Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What happened to knowing what happened?

Recently I read an interesting book written by Frank Waters, "Book of the Hopi", which got me thinking.  Ever since I can remember I have always been fascinated with indigenous culture, specifically native American.  I was amazed at their ability to survive and flourish without the aids of modern society.  They didn't go to a big box store for all their lumber needs.  They didn't buy their food from another giant box and their cloths from yet another.  They made everything themselves.  A level of integration not only absent from modern society, but ridiculed and oppressed.

But I diverge from my initial topic, although I suppose the preceding paragraph served as suitable introduction, the issue I am expounding upon is the loss of creation stories in modern society and their artificial replacement, modern pop culture.

Once upon a time people regardless of culture would sit around the fire and tell stories of their creation.  In present time we like to call them "myths".  But like everything, every myth grows from a seed of truth.  Their ancestors were venerated, remembered and shown the utmost respect.  But it was more than just respect, the people spoke of how they came to exist and what role they played in the greater scheme of things.  Yes their stories, by today's standards, seem fanciful and outrageous, but their "stories" held inherent truths and lessons.  Although they were entertaining, the recanting of their stories unified their cultures through the span of time, regardless of whether you believe them or not.

What/who do we now venerate?

Entertainers. Whether they're movie starts, sports heroes, politicians or some other type of fame fueled illusion, they now replace the myths of creation.  I understand the world is in a different place and people are different now, but the culture that is shoved down our ears, eyes and throat provides a shallow shelf to rest one's investments.  The unifying factors for most "modern" humans are contrived pieces of programming created to illicit certain responses, one of which is always "give us your money".

We are trained to see things on TV differently than we see things in reality.  Put yourself in your favorite sitcom, it doesn't matter which one, they're all essentially the same.  Now don't just envision whats happening is happening inside the TV, its actually happening all around you.  When Ricky pulls out his gun at J-Rocc's party and starts licking shots off, and you're sitting on the couch cold chillin', how would you react?  Would you laugh like you did when it was on TV or would you do something different?  If you chilled with Kenny Powers on the regular, would you laugh at him or spit in his face?

This may seem like minutia, but the fact that the area of our brain that once connected us to a people before and after us, is now replaced with throw away, recyclable garbage.  The same thing is constantly being fed to us over and over again.  The shape can change, the color can change, even the taste can change, but it's always the same core falsehoods.

If you don't quite see what I'm saying, look at how all of the indigenous cultures of the world were treated by the culture that ensnares us.  [I would use a broader stroke and say western, but even the indigenous tribes of Europe were conquered and converted.]  Indigenous cultures all around the globe have been eradicated, or are in the process of probably extinction.  And yet the one commonality they all share is a direct connection to Earth and thus the universe as a whole;  recognizing themselves as pieces of the puzzle, not the puzzle-maker.