January 23 2004
The race to the rainbow bridge
The choices are clear: either tyranny or enlightenment
By John Kaminski
My first instinct is to tell you this has nothing to do with current events, politics or religion, but in fact it has everything to do with all three.
My second instinct is to say the most important principle in human politics is separation of church and state — not to prevent the timeless and proven principles of all religions from benefiting humanity, but simply to preclude the bickering and misunderstanding over terminology that diverts all arguments about what will enable the human race to survive its own nasty habits into frivolous sectarian hairsplitting.
As a species, we are on the brink of a passage toward a new way of living, of existing, of organizing human society on our planet. The old way has failed, demonstrably. Power accrued to the hands of a greedy few does not result in trickle-down benificence, as the inbred rich continue to insist. And we have no knowledge that a genuine democracy could achieve a greater degree of justice because no actual democracy has ever been in place. But we do know that the old system produces endless wars and toxic graveyards, so wouldn't it be worth at least a try to attempt genuine democracy just once.
Humans are unable to resist material corruption; everyone has a price beyond which their morality fails. We have, by and large, abandoned the exhortations of Jesus to love our neighbors in favor of the bogus belief that money can immunize us from mortality.
Can we devise new mechanisms to mentally vaccinate our minds against the temptation of corruption on a social level? As the human species races toward a future of uncertain outcome, these mechanisms must doubtless center on the nature of money. Rather than continue on our present course toward a more definitive master/slave society in which military force is the defining commodity, we need to find a way to amplify the psychological priority of morality and correspondingly lessen the attraction of first-person greed.
I know it sounds like some kind of hare-brained rationale of Mao Tse Tung (or I guess today that's spelled Mao Zedong), but can't we rechannel our goals for happiness toward our relationships with others rather than toys for ourselves?
It could well be that a merger of banks and churches will one day evolve into a universal currency based dually on morality and the welfare of the system in addition to material worth related solely to survival/comfort of the individual.
Capitalism has failed because it relies on slums in which to dump its failed products, as well as an unregulated fluidity at the top with which to constantly bail us out of our busted budgets. A socialist system has never failed to overcome the temptations of privilege and authority, and tyrannical corruption has always evolved out of noble intentions for the masses in the administrative processes of collectivized wealth disbursal.
No system of government ever devised on this planet has ever truly placed control of its resources in the hands of its community. Corruption has always prevailed, and quicker minds have always managed to make off with the loot and let the masses starve. Real wealth always remains in the hands of the privileged few. There is no clearer example of how our religions have failed us. They have all been bought off by secular authorities in exchange for the state- protected right to fleece their flocks.
We cannot authentically aspire to real freedom as long as the money supply remains in the hands of a few rich men. As long as it does, we have zero power over the events and processes that control our lives.
Of course, currency is a neutral commodity. It has no intrinsic value unto itself. It's obvious worth is what it represents, or the material wealth that it can be traded for, or converted into.
It may be impossible to attach a moral quotient to money, because the very act that would link its use to the consensus precepts of a society trying to be moral would necessarily place limits on freedom of choice that probably most of us could not abide.
So in improving the nature of money as a possible way to creating a more humane and less cutthroat society, we would probably have to limit our goals to examining the practice of usury, and then more assisduously identify those who actually control the money, which will probably be two of the most difficult and elusive tasks humanity has ever undertaken.
That glittering technological marvel called Western Civilization has been built entirely upon usury. Without capital speculation, no skyscraper would ever have been constructed. When will the day come, I wonder, when we ask ourselves this question: Are skyscrapers what we want to express excellence in our civilization? What good are skyscrapers? They are dazzling monuments to greed, that serve no purpose other than impress and inspire those who are on the path to exploitation and deception at the expense of others who are merely trying to live their lives.
Could it be that one day we will willingly trade our skyscrapers and our usury for a system that produces happy, self-reliant communities of modest means and virtues, rather than dazzling megalopolises that impress from a distance because you can't see the bodies of the homeless moldering and dying in its windswept alleyways?
Then there comes the question of who actually controls the money supply, and why is it the same people generation after generation? Why have 34 of America's 43 presidents descended from Charlemagne, and why is it every election the masters of finance get to name both alternative candidates? If you think you live in a free country and possess the right of free speech, you are sadly mistaken.
Money rules the world. As long it does, we can never truly rule ourselves.
But money is only a small part of the human transition to a more humane and functional future. Its kind of like the quality of motor oil for the collective engine of humanity. What if riches were really accrued based on the kind of people we could be, rather than they are now, on the kind of material and procedural hegemony individuals can exercise on a given commodity or process? For one thing, this kind of monetary system would solve all our environmental problems almost immediately.
And the principal mode of profit during the five thousand years of organized human society — making war — would certainly decline.
If I may continue with the engine metaphor .... if money is the motor oil, then religion is the fuel. The performance of the engine — humans doing what they need to survive, prosper and be happy — can be judged by the quality of the fumes cascading out of humanity's collective tailpipe. In most cases, it's very toxic.
