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…
I kid you not.
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