Thursday, September 29, 2005

Part of an old essay I found on my pc disk...

Historically it was religion which served as the medium by which people were formed. Christianity, Islam and most other religions were set up in order to shape their follower’s minds in a homogeneous way, in order to outline a behaviour, an identity which would coincide with that of their society. Commandments such as “Do Not Kill” or “Do Not Steal” are obvious attempts to create a society were every day interactions can occur. Modern religions, and before that ancient gods and beliefs, were the tools that allowed us to shape every generation’s identity in order to drag mankind out of the forest and in to the cities. The Bible, the Koran, the ancient Egyptian scriptures were all there to educate, to shape. They allowed peasants to live tiring lives by giving them hope of paradise, they gave the slaves the motivation to build the pyramids, they were the balm that soothed the minds of the poor and the oppressed throughout time. They were the fundamental force behind the creation of a collective societal identity.

To a certain extent, nowadays, religion has been replaced by science and culture, at least in the western world. It is no longer priests, religious tomes and temples which shape our identity, but politicians, movies and schools. With the advent of modern science we have begun to understand that our existence cannot be explained solely with gods and myths. We can no longer believe that a pharaoh is a god on earth because we have proved all men equal, we can no longer gaze at heaven because we now know it is only space. Our whole civilisation’s existential paradigm has been given a severe blow.

However, the way in which we attempt to impose a collective identity has remained quite unchanged. Whatever society has chosen to believe, society must imprint in it’s young. It is crucial for society as we know it, to impose its own understanding of life to its members, especially when young, in order to retain its significance. It is impossible to control men if they are bitterly opposed to what they are doing. Only by shaping our minds at an early age can society be sure that we will do what it needs. By making us believe that what it stands for is some absolute moral righteousness, we are cheated in to believing that if we rebel we are going against the cause of good.

The perfect tool for this modern brainwashing, is education. From an early age, when our minds are still malleable, we spend most of our time in school. We are consistently pushed towards a shared identity, day after day, forced to understand a vision of life society has chosen. If we do not comply, or do so too slowly, we are punished or penalised. Only once we agree with a set of predetermined moral obligations are we allowed to discuss and argue on minor issues. Month after month, year after year, our minds are force fed rules, beliefs, attitudes. We are told what is right, what is wrong, what is good, what is bad. By the time we leave school, our minds are so packed with information, so brainwashed by ideas that it will be too late for us to develop an identity which is incongruous to society’s will. By the time we need to enter the world of work, we are perfect little clogs in society’s machinery, or at least that is the plan.


Blogger tombrad said...

A nice piece of writing, congrats, surely you had read The Antichrist, Nietsche said it all there:

"..find the arrogant habit of the theologian among all who regard themselves as "idealists"--among all who, by virtue of a higher point of departure, claim a right to rise above reality, and to look upon it with suspicion. . . The idealist, like the ecclesiastic, carries all sorts of lofty concepts in his hand (--and not only in his hand!); he launches them with benevolent contempt against "understanding," "the senses," "honor," "good living," "science"; he sees such things as beneath him, as pernicious and seductive forces, on which "the soul" soars as a pure thing-in-itself--as if humility, chastity, poverty, in a word, holiness, had not already done much more damage to life than all imaginable horrors and vices. . . The pure soul is a pure lie. . . So long as the priest, that professional denier, calumniator and poisoner of life, is accepted as a higher variety of man, there can be no answer to the question, What is truth? Truth has already been stood on its head when the obvious attorney of mere emptiness is mistaken for its representative."

I tend to agree with Nietshe view that is not religion itself but the corruption of priests wich take advantage to impose moral rules and gain power for himself. Religion may be an useful relief in case of -lets say- cancer or something so, but priests are the maximun corruptors

12:39 am  
Blogger Sheila said...

How old were you when you wrote that essay?
It is quite profound, and, unfortunately, pretty accurate.

Like many things, organized religion, on paper, seems like a good idea. Unfortunately, human nature is not taken into consideration.

8:17 pm  

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