Not only is it toxic, it's quite likely that it's so harmful because we are using the wrong fuel to produce it. I'm not so much talking about food here (although surely the future will allow us to radically restructure our diets into something a lot more sensible) as much as I am referring to the ideas that religion imbues in our minds.
Perhaps the image of the American cowboy is the perfect contemporary metaphor for human beings (or maybe that's because I spent much of my early childhood with a plastic gun and holster strapped to my waist terrorizing neighborhood grocery stores, all the time clinging to the little finger of my mother).
With that gun in our hands (a symbol of human potency merged with technological prowess), we can conquer the wilderness, subdue scary wild animals, and eliminate those beings we consider inimical to our own interests, specifically those indigenous savages whose cultural upbringing we have deemed to be inferior to our own.
We get these ideas directly from religion, specifically the Old Testament, in which a wrathful God time and again urges his faithful followers to wipe out the heinous infidels simply because they worship other gods, or in many cases simply did not speak the same language as the person with the more powerful "gun" (though back in the olden days, that could have been a lance, or a sword).
But now, in world crowded to the attics with superfluous souls, the gun-toting cowboy motif just doesn't cut it. The cowboy must necessarily be replaced. But with what?
Individual rights will never disappear, no matter how they may be tailored by the perceived requirements of the state. The principal cornerstone of social life is individual liberty, the conscious choice of one's own fate.
No matter how crowded this planet gets, that will never be bred out of us, because it's instinctual. We each possess our own individual dreamscapes.
No matter now hard the state tries to erase this desire in individuals, it will not succeed. The recognition that each human being is a part of a much larger animal consciousness — call it the Ummah, if you like — must be voluntary. Otherwise, it is tyranny, and by definition, not individual freedom.
Yet, this realization will come one day to everyone. It is written in all the holy books, though by a myriad of different names. And yet, in one certain, very important context, religions have steered us in the wrong direction. Else, otherwise, why all these wars?
Let me explain. I've noticed when I speak with a person who insists she is religious, the sense of what I am actually saying can never get through to that other person's brain, because that other person always interprets my words, not empirically and taken at face value, but in the context of her own belief system. Thus, communication is generally impeded when the receiver of a thought from someone else translates it into the terminology of her own religious outlook. As evidenced by the amount of strife in the world, this usually means mistranslation, misunderstanding and conflict.
In addition, the tendency of most religions to dangle some kind of comfortable afterlife concept as a carrot in front of its potential adherents makes it easier to mobilize these same lemmings as cannon-fodder in wars of a church's choice. Heck, if you die, you just go to heaven, or come back as somebody else. These concepts increase the propensity for killing, not the other way around, as all the holy men insist.
To me, these two reasons are stark evidence of the necessity to separate church and state.
Central to this unfortunate tendency toward confusion and hard feelings in any society is the role of the dominant medium of information, which today would be the news media but in the past would have been the church or the monarch that had defined the type of society in which the people lived.
As the needs of the people at large and the aristocracy that rules would necessarily differ (the latter being the exploiter who collects and the former being the victims who pay), so to would the information they impart, and the perception of their existence, tend to differ. Example: the peasantry would refer to their masters as thieves who unjustly steal, and the masters would regard their serfs as mere zits on the complexion of their otherwise rosy-cheeked society.) As a result, the measures taken by those in power unfailingly offend those without power, and the response of the poor and victimized undoubtedly produce the same feelings in those who imagine themselves aristocracy.
I rolled out of bed this morning with the word "bifurcation" on the tip of my tongue, as I was thinking about these two divergent trains of thought — the perspectives of the rich and the poor, the haves and have nots — within the current context of creeping tyranny that seems to be about to engulf the entire world. Maybe it was because I watched too much of the superficial political celebrations following the results of the Iowa Caucuses on TV yesterday, too many scenes of forced gaiety by partisans of many candidates all claiming portentous victory in this quirky little political ritual.
What has galled me to no end this political season is the utter and shameful failure of the political opposition to correctly and courageously define the colossal criminality of the present administration in Washington, particularly the failures to notify all Americans that the U.S. is waging wars and squandering the lives of its own children in unjustifiable attacks on innocent people in faraway lands. Worse, and what seems even farther away from happening, is recognition by the American public that its own leaders engineered the tragedy known as 9/11 in order to profit from the frenzied fear these deceitful attacks produced.
"Bifurcation" is the act of splitting something into two branches. Collective human thought has always been split into two branches: dominator vs. powerless. What I see now, and why this word has relevance to me, is that the truth is not getting through to the people. The picture of the world that is presented by the news media all over the world is simply not factually correct. The bifurcation is growing in the United States, where everything presented over mass media is predicated not only on an enemy that doesn't even exist as a separate entity from the government that is supposedly fighting it. Yet this rationale is presented daily as the justification for permanent violence and continuing robbery.
