Nature was so profound it was a constant hum. Think about it. Do you really believe that when food was short and winter on the plains was long, when the Buffalo went far away, when times were very, very tough, when people were sick, all the Indians all the time maintained a solid stance and inhabited the painting that is Nature? That some didn’t curse and wish for another kind of world? Separate the phony historians and the B movies from the truth. Do you think all Indians were the same—or were there differences between people as there are in any other group?

 

This myth and other similar tales are blown way out of proportion for self-serving reasons, by people who were never part of any functioning tribe, who never really “lived in Nature.”

 

I point this out, because Universe/Nature as religion is coming back strong again. Has been, for some time. It’s a facet of deemphasizing the individual—who is the one who has imagination. The only one.

 

JON RAPPOPORT

www.nomorefakenews.com

qjrconsulting@gmail.com

If you’re receiving this as an email, scroll down a little and click on MARKETPLACE, and browse available audio seminars.