Prime Cultural Oxymoron: a Paradox: a Profound Paradox
People have always united, haven’t they? for survival? Doesn’t a team have a better chance than an individual?
Once upon a time, a cell, knowing it was mortal, divided itself. A cell, any cell, would die, but the cell subdivided, two cells. would live a bit longer, maybe, double the chances. (Maybe not exactly “double,” but my math is only slightly better than that of a single cell!)
Humans were already different from cells: the cell just splits, the humans paired, reproduced sexually, beat the cell’s binary math: 1 + 1 = 3, then 4, then 5 billion. So: two people, allied, mating, sharing resources, survived, multiplied … better than one.
So: once upon a time people formed families, people defended the family, if they wanted to live, live better, longer. Then people defended the extended family: then the tribe. And before long, more than one thing was wrong, the math was no longer simple (if it ever had been).
It got hairy when tribes formed alliances. It got hairier when the alliances put their hand in your pocket. The bully could always take the kid’s sweater, or penny, but King John could take everybody’s sweater and nearly all their pennies.
Families once upon a time had supported churches. Everybody growing the wheat asked Isis for more wheat, more land, more children … But the priests were so greedy, so stupid, so incompetent that the next thing the priests knew the people were letting a war lord take even more pennies than the priests had ever taken: the state was born: and it wasn’t long before the state became a nation. Once upon a time people put up with the state singing its own praises, while the priests failed to notice that no one noticed any longer what praises-to-themselves the priests sang. But some states noticed: if they paraded as a nation, people gave them even more pennies. Jesus died for a god; but now people by the millions would die for a nation: for Napoleon, for a Reich …
Padua, Paris … had been powerful, but Lombardy or Aragon were even more powerful, till Lobardy and Aragon were helpless before some Saint-George-Fatherland nation-state.
I’ll touch all the bases in another draft.
Then along comes US. Franklin, Jefferson … were Deists. Translate that as agnostics, better yet, translate that as atheists! They had totally dismissed the God who watched the sparrow fall. No, no; they believed in the perfectibility of man. They believed in Reason, with a capital R. They believed in their own reason! reason totally divorced from the old old old irrelevant drunken illiterate priests.
So how come, when I was a child, a school child, the state not only having put its hands in our pockets but our most helpless in school (without ever demonstrating that school was a good, safe, or wise place to be, that anything but lies was “taught” there) added “God” to the Pledge Of Allegiance that we had to repeat, every day? Obedient little nation-bots.
“I pledge the legions of the frag.” “Jose, can you see?” Kids have no more idea what the ritual they’re been made to perform in school means than they had in church. “And forgive us our trespasses”? The ritual is never in the language the kid speaks, always some gobbledygook version.
Well, all these things are far too complicated to explain, especially in a world where the churches block messages from god, where the politicians listen avidly to anyone saying what the politicians want to hear, the universities block original thought, wait till the original thought has been repeated and watered down for a century, for a millennium, then take it over, supervise it.
No, we’ll see what we’ve done wrong, some impossible time after it’s too late to fix it. The dying obese gal says she shouldn’t have gotten so fat, after she’s four hundred pounds.
How did I sketch that whole thing without once mentioning my original intention: to treat the title concept as an oxymoron? So I squeeze in a subtitle first line.