Tag Archive | competition

Resisting Economic Oppression – The Role of Holidays as an Indicator of Social Domination

NO SHOPPING

You can use your social media presence as a powerful form of storytelling and self-expression. When you post images or like pages on Facebook – or even when you use Twitter hash tags from ads or TV – you make a statement that contributes to the economy and world you live in. And you help advertisers enhance their ability to create a sense of deprivation and need – even when it does not exist. Case and point – forcing employees to work on Thanksgiving due to “consumer demand that stores are open.” Image source: Reason for the Season Facebook Community.

When you support a business that forces employees to work on this sacred holiday – which is intended to remind us of our blessings and abundance – you support and encourage a philosophy of economic oppression. Thank those who devote their lives to service all year round by not asking them to leave their families to serve you.

This practice is directly in violation of our most revered Constitutional right – freedom of religion – as it represents absolute irreverence for the concept of a holiday, or “HOLY DAY.” Irreverence for holidays is a form of social domination, which attempts to remove the very last vestiges of sacred and spiritual life. It is a historically devastating phenomenon, that has impacted the spiritual practices of cultures across the globe.

If people are forced to exchange the rituals and traditions of their cultural heritage and spirituality for economic stability, their connection with the sacred is slowly lost – and their Gods, customs and treasured memories are essentially confiscated and rendered forbidden. In it’s place is a “false idol,” or connection to a superficial, materialistic version of reality.

  • As colonialists in North and South America began their oppression of native cultures, certain social and psychological measures were used to dilute and eventually replace the belief systems of the “host” culture.
  • Over time, interest in one’s own cultural heritage becomes secondary to one’s interest in the dominant culture. Like a parasite, the entire system is diverted to benefit the predatory culture’s growth. When no longer of use, native cultures are cruelly discarded or cast aside – after they have surrendered all of their gifts, innovations, wealth and future generations – to sustaining their oppressors.
  • Those who conform are rewarded and praised – as well as given more status and wealth than those who continue their traditional practices. In this deceptive sleight of hand, it is never revealed that these rewards fall short of fairness – offering only a meager increase in wealth and status to a select few “exemplary individuals” in the native culture – using this arrangement to destroy the internal cohesion of the culture’s people. It is particularly effective when those who had high status in the previous, traditional culture are rendered obsolete, low-status, or worse, burdensome.
  • Because those who conform are favored with resources – including education, food and healthcare – natural selection will begin to favor culturally detached individuals. That is, human control of resources – including intangible psychological constructs like prestige, praise, and acceptance – may be used to induce the same adaptive shifts in survival strategy that are normally evoked through environmental, seasonal and geological changes. This manifestation of natural selection results from social and economic manipulation – artificially inducing an impetus to evolve or change – even though there is abundance rather than scarcity of resorces and social roles.
  • The leadership roles of the native culture are marginalized. Indivisdal yearning for power is used to overthrow “outdated” elders, usurp important social roles, and convince the host culture that the colonialists are far more qualified and capable of assuming leadership positions.
  • Those who have lost power are repeatedly assured of their fortunate position – told they are now “free” of the “burdens” and “responsibilities” of leadership and government – and that their lives are now in the capable hands of “experts.”
  • At later stages, valuable social roles and occupations are withheld from those who have been historically marginalized – especially women, minorities, and any remaining descendants of native cultures.

    Harvest Goddess

    One of the most disorienting effects of spiritual suppression is the marginalization of the divine feminine, or mother goddess. Ironically monotheism seems to have originally intended to emphasize that ALL gods are one god – not that one version is superior. And the trinity is the residual symbol of a divine family – mother, father and child (i.e., ALL people, not just some) – male, female, and what is create between the two opposite energies. Harvest Goddess – Alphonse Mucha – Art-Nouveau Painter who frequently depicts godess-like women enshrouded in interwoven natural motifs. His work was popular in advertisements and posters.

  • New rituals are invented, that make leadership roles sacred positions – beyond the understanding and abilities of mere “laypersons.” Certifications, degrees, permits, and other official documentation are used to disguise economic oppression and discrimination – reinforcing the superiority of anyone who has the time and money to purchase these positions. Training in advanced skills is only given at a high cost, and any stray individual who crawls up the ladder from below is burdened with crushing debt and psychological intimidation.
  • People are often taught mythology that claims they will be rewarded later on in an “afterlife,” which allows greedy employers and institutions to postpone fair trade indefinitely. Cultures tend to be more susceptible to this line of reasoning when they are suffering, and feel forsaken by God, country or the “higher powers” that should be protecting them.

If people are forced to exchange the rituals and traditions of their cultural heritage and spirituality for economic stability, their ability to connect with the sacred is slowly lost. In it’s place is a “false idol,” or connection to a superficial, materialistic version of reality.

As we begin another holiday season, please take time to consider how your habits as a consumer influence and shape the lives of others. And consider what we lose when we indulge in ourselves, rather than our communities and in those who really need our help.

And when you consider the diverse beliefs of others, try to suspend disbelief. Even if a female goddess terrifies you, consider the fact that nature is not organized as a monopoly or order of important versus unimportant things. If we are ALL in God’s image, then all are partially divine. In Bhuddism, every stranger is considered a possible Bhudda, and thus revered as part of a divine energy that we all share.

