The New Mayans
Is modern religion too savage for humanities future?
The rituals and traditions were savage and brutal. Human life was not a sacred right, as much as a tool of appeasing the Gods. They must be enlightened, and brought into the new world…
As much as this sounds like the beginning of the Spanish conquest of the Mayans, it is increasingly the view being adopted in an evolving contemporary society of the archaic beliefs that continue to define us.
Evolution, whether covertly nuanced, or overtly accelerated, happens to societies and civilizations as well as it’s inhabitants. In speaking with a friend about these things today, the feeling was mutual, something greater is upon us. The human lineage filtering out the neanderthal genes, or the neanderthals making a formative comeback? I am reminded that duality is a constant in the Universe, and with that balance will come the answer whether we benefit from it or not. Curiously perched at the edge of environments and trying to document the anarchy is existentially painful, as it is ultimately entertaining.
When I adopted the healthier mindset of; What do they believe? I began to see my own beliefs reform themselves. Not change into another belief, or change of heart, I am relieved that I have missed the overly fickle gene. Rather the beliefs themselves are asking for a new examination, a finer assessment of their contemporary states, and a dive into the root causes that drive them.
This latest look into the hierarchy of thoughts began when I was reading the comments and posts of lifelong friends. For as much as we shared common ground in its literal definition, we were miles apart in the houses of idealism. Looking back at some of them now, I am amazed that some of us were allowed to play with each other. The posts are from every political stripe there is, every religious faction, the old and the young. They post their politics, their religions, their likes, and their judgements. The minds convulse and react when confronted with a different lifestyle, or manner of belief. Haven’t I always been this way? Why is this realization that both share different views such a shocking, and defining aspect of our relationship?
When my friends and I were young, when the world was just beginning to form beyond our front doors, we just didn’t know. Those were not the cares of a child, or teen. The cares we had were of attractive traits of liking similar games, and running the fastest. Whether we were attracted to their voice or laughs, and did they say please and thank you. We were more concerned with the steps they had taken so far, the reading ability, the mannerisms, the washing of hands or just keeping them dirty. Those were our filters, those were the pieces that added up to those classic memories stuck halfway between the washed and unwashed parts of our youth.
A friends father had the notion or belief that one Summer he would take his kids to different churches. It was the mid 70’s and at that time church was still seen as a social bumper sticker, an “I am” kind of placard. He apparently believed religion was important to the shaping of our moralities. During the same time my friends on the other side of the neighborhood were going to what we called Free School. I can’t remember what it was actually named, that was just what we called it. They took part in a more open style of instruction, applying natural sciences and ecology into it. Looking back it was way ahead of its time, and something that is emulated in other ways across the educational spectrum. I remember at the time that saving the whales was one of the themes that they used to roll lessons along. My friends were the Beluga, and Orca respectively and included some Native American aspects to their Whale Dance they performed at the end of the year. For kids in regular classes it seemed like all play and no school, but those kids turned out to be among the brightest, and most intelligent produced.
The father that took his children to church also took me along many times, as I was always hanging around that Summer. His kid and I were best of buds then, and I think he kind of rolled his eyes and said that I could come too. That experience, though it was meant to enlighten and form his children’s beliefs, helped form mine and I will always be grateful for that Summer of God(s). It was at that time that I realized all of these people believed in something. From the Sunday church routines, to the educational experiments, all of these people believed in something either a little bit or overwhelmingly different. It was one of the first times I remember seeing society being practiced in front of me. The adults acted differently and the kids were supposed to notice, which we did, especially the different part.
Religion though, as it was being practiced in the U.S. was at a turning point. The Moral Majority would arise soon, staking its claim to the next forty years. The repercussions of idealist clashes would leave indelible marks on the fabric of the country that are still as destructive today as they were then… if not more so. Catholics, Mormons, and Jews were able to join the Evangelicals in common ground political idealism, common moral ground, and they were damn sure going to use, and abuse those powers as humans do. The abortion fights, the ERA, and LBGTQ legislation has all been adversely effected by a overtly loud, but dwindling conservative cabal. Contemporary voters are all awash in these issues, they are personal and emotional matters, and they have been systematically plugged into the dialogue since before many were born.
As this religious conservatism began in earnest, as in all things the passions and directions ebbed and flowed. Over time the returning devotees numbers were less than the decade before, less predictable to ensure a victory at the ballot box, and less religiously driven to vote in a certain manner. Their is no doubt that the liberalism that blossomed with the Information Age, the affluency level of citizens, and the tribalism that has embraced this new communication medium, had much to do with the decline. Drastic measures have been undertaken for the last twenty years to ensure that the messaging was driven home with a very large hammer, or a vehicle through some crowds. The success that it has seen is due to cohesion, consolidating the minority voices into one appearing to be a majority, to ruse the masses. This is done by beliefs, this is done by the very beliefs the founders of this country wanted to stay separate from governing. The Revolution was as much about breaking from the church as it was of breaking with Britain’s rule by the church. Enlightenment begins when beliefs fail to produce right sized expectations.
The more liberal minded believe that they have escaped the trappings of this civilization pot hole. Open mindedness goes only so far, before the same baseline belief systems engage. The ability to reach that point of understanding and tolerance is more readily accessible through liberal beliefs than conservative ones according to the math. But that is not always the case, and this system of beliefs and governing, with its knee jerk reactions and responses that arrive too late, and too thin to make a difference, is now broken. This is systemic, this is not a one nation or the other observation, humanity as a whole has risen to a point that these governance’s are moot. Not only do they hold an unwelcome place in our near future, they have held us back from that future for far too long. The human sacrifices to appease the God(s) is long past time to conquer.
When humans are openly held in cages, and civilizations accept this, then we have reached a defining moment in this conquest. When humans must obey laws that define them as objects, then those laws are undefinable and harmful. When human blood is shed in defense of economies, then we have breached our common good. These aspects of a worldview that belong long in the past, still define and defile us, brokered by power and human nature under the guise of beliefs in people. That part has been completely debunked again and again, yet the masses, however dwindling, return and repeat this spiral. It hasn’t worked, it will more than likely not end until this much is understood. The greater evils in the history of mankind happened because of religions, not in spite of them.
The gates of the future are wedged too close together to fit through. They have always been held that way by those who believe it is their right and duty to curtail the human experience, to direct the course of humanity into a defiant Godling’s tantrum of obey me. Those gates will not hold in this new epoch, this next enlightenment of purpose. The tasks ahead are defining to our ability to endure the reality of our knowledge, that we have a finite opportunity that has run the majority of its course blocked by the blood of the Earth, and the conquests of humanity. The words were not the problem, the beliefs were not an issue, the actions belied the words and beliefs though, and that is the problem. Faced with this, in the midst of a different time, the Mayans are still here under a different guise, and the conquest has just begun.