God is Collective Prejudice. I am its Projection.
God in any culture – beyond the high sounding adjectives and characteristics – is the personification and embodiment of all the prejudices inherent in that society.
Every person in a group – in an attempt to conform – becomes a projection of that collective prejudice. Physical and Mental slavery, as an art, probably was first developed as a religious practice – which later manifested as a political tool.
Freedom of beings from the collective required breaking from the standards. The tools ranging from forgiveness to conversion to reparation were invented to create the mental and moral chains.
Individual and independent decision, without regard to a set of morals, but rooted in the moment – free from the past enculturation and future false hopes, was frowned upon and discouraged. Past, however unattainable and irrelevant, became the “Gold Standard”. Since contemporary could be challenged, past – defined in a certain way – could be a useful prop for continued power. Spiritual freedom has thus, throughout history, primarily become an exercise in iconoclasm. Unfortunately, however, iconoclasts of one era became the icons of another.
Within the societal parameters of cultural prejudice, every aspect was defined – Love, Relationship, Education, and Thought. Until it was conditional and enslaved to past, it was pure. Modern and new, however useful, became impure. Not because it was so. But because it was non-conforming. When the new was assimilated and became “past”, then it got its “certification of purity”.
Revolution is never permanent. Same holds for a revolutionary. A revolutionary at some point becomes the conformist of the new order. And so, ironically, over history the proponents of one revolution became the opponents of another.
Still, despite such a fate of many a revolutionary, the journey from the revolutionary to the conforming is littered with corpses of many who refused to live in the projection of the collective prejudice and stood apart. Killed, hanged, insulted and stoned in their times – only to be revered later. From Jesus to Mansoor to Meera to Osho, all met the same fate. They are not to be revered, merely learnt from. They are lessons in the concept of freedom despite society’s stranglehold of our collective minds.
The transformation of the followers of a revolutionary from being persecuted by others to becoming a “persecuting conformist” (as his/her ideas became mainstream) has been a historical verity. Followers of almost every religion have gone through this cycle. Breaking an old “mould” is therefore not a sign of freedom. Remaining without a mould / brand is one.
The relationship of deeds to personal destiny is also tied to the pole of collective prejudice such that we keep looking at what is “acceptable”. Or euphemistically, what is a “sin” or “virtue”?
In a conforming world, the framework and the decision for the characterization of our deeds is pre-defined… we just need to perform it. Despite the spectacular failure of such a framework which promises certain and pre-defined results of our actions, human kind creates more, yet stronger frameworks to enslave the collective mind.
Human action is, therefore, no more born out of freedom but from fear of non-conformity. Religions have found a useful companion in the concept of an Omniscient but a vengeful God – FEAR!
It is no wonder, therefore, that “God Fearing” is synonymous with Religiosity the world over!
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