Thus, reclaiming our freedom and stability involves coming to terms with our exclusionary spiritual tendencies. Not just for the divine feminine, but for the myriad of faces, names, and representations used to breathe life into a concept that we all share… In an infinite universe, one or many are both the same number – and there is no beginning nor end – just observable cycles that appear to signify these concepts.

Advertisements

Merry Material World! Capitalist Distortions of Sacred Rituals, Sacrifice and Spiritual Celebrations

Is you holiday about getting the cheapest price, securing the rarest limited edition collectible items and competing with others to win the title of champion gift giver? The survival of the fittest mentality and pervasive sense of aggression, competition, ownership, possession, desperation, and impulsive consumption suggests that we need to re-evaluate our American Ideology, and ask ourselves whether our over-zealous, flashy, and often financially irresponsible “holiday spirit” truly reflects charity, or something more complex and far darker. The charitable spirit of the season reflects a time when humans traditionally faced very real scarcity of vital resources – food, shelter, warmth, water, fire, animals to hunt or slaughter, plants to forage or harvest – and they needed to collectively create an insurance network that would prevent dissent into chaos as more and more good families ran out of key resources, and began to revert to wild, fight or flight responses in desperation. Stealing, aggression, and violence emerged only when their needs were ignored, and those who still had stores kept the excess for themselves. This season is about sharing what we have to prevent one another from sliding into homelessness, poverty, starvation, deprivation, and scarcity. Gifts are used to recalibrate social and psychological balance between two individuals who can enhance one another’s wealth, prevent suffering or exchange one needed resource for another. Charity is about giving to those who need; but it is also about giving what is sustainable – not the excessive, unaffordable, financially reckless gestures that we feel pressured into performing because charity has been made into a competitive sport to increase profits. Think about your options, and choose gifts that enhance the stability, beauty, connectedness, and emotional bond in your relationships. Do not turn you into a frenzied, desperate consumer; Charity is not about suffering – true charitable acts feel good, and trade personal excess for affection, love, and a reciprocal promise to share with one another

The American spirit of competition pervades every facet of our lives, and in recent years an unhealthy, obsessive, unsustainable, and culturally destructive mentality has infiltrated even the most sacred aspects of human life. Ritualistic seasonal celebrations – like Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, and Kwanza – emerged as a defense against the constant decent into primitive aggression and moral depravity created by the traumatic winter/drought season. The natural scarcity of food, water, heat, light, and many other life forms during these cyclical cleansing periods (which made room for new growth by shedding worn out, diseased, non-functional structures that would otherwise become destructive in their overgrown state) impeded human culture for thousands of years because humans could not understand the benevolent, merciful, healing qualities of annual death and rebirth cycles. Not perceiving that this cyclical redistribution of energy remains critical to ecological balance (much like a last resort defense against overpopulation) humans overlooked the very conceptual framework that could save them from their seasonal suffering. The winter/drought season (much like sleep and rest function in neural/physical healing processes) destroys mostly the broken, corrupt, excessive, unsustainable, suffocating, stagnant and overgrown/overpopulated manifestations of life energy that have become redundant, mutated, destructive or simply detrimental to harmony, balance, cooperative co-existence and function. Like an overgrown tree that blocks all light, and kills every seedling below it, humans can become resource sucking monsters, especially when they are overpopulated; however, our unique gift is that we can choose to share and redistribute energy before we become unbearably oppressive and detrimental to the system. The tree cannot prune its branches to let the light in; but we can give others what they need, and we do not. Thus, until humans could emulate this seasonal process by controlling their own excessive hoarding, and sharing surplus wealth, the annual dark age persisted each year. As various cultures replaced some exclusive/individual ownership codes with a higher ethical responsibility compelling generosity/sharing/charity with those who have contributed, but due to circumstance or chance did not reap the same rewards – they finally overcame the yearly dark age that stifled cultural advancement. Through communal stores of surplus wealth, food, and critical resources that could be shared over the coming months, everyone was ensured survival, security, and cultural stability, harmony, and reciprocity. The joy, cheer and warmth of the holidays reflect this interconnectedness and our interdependent nature as human beings. In the end, exclusive ownership of one’s harvest only seemed sensible to those whose crops were not affected by disease, natural disaster, or drought, but it remains painfully obvious that no one could predict, avoid, or circumvent the random hardships and deprivation/scarcity to come.

A dark age often polarizes the gap between rich and poor – but humans posses the “divine gifts” of various spiritual insights brought upon by the cyclical random suffering of seasonal scarcity. Suffering evokes transcendence, inner peace, compassion and eventually, human cultural/physical/spiritual evolution. Like sunrise follows darkness, dark ages can only precede enlightened ones. When humans have evoked or re-discovered this higher purpose (a greater good, a holistic approach to poverty and starvation, interconnectedness, oneness – sometimes personified as a deity or god/goddess), new technological/cultural advancements can be implemented. Our celebrations, though formatted as rituals and practices – are a reminder of our inner darkness and search for light. The holidays evoke symbiotic interconnectedness, and remind us to redistribute wealth/skills/knowledge/resources and share shelter, food, and material goods to fend off the fight or flight desperation and oppression that engender and sustain all evil on this earth.