In 21st century America, we are making war on the ghosts of our own lies, and killing ourselves because of it.
Believe it or not, this clumsy attempt to wrap money, media, and religion into the same thought has a purpose. The purpose is to tell you that the bifurcation — this difference of published perception between ordinary people and the money masters who manipulate our lives — is about to destroy the world as we know it.
Think about the major political events of the last 15 years, just for comprehension's sake. In 1990 we staged the Gulf War after first luring Saddam Hussein, our former ally and CIA lackey, into invading Kuwait. Washington honchos actually hired a public relations firm to concoct shocking stories about the viciousness of Iraq's intentions as a way to justify our immoral aggression.
The mass media stormed on about how the U.S. was defending democracy in the Persian Gulf but people with actual brains realized we were only defending the right of rich elitists to control more oil.
A couple of years later we had an explosion at the World Trade Center. It was later revealed, but never widely publicized — and certainly never widely known among the American public — that an FBI informant attempted to stop the actual 1993 explosion, but that his "handlers" allowed the operation to continue, for the public relations purpose of casting aspersions on the Arab dupes recruited by the CIA for this lame plot.
Shortly after that came Waco, where almost a hundred people were burned to death in a Texas farmhouse by the armed forces of our country. Later stories, read by too few, revealed that a number of those people had been shot to death. The reasons for such rash behavior have never been revealed, but people began to think twice about splinter religious groups.
And then right after that, the Oklahoma City Federal Building came tumbling down, with the onus placed on a truck bomb that didn't even knock down a tree right next to the truck. Yet this obliterated building and 168 dead was used as a pretext to curtail our civil liberties and make those hardy individuals who advocate self-reliance appear as criminals for talking about personal freedom.
And Oklahoma City, of course, was the test run for World Trade Center 2, 3,000 Americans murdered in the heart of our biggest city, with the dirty deed blamed once again on dark-skinned foreigners, and the event triggering a massive war against the whole world as well as the most serious crackdown on the individual liberties of U.S. citizens in American history.
Can you see the bifurcation? Can you perceive the difference between what is actually happening, and the tailored facts that are presented to us by the predatory dominators who control our money and our thought processes?
To me, this is the great opportunity of examining the 9/11 question. In realizing that this astonishing tragedy was engineered by our own leaders, it opens up a window to see how American foreign policy has always been predatory. Lies have been crafted as justification for conquest and plunder, and the American people have smugly bought into them, all the while preaching freedom and manifest destiny. It is the same reason we used to slaughter all those Indians.
Now, I said all that to say this. We are racing toward a turning point. Events such as the degradation of the biosphere, the centralization of food production and prescription drug use, the decay of capitalism, and the increasingly sophisticated evolution of weapons are all leading us toward a point of no return, where something really bad is going to happen that we will not be able to undo. And it is happening because of this bifurcation in public perception, where the journalists who profess to be objective are either unable or unwilling to confess they have covered up the true facts about so many things that it is no longer possible to recover any consensually authentic vision of what is actually happening to us.
We stand now at a momentous fork in the path of human history. One road, the one we are on, is paved with gold. To proceed down it means more of the murder, tyranny and exploitation that have become the hallmarks of the history of our species. The other path is pure dirt, and, believe it or not, leads to ourselves, and a renewed understanding and appreciation of the relationship between ourselves and the planet that sustains us. The choice is clear: it is either tyranny or enlightenment. Pick the gold or pick the dirt. It's the classic devil's bargain.
Norse mythology tells the tale of Ragnarok, in which Loki the Trickster God, representing ordinary people of ancient lineage, meets Heimdall the Priest, representing all the pious and corrupt religions in the world, in a final battle on the Rainbow Bridge, after which the entire world is destroyed. Typically, redactions of this myth manhandled down to us by religious transcribers through the ages have depicted Loki as the evildoer and Heimdall as the pious upholder of tradition. Even from the mists of prehistory we see this deceptive bifurcation of thought, and misrepresentation of intent in pursuit of profit and power stifling the innate human quest for self-knowledge.
If we are to avoid our own Ragnarok, whose specter is imminent in a world besieged by depleted uranium ammunition, genetically engineered food, and psychosis producing medicines, we must perceive the bifurcation — we must see that what our masters are telling us is meant to kill us, not enrich us.
We stand on the brink of Armageddon. It's no exaggeration. Curing the disease of money and recognizing that the master's information is nothing but sweet poison are the two main obstacles to what could be a fortunate and fruitful future for all of us, if we could but recognize and detoxify those obstacles blocking our path.
Otherwise, one day soon, the two ancient protagonists will meet, certain in their duty, on that fateful Rainbow Bridge. Right now the best guess is that the Rainbow Bridge is located between Jerusalem and Ramallah. And as at Ragnarok, the spark that will ignite will consume the world in flame.
John Kaminski is the author of America's Autopsy Report, a collection of his Internet essays. For more information, or to make a contribution to a writer who otherwise derives no income from these essays, click on the link.