“Man is forbidden to concern himself with anything but the struggle for bread. If his capacity for dreaming, imagining, inventing and experimenting is killed in the process, man will become a well-fed robot and die of spiritual malnutrition. The dream has its function and man cannot live without it.” (The Diary of Anais Nin; Journals, Vol 3).
Once upon a time humanity in the West moved about from mountain forest to open plain, from village to city armed with a plethora of myths and superstitions that were the backbone of the individual cultures and even individual tribes within those cultures and even right down to local villages with their “haunted” locations or sacred places with local copse or deep pools of water. We carried our favoured talismans to ward off evil or to invite kind spirits whilst on our travels.
The world of the Pagan (Paganus; Latin: of the village/countryside) was a world of complex mix of spiritual beliefs and mythology … the heroes of such myths moving among the Gods as representatives of the human desires … and the blending of both God and humanity became a favourable norm’ of excuse for some difficult to explain situations. Many an Emperor of the west proclaimed his father was one of the greater Gods who blessed his mother with divine pregnancy and birth to explain away a more base truth that it was perhaps a wild night in the cot with a favourite slave that did the “hard, dirty work”.
The mythological worlds of those Pagans, from the Northern Lights to the Mediterranean Sea was “peopled” with all the colour and actions of a dreamtime equal to any ever described in the history of any tribal nation on the planet … Crazy heroes of both sexes, wild and strange animals, and beasts, wicked and malicious Gods, vengeful and jealous, that created stories and tales of wild abandon and filled the night air like the sparks rising from roaring camp-fire with any amount of delight and fear as story after story unfolded around rustic camp or ampitheatre stage … and the world as we know it was created and filled by the actions of those wonderous ephemeral beings.
And a “teller of tales” was a qualification as equal to if not surpassing the high priest of the temple. It was a time for dreaming … It was a time of wonder …
And then came the nightmare; Orthodox religion.
“By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19).
The pragmatic brutality of the demands of adherence to the orthodox religious dogma of the three Abrahamic religions, set about with measured and structured determination to destroy the Pagan world of humanity and replace it with the more manageable rules of a singular God … a monotheist religiosity that fell in line, length and step to what was required by the nation state for unity under rule of law for all its citizens.
The Emperor Constantine designated that one God, one faith, one religion will only be tolerated under the Roman state. So that from that date forward, with the exceptions of a couple of apostate Emperors, that monotheism became the norm and mankind stopped the en-masse worshipping of their favourite Pagan deities and household Gods and fell in line to the golden doors of the church …
Humanity stopped dreaming.
“Things now became rather hectic for me. I forgot all about my Tales and became much more conscientious. How could I have let all those years slip by, instead of practicing my devotions and going on pilgrimages? I began to doubt whether any of my romantic fancies, even those that had seemed most plausible, had the slightest basis in fact. How could anyone as wonderful as Shining Genji or as beautiful as the girl whom Captain Kaoru kept hidden in Uji really exist in this world of ours? Oh, what a fool I had been to believe such nonsense!”
“The wistful tone is present from the beginning, but as the writer nears the end of her life, it becomes unmistakable. By the time we approach the final pages, there’s a palpable sense of ‘if only’ … ” (Sarashina Nikki; As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams).
With the ending of the mind’s dreaming of mythology and the age of heroes, became the beginning of the enslavement of the body to time and motion of the capital-based society. I lay at the feet of those orthodox religions the blame for so much of the brutal waste of humanity’s potential for cross-cultural respect. I lay at the feet of those “governors” of the West the reason for so much warfare and destruction as they utilised their creation of the “one faith … one God … one belief” to further enrich a so small minority of inner-circle acolytes and pseudo-devotees of their own false God.
Blasphemers of the true spirit of humanity.
Heretics of the desired destiny of humankind.
Sacrilegious destroyers of the dream-time of the human race. Indeed, if there is a place in the hell of our recorded histories, those “high priest” traitors will deserve to occupy the most disgusting and effluvious depths of that hell. What has been created to replace those eons of “slow-life” can be described as a rapine of the most wanton destruction upon both nature and humanity … a curse of the worse description more wicked and wasteful than the most cruel witch or warlock, the most vengeful God or Goddess and more lasting than ever the Fates would condemn.
“As I have said before, my mind was absorbed in romances, and I had no well-placed relatives from whom I could learn distinguished manners or court customs. Apart from the romances I could not know them. I had always been in the shadow of my antiquated parents, and had been accustomed not to go out except to see the moon and flowers. So when I left home I felt as if I were not I nor was it the real world to which I was going.I started in the early morning. I had often fancied in my countrified mind that I should hear more interesting things for my heart’s consolation than were to be found living fixed in my parents house” (Sarashina Nikki; As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams).
And in the end, all she “found” was routine and authoritarian expectation of loyalty.
I have a relative who is keenly looking forward this year to a hip replacement … he needs it because he has carried so much weight over so many years that his natural one has worn down with the effort … of course, he will say otherwise … but that is the awful truth .. and likewise are many of us “blessed” with such medical interventions that prolong an aged existence. We really have little choice … there is the suffering … here is the solution … what madness to refuse?
But I don’t think I need to extrapolate on the “long, winding road” that led us to this place. If we can’t identify it distinctly, we have good intuition of the what’s, why’s and wherefore’s that brought us here. The over indulgence of that relative of mine to the gluttony of a whole epoch of humanity has brought us here, where there is no longer a time for dreaming … of imagining … of procrastination while we relax on the laurels of our hard work. For it has already been costed and if there is not an algorithm already that calculates down to the last cent every individual citizen’s capacity of a lifetime’s contribution to the treasury coffers of the state and gives a rating on that citizen’s worth to the state … then there soon will be!
We have traded a dream-time that promised no more than a frugal if colourful existence for a civilisation that promises us no less than a frugal if “colourful” existence. In the horse-racing game of betting, that is nothing better than a low-priced “odds-on” to win … but it will take an expensive gamble to profit from those odds.
As a person who deplores medical intervention at the worst of times, I have to wonder what we have gained with all this “civilising” … certainly no improvement on those seven deadly sins … perhaps a bit on convenience and technology, but nothing on happiness levels and contentment … let alone on wealth and well-being … a longer life perhaps … if you can dodge the traffic as you cross the road to do that bit of shopping.
Can’t blame the Indigenous peoples of this or any nation for not really wanting a bar of it!