New Civilization News: Simply call me Bombadil Maximus    
 Simply call me Bombadil Maximus5 comments
picture29 Apr 2005 @ 00:21, by Tom Bombadil

Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.
—Mohandas Gandhi


You're like a scorpion, my brother,
you live in cowardly darkness
like a scorpion.
You're like a sparrow, my brother,
always in a sparrow's flutter.
You're like a clam, my brother,
closed like a clam, content,
And you're frightening, my brother,
like the mouth of an extinct volcano.
Not one,
not five-
unfortunately, you number millions.
You're like a sheep, my brother:
when the cloaked drover raises his stick,
you quickly join the flock
and run, almost proudly, to the slaughterhouse.
I mean you're the strangest creature on earth-
even stranger than the fish
that couldn't see the ocean for the water.
And the oppression in this world
is thanks to you.
And if we're hungry, tired, covered with blood,
and still being crushed like grapes for our wine,
the fault is yours-
I can hardly bring myself to say it,
but most of the fault, my dear brother, is yours.

Nazim Hikmet, The Strangest Creature on Earth (1948)
Trans. by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk (1993)

Much like the Grand Inquisitor, in Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov, growing religious fundamentalism, modern tel-evangelism and Truth gurus of all kind are delivering their manufactured (pre-packaged) truths to those eager to be freed from..."the burden of Freedom."

This, interestingly, raises some fascinating questions when it comes to Christendom. I am certainly no religious expert here (and I know I am threading on thin ice), but didn't God mean for man to be free? Wait - don't answer that. As I am no theologian, and since I in no way intend to turn this into a religious debate about the sex of the angels, I'll just take door number three. Thank you very much. My favorite take on this, not too surprisingly, comes from an old computer-geek joke:

In the beginning there was the computer. And God said
%Let there be light!

No, I do not believe the Universe/Multiverses/Maya (take your pick) is/are run by a computer (- Emily Litella's question - lol -) I am just being facetious, that's all.

Remember that one? God proceeds to create the world. Next, Man and Woman are created. So far so good. And then comes freewill.

Tricky that one:

%Create freewill
%Run freewill
#And God saw man and woman being fruitful and multiplying in Garden.edn
#Warning: No time limit on this run. 1 errors.
%Undo desire
#Desire cannot be undone once freewill is created.
stroy freewill
#Freewill is an inaccessible file and cannot be destroyed.
#Enter replacement, cancel, or ask for help.
#Desire cannot be undone once freewill is created.
#Freewill is an inaccessible file and cannot be destroyed.
#Enter replacement, cancel, or ask for help.
%Create tree_of_knowledge
#And God saw man and woman being fruitful and multiplying in Garden.edn
#Warning: No time limit on this run. 1 errors.
%Create good, evil
tivate evil
#And God saw he had created shame.
#Warning system error in sector E95. Man and woman not in Garden.edn.
#1 errors.
%Scan Garden.edn for man, woman
#Search failed.
lete shame
#Shame cannot be deleted once evil has been activated.
stroy freewill
#Freewill is an inaccessible file and cannot be destroyed.
#Enter replacement, cancel, or ask for help.
#Unrecognizable command. Try again

So what is it with Religion? Or with all the Orthodoxies for that matter—and the New Age is not exception (e.g. The Harmonic Convergence, etc. — you name it — and who the bleep is Ramtha?)

To me religion (like mythology) is mostly interesting and at its highest when it functions in an allegorical capacity—and at its worst when it is taken literally.

Sometimes Religions can be enlightening. Or maybe they are all full of sh-t. It's all a matter of perspective. That is to say they function as a catalyst. So, ultimately it all depends on what is there in the first place. (What the catalyst is acting on. Or what it is in us that is reacting.) In the best case the reaction can yield gold (the purest of metal - in the Alchemical sense of the term) all too often though it produces but just lead (biggotery, fear/shame, arrogance, self-righteousness...) or explosions of cataclysmic proportions (Intolerance, persecutions, war of religions...) especially when operating under the veil of false humility.

Which brings me to the title of this post. Hehehe, simply call me Bombadil Maximus. I am but just "a simple and humble worker in the Lord's vineyard" - lol - Me and Benedict XVI — or George Bush II (Remember this one? 2000 Presidential debate: "I think one way for us to end up being viewed as the ugly American is for us to go around the world saying, we do it this way, so should you. I think the United States must be humble and must be proud and confident of our values, but humble in how we treat [other] nations..." ) — yeah, right! Is it just me or does it seem like humanity is receding into some new kind of a Dark Age?

Sometimes I feel like we are surrounded. Yesterday there was that #$*! delivery service messenger who was here at my door. And, out of the blue, he asks me what I think of the new Pope. Since, I am very guarded and I suspected (rightly so) that the guy is an ultra-conservative, I just said noncommittally that I had hoped that someone more of a centrist had been selected.

Which is close enough to the truth as I tend to be somewhat of a centrist in most things (Buddhists call it the middle path.) In this instance however, and just for the record, I had hoped, against reason, that Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga would be chosen — he is young AND he is known for his staunch defense of the poor and his criticisms of ultra-liberalism and unbridled capitalism. A vote for Maradiaga would have sent a signal to the world as important and as full of consequence as the election of Karol Jozef Wojtyla (John Paul II) had back in the 80's. It would have emphasized the importance of social justice (supposedly one of the Vatican’s top themes for the 21st century.) Maradiaga had been quoted saying that "justice will have to be the agenda for the 21st century in all the countries of Latin America." He had voiced his concern that "many times justice comes only for people who are rich" and observed that all too often "the poor have no right to have justice." Geopolitically, the election of a South American Pope would also have served the interests of the traditionally more socially minded Catholic Church which has been loosing ground (big time) to the Religious Right in countries such as Brazil.

