THE FOG – Individual Stardom or Collective Anonymity
In the story presented in Mark 10:21 a man ask Jesus, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” And with that statement the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
In today’s culture of stardom and star worship we have learned to embrace individualism over collectivism. In substance we have been conditioned to isolate rather than unite as a complete community, culture or species. We have become very good at eating our young in pursuit of the so called American dream. Clever marketing has seduced reality and hijacked both our emotions and ability to discern the truth of reason. In short we have become addicted to magical thinking and abducted by the American nightmare. This nightmare can be seen in cultures which chase the ideal of stardom and success.
The Buddha said, “I have seen deeply that nothing can be by itself alone, that everything has to inter-be with everything else. For I have seen that all beings are endowed with the nature of awakening.”
Here is a trick question. Which culture invented the written word? If you said the ancient Sumerian’s most people would agree with you. However if you said the first people to write anything down were prophets, poets or mystics you would be wrong. In fact the first people to write anything down were accountants. That’s right. When it became too difficult to use a barter system of barley sheaves to record transactions cuneiform took its place. And voila, capitalism was born. People began to think less as humans and more as individuals reprogrammed to think as clerks, accountants and bureaucrats. Over time this slowly resulted in the erosion of our collective human sovereignty.
To quote Shakespeare,” Ignorance is the curse of God. Knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven”.
Capitalism has clipped our wings through its offspring of neoliberalism. Remember the colonization of North and South America by Europeans seeking their fortunes. Remember how after all the conquered peoples of the Americas died off to disease and murder the colonist had to seek slaves in other places like Africa to fuel their unscrupulous greed. At that time in human history the people of the Americas were not even considered human. So Europeans could tell themselves that their foreign policies of globalization existed for the greater good of humanity and for the glory of God. Even today we are told that the foreign policies of the most powerful countries on earth are for the greater good and in some cases still for the glory of God. But in reality these policies are self-serving and exist not to help humanity but to dominate and hurt humanity. You only need to listen to mainstream news to see the picture. Anyone with any amount of compassion can read between the lines of even the most biased media agents. These media creations have but one goal. Which is to manufacture outcomes that erode human dignity and freedom. In many cases these conquers still claim God is on their side.
To set the record straight! In 1502 a man by the name of Amerigo Vespucci first suggested that the new lands which Columbus stumbled on were not off the East Asian coast, but rather a land mass unknown to the Christian scriptures. In his honour this land mass was named the Americas after him. For the original First Nation inhabitants of Turtle Island nothing would ever be the same.
As the global village becomes a global city the world is entering a Unification Revolution. This revolution can have its positive and negative impacts also. If we remain individualistic and accept a status quo of greed then what will become of humanity? I hate to guess but the writing is on the wall. It will be too late for many of us to continue to flourish and thrive. The planet is talking to us. But who is listening? Those who make decisions for the majority are really making decisions for themselves. This is what the American dream has accomplished. This is how humanity has become isolated and seduced. This is why stardom exists. To fuel domains of pathetic sheeple to vent their anger in non-constructive and ineffectual ways which only add to the violence which already exist.
This is why we have seen groups like Occupy. This is why groups like Anonymous are growing. They have the ability to include the collective at the expense of the individual. They are a consensus for the greater good at the expense of stardom. For stardom always wants more. Stardom is never satisfied. It only lives in a bubble of false contentment that will always burst and slime others. This kind of collateral damage always exists within an individualistic perspective. However collectivism seeks to include others. Like a beautiful choral collective. Taking into account that nothing is perfect and that we will always need to leave room for human error, collectivism is still the best option we have for the future of humankind. Collectivism does not rule out self-exploration and the quest for personal growth. In fact it encourages and celebrates just that. It advocates an inner journey of wisdom and calmness not an outer flight of ignorance and distraction. Hopefully through education and openness collectivism can be nurtured through the merits of loving kindness.
This is the goal of Gnosticism. Not the Gnosticism of time past. But the Gnosticism of the present and future which proudly stands on the shoulders of our ancestors. We have evolved in spite of individualism. We have been waiting for others to join so we can all wake up and see what is to be. Not just what is. As a species we can achieve magnificence and surpass the limited view of individualism. So if the bean counters say we are too idealistic then let us be idealistic and sweep them off their feet with loving kindness. Let us follow the teaching of Jesus and look at them and love them. Let us pray that the rich choose to follow Jesus. Then together it will be possible to surpass magnificence.
So let us remember the words of an old hippie who once said:
“Start by doing what is necessary;
then do what is possible;
you will be doing the impossible”
St Francis of Assisi