Anyway, the #$*! delivery service messenger tells me that he is very pleased, no wait, ecstatic (his word) that Ratzinger is the new Pope, BECAUSE (are you ready for this?), "he is going to bring back Europe under control." I always suspected the man was a Fascist (Ooops - sorry about that, I lost the middle path here for a second. Must remember to breathe.)

Actually, I believe that the Catholic Church, which already is in bad shape as it is, has just shot itself in the foot with that choice. Truth is, I normally wouldn't care much about this, one way or another. "Render to Cesar what belongs to Cesar," the saying goes (that sort of things.) My concern, however is not that the Catholic church has been shrinking (there are those who actually consider it a good thing) BUT that it has been shrinking at the profit of Religious Fundamentalism (Bible Literalists, and Born Again Christians, like Bush) which has been growing at an alarming rate in America (not just in the USA, where we saw the impact it had on the last Presidential election, but in South America, as well, where some of the growing Evangelical sects have been known to be financed in some cases from the US as a part of a new Cold War (of "values" and of religion—very obviously).


Paraphrasing Mignon McLaughlin (The Second Neurotic's Notebook) I'll say that my religious position is this: I think that Mankind could do a lot better, and I'm willing to give it the chance and play my part along with it, given a chance.

The question is, will Religions and Politics give it a chance?

Good question.

I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of conservatism.'
—Barry Golwater (link)

I swear by my religion, I will die for it. But it is my personal affair. The state has nothing to do with it. The state will look after your secular welfare, health, communications, foreign relations, currency and so on, but not your or my religion. That is everybody's personal concern.
—Mohandas Gandhi

The first condition of humaneness is a little humility and a little diffidence about the correctness of one's conduct and a little receptiveness.
—Mohandas Gandhi

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2 May 2005 @ 12:31 by swan : I'm with you about religion, Bomby,
I ain't talking...though I was right there with you when you slipped off the path for a moment.  

2 May 2005 @ 19:57 by bombadil : That will be Bombadil Maximus to you...

...If you don't mind.

I mean — Jeez, Swan! — didn't you get the memo, haven't you read the title? It says "Bombadil Maximus"—not "Bomby." (I can get no respect.)

"Time flies, doesn't seem a minute
Since the Tirolean spa had the chess boys in it
All change, don't you know
That when you play at this level there's no ordinary venue
It's Iceland or the Philippines or Hastings
Or, or this place

...The bars are temples but the {link:|pearls} ain't free
You'll find a God in every golden cloister
And if you're lucky then the God's a she
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

One town's very like another
When your head's down over your pieces, sister
(It's a drag, it's a bore, it's really such a pity)
(To be looking at the board, not looking at the city)
What d'ya mean
You seen one crowded, polluted, stinking town
(Tea, girls, warm and sweet, sweet)
(Some are set up in the Somerset Maugham suite)
Get Thai'd! You're talking to a tourist
Whose every move's among the purest
I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine..."

--------- lol, Murray Head, you know:

"One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can't be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me"  

3 May 2005 @ 06:16 by koravya : Very good
Religion may be thought of as a set of beliefs.
Religion may also be thought of as a practice.
Answer for yourself.
What is my religious practice?
What is it that I practice religiously?
What is the purpose of my religious practice?
I can practice self-gratifcation and domination religiously.
Or I can religiously practice the creation of other sorts of things.
What do I choose to manifest,
given this freewill thing?
Good entry.  

3 May 2005 @ 11:42 by swan : Sorry Sir Bombadil Maximus,
it was Black Swan who got a little too familiar, you have met Black Swan haven't you? So Tom wouldn't work either, right?

Can't I religiously practice being centered and in a peaceful state? Yes, it is a good entry.

and are you saying that to be a member of NCN you must hold your head in your hand? To be out of your mind? Headless? It is a good thing to be out of your mind, in means you are more in your heart...  

3 May 2005 @ 19:13 by bombadil : "Being centered and in a peaceful state"
is good, I am sure. Hey, {link:|whatever floats your boat}, right? And none of my business, really. I see some subtle variations on a theme here however: "being centered," "self-centeredness," "self-gratification," those terms do not quite exactly mean the same thing now, do they? — I like koravya's take on this.

As far as the headless man is concerned - hehehe - I don't know, swan, sometimes a headless man is just a headless man. I am sure it must present the poor fellow with some interesting dilemmas when it comes to shaving though - lol - "Mirror, mirror on the wall..." Actually, because the post was intended to be in part about Dogmatism (the Pope - or Wannabe Guru - inside each one of us,) the figure was meant to represent a "grand inquisitor" of some sort. But I can see how those things sometimes can function like some kind of a Rorschach inkblot test—in a way we all fight our own windmills, don't we? So, is the character "headless?" "Out of his/her mind?" "In his/her heart?" Is his/her head "in his/her hand?" In the sand? Up his/her arse? Good questions. I am not telling. That, my friend, is entirely up to you. YOU know where your head (and your heart) is. As Koraya excellently put it, it all depends in the end on what one is into. Is it "self gratification?" Political Power? Or "the creation of other sorts of things?" This is the kind of questions one answers for oneself. And, coming back to the post above, with regard to religion and politics, empty self-agrandizing or falsely humble statements a la Benedicte XVI or Bush II (like "I am a simple and humble worker in the Lord's vineyard") are not going to cut it